It’s hard to miss Walshs Pyramid if you’re driving south of Cairns – and it’s fairly obvious how the mountain gets its name! Rising steeply behind canefields, the 922m high peak is the highest free standing natural pyramid in the world and a distinctive local landmark.
While 922m is not particularly high, the starting elevation is only 20m above sea level and the climate is fairly warm and humid year-round. So an early morning start is best, as is taking a few litres of water. The rough but easy-to-follow track starts climbing straight away, with a little bit of shade at the start as you walk through light forest.
Unlike many rainforest-covered peaks, while the Walshs Pyramid climb is fairly steep and relentless, you will start getting some nice views as you gain altitude.
There are distance markers every kilometre, and regular trail markers to indicate the route, as it ascends through the eucalypt forest.
To the west is the Mulgrave River, which starts in the Bellenden Ker Range and drains into the Coral Sea.
The steepest section is just before the summit; from the top you get panoramic views in all directions. (Although much less high than Bartle Frere – the highest mountain in Queensland – you’ve got a much better chance of clear views from the summit of Walshs Pyramid.)
To the north you can just make out Cairns and a glimpse of the Cairns harbour on a clear day, with mountain ranges on both sides.
Directly south is Mount Massie (1,269m), and to the left (and shrouded by clouds) is the even higher peak of Bellender Ker (1,560m) – Queensland’s second highest mountain, and also the wettest point in Australia based on its average annual rainfall of 7,950mm.
Towards the north-east is Bell Peaks (with Bell Peak North and Bell Peak South on either side).
The good news is that from the summit, it’s a lot quicker getting back down… and if you’re really fit, you can even take part in the annual Great Pyramid Race, described as “arguably the toughest of its kind on the planet”. The current record for the race stands at 1:15:34 set in 2007 – and that’s from the starting point in the nearby town of Gordonvale and back again, making the total race distance 12.2km. It’s a bit quicker than the time I took to get to the top and back.
Getting to Walshs Pyramid
Walshs Pyramid located at the northern end of Wooroonooran National Park, with the start of the walking track 25km south along the Bruce Highway, just past Gordonvale. Continue 800m south of the Mulgrave River bridge (Desmond Trannore bridge), then turn right onto Moss Road and follow signage along this gravel road to a small car park.
If you’re looking for more things to do on a day trip around Cairns, leave early to climb Walshs Pyramid before it gets too hot, then continue along a Waterfall Loop drive to visit some of the most spectacular waterfalls and swimming holes in the area.
This bushwalk is part of Waterfalls, Caves and Aboriginal Rock Art – the best day trips from Cairns