Distance: 11 km
This post is about our hike to Mount Marlow, following the Many Peaks Trail, which is in the Town Common, Townsville, Queensland, Australia. The morning we started this hike was a cold (under 15 degrees Celsius, the tropical equivalent of cold) day with clear blue cloudless skies. Basically it was another beautiful Winter day in Townsville.
We followed the many peaks track and lagoon trail, in red
The Many Peaks Trail starts just before the turn that goes to the Wetland walk (check our post on this walk for further details). We quickly found out that this path is not for the faint hearted. The path ascends into the hills, is quite rocky and we quickly found ourselves walking through meter high grass. Hence take note of the 'For your safety' sign at the start of the trail (see below).
The brown-green grass was so tall that it reached to the top of our little hobbits heads. So it is lucky we had on long pants, and highly recommend you do the same. The trail alternates between patches of gum trees and semi rainforest type vegetation and the tall grass. As we went in June, and were walking on the South side of the hill, there was ample shade along the way (remember were in the Southern hemisphere). Finding our way through the trail was easy, we just followed the orange/yellow signs all the way up. The girls liked finding the yellow triangles posted on the trees. We usually play spot the yellow or orange triangle as we walk, or storytelling (see the game here), or I spy with my little eye. We made our first stop with view after 40 minutes. We sat for a while on a large rock ledge and enjoyed the view (see below).
Further along the trail (about halfway to Mount Marlow), you will find 'The Rock'. It is another rock ledge, but even larger and with better views than the first. It is a perfect spot for morning tea and looking out over Townsville, the surrounding coast and the Town Common. Basically this place has a great view. However, if you are with children you should watch out for the cliff ledge here and stay well back from the edge.
The second stop. The rock. Nice view and an excellent spot for morning tea.
After the Rock stop, we continued along the trail which ascends inside a forest. By this time, our youngest was getting a little tired, so mamma hobbit carried her in a carrier. The way up wasn't as steep as we expected. In fact, I would say that this trail is easier than the Castle Hill trail we took previously (see our post here). After about 30 minutes from the rock we encountered a dried grassy open area that continued all the way up to the peak of Mount Marlow.
It is in this wide open grassy area that you start getting 360 degree views. There was a cool breeze coming from the sea to the North. The trail continues through the grass land as you go from walking on the side of the hill to on top of the hill. We 'released' our little hobbit from the carrier to let her run free at this stage. About 15 minutes after coming out into the open grassland you will reach the top of Mount Marlow.
Every time I reach the top of a hill with vast views, I remember that I am only a miniature speck of dust in this vast planet of ours. Reaching a hill it is not only a feeling of personal achievement, it is also a reminder of how beautiful our planet Earth is.
We stayed at the top for a while, the girls collected rocks to make a rock tower, daddy hobbit took photos and I sat there writing. We took the way down following the other side of the track and continued into the Lagoon trail. This way is probably longer but it was flatter and probably easier (although the grass was even longer than on our way up). The journey back seemed long, perhaps we were tired and our feet a bit swollen but the satisfaction of accomplishing another trail feels like medicine to the body. I have to be honest that I never thought we could do this trail all the way with kids. But we are proud to say that they made it.
Enjoy time outdoors with your kids!
Tips from the hobbits:
Wear long pant and long a sleeves shirt for this track. We didn't encounter too many mosquitoes but could image that with a wetland below this place it could be a different story during the wet season