WILDERNESS WALKS IN LAMINGTON NATIONAL PARK
The hike from Christmas Creek to Westray’s Grave and The Stinson begins not far from Christmas Creek Café & Cabins.
In 1937 a Stinson Airliner had crashed on a flight from Brisbane. With many people believing the plane had crashed somewhere over New South Wales no search had been conducted in the Lamington Area until Bernard O'Reilly heard the news one week after the crash and set off in search of the crash site based on a hunch.
He found two survivors at the crash site and was told another man, Jim Westray, had also survived and set off down the nearly sheer bluffs to Christmas Creek where his body was found. Jim Westray is buried by Christmas Creek. Visiting his grave lets you witness this incredibly rugged country where O'Reilly walked without tracks to rescue the plane crash survivors.
This hike takes you along the beautiful Christmas Creek on one of the few hikes in Lamington National Park. It is also the start of much harder hikes such as Larapinta Falls, Stinson Crash Site and Point Lookout Peak.
TO WESTRAY'S GRAVE SITE
While hiking to the crash site itself is a gruelling 10 hour hike an easier option is to hike to Westray's Grave, the place where one of the initial survivors who later died before rescue is buried.
The start of the hiking is easy to find, simply drive to the end of Christmas Creek Road where there is a small car park. You will walk through private property to the actual start of the track. Please make sure you shut the gate to the property behind you.
The first challenge is a creek crossing that is little difficult when the weather is dry but more difficult after there has been rain.
After the creek crossing the path stays on that side of the creek. This is a lovely walk with small waterfalls, pools suitable for swimming and rain forest.
Over all the hike is about 3 hours return. After the hike the best place to stop for accommodation, coffee & meals is Christmas Creek Café & Cabins.
Beyond Westray's Grave the path becomes much more difficult and harder to follow with many creek crossing and rock hopping, with little defined path. You should only consider continuing if you are well prepared for the tougher hiking. It is not particular difficult and much of the hike is flat on a well defined path but rugged path, however there is one difficult creek crossing, some scrambling and places where the path is hard to follow with no sign posts. It is difficult to become lost because you are hiking along the bottom of a steep valley so it is impossible to actually take the wrong route without climbing up near vertical bluffs. Make sure though you are well prepared and have topographic maps.
TO THE STINSON
Very little remains of the plane wreck the Stinson. To some, the torn and twisted form of the Stinson looks like a rusted decaying piece of farm machinery out of place in the rugged McPherson Ranges. For those who take part on this hike it is not to see the remains of one of Australia’s earliest airline disaster, but the physical and mentally challenging journey you have undertaken to achieve your objective… to reach the site of the Stinson. It is a time to reflect on the audacity, strength and tenacity of the valley’s pioneering forefathers to bring home safely survivors of this disaster.
WALKING TRACK GRADE: 3.5
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: Difficult. The track is steep and eroded. The accent point from Westrays Grave (about 300m downstream) takes from 2 to 4 hours (one way). The Stinson campsite is large and degraded. Through walks are encouraged to traverse the Stretcher Track to reduce the impact of erosion.
Extreme care is advised and must be taken as bushwalkers who lose their way in the vicinity of the Stinson descend the tributaries in the Upper Christmas Creek region. The creeks are very rugged and most have waterfall hazards.
Considerable care must be taken to bypass the hazards of the waterfalls.
Rock hopping and bush bashing to a spectacular falls
Lamington National park is an amazing scenic location with beautiful rainforest, numerous streams and countless waterfalls. However it often disappoints experienced hikers who are looking for a challenge. The Larapinta Falls Hike is a great off trail, rock hopping hike that takes you to one of Lamington National Parks most spectacular falls without being too challenging.
Only do this hike if you are experienced and well prepared.
This is a not a particularly challenging hike Australian Standard AS 5 level hike if you are experienced, fit, well prepared, take your time and have enough time. Much of the hike involves multiple creek crossings, rock hopping, scrambling and attempting to follow effectively non-existent paths. There are no particularly steep sections but there is a constant danger of injury from slipping.