White Rock hiking with kids
White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate is a 2,500 hectare bushland reserve, just 20 minutes drive from Ipswich CBD. The park is best known for its iconic namesake – a jagged sandstone outcrop called White Rock, which is buried deep the park and accessible via a 3 hour hike.
Not feeling that energetic? Even if your kids aren’t avid hikers (or you’re just after a quick nature hit), there are shorter circuits that are perfect for little legs, within the reserve too. The Six Mile Creek, Bluff Lookout and Little White Rock Trails can be done together or in sections, and are all within a short hop, skip and jump back to the carpark if need be, making them great beginner hikes.
Bluff Lookout Circuit
A rock formation with just enough elevation to impress little trailblazers, this short scramble uphill takes you to a kid-sized lookout to gaze through the treetops over the creek bed below. Our boys loved checking out the details on this sandstone outcrop on the way up and down.
Little White Rock Lookout & Circuit Track
Looping back to meet the Six Mile Creek Track you’ll see signs to Little White Rock. Take the short climb up to the lookout for more tree-line views, or walk the whole circuit to spot caves and (if you’re lucky) some members of the local koala population. While we didn’t spot any, our boys loved pretending they were koalas themselves while sitting on the lookout guardrails.
Six Mile Creek Boardwalk
Traversing through native gums and paper bark trees, you’ll spot this accessible 300m boardwalk not far from the car park trailhead. This detour takes you on a scenic route to the base of the Bluff Lookout, and is a flat and easy stroll for even the most unlikely hikers.
Before You Go
Even though these beginner trails are fairly moderate and well maintained, the track isn’t paved or graded so be sure to wear shoes suitable for hiking and pack all the usual essentials – water, sunscreen, bug repellent and a phone in case of emergencies.
There’s a switchback gate at the start of the trail, making it difficult to bring in pram/strollers/wheelchairs unless the ranger access gate is open. Call ahead for gate access, or for little ones consider a carrier/backpack. There’s a picnic area right next to the carpark, so if you’re packing a feast consider timing your hikes so you picnic at the start or end of your journey so you don’t need to lug food around.
There are toilets here, but they’re the usual National Park eco-drop type that require a certain nasal stamina. Best to make sure all the kids have gone to the bathroom before you arrive!
If your kids are more experienced or energetic hikers, don’t stop with this list – the park offers everything from a leisurely strolls to more challenging hikes, the main ones being the White Rock Trail (6.5km return) and Yaddaman Trail (19km). At around 3 hours return, White Rock is the shortest of these two, and is a fairly moderate and undulating hike perfect for older children or kids well versed in trail hiking. Please note the traditional owners have asked for hikers to respect this icon and not climb the rock itself.
The reserve also offers abundant space to enjoy a full range of outdoor pastimes including bird-watching, horse riding, and mountain bike riding, so be sure to pack your ‘toys’ if your family enjoys these activities too. gate at the start of the trail, making it difficult to bring in pram/strollers/wheelchairs unless the ranger access gate is open. Call ahead for gate access, or for little ones consider a carrier/backpack.
There’s a picnic area right next to the carpark, so if you’re packing a feast consider timing your hikes so you picnic at the start or end of your journey so you don’t need to lug food around. The park is also accessible from the Springfield Lakes side, with a variety of different treks accessible from Wild Iris Terrace/ Speckled Circuit. Happy trails!