Syd Duncan Park to Little Clagiraba Reserve via Hellfire Pass (and back!)
They call it Hellfire for a reason! If you are looking for a Gold Coast training route that is going to challenge your team just as much physically as it does mentally, then Hellfire Pass is the trek for you. The Hellfire Pass walk includes one of the “big 5” hills along the Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge 96km track. It is well known for its false peaks, steep hills, and very rocky surfaces, so be prepared to enjoy a slide or two on your decent!
While it is one of the more challenging walks, Syd Duncan Park has a jaw-dropping view of the Gold Coast. To add to the mental challenge, this circuit STARTS at the park, meaning you end with the uphill push. We hope you’re feeling up for a challenge!
How to get there?
Syd Duncan Park is around a 15-minute drive inland from the Nerang Velodrome (central Nerang). You will have mobile reception all the way to the car park location, so simply follow Google Maps and you will be directed to the correct spot.
WARNING! Navigation can be quite tricky without the map. We suggest downloading it before you go just in case you lose service while on your journey.
The 20km circuit hike can vary in completion time depending on your teams previous training and fitness levels.
Allow a minimum of 6 hours to complete the journey (even longer if you want to take in the views!). If conditions are hot or if there has been recent rainfall, be sure to allow a little extra time due to increased trekking difficulty.
This is one of the more difficult training routes that you will tackle with your Kokoda Challenge team! Hellfire itself is along a fire trail so it is quite clear and easy to follow. However, do not let the thought of a “fire trail” fool you as the track is full of steep climbs, and rocky descents. Hellfire is one of the steepest uphill climbs located in the Gold Coast hinterland and challenges trekkers with its false peaks and teasing views.
After you cross Barcoo Road, you will enter more rugged territory. We suggest wearing long trekking pants to save your legs from scratches. Be sure to have a good stretch before, during and after this one as it will challenge all parts of the body and mind!
About the track:
The Hellfire Pass track is a combination of walking on roads and trails. Before you hit the hills, you will do a fair bit of road walking through Beechmont. While following the All-Trails map, you will walk along approximately 4km of road. Durig this part of the walk, you will be surrounded by stunning coastal and hinterland views. There will be cows, horses, stunning landscapes and an interesting artist's house to observe along your way down to Hellfire.
Be sure you are stretching out your legs on this part of the walk as you are well and truly easing your way into the hills to come! If you have followed the All-Trails map correctly, you will find yourself on “Hellfire Pass Road” in no time. This road signifies the end of the road walking and the start of Hellfire pass. At the bottom of the road, you will find the gate to the nature reserve. Carefully walk around the gate and begin your decent down Hellfire!
After about 1km of walking, you will approach another gate. Walk down to the bottom left corner of the gate and safely make your way over it to continue your journey. After another 200 meters of walking, you will pass the “Kokoda Kids Rock”. As a part of our program, we have every Kokoda Kid pick up a rock and add it to the rock pile.
Adding a rock to the pile signifies letting go of something that has been weighing you down or playing on your mind. So, if there is something that has been bothering you or weighing you down, pick up a rock, carefully place it on the pile (be sure not to knock the other rocks!) and walk away. You will be blown away at how good it feels to let your worries go and continue with your walk completely carefree.
Continue your walk down Hellfire until you reach the first intersection, where you can turn left or right. If you wish to add some extra km’s to your trek, take the LEFT turn (this is the way the All-Trails navigation will tell you to go!) and walk down the track. This will take you to a dead end, but there is a stunning view AND it adds to your total km’s walked! One you reach the dead end, turn around and make your way back to the intersection.
This extra bit of walking is optional, but we do suggest adding it in to help build your stamina. When you reach the interception for the second time, turn RIGHT and continue with the trek. After approximately 2km of walking, you will walk through an open-air area with a view of the coast to the left. Once you hit this point, you have officially conquered the brutal downhill of Hellfire pass! But don’t get too excited, you are not at your turn around point just yet.
Continue walking until you reach the second intersection of the day. Turn LEFT at this point and follow the track until you see a road (specifically, Barcoo Crescent). At this point in time, the All-Trails map will become very handy! You are to then safely cross the road and make your way down to the right corner of the park. Located in the right corner of the park is a private property gate. Please do NOT jump the gate or breach the fence line at any time.
Once you reach the gate, turn LEFT and cross the creek (which may or may not be flowing!). Then make your way up the red arrow and turn right. Follow the guidance provided on the All-Trails map and make your way over the hill.
You will then walk under and around some power poles and before you know it, another road will emerge. This road is Clagriba Road, you will see Little Clagiraba Reserve across the road next to Clagiraba Rural Fire Brigade, this is your turn around point!
When you are participating in the 48km or 96km Gold Coast Kokoda Challenge, this will be Checkpoint 11, the final support crew stop before the finish line. So be sure to take in your surroundings and enjoy the peace and quiet, because on event day it looks justtttt a little different.
We suggest you have your lunch participate in a group stretching session before you make your way back up to Syd Duncan Park! The other alternative is to drive two cars to Little Clagiraba Reserve, leave one car there and drive the other to Syd Duncan Park so you can do this walk one way rather than an out and back return route.
Once you have limbered up and refueled the body, it is time to pick up the walking poles and make your way beck towards Hellfire Pass. Simply follow the path you came down and enjoy the landscape one more time. Before you know it, you will be back at your car ready for the drive home!
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