Mt Bartle Frere is the highest mountain in Queensland. The Aboriginal name is Chooreechilum. Its massive bulk is covered in thick tropical rain forest full of leeches, snakes and prickly plants. The mountain sits at the headwaters of the Mulgrave River and the steep sides of the valley have been described by one of the early European explorers as 'truly awful country'- a real jungle wilderness. To the North West of the mountain is the rolling farmland of the Atherton Tablelands- green, lush, well-developed, closely settled with farms, roads and towns.
It is the start of the Christmas holidays- December in North Queensland- the 'wet' season in the tropics. Twelve year old Kylie and her friends Margaret and Allison travel with Kylie's mother in her car from Cairns to her grandmother's dairy farm on the Atherton Tablelands. On arrival they are confronted by a situation which immediately requires Kylie to act with determination and courage. She does so and an unexpected adventure begins.
At the heart of the adventure is an old family legend. This will draw them into the rain-soaked, tropical jungle in the rugged country below Mt Bartle Frere. It will also draw in Kylie's older brother Graham and his friends of the 'Hiking Team' : Peter, Stephen and Roger. But nature is not the only enemy. There are rivals- some known, others unsuspected.
The adventure reaches its climax in a desperate life and death struggle against both man and nature which tests Kylie and her friends to their absolute limits of endurance.