What Mountain is that? Mt Barney

Mt Barney

Height: 1359-metres

Location: Mt Barney National Park

Mt Barney, at 1359m, is QLD’s 4th highest mountain and one of the state’s most spectacular mountains. and is a mecca for experienced bushwalkers and climbers.

It’s part of the McPherson Range and presents walkers with some formidable challenges and is no place for novice walkers.

Mt Barney by Lachie Zettl.

Mt Barney by Lachie Zettl.



Mt Barney is situated within the Mt Barney National Park, which was established in 1947 to protect the natural habitat on and around the mountain.

Mt Barney is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area and the national park is one of the largest areas of undisturbed natural vegetation remaining in south-east Queensland.

Access is via the Mt Lindesay Highway, about 120km south-west of Brisbane.


There are many established walking tracks up and around the mountain, although none of them are easy. All routes require a reasonable level of fitness and advanced route-finding and rock-scrambling skills.

Some can only be accessed via private property.

The closest town is Rathdowney and some local tour operators conduct walking tours of the national park and mountain. Tour details are available from the Rathdowney Visitor Information Centre.

The best day picnic area is located at Yellowpinch at the base of Mt Barney. There are wood barbecues, tables, toilets and a swimming hole. No car camping is allowed here.

Camping sites within the national park can only be reached on foot, conditions are rugged and no facilities are provided. A camping permit is required.

Outside of the park other car-accessible camping facilities are available, as are motels, B&Bs, cabins, and retreats.

Popular walking tracks include the Lower Portals track, which is the best-marked track in the park, but still requires Class 4 walking experience.

The 7.5k round trip leads to one of the most spectacular water holes in the region, with a cave and waterfall and 30m cliffs above it.

Access to the Mt May Reserve at 700m is by 4WD only but the views are spectacular. From here you can walk to the Upper Portals.

Mount Barney is the remnants of the central complex of the Focal Peak Volcano, which together with the Tweed Volcano, covered much of southeast Queensland with lava.

Local geologist, Dr John Jackson, describes it as a slowly cooked magma chamber of sticky magma.

It formed 700m underground and as it cooled slowly, pressure built and moved it up 2000m to where it now stands. The Barney Beds are said to be 300-million years old.

The dome-shaped mass is composed of granophyre, which formed below the surface, and subsequently intruded into the overlying sandstone. Erosion has stripped away the sandstone, leaving the mountain’s twin peaks.


Local Susie Cunningham enjoys climbing local mountains regularly.

Mount Barney holds special significance for local Aboriginal people and features prominently in many of their stories. They saw it as a looming spirit and warned their people to ‘keep away’. It is also known as a mountain for ‘men’s business’ and to this day women must ask elders for permission to climb Mt Barney.

The first European to climb the mountain was Captain Patrick Logan, who reached the east peak summit via what is now known as Logan’s Ridge, during an expedition in 1828. He set out with explorers Cunningham and Fraser but was the only one to successfully reach the peak.