As part of my recent road trip around the Central Coast of Queensland, we made a stop at one of the most beautiful lookouts I've seen yet.
My friend and travel buddy, Emma, likes to lurk on Instagram (as do I) and she'd seen photos of the Glasshouse Mountains come up on the Insta feed for @VisitSunshineCoast. We both agreed that the photos from the pinnacle of Mt Ngungun were the best and so we drove to the base carpark. Now it's important for me to point out here that it was close to 38°C and the humidity was at about 90%. Looking back it was a completely stupid decision to try this hike in those conditions considering the level of fitness Emma and I have (or lack thereof). However, we were determined to see the view from the top and it was only 2.8km to the peak. How hard could it be?
Note: When you arrive at the car park there's an information board that details how long the climb is, what to expect and what to look out for (keep an eye out for snakes in the summer). There's a water tap so make sure you have a full water bottle before you head off. The information says to allow 2 hours for the return trip, which I'm assuming is to include time to enjoy the views at the summit. Under normal conditions it would be a challenging yet completely attainable walk, unfortunately these conditions were not ideal.
On top of that, there were a couple of guys that had just come back down and when I asked them how difficult it was they were like, "Oh it's really easy, only takes about 20 minutes." We were like, "Great!" The thing we should've realised was that these guys were in their early 20s, were really fit, and one of them was even wearing a weights vest. (Apparently the heat was already affecting our decision making skills because we took them at their word.)
An hour and a half later, and we were dying. I've never felt so sick from exercising. We were stopping every 10 feet to rest and we'd already drunk almost all our water and we weren't even half way. The track going up starts off fairly simple but eventually it becomes nothing but rocks to scramble over and tree roots to trip over. We soldiered on however and finally made it to the top. Once there, you need to walk along the crest of the mountain, climb over these huge boulders, and then make it up onto the peak rock to take that Instagram photo. Emma couldn't even get to that point and managed to find a sliver of shade to rest in while I clambered over and got some of the other hikers to take the below shot for me. I'd made it that far and there was no way in hell I wasn't getting that bloody Insta photo!
Climbing back down wasn't as hard as going up, obviously, but it was still a hell of a hike getting back over all those boulders and giant steps. By the time we reached the bottom our legs were like jelly and we could barely stand. Luckily they have a water tap installed so we stood there drinking 20 gallons of water each (I'm pretty sure we were both suffering from dehydration at this point - keep in mind the heat and humidity). We got back in the campervan and pumped the air conditioning up to full while we tried to lower our core temperatures from internal-organ-melting-point to I'm-possibly-not-going-to-die-point.
Final thoughts: The hike up to the summit would actually be very manageable under normal conditions, so please don't let this put you off. What I will say is that you need a pair of sturdy shoes (there's a lot of boulders to scramble over and uneven ground), a drink bottle, plenty of sunscreen (if it's a sunny day) and a hat. Most of all though, you'll need a phone or a camera because you're going to want to remember that incredible view from the top.
Until next time,