While some bushwalks merge into each other over time, others create memories that are vivid to the point of sharpness.
Such is the Stinson track in World Heritage-listed Lamington National Park, in southern Queensland, which I remember in crystal clarity, despite the sweat that blurred my vision on that epic vine-forest trek.
And why? Because there’s a remarkable story behind this walk – a plane crash; a misdirected, failed search effort; an extraordinary survival story; and a heroic rescue mission – a story that made a humble bushman and his mountain-top home famous.
Photo courtesy of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Resort
In January 2017, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is celebrating the 80th birthday of the crash and Bernard O’Reilly’s rescue of the two survivors with walk-and-accommodation packages (from $535 per person) including a choice of two challenging anniversary day hikes. You can “Walk in Bernard’s Footsteps”, a trek from his family’s then-guesthouse to the crash site (37km over 13 hours), or tread the “Rescue Route”, 14km return up and down Christmas Creek.
Although you visit several breathtaking lookouts following in Bernard’s footsteps, these are hikes more about history than scenery, as you can read in my Sydney Morning Herald article (2002). Nor should they be taken on lightly. You’ll need to train to appreciate these historical adventures.
Anyone with hip or knee problems should opt instead to read about the rescue in Bernard O’Reilly’s book, Green Mountains.