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Exploring Kroombit Tops National Park, Queensland


Words Isabelle Kranhold  Pics Isabelle Kranhold and Jeremy Wilson

Hema Maps Alpha Team members (Alpha #009) Isabelle and Jeremy recount their exciting trip in and around Queensland’s Kroombit Tops National Park.


Ridge Track

Driving the Ridge Track


Bomber & Ridge Tracks: Essential information

      ● Grade: Medium
      ● Distance: 30.5km from Tableland Road turnoff
      ● Time: Allow a full day or stay overnight in the National Park
      ● Best camping: Griffiths Creek Camping Area
      ● Pet-friendly: No
      ● Warnings: Steep, rocky terrain. Dry weather track, not suitable after heavy rain.

      Exploring our country offroad away from the blacktop is something we do more often than not, and working with the Hema Maps Alpha Team pushes us further remote along the tracks. 

      On a recent adventure, we set off for a few days to explore Kroombit Tops National Park in the North Burnett Region. Rising 800 metres above sea level, Kroombit Tops offers a refreshingly cool temperature where subtropical rainforests grow in the deep gorges and gullies. It is a top spot for 4WD adventures with superb open bush camping at Griffiths Creek where we based ourselves for a couple of nights.

      While you are there — if you have the time — it is worth checking out the nearby national parks in the Boyne Valley and surrounds that also offer excellent 4WD touring.


      Geology and formation of Kroombit Tops

      The Kroombit Tops area was formed 215 million years ago from volcanic activity from the Muncon Volcanoes. The towering sandstone cliffs seen today from the Kroombit Tops Lookout are a reminder of the sea that covered the land 25 million years ago. The sand beds of this ocean compressed to form the sandstone and is capped on top of the older Muncon Volcanos. Millions of years of erosion have cut deep gorges and gullies where diverse rainforests thrive. 


      Kroombit Tops NP on the map



      Access into the National Park

      Kroombit Tops National Park can be entered from any direction, each route varying in difficulty. Before heading off it is best to check the Queensland National Parks website for alerts of park or track closures. 

      From the north, the easy Tableland Road snakes up the range and is suitable for an AWD vehicle. The western Razorback Track from Biloela is currently being repaired from serious erosion with roadworks being undertaken to make access easier for emergency vehicles.


      Tableland Road, Kroombit Tops NP

      Tableland Road


      The eastern Backway Track from Gin Gin is a medium grade track with melon-sized boulders and steep rugged terrain which leads to the southern entrance of the park. We took the route from the south from Cania Gorge National Park, passing through the local farmlands, gates and across steep dry fords until we reached the Chewleys Gap Road at the National Park border. The Chewleys Gap Road is steep and rocky in sections, suitable for 4WD vehicles only. 

      Once we reached the plateau, we drove through a lush open eucalyptus forest until we reached the dense, dark rainforest. The 4WD road ends at the Rainforest Walk and becomes the easy Tableland Road. This walk is an easy 300m loop where you can immerse yourself in the rainforest with fungi, palms, ferns and tangled vines among white beech, brush box and coachwood trees. Being a rainforest, the environment is remarkably diverse and is home to the blood-thirsty leech which hitched a ride for a majority of the walk. 

      From the rainforest walk we travelled 2.5km along the Tableland Road until we reached the magnificent Kroombit Tops Lookout which has spectacular views of the rolling forested hills and rugged sandstone escarpment. There is mobile reception here too in case you need to book a camp for the night at Griffiths Creek or the much smaller Razorback Camp. As we travelled further along the Tableland Road (4.7km from the lookout), we reached the start of the Bomber Track, leading to the WWII bomber crash site.


      Griffith Creek Camping Area

      Camping at Griffiths Creek


      The Bomber & Ridge Track 4WD Loop



      The Bomber Track (18.8km) is a two-way dry weather road and is suitable for 4WD vehicles. The majority of the track is easy until the 16.1km mark where the track descends down a moderately steep rocky hill to The Wall day-use area. 

      This is where the 3.2km return walk begins to the bomber crash site. It is extraordinary to see parts of the aircraft scattered in the scrub, from whole motors 100m uphill from the crash site to the wreckage of the tail end, under carriage, wings and propellers. The American World War II B-24D Liberator Bomber was named Beautiful Betsy, with eight months of active service on 25 missions. 


      Betsy Bomber

      Betsy Bomber crash


      The Beautiful Betsy Bomber crashed in 1945 in Kroombit Tops on a ‘Fat Cat’ run to collect fresh fruit, vegetables, ice cream, alcohol and even live poultry to relieve the monotonous ‘Darwin diet’ of military personal. The Bomber was not discovered until 49 years later in 1994 by a National Park ranger that was walking the country to plan a backburn. What a discovery to find — especially being the first person to lay eyes on the crash that was undisturbed for almost 50 years. 

      From The Wall day-use area, you can return back on the Bomber Track, or if you’re feeling more adventurous and your vehicle is prepared to drive a medium grade track, continue along the one-way Ridge Track (11.9km) rated as medium in dry conditions. 


      Ridge Track

      On the Ridge Track


      Of course, we continued along the Ridge Track, passing through a dry creek bed that floods only during rain events, and slowly began climbing up the rocky hill. The further we ascended the rocks became increasingly larger with uneven holes to negotiate. We did not use any of our differential lockers, instead used a left foot braking technique. This technique is underrated yet is so useful on this rocky, uneven terrain. By leaving the foot on the throttle and brake pedal, modulating the brake smoothly to control the speed, you eliminate any lag by loading up the transmission and suspension. It also helps with open differentials by giving power to both wheels.

      About 1.5km in we reached a rock garden which we carefully negotiated to avoid banging the rear diff and underside of the vehicle. We do, however, have steel under-vehicle body protection to protect those sensitive underbody components such as our transfer case, gearbox and sump.

      Further along the track (about 2.3km in) we reached a steep and slippery rain-eroded hill with deep ruts. This section has a low–medium chance of a recovery situation if the vehicle slips and becomes stuck in the rut. Jeremy got out to guide on this one as we crossed over a deep rut halfway up. 

      We reached a clearing 3km in with a magnificent view of the misty mountains which we named the Hidden Valley Lookout. It’s all in the name … a hidden valley only to be seen by explorers along this track. A steep, rugged climb follows this lookout, rocky and uneven in nature, to a plateau that can become boggy if the area had rain in the past days or weeks. Towards the end of the track undercut large tree roots posed the next challenge, but this was no problem for the Hilux. 

      We completed the track by the afternoon with plenty of time to set up at Griffiths Creek Camping Area, only 5.9km from the Bomber Track intersection. There are no toilet facilities at this camping spot other than a dump point that looks oddly out of place. 


      Kroombit Tops Lookout

      Kroombit Tops Lookout


      It is the sort of place where you can camp anywhere you like, with opportunities to find a secluded spot among the huge eucalypt trees. They do drop hefty branches without notice, so perhaps somewhere away from the car-crushing branches. With no light pollution we were treated to a chandelier of stars by our toasty campfire after a fantastic day of 4WD adventuring. 

      The Kroombit Tops National Park is a hidden gem in South East Queensland, making it one of our favourite 4WD touring destinations. The 4WD loop is a great opportunity to drive a medium grade 4WD track to test your skills, along with excellent bush camping, extraordinary rainforests and rich history. It is most definitely worth a detour. 

      For more information, and to check out the latest conditions, visit the Queensland National Park website: Kroombit Tops National Park | Parks and forests | Department of Environment, Science and Innovation, Queensland (


      Interested in joining the Hema Alpha Program?

      If Isabelle and Jeremy’s Kroombit Tops adventure sounds like something you would love to experience — and be paid for! — consider joining our leading community-driven exploration initiative, the Hema Maps Alpha Program.

      “The Hema Maps Alpha Team is an integral element in our fieldwork operations. Our Alphas collect track data and Points of Interest (POI) in the remotest regions of Australia. They update and inform us of any changes to conditions and are always on the lookout for new adventures and activities, stories and content, natural features and information to assist fellow travellers,” says Hema Maps Chairman, Sam Hayward. 

      For further information on the Alpha Program, including the eligibility questionnaire, go to the Hema Maps website


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