Mount Sorrow at Cape Tribulation
Bushwalking in Cape Tribulation is one of the best ways
to experience the ancient Daintree rainforest and the only real challenging
walk in the Cape Tribulation area is the Mount Sorrow track, on the
picture above you see Mount Sorrow, rising high above Cape Tribulation.
ABOUT THE MOUNT SORROW TRAIL:
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail gives fit, moderately experienced
bushwalkers the chance to experience rainforest-clad slopes and spectacular
views from an altitude of 683m. on a hike that will take approximately
five to six hours return.
This trail climbs from the coastal lowlands of Cape
Tribulation, up the rainforest-clad ridge of Mount Sorrow to a lookout
offering views of the beautiful Daintree coastline, Snapper Island
and beyond. You should count on five to six hours to do this walk,
and not leave after 10 AM.
You would not be the first one to run out of daylight on the way back,
this happens to people up to two times a month. The smart ones sit
on the track and wait for daylight to walk out, others keep trying
to find their way in the dark and get lost, and spend two or three
nights out there. English backpacker Daniel Nute even disappeared
without a trace up there in 1997.
Carry enough water with you, there are no creeks along
the way to replenish your supplies.
During wet weather also be prepared to get covered in leeches.
The trail starts from the main road in lowland rainforest,
featuring trees with large buttress roots and a dense canopy woven
with vines. As you climb higher, the trail moves into upland rainforest
and the vegetation starts to change. On the ridge, the vegetation
is dominated by trees normally found in drier areas like acacias.
The rainforest canopy becomes lower and more open towards the mountain
From the lookout (on a clear day), views all the way
out to sandcays out at the Great Barrier Reef and the beautiful Daintree
coastline can be enjoyed. To get the awesome view out to the reef
you will need a clear day, and also you need to get right to the top,
as the track runs through forest all the way.
For decades people used to enjoy a magnificent view sitting on a large
boulder, until National Parks decided that a viewing platform was
needed. A good deal of manpower and money was spent on a helicopter
airlifting a platform up the mountain, but with the platform being
surrounded by trees most the time this proved to be a total waste
of time and money. You can still find your way around the platform
to the boulder to enjoy the proper view.
Two hikers very happy they made it to the top
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is marked, but still walkers
have managed to get lost in this area and spent an uncomfortable night
up there, as most people would not carry camping equipment (camping
is not allowed up there anyway). You need to be prepared for a very
steep and difficult trail with scrambling over rocks and tree roots
in some places. Only experienced bushwalkers with reasonable fitness
should attempt this trail, and they should start early in the morning,
preferably before 10am, to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures.
The actual distance walked is about 3.5km to the lookout
at the topt:
0–1km: This section of the trail is a bit steep
and you need to climb over several large fallen trees. For the first
few hundred metres the vegetation can be covered in dust from the
Bloomfield Track if the weather has been dry. Fan palms and pandanus
are common in this lowland rainforest. Cyclone damage can still be
observed in this section with lots of vegetation, such as woody vines
and lawyer palm, which thrive in a disturbed environment.
1km–2km: In this section, the trail goes up and
down and you will see some interesting trees. Several kinds of trees
here exhibit cauliflory, producing flower buds from their trunks.
Don't forget to look up to see epiphytes high in the canopy.
2km–3km: This part of the trail rises very steeply
and becomes narrow in places, and more uneven with rocks and tree
roots covering the trail surface. In this section you move into upland
rainforest where bumpy satinash and cycads are prominent.
3km–lookout at 683m: On the last part of the trail
you pass through open forest with lots of acacias and you arrive at
the lookout and on a clear day you are rewarded with spectacular views
along the Daintree coastline, Snapper Island, the fringing reefs,
and the sand cays out at the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mount Sorrow ridge trail is not an easy walk and
walkers need to be well prepared.
Warm, waterproof clothing should be taken as weather conditions up
on the mountain can change rapidly. Be prepared for cool conditions
at the summit.
Carry at least 3 litres of water per person, there are no creeks along
the track to obtain water.
All of the walk is under rainforest canopy so you will not be exposed
to the sun during the hike.
No permits or fees apply to visitors walking the Mount
Sorrow ridge trail.
Domestic animals are not permitted in Daintree National
You should not walk this trail alone.
Mobile phone coverage is extremely limited in Cape
Tribulation and should not be relied upon as a form of emergency communication.
There are no toilets along the trail. Use a trowel
to bury toilet waste and paper. Dig a 15cm hole at least 100m away
from the trail. Take all sanitary items with you — they do not
Everything in the park is protected. Please leave everything
as you found it.
HOW TO GET TO THE MOUNT SORROW TRAIL:
Although Mount Sorrow is located just above Rainforest
Hideaway you can not simply walk up the hill from here, you will find
the start of the Mount Sorrow walking track on the main road, just
north of Cape Tribulation.
Simply keep heading north until the bitumen road finishes just past
the Cape Tribulation Beach turnoff, just after the dirt road of the
Bloomfield Track starts there will be some space to park your car
on the right.
When you have parked there you will see a small sign on the other
side of the road marking the start of the Mount Sorrow trail.
You will miss this if you are driving so keep an eye out for the parking
space first. See the map below to find the start of the track.
It is recommended that you let somebody know that you
go up there, just in case you get lost or don't make it out that day.
National Parks does not want to deal with any of this so if you stay
at Rainforest Hideaway then your host will know if you made it back
or not, or if you stay elsewhere then find somebody else to raise
the alarm if you don't return. It is very important that after "signing
in" you also "sign out" as several people have caused
a great deal of stress and wasted time for locals and police by simply
leaving town after the hike and incorrectly being reported as missing.
Walking this track is not recommended in very hot and
humid conditions or in wet cloudy weather when the trail is slippery
and the views are obscured. Also in wet weather you will find that
at higher altitudes you get covered in leaches. Contact QPWS Cape
Tribulation for trail conditions. The Mount Sorrow ridge trail involves
steep sections and climbing over rocks and roots, so is definitely
not wheelchair accessible.
The couple above are all smiles again after surviving
an encounter with a very territorial cassowary on the Mount Sorrow
track in Cape Tribulation, although he still has a swollen foot and
two painful fingers bandaged together.
The couple was on the descent from Mount Sorrow when a large cassowary
started chasing them. When all attempts to shake off the bird or to
stand their ground failed they laid down in the mud and played dead.
This calmed the bird, that had been hissing and breathing heavily
before. Unfortunately the bird then sat down next to them and kept
them prisoner, every time they made the slightest move the cassowary
would get up and make threatening moves again. After about 40 minutes
of being kept prisoner two other hikers came past on the track and
the cassowary got up and went after them, and the lucky couple got
up and rapidly made their way down the hill back to Rainforest Hideaway.
This cassowary was relocated by N.Park rangers later that year.
Mount Sorrow seen from the cape