13 Tips For The Pyramid Girraween National Park Walk, Queensland
Thinking of embracing The Pyramid Girraween National Park hike and wondering if it’s safe and most of all worth it? We honestly weren’t prepared for hiking up to the top of The Pyramid track and the giant exposed rock, so I’m going to break it all down for what to expect and whether you should do it.
1. Where is The Pyramid Girraween national park?
The Pyramid Girraween National Park is located near Stanthorpe which is Queensland’s premiere wine country. The unique giant granite rock formations in this park are so unique, I doubt you’ll see anything else like it in Australia.
Girraween National Park is located 35 minute drive from Stanthorpe. It’s a 3 hour drive from Brisbane and 3h30m from Gold Coast, making it an acceptable day trip or weekend getaway.
2. What makes it special?
Wondering why you should make the time to visit The Pyramid in Girraween National Park? This must be the most famous hike in the park, made famous by the Balancing Rock which is located right at the summit of the top of the mountain. The balancing rock is really impressive is how it just… balances right on the edge of the mountain.
The mountain is massive and even as hikers who have hiked all over the world, we worried about climbing this one because it is just so exposed. If you’re interested, you can read our full guide for the 12 Best Walks In Girraween National Park.
3. Things to know before you attempt this hike
Do not attempt this hike if it’s windy or raining
You’ll be hiking on the exposed rock face with nothing to hold on to. I found this quite scary and there’s no way I would have attempted it if it was windy or raining.
Wear hiking boots
Absolutely wear hiking boots to do this walk. The boots will almost stick to the exposed granite rock when you walk up and down the massive granite dome. I saw some people doing it in trainers and they were literally bricking it and had to literally go so slowing downhill on their butts. To me, this is too dangerous to even attempt it in trainers.
Bring a flash light
We went up for sunset, and simply didn’t leave enough time. This meant we stayed up the top for about 10 minutes before having to quickly get back down because we didn’t have a flash light on us.
Bring hiking polls
I would personally bring hiking polls if I was to do it again to have something to hold onto for peace of mind.
Follow the white marks
You’ll see white marks all the way up to the top of The Pyramid. It;s crucial you follow this route up the mountain because this is apparently the safests way to get there. Do not make your own way up as you could end u with problems.
Do it in the morning
Personally I wish we did the Pyramid walk in the morning so we could have spent longer up the top. Because we went at sunset, the whole walk felt very rushed.
Bring lots of water
Definitely bring a lot of water with you, especially if you do this walk in the middle of day. That being said, when we did this hike at the end of September, it was so hot, we would have struggled with the sun on us. This is because you are completely exposed on the rock face. There’s no trees, nothing protecting you from falling or from the heat of the sun.
Going down is surprisingly easier than going up
I was absolutely bricking it going back down the mountain because it is so steep, but it was actually easier because you have more rocks to hold onto.
4. How to find the start of the trek
The Pyramid track begins at the Bald Rock Creek Day Use Area as part of the Northern walking tracks. The Northern side walking trails and tracks start to the left of the toilet facilities at the car park in the day use area, so you’ll need to park up and look for signs for The Pyramid. Here you can check out the Granite Arch as well, which is a very famous rock formation as you walk towards The Pyramid.
5. How long does it take?
We timed our walk as we walked at a normal pace to help prepare you. If you do attempt to hike at sunset, we left 1h30m before sunset but looking back on it, we should have really left at least 2 hours before we started the walk.
The walking track is just 3.6km return which sounds like it will be a breeze. On the signs before you start the walk, it says it will take between 1h30m-2 hours but we always think this is the maximum time and it would probably take less time. It doesn’t.
Slight detour to Granite Arch is a must!
6 minutes into the walking trail, you’ll come to the turn off for Granite Arch. Then 300m later, you’ll come to the famous Granite Arch which is definitely worth seeing. The track then follows around but we didn’t do this because we were conscious on time and ended up going back the same track the way we came.
At 22 minutes into the walk, the steps started and we spent twenty sweaty minutes walking up the steps before we were greeted by the steep view up to the top of the Pyramid. So, 40 minutes into the walk is when we started hiking up to the top of the Pyramid.
It then took us 20 minutes to walk up to the top of the mountain which was probably one of the scariest hikes I have ever done in my life.
In total, we got back to the car in 2 hours. We would have spent much longer up the top of the mountain, so it would have easily taken us 2h30m.
Here is the breakdown of how long The Pyramid Walk in Girraween National Park takes
6 minutes from our car to the Granite Arch turn off
22 minutes to the start of the steps (having gone to the Granite Arch as well)
41 minutes to start of the Pyramid hike up the mountain
60 minutes to the top of the mountain
2 hours back to the car
6. How hard is the hike?
I’ve heard lots of contrasting information about The Pyramid hike, as some people say it’s easy and others say it’s awful. I was slightly nervous about it because of the time of day that we went, so I suppose maybe I wouldn’t have been as worried if we did this hike in the morning.
The walk through the eucalypt forests is actually quite nice, and then you have a sweaty 20 minutes walking up a lot of steps before coming to the the famous base of the Pyramid and Granite Belt mountain.
This is when I initially thought I’d be OK, then I started following the white marks and it got very steep, very quickly. A group of girls were coming back down and they saw me freaking out. They told me to lean forward as I tried to walk up the 45 degree angle on the exposed rock face during the steep section at the beginning.
As someone who is terrified of heights, I panicked very quickly and wondered if I was going to be able to do this hike. But I did.
I continued on and on and I was determined to make it happen. About half way up the mountain, Steve calls out to me and wonders whether it’s a good idea to continue. He doesn’t ever say this unless he’s worried.
I thought “we’ve come this far, we might as well continue on, as I’m going to have to face going back down as well”. That’s right, I’m going to have to face going back down again. How am I going to do that? This rock is so steep, I’m worried about the light now and don’t know how this is going to turn out.
We make it, and we see the balancing rock in front of us, and I wonder if it’s all worth it. It is. The rock is incredible and it’s worth the steep climb until we climb a little higher and make it to the very top. This is when we see the jaw-dropping breathtaking views of Girraween National Park and the Southern Downs. It’s spectacular with the orange sun setting in front of us.
After taking it all in, we decide to head back down, and before we know it, we get down there much quicker than we did going up.
7. The second pyramid
Yes! There is a second pyramid behind the main pyramid which you won’t be able to see until you’re up on the top of the mountain. It actually sits behind the balancing rock!
8. Hiking up at sunset
If you’re interested in hiking the Pyramid at sunset, leave at least 2 hour before sunset from the car park to ensure you have enough time to make it. We met people who were going up in the dark for the full moon. I honestly couldn’t think of anything worse to be honest.
9. Should you do this walk?
I’m not going to lie, but we met people who made it to the base of the granite slope and wouldn’t go up it. This is a scary hike that shouldn’t be dismissed as easy unless you are an avid hiker who has zero fear of heights.
The exposed granite slopes are not for the faint hearted! Seeing as I have a phobia of heights, I’m actually pretty proud of myself for doing this walk.
However, I would not take children up there or elderly people. The photos you see of people doing this hike does not show you how steep it really is in person. I spent most of my time on this walk wondering how it is actually legal. It didn’t particularly make me feel safe at all.
10. Other walks to consider
If you’re looking for more walks to consider in Girraween National Park, why not do The Castle Rock, The Sphinx and Turtle Rock walk? It’s a three to four hour hike to a spectacular spot you need to see in person! And there’s no walking up a giant granite rock face. There are also plenty of shorter walks to consider as well if needed. Check out our Tips For Doing The Sphinx and Turtle Rock Hike guide before you go.
11. Check out the third pyramid
Did you know there’s a third pyramid to check out? The Ballandean Pyramid is a man made pyramid but it’s really impressive. Built in the 1990s, it’s a sight you need to put on your list when visiting the Stanthorpe area as you’ll pass by it if you’re coming from Stanthorpe to Girraween.
12. More Stanthorpe travel guides
Looking for more things to do during your time in Stanthorpe? Check out our travel guides to help you plan your getaway.