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Free Camping // Mt Joyce (QLD)

Summiting Mt Joyce will reward you with quintessential Australian vegetation all the way to the top, with stunning views of the Wyaralong Dam and surrounds.

Highlights

  • Free camping at Base Camp with historic school building to explore
  • Great views of dam and scenic rim surrounds from summit
  • Easily accessible and less than 1.5 hours from Brisbane

The Wyaralong Dam Recreational Facility, owned by SEQ Water, is a recently opened recreation park just over an hour South West of Brisbane. Aside from a good amount of mountain bike tracks, the area is home to Mt Joyce which sits just on the perimeter of the dam and makes for a great summit hike.

To get the most out of Mt Joyce and the Wyaralong Dam, it’s best to come with a group and park a car first at the Western Trailhead and then drive to the Eastern Trailhead to begin the hike.

As a group of five at a leisurely pace in a heat wave, it took us under 3 hours to reach the Ngumbi camping area (Mt Joyce Base Camp) from the Eastern trailhead. We arrived at Base Camp by nightfall to find a derelict school building onsite, which was quite novel to explore. The campsite provides untreated rainwater and a table and there is no charge for camping (Max. 7 nights).

The next morning we rose early to summit Mt Joyce. A combination of heat, packs full of camping gear, and sections of steep, rocky trail meant it was quite hard work. It was just over an hour for very few kilometres. The ridgeline trail near the summit was particularly beautiful.

At the summit, half our group traced back to Eastern trailhead and the other half continued on to Western trailhead, another 22km and about six hours. During hot periods, take extra water as the second group ran dry before finishing the walk.

Essential Gear

  • Tent, sleeping bag and mat (if camping)
  • Hat and sun cover recommended.
  • For an overnight summer summit going all the way to Western Trailhead, bring ~4-5L+ per person, or water purification tablets/Lifestraw to purify any available water at the camp water tank.
  • Recommend insect nets for the flies in some sections.

How To Get There

One hour/90km SW of Brisbane. Get on the M3 and then make your way to Beaudesert before taking Beau desert Boonah Rd for 20 minutes. Park one car at the Western trailhead and the drive back to Eastern Trailhead to start the hike. Well signposted highway turn-offs.

Activities

  • Bushwalking
  • Mountain biking
  • Canoeing
  • Horse riding.

Skill Level

Intermediate

Distance Covered/ Elevation

Mt Joyce is 469m tall. Exact trail distances are unavailable but it’s approximately 28km from Eastern Trailhead to Mt Joyce summit and around to Western Trailhead, a full days walking (allow 9-10 hours) or split over two days.