The great outdoors
White Rock family hike
If you want to get the kids into the outdoors but don’t know where to start, then read on… White Rock is a perfect first hike for a family. It’s fun, interesting, has great views, wildlife and there are a few different trail options, so it really is hard to beat.
Scott and I are all about encouraging families to unplug the kids and go on an adventure and one of the reasons that White Rock is great is the location. White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Park is conveniently located only 15 minutes from Ipswich and 30 minutes from Brisbane. It wasn’t our first hike, but the hike is one of our favourites in the area.
Our three boys aged 9, 11 and 13 were keen to see whether there are really any “White Rocks” to be seen, and they weren’t to be disappointed.
From Paperbark Flats Picnic Area (access via School Road, Redbank Plains) we headed up the multi-use trail. As it was a weekend, it was great to see so many people getting “green therapy”, some with their dogs, some on mountain bikes. The multi-use trail is a wide dirt track that provides easy walking, despite the sandy surface. It wasn’t steep but it climbed fairly steadily for a couple of kilometres. Although this track isn’t the most interesting part of the walk, Eli had a great time running up ahead to hide behind a tree to try to scare us, though it didn’t work. Next time he wants to do that he shouldn’t wear a red shirt!
As we proceeded, we passed a couple of shorter trails off to the side, and the turnoff to the White Rock Ridge Trail that we didn’t take, but we would return later down that track. We went past the signs on the left to White Rock itself, because there is a lovely start to the single trail a bit further up. Once we got to the top of the White Rock Trail, we turned and left the multi-use trail, where the walk got really enjoyable.
The terrain quickly changed to a rocky path that took us to the southern end of White Rock. It was lovely to see the grass trees in flower and the bees busy, gathering nectar from the flowery spikes. After about 5 minutes, the track winds around the base of White Rock itself and what an amazing majestic rock feature it is to look up to. The shapes and colours of the rock above us towered over the track as we walked in the shade of the massive rock outcrop.
Looking up at the pockets and overhangs offered a great perspective of the shapes that have been eroded over time by wind and wild weather.
As the track wound around the base of the rock, our perspective changed, the massive “corner” of the rock hangs out, proud and imposing, dwarfing us as we appreciated it from below. Cadel’s favourite part of the hike was seeing that there was actually a “White Rock”, and it is really cool and big, he loved it!
Photo time, of course!
White Rock is a really spectacular and culturally significant location, so it is worth bringing “the good camera” to get some really good shots from the base. From this point of the walk, there are 3 options. We could head back the way we came, we could take a short route straight down to the multi-use trail and return that way, or head back via the White Rock Ridge Track (WRRT). We highly recommend the latter, this is the longest section of single trail and will really give the kids a feel for getting started in hiking. It also offers a great view.
Traditional owners of the land have requested that people do not climb on White Rock itself, and this ridge offers an alternative way to see the area from a height.
When we left White Rock, the trail drops down into a gap and then we started climbing back up on to the ridge that would take us down the hill. After a little bit of easy scrambling/climbing, we popped out onto the rocky ridge. We stopped here to appreciate the view – there was a great view of the whole area. Looking back over to White Rock was really cool too. Zach really enjoyed the high perspective of the outlook, where you could see the suburbs of Springfield and to Brisbane. Children need to be supervised here as there are cliffs.
From there the track follows the ridge line, the path is clear and well-defined and the noise of birdsong made us appreciate the diversity of birds in the area, even if we couldn’t see them. The boys found the hike easy and it would be manageable and fun for most kids.
The track loses altitude and heads through a variety of trees and shrubs. There are lots of rocks on the track which adds variety and make it interesting to walk. There are a couple of spots that are a bit steeper and the rocks are a bit loose, but it still wasn’t particularly difficult. The great thing about kids is that you just take a break if you need to and take your time so that you complete it at a pace that suits them. For me, I have trouble keeping up with my three so I just have to be careful not to trip or roll an ankle!
We followed the track until all of a sudden, we popped out onto a fire road only to be greeted by a family on mountain bikes. From here it’s a very short walk back to the junction where we turned to head back to Paperbark Flats, about 800m or so. The hike would be a bit more challenging and take a bit longer if you use the White Rock Ridge Track to head up to White Rock and back down again, but the great thing about this recreation area is that there are so many options – you choose what appeals to your family!
The White Rock hike has everything a good hike should – an interesting trail, great views, variety in flora and wildlife and a bonus – a really cool big White Rock to check out! We’ll definitely be back – might see you there!