I first visited Kroombit Tops in 1998 as a Central Queensland local.
At only eight years old it was a big day to get to the site of its most alluring feature – the 1945 crash site of a Beautiful Betsy airplane, the ill-fated WWII Liberator bomber.
Driving from Calliope via the Tableland Road, it takes about an hour to really get into the depths of the park. The crash site can only accessed with a 4WD as you need to cross some creek beds and deep gullies to get there. Additionally, the track to it is a one way loop, so you cannot backtrack.
But the effort is worth it when you come across the crash site.
Although it’s been over 70 years since the aircraft bomber went missing and crashed, it’s still an eerie sight, especially for a national park in Central Queensland where you least expect a WWII wreckage.
In recent years I’ve only had the pleasure of visiting Kroombit Tops National Park two more times, as I no longer live in Central Queensland. Once hiking the easier-to-access tracks on foot, and on another occasion enjoying it by 4WD once again.
What I love most about the park is it is so large that there is so much to see and feel, with what feels like infinite kinds of climates and landscapes within the one park.
Within the space of 30-minutes you can go from dry bushland to misty rainforest scenery, and all can be viewed majestically from the Kroombit Tops Lookout which provides a stunning view of the Boyne Valley.
Once you find the main camping area and park, the lookout is only a short hike away. However, as I mentioned it is a big day, so a good amount of preparation is needed. Lunch and snacks would best be packed for the day as there is not much in terms of shops once you head west of Calliope.
Depending on the time of year, layered clothing is also advisable, given that the climate can change significantly from one track to another. Also, be mindful of wildlife – on one occasion I experienced leeches in the leafy forest floor, and on another occasion, I glimpsed dingoes.
The best time to visit Kroombit is definitely within the spring or autumn months. Unless you are an experienced driver, I suspect some of the 4WD tracks would be quite challenging when wet, and the summer months would be fairly brutal with the CQ humidity.
If you’re not camping and only doing a day trip from Gladstone, Calliope, Boyne Island, or Rockhampton, I would definitely suggest leaving early. As mentioned, the Liberator crash site is quite a way into the park, and round trip from Calliope can take up most of your day.