Location: Girringun National Park
Article: Written by Michael Pugh; Imagery by Michael Pugh
Directions: Access is via Cardwell State Forest (-18.450 146.143)
While driving south between Cardwell and Ingham after a hiking weekend in the Tablelands last year, the grassy summit of what I now know as Bishop Peak caught my attention. The summit and much of the area surrounding Bishop Peak is unusually lightly vegetated and what we call a ‘grassy summit’ After stopping to admire this impressive sight with my fellow hikers and explorers, we made the decision to come back and conquer this peak as a priority!
A few days before Christmas, I decided to take on this challenge alone with the aim of exploring the area and designing a hiker-friendly trail to share the experience with the group in the future. Wasn’t I in for a surprise!
It was an immensely humid and tropical North Queensland day when I set off through the Cardwell State Forest, hiking through the low country to the north east of the peak. Some massive rainfall totals had been recorded around the Hinchinbrook region over summer and this was evident by the height of the guinea grass (Megathyrsus maximuss) which in places would have easily stood 8-10 feet high.
I was heading for a ridgeline to the east of the peak and it wasn’t long before the heat and humidity really became apparent. The lower ridgeline country is relatively easily navigated and there are numerous impressive black granite boulder formations hidden among the growth.
Above 300 metres elevation, the terrain quickly changes from eucalypt woodland to low, open-shrubland and above 500 metres elevation, Hinchinbrook Island & Hinchinbrook Channel become visible in all their beauty, as does Benjamin Flats, Halifax, Lucinda Jetty, Orpheus Is, Pelorus Is, Palm Is & the surrounding National Park.
From the summit of Bishop Peak, you can actually see Waterfall creek in the Paluma Range National Park north of Townsville and the 360 degree unimpeded views equal the best I’ve seen on any hike in the region.
It wasn’t long before I scheduled a group hike to share this marvelous Hinchinbook Hiking Experience with the group! Although it was a warm day, no-one in the group had visited Bishop Peak and we were all in for a treat!
**Bishop Peak and the surrounding National Park were damaged by a bushfire a couple of years ago and National Parks requests extra care be taken when hiking in the area.