Weekend at Mt Barney Lodge Country Retreat

For families wishing to spend the weekend exploring Mount Barney National Park, the best place to stay is the Mt Barney Lodge Country Retreat.  This gorgeous property offers a range of different accommodation options, so families of all sizes and with all budgets are catered for. 

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to stay while you climb Mt Barney, explore the local area or simply somewhere to relax and reconnect with family, the Mount Barney Lodge is a great spot.  The property has stunning creek frontage and spectacular mountain views, making it a wonderful place to rest and unwind.  

In this article, we provide a detailed review of our recent stay at the Mt Barney Retreat.  The article includes details about the different Mount Barney accommodation as well as tips on things to do during your stay. 

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Where is Mt Barney Lodge Country Retreat?

The Mt Barney Lodge is located in the stunning Scenic Rim, at the foot of Mt Barney – one of the largest peaks in Queensland.  It’s about a 90 minute drive from either Brisbane, Ipswich or the Gold Coast to reach the lodge.

Mount Barney Lodge Accommodation

No matter how many people in your group, your budget or the occasion there is the perfect accommodation for you at Mt Barney Lodge.  Below is an overview of all the different accommodation options available at the lodge so that you can choose the perfect option for your family.

The Homesteads

Mount Barney Lodge has two stunning homesteads – Moringararah and Boolamoola (pictured above) which are perfect for large families or those wanting plenty of space.  Both homesteads are fully self contained and have great views of surrounding mountains.

Moringararah can sleep up to 15 people, so this is excellent for multiple families.  There are 8 bedrooms in this homestead with 3 double beds, 5 single beds, a set of bunks and another two singles that can also be converted to a king bed.  

The Moringararah Homestead is spread out across two levels with two kitchens, two bathrooms, and two living and dining areas.  If you have less than 10 people, you’ll just have access to the top level.

The Boolamoola Homestead can sleep up to 6 people across its three bedrooms.  There is a double bed in the master, and the remaining two bedrooms each have two single beds.  One set of singles can be converted to a king if required.  This homestead also has a kitchen, sitting room and dining area.

Both the Boolamoola and the Moringararah Homesteads come with a fully self contained kitchen, including all required crockery, cutlery, pots and pans.  They also have a fireplace (complimentary wood is provided during the winter months) and outdoor eating areas complete with a gas BBQ.   The homesteads are full of gorgeous furniture and knick knacks from a bygone era.  The kids will have a blast, trying to guess what the different things are.

Prices start at $320 per night for 4 people.  Additional people are $50 per night.  Linen is not included in the price, so bring your own or it can be provided at $20 per person – beds will be made up for your arrival.

The Rustic Cabins

If you don’t require a stack of space, then a cheaper option for families is one of the rustic family cabins.   There are two cabins on site – the Foresters or the Henry’s Hut (pictured above).

The Foresters Hut can sleep up to 10 people across its three bedrooms.  There is a double in one bedroom and two sets of bunk beds in each of the remaining bedrooms.  Each of the rooms are separate and lead out to the front verandah.

Henry’s Hut can sleep up to 7 people across two bedrooms.  There is a double in the master and two sets of bunk beds in the other bedroom.  In addition, there is a single bed in the living area.

Both cabins come with a fully self contained kitchen with an oven, fridge, microwave, toaster, kettle and all required crockery, cutlery, pots and pans.  They also have a fireplace in Foresters Hut and a pot belly stove in Henry’s Hut (complimentary wood is provided during the winter months) outdoor eating areas complete with a gas BBQ.  

These cabins don’t have a bathroom, but they are located right by the amenities block which has toilets and showers.

Prices start at $160 per night for 2 people.  Additional people are $30 per night.  Linen is also not included in the price, so bring your own, or it can be provided at $20 per person – beds will be made up for your arrival.

The Deluxe Camper Trailers

A fun option for families is to stay in one of the Lodge’s two permanent camper trailers.  The camper trailers can sleep four as they come with a double bed and two single beds.

The camper trailers also come with an outdoor covered area, complete with a kitchenette and table and chairs.  The kitchenette has a gas cooktop, crockery, cutlery, pots, pans and tea and coffee making facilities.  Each trailer also has power, water and its own campfire.

There is no fridge, so you will need to bring a car fridge or esky with ice. 

Prices start at $120 per night for 2 people.  Additional people are $30 per night.  Linen is not included in the price, so bring your own or it can be provided at $20 per person – beds will be made up for your arrival.

Mount Barney Camping Ground

Lastly, if you’re looking for somewhere to pitch a tent or park your van, The Lodge offers shady, unpowered, grass campsites.

Campers can enjoy open campfires (firewood available for $15 per bag). Modern amenities block with hot showers, toilets and a washing up area.

Note that there is no camp kitchen on site so you will need to come self sufficient for cooking.  However, you can grab a hot plate to use over the fire from the office.  The hot plates require a $20 deposit which is fully refunded when returned clean.

Prices start at $16 per night per person, although children aged 3-12 are $10 per night.  

Things to do at and around Mount Barney Lodge

With no wifi or TV, this is the perfect place to spend some quality time with your kids.  We spent plenty of time here playing board games, reading books and even a few rounds of charades would you believe!  However, for those who want to explore the area, here are some tips on things to do around the Lodge and the surrounding area.

Mount Barney National Park

Most families head down to Mt Barney Lodge to explore Mt Barney National Park.  This park is home to numerous impressive peaks, including Mount Barney which at 1351m high is one of the highest peaks in Queensland.  Other mountains in the park include Maroon, May, Lindesay, Ernest, Ballow and Clunie.  These mountains are the remains of the ancient Focal Peak shield volcano that erupted some 24 million years ago.

The mountains of Mount Barney National Park are located in the ancient Gondwana Rainforest, an Australian World Heritage area. You’ll find a range of different vegetation within the park,  including open forests, subtropical rainforest and shrublands.   The park is also home to rare plants, vulnerable animal species, cascading creeks and gorgeous swimming holes.

While Mount Barney is well known for being a bucket list item among experienced hikers, the mountain base also has a number of moderate walks suitable for those less experienced.  In addition to Mt Barney’s summit’s hikes, there are four walks, all starting just a short drive from the lodge.  These walks are all grade 4 tracks and some bushwalking experience is recommended.

Before setting off on any of these walks, it’s recommended that you chat to the staff at the lodge about current conditions.  They will also be able to provide you with local tips and details about the location of any swimming holes on the route.

Yellow Pinch Lookout

This is a super steep, but reasonably short walk, with spectacular views at the top.  You can either drive or walk the 1 km from the Lodge to the Yellow Pinch Carpark – it’s flat the entire way and easy to do.  It is a lovely walk, as you wander pass through gorgeous countryside full of farmland with cows, horses and even the odd kangaroo.  You can also opt to walk from the Lodge along the creek – although its a little overgrown and does take longer than walking along the roadside.

Once you reach the car park, you’ll immediately start walking along a steep incline, through open eucalypt forest to the Yellow Pinch gate.  Once you reach the gate, you’ll turn right and continue up a rocky ridge until you reach the very top.  You’ll know when you’ve reached the end because there are fantastic uninterrupted views of Mt Barney as well as an information board at the top providing a geological history.

I did this walk, and it is challenging.  Although I’m not the fittest person – so others may have an easy time of it.  It is very steep and I’m glad I took hiking poles with me, particularly for the way down as this helped me with my balance.

The hike is just 2km return, or 4 km return if you walk from the Lodge.  The walk took me 2 hours, although 90 minutes is the recommended time.

At the Yellow Pinch Reserve, there is a day use area with a picnic table and toilets.

Cronan Creek Falls

If you’re up for a reasonably easy, but long walk, I highly recommend the Cronan Creek Falls walk.  This walk starts at the Yellow Pinch Reserve – as the previous lookout walk does.  For this reason, I recommend if you’re going to do both walks that you do them together.  The main reason is that the first few hundred metres are incredibly steep – we found the incline and decline challenging – so best to just have to do it the once.  I did the two walks separately but would have preferred to do them together.

Anyway, after the initial steep walk to the gate – you’ll walk through the gate – for the previous walk, you don’t go through the gate, instead you turn right and go further up the rocky ridge.  Most of the walk is relatively flat, with the odd hill here and there but nothing as strenuous as the first steep incline.

For the most part, this track follows Cronan Creek and there are multiple creek crossings.  Do wear appropriate shoes, as your feet will get wet – but there are also plenty of rocks to hop across as well.  I also didn’t find the track well signposted so I highly recommend getting a map with instructions from the Lodge staff as this will ensure you stay on track.

Towards the end of the track is a fairly small sign indicating where you turn off to go down to the rock pool and waterfall.  Honestly, if you weren’t paying attention, you could easily miss it – which is why it pays to get a map from the Lodge.  Otherwise, I’d talk with other hikers you pass to see what current conditions are like and what markers to look out for.

Once you reach the falls, there are quite a few rocks to climb/hop over, so for kids; you want to ensure they have good balance or a small enough that you can easily carry them.  Some rocks are incredibly slippery, so be cautious.

The falls themselves are just stunning and the rock pool is gorgeous.  The water is icy though, even in the middle of summer we had trouble getting in – but it was so worth it and well appreciated after the long walk there.  

The walk is 12 km return from the Yellow Pinch car park or 14 km from the lodge.  We walked from the lodge and the walk took us 6 hours.  This included around 1 hour for lunch and swimming at the falls.  We also had quite a few breaks.  We talked to other hikers who said they did it in 3 hours (just the walking part) so it will probably depend quite a bit on your kids.

If you were going to do this walk combined with the lookout – I’d probably go to the lookout first, because you’ll be too tired otherwise on the way back from the falls and you’ll probably decide to miss it.

Lower Portals Track

I haven’t done this walk, so can’t talk from experience, but the staff at the Lodge recommended that the Cronan Creek Falls walk was probably a little easier and so we choose to do that one instead.

This track has moderate to steep slopes and is rough in sections. There are two rocky creek crossings, after the second crossing at Mount Barney Creek, follow the sign. The track then ends at a deep pool set within a rocky gorge of Mount Barney Creek.  On your way back, be sure to look for the sign to locate the creek crossing.

This walk starts at the Lower Portals car park – which is not where the above walks commence from,  The Lower Portals car park is just a short 10 minute drive away from the lodge.

The walk is 7.4 km return and it is recommended that you allow 3 hours.

On certain days throughout the year, the Lodge offers this as a guided walk for $40 per person with morning tea included.  Kids must be 13+.  Check the calendar to see when the next Lower Portals walk is available.

Upper Portals Track

The Upper Portals Track starts at the Cleared Ridge car park, which is just under an hours drive from the Lodge.  You will need a 4WD though to reach the car park.

There are two parts to the Upper Portals track – the upstream section and the downstream section:

  • Upstream section: follow the management trail until it reaches the junction of Yamahra Creek and Mount Barney Creek. Follow Mount Barney Creek downstream to the Upper Portals. Here water continues to carve smooth channels through rhyolite and basalt rock.
  • Downstream section: follow a track steeply uphill on the northern bank before descending to the Upper Portals’ downstream sections. This track avoids the narrow gorge that can be dangerous, especially after rain or when the creek is high.

Both sections have some steep gradients, is rough in sections and rock-hopping skills are required.

The Upper Portals Track is 8km return and it is recommended to allow 3 hours.  I haven’t done this walk so can’t comment.

On certain days throughout the year, the Lodge offers this as a guided walk for $40 per person with morning tea included.  Kids must be 13+.  Check the calendar to see when the next Upper Portals track walk is available.

Mt Barney Summit Hikes

If you want to hike to Mt Barney’s summit, it is recommended that you join a guided tour through the Lodge or go with other experienced bushwalkers.  The walk to the top is very steep, with narrow ridges and vertical cliff edges.  It takes between 6 to 10 hours to do the return walk.

Check the calendar to see when the next summit hike is available from the Lodge.

Lodge Guided Hikes and Walks

The Lodge has a range of guided hikes and walks for those who are a little more adventurous.  Most of the hikes are for kids aged 15+, but there is the Mt Gillies hike which is for kids 10+.  Guided walks range in age from 13+.  You can find out more about these hikes here.

Swim in Waterholes

As mentioned above, there is a range of creeks, waterholes and waterfalls on the various hikes in the Mt Barney National Park that you can go swimming in.  But if hiking is not possible for your family, you needn’t go far.

The Logan River passes right by the front of the Lodge.  The flowing river is crystal clear and a great spot for the kids to splash about.  Depending on the recent rainfall, you may be able to wade in the river right by the Lodge’s entrance.  Otherwise, take the path to the side of the river and wander down until you find your own secret spot. 

Another waterhole close by is Yellow Pinch Waterhole.  Located at the Yellow Pinch Reserve where the lookout and Cronan’s Creek Falls walk commence, turn right at the picnic table and take the track down to the waterhole.

Rock Climbing

Whether you’re an experienced rock climber or a complete novice, the guys at the Lodge have a range of programs to suit everyone.  There are programs for kids as young as 10!

If you’re interested in learning more about the rock climbing programs on offer, click here.

Kids Activity Program

Throughout the year, The Lodge offers a range of great short programs for the kids.  Unlike the other hiking and rock climbing programs, these kids activities are suitable for children from as young as 5.

Below is a brief overview of the different programs on offer, check the calendar here to see when each is offered.

  • Bush Kids:  Kids will learn about the environment and with natural resources make a boat and race it down the creek.   For kids 5-14 | Cost $20 | 90 minutes | Morning or afternoon tea is provided.
  • Bush Tucker Tracker: Kids will learn about native wildlife and get to taste local bush tucker.  For kids 8-14 | Cost $20 | 90 minutes | Morning or afternoon tea is provided.
  • Construct a Lantern: Kids will use recycled materials to make a lantern.  For kids 5-14 | Cost $20 | | 90 minutes | Morning or afternoon tea is provided.
  • It’s Knot School: Kids will learn how to tie a range of knots, then put their knowledge to practice.  For kids 8-14 | Cost $20 | 90 minutes | Morning or afternoon tea is provided.
  • Kids Night Adventure: Kids will go on a night creek walk and try to spot native wildlife.  They will then make damper over an open fire and have a sausage sizzle.  For kids 5 – 14 | Cost $30 | 2.5 hours
  • Kids Only Adventure Camp:  For kids aged 10 to 15, they can join this 3 day, 2 night kids camp where they’ll get to do a range of fun camping related activities.  Cost $375
  • Light Your Fire:  Kids will learn how to get a fire started without matches.  For kids 8-14 | Cost $20 | 90 minutes | Morning or afternoon tea is provided.
  • Stealth Tracker:  Kids will learn how animals blend into their environment and learn how they can also walk through the bush without a sound! For kids 8 – 14 | Cost $20 | 90 minutes | Morning or afternoon tea is provided.
  • Wild Pizza: Kids will play a range of games and make their own camp oven pizza.  After pizza, they will chat around the fire telling stories and star gazing.  For kids 11-17 | $30 | 2.5 hours 

Join a Special Camp

If you’re keen why not join a special camp down at Mt Barney Lodge?  At certain times throughout the year, they offer a range of camps as follows:

  • Kid’s Bushcraft and Survival Camp: For kids aged between 12-17, these 3 days camps teach kids all about survival in the bush.
  • Parent and Child Camps: These 2 day camps are aimed at helping a parent and their child bond over some quality one on one time as they complete a range of activities including rock climbing, bushwalking and cooking.

Our Verdict

We spent a weekend down at Mt Barney Lodge during February, which is their low season as most people tend to visit during the colder months.  I can imagine how nice this would be snuggling around the fireplace.  However I think the warmer months are just as good – if not better in some ways as we went swimming in the icy cold rockpools, there would be no way I’d be doing that in the winter months!  Plus we spent hours out on the verandah drinking wine, having cups of tea as well as playing board games.

The property is just stunning no matter what the season.  Surrounded by rolling green hills with spectacular views of the monstrous Scenic Rim peaks, the scenery is just beautiful!  No matter where you stay on the property, relaxing while soaking up the scenery is rejuvenating.

Of course, the Lodge is a great base for those wanting to do one of the various walks in the Mt Barney National Park. Still, even if you want to stick closer to the Lodge, the kids will love splashing about in the Logan River or riding their bikes around the vast property.

So if you’re looking for your next family getaway, why not consider a break at Mt Barney Lodge.


Hopefully you found this guide on staying at Mt Barney Lodge helpful.  Other great places for families who enjoy bushwalking holidays are the Bunya Mountains,  O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat or Mount Tamborine.  Click here if you’re interested in visiting more places in the gorgeous Scenic Rim. 


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