The Yellow Arrow in Cairns is the perfect track to introduce your child to the thrills of bushwalking. As it meanders up the side of a sizeable hill there’s plenty of opportunities for views out to sea, and most importantly, of the airport. After all, what kid doesn’t enjoy watching planes and helicopters take off and land?
Whilst your child is kept busy plane-spotting you can gradually make your way through the open, eucalypt forest to your destination – the lookout at the top of the Yellow and Red Arrow. The Yellow Arrow track is graded and wide and has steps regularly scattered throughout.
It flows really well along the side of the Mt Whitfield Conservation Park and it’s no surprise to discover that it was designed by World famous trail maker (and local) Glen Jacobs, who designs mountainbike trails all around the world. Thankfully you won’t find any bikes on this track though, its made for feet only.
The best part about the Yellow Arrow is its not a one track affair. It has been added to the array of tracks that already exist on Mt Whitfield, which means there’s no need to backtrack – there’s plenty of opportunity to incorporate this track with the other trails and make a whole day of it.
Or, if you’re in a hurry, you can finish the Yellow Arrow off with a quick burst down the steep Red Arrow track and loop back around at the bottom of the hill to return to where you started from (5kms all up).
All up it’s a great addition to the track system that already exists at the Mt Whitfield Conservation Park and judging by how busy the Yellow Arrow was before the track was officially opened it will be a popular choice amongst the morning exercise brigade.
Here’s some of my suggestions for walking the Yellow Arrow:
Yellow Arrow (2kms) & Red Arrow (1.5km)
Head up the Yellow Arrow (45-mins) and come back down the Red Arrow (30-mins) and follow the path at the bottom of the hill (Collins Avenue to Saltwater Creek – 1.5kms/20-mins) back to your car.
If you want to miss the steeper part of the Red Arrow (the track with all the steps) veer onto the left track when heading down.
Yellow Arrow (2kms) & Blue Arrow (4.5kms)
Incorporate the Yellow Arrow (45-mins) with the Blue Arrow and enjoy a real bushwalk to the peak of Mt Whitfield and also discover the view at Lumley Hill across to the Northern Beaches.
If you link up to the Blue Arrow (at the top of the Yellow) you can loop around, walk the majority of the Mt Whitfield Conservation Park and return to the Yellow Arrow track and walk back down to the car park (4-5+ hours).
Yellow Arrow (2kms) & Green Arrow (3kms) – via the Blue Arrow (3kms)
If you’re looking for an epic walk across the Conservation Park then this is a good choice. I recommend that you leave some form of transport at the other end to enable an easy return to your initial parking spot. This will prevent the need to backtrack or to walk through the suburbs to return to your car.
Heading off from the Yellow Arrow in the early morning light would be my preference. Once at the top of the Yellow Arrow you can find the beginning of the Blue Arrow. If you’re happy to miss out on the opportunity of a good lookout at Lumley Hill then veer left and stick to the ridge track, otherwise choose the right track and enjoy both the lookout and the Mt Whitfield peak.
At the top of Mt Whitfield you join up to the Green Arrow. It’s a bit of slog but worth it. From here you’ll mainly stick to the ridge line and get glimpses of the neighbouring suburbs of Whitfield, Edge Hill, Brinsmead and Redlynch. Aim for about a 4-5 hour bushwalk one-way.
Ultimately, the tracks on Mount Whitfield Conservation Park are a really good way to introduce your child to bushwalking but with the added diversity of thick rainforest, open sclerophyll forest and some great lookouts of Cairns and beyond. Plus you’ll have the knowledge that you’re really not that far away from surburbia (ie. help) if things do come unstuck.
Good Things To Know:
Please note: Track times have been calculated on kids that are aged around 10/12 years. Younger children will obviously take longer – remember to calculate accordingly.
Who’s attempted these walking tracks in Cairns? Have you done the Yellow Arrow yet? Any tips on how you get the kids keen on bushwalking?
If you’re keen to explore more around Cairns check out this blog too >> 4 Quick climbs around Cairns for some Cool Views