The small village of Rathdowney marks the gateway to the wilderness areas of Mt Barney National Park.
Location: on the Mount Lindesay Highway 32 km south of Beaudesert at the base of the McPherson Range.
Rathdowney is close to some of the areas of greatest biodiversity in Australia, and a gateway to various National Parks such as Border Ranges National Park and Mount Barney National Park with a variety of lush rainforest, eucalypt forest, mountain heath and other habitats. There are many tours, farm stays, guest houses and other opportunities available for visitors to experience this region, which is about a 90 minute drive from Brisbane or the Gold Coast.
In Autumn every year the population rises by several thousand for one day at the Rathdowney Heritage Festival, organised by the Rathdowney and District Historical Association (RADHA), who also run an information centre with information on natural heritage, indigenous heritage and history of white settlement from the time of the first pioneers to present day. The historical museum at the Visitors Information Centre is a must; the information centre has plenty of information about making the most of the National Park. The Information Centre was formerly the Commercial Bank of Australia and was located on Collins Street. It is one of the town s oldest buildings and boasted a manager and assistant in the 1920’s when the railway and Mt. Lindesay Highway were being constructed.
The Old Shop
Rathdowney’s historical buildings include the Tramway Building, originally sited in what is now the Memorial Grounds. It now houses a display of Our Pioneering Women, local sawmills, variety of timbers, the Logan and Albert Butter Factory and other memorabilia. The Old Shop was built just south of the Information Centre and was a general store. In later life it was extended and became a residence. It was relocated to the Information precinct by team of draft horses pulling a log slide.
The Prison Hut was one of the original huts used by prisoners at the then Palen Creek Low Security Farm. The usually held a single bed a small table where the prisoner ate his meals and a chair. The Barn is a relatively new building it houses a collection of larger items including the Barney View Cream Truck, a bullock wagon that was used for carting logs, a spring cart and a huge table cut from a single length of log. The Picnic Shelter is home to a restored German Wagon and a picnic table and stools.
Dulbolla and Glenapp Railway Sidings were removed from along the Queensland/New South Wales Railway Line when the trains no longer stopped there. The Glenapp Siding holds a very interesting model showing the mountains, rivers and locations in the area.
The distinctive peaks of Mount Barney, Mount Maroon, Mount May, Mount Lindesay, Mount Ernest, Mount Ballow and Mount Clunie make up Mount Barney National Park. These rugged peaks are the remains of the ancient Focal Peak Shield Volcano which erupted 24 million years ago. Mount Barney is the second highest peak in South East Queensland. The park has extremely varied vegetation with open forests around the foothills of the peaks, subtropical rainforest above 600m and montane heath shrublands towards the summits.
Mount Barney National Park’s camping areas can only be reached on foot. Campers should expect rugged conditions with no facilities. Please read and follow the guidelines for staying safe and how to walking softly in the park and minimise your impacts. To camp in the national park you will need a camping permit (fees apply). It is recommended that you book online 6 to 8 weeks in advance for public holidays and 3 to 6 weeks in advance during the rest of the year.
There are three maintained tracks at the base of Mount Barney: the Lower Portals, Cronan Creek and Upper Portals tracks. There are long, steep climbs on unformed trails to the tops of Mount Maroon (the Cotswold track) and Mount Barney, which should only be attempted by very fit walkers. There are no formed or marked tracks elsewhere in the park, so these areas are accessible only to fit, well-equipped bushwalkers with sound navigational skills.