All photos by Tarin Glazier.
Time: Approx 2 hrs Return
Grade: Class 2,3,4
One Way / Circuit: Circuit
Start: Cooroora Mountain Park
On a recent trip to climb Mt Walsh via the Bluff Walking Track, the imposing figure of Mt Cooroora couldn’t be missed as I made my way north from the Sunshine Coast. I didn’t know much about the mountain, but its looming presence over the town of Pomona cemented itself in my mind.
It wasn’t until we were bound for Fraser Island a few weeks ago that I saw Mt Cooroora once again and decided to set the wheels in motion. A few emails later and a date confirmed, I set off once again with a few good mates to summit the mountain.
Mt Cooroora is a 439 metre volcanic plug that lies just south of Gympie in the small town of Pomona. It can’t be missed via the Bruce Highway and is easily accessible by taking the Pomona turnoff. The trail itself is only a short 2 kilometres return, however due to the steepness and danger of the climb, a high level of fitness and experience is required.
We began the trail at around 8am and after a few hundred metres of relatively flat walking through surrounding bushland, were soon met with the real challenge. A combination of eroded rock and short (yet steep) stair climbs loomed high in the distance, all of which would prove a true test of our fitness.
The direct sunlight was unavoidable as we ascended out of the shade cover, making for a very hot and taxing climb. Sunscreen and plenty of water are very important for this walk, and it doesn’t take long to discover why.
The steep nature of this climb saw views of the surrounding coastline emerge almost immediately – all the more reason to stop for regular drink breaks and to rejuvenate. A chain fence runs alongside most of the eroded rock, although personally I found climbing without its aid a good chance to practice and build more confidence in scrambling. This was however a different story on the way down.
On reaching the summit, you will find spectacular 360 degree views of the Sunshine Coast and surrounds. We initially set up camp as soon as we reached the top, only to realise that a rocky outcrop another 50 metres away was the true peak of Mt Cooroora. Being the only ones on the mountain at the time, we enjoyed a cool breeze and clear views for a good hour before storm clouds began rolling in, forcing us to begin our descent back to the carpark.
Climbing down was quite quick and made much easier with the assistance of the chain fence. Despite that, it’s still important to take extreme caution as the rocks can be slippery and loose. Overall, Mt Cooroora is a fun, intense and interesting climb with views that are well worth the effort.