Tips For The Sphinx and Turtle Rock Hike Girraween National Park, Queensland
Looking for the best Girraween National Park walks and interested to explore and learn more about The Sphinx and Turtle Rock track? I recently visited this beautiful national park based in Southern Queensland and I’m sharing my personal experience so you’re completely prepared for this walk!
Expect to read why you should consider this walk, how long it took us to do it, and where to find the starting point, because we ended up walking a long way around to get to it. If you’re interested in learning more about different hikes in the area, check out our guide for the 12 Best Girraween National Park Walks.
What makes The Sphinx and Turtle Rock track special?
While most people head straight for either Mount Norman or The Pyramid walking tracks, we chose to The Sphinx and Turtle Rock hike because the unique shaped large granite monolith resembling both a sphinx and a turtle looked really cool to us.
We hadn’t read amazing reviews about this walk, and did wonder whether it would be worth visiting. But I can assure you it really is.
How to find the starting point of the walk
We parked up in the Bald Rock Creek Day Use Area carpark, located next door to the information centre. From here, you’ll see picnic benches and toilet facilities. We saw a lot of people either heading down or coming back from walks, so we naturally walked down to find the starting point. It turns out that’s the Northern walking tracks to The Pyramid. We needed the Southern walking tracks entrance.
We asked someone as the information centre was closed at the time of visiting during the long weekend, and they said we needed to walk through the Castle Rock campground to get there. 1km land 15 minutes later and we found the start of the walk at the end of the campground. We had to ask some campers where it was but it feels like it’s hidden and there’s no signs to find it until you do.
But, on the way back from our walk, the track then gave us an option to head back to the Bald Rock Day Use Area and Visitor Information Centre. It brings you out on the main road opposite the Information Centre, shaving off a good 30 minutes of our walk. The only thing about going this way is you’ll have to walk up hill rather than flat to come into the park, and the campground entrance is flat.
What’s the walking track like?
The walking track is suitable for everyone as we saw families coming back from it. It’s not entirely flat as you’ll have stairs to climb but you won’t be climbing over boulders or any of the rock formations. I was slightly paranoid about snakes and kept an eye out on the entire walk but we didn’t come across any.
When you reach the turn off for Castle Rock at about 50 minutes into the walk, this is when it becomes really cool. We didn’t go on the Castle Rock track because it was so hot when we visited, but at that point when you continue onto the Sphinx and Turtle Rock, you’ll start walking between many amazing boulders.
Is the Sphinx and turtle rock impressive in person?
We arrived at the sphinx and turtle rock after 1h30m of hiking to get there. You’ll come to the Sphinx first and just five minutes along the track will bring you to Turtle Rock. You see, I did wonder how long it would take to go to both, but now you know it’s just a few minutes. You can’t really see the turtle that well but the large granite monolith resembling it is pretty impressive.
We went back to The Sphinx after the Turtle Rock hike to check it out and this is spectacular. It’s an incredible and unique sight and there’s a giant granite pinnacle here which is absolutely amazing.
How long is the walk?
The Sphinx and Turtle Rock hike in Girraween National Park is 3.4km one way and is suggested to take between 3-4 hours return. It actually took us 1h30m to walk one way and in the end, it took us 3h30m in total with a 1hr stop at the sphinx and turtle rock included in our times.
The way back was shorter because we found the right track to get back to the car park rather than walk through the campground.
What to bring
It might be obvious but you should really bring the following things with you, because it was so hot during our to Girraween National Park at the end of September. The air is super dry and reminded us of Carnarvon George. We struggled on this hike because was so hot.
Loads of water – we took 2 litres each and we were very aware not to drink too much to make it last
Llong pants – there are fire ants on this trek, and Steve got bitten as he was wearing shorts.
More Stanthorpe & Girraween National Park guides!
If you need more inspiration about how to spend your time in Stanthorpe, check out our popular guides below.
Looking for the best places to stay near Girraween National Park? If you find accommodation is booked up, stay in Stanthorpe as you’ll have access to plenty of decent cafes and restaurants here like we did.
Luxury – Seventh Wines is a modern winery with luxe accommodation and a bar & bistro onsite.
Mid-range – Wisteria Cottage is a stunning one bedroom chalet complete with beautiful views and a gorgeous fire burner to keep you warm if visiting in the colder months.
Budget – Granite Belt Motel is where we stayed in Stanthorpe and we’d 100% recommend this place as it’s centrally located, clean and fab for a couple of nights stay.