KONDALILLA FALLS, SUNSHINE COAST. AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

Stunning views are always a rewarding part of hiking but views plus a refreshing swim under a cascading waterfall in a rock pool surrounded by rainforest is an even bigger incentive to lace up your walking shoes and head to Kondalilla National Park. For us it’s only 1-½ hours rive north of Brisbane near the picturesque village of Montville on the scenic Blackall Range.
From the car park at the end of Kondalilla Falls Road you head down a 50m downhill walk, with multiple stairs, that leads to the large grassy picnic area and the start of the walking tracks. With its lush surroundings, shade trees, barbecues, picnic tables and toilet facilities, the picnic area is a beautiful spot to refuel before or after your walk.
There are several walking tracks you can choice including a section of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. The shortest walk is the Picnic Creek circuit at 1.7km.  It’s a relatively easy walk suitable for children and takes around 45 minutes to complete. The track however is not wheelchair or pram accessible and there are many steps so smaller children will need to walk or be carried. The circuit crosses Picnic Creek with its little cascades and passes through tall open eucalypt forest with an interesting mix of rainforest species in the wetter areas. Along the journey children can search for elves and fairies in tree roots or try and spot faces in the tree trunks. There are beautiful views over the valley from the lookout point and bench seats are scattered along pathway so you can stop to rest and listen to the birds chatter and sing in the canopies above. If you are not continuing down to the falls but want to swim, you can take a small detour down the escarpment to the rock pool.
 

 

We love the Kondalilla Falls circuit which is 4.7 km and will take between 2-3 hours to complete. This walk includes more than 100 steps so it’s quite strenuous, particularly on the way back up! From the Picnic Creek circuit you follow the signs down the escarpment and continue past the rock pool onto the lookout with first views of Kondalilla Falls. From here you will walk through lush subtropical rainforest to the base of the waterfall and then continue back up the ridge to complete the loop. Another dip in the rock pool on the way back plus the cool breeze through the rainforest will help cool you down after climbing up the stairs!
 
 
 
 

 

Kondalilla National Park has an abundance of wildlife including over 100 species of birds, as well as a variety of reptiles and frogs with some species rare and close to extinction like the pouched frog and the bopple nut. With this in mind, it is important to protect our National Parks so be sure to take all your rubbish with you, keep the creeks clean and leave your pets at home. Insect repellent is a must as is taking your own drinking water and food. The best time to visit the falls is during the wet season, January – March, although the water still flows in the dry months and the park is open during daylight hours year round.

 

Advertisements

SCENIC DRIVE: BOONAH TO KILLARNEY. SOUTHEAST QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA

There are several great scenic drives in South East Queensland, and one of our favorite and purest scenic drives has to be the road from Boonah to Killarney via The Head. This is a lovely winding road that has numerous scenic spots to stop at on the way, two very different cafes, a few short walks and of course the whole drive is book-ended by the two lovely towns of Boonah and Killarney.



The Drive starts on Carneys Creek Road just outside of Boonah, which then becomes The Head Road and then becomes Spring Creek Road which takes you to Killarney. Most of the major scenic spots are well sign posted, while minor ones can usually be identified by a place to stop on the side of the road.




The road itself is mostly a single lane but all of the traffic here are people specifically doing the scenic drive plus a few locals. No matter what Google Maps tells you, this is not the fastest route as the twisting narrow road will slow you down. If you are visitng Killarney from Brisbane, it is better to go over Main Range via Cunninghams Gap and go through Warwick. As a result, The Head road is one of the most pleasant roads to drive or ride. Everyone slows down and gives each a little wave as they pass on the narrow road. Yes, even people in big four wheel drives do this. In fact, because the road is so narrow our fellow 4wder’s are the most grateful on this road. 

Our first stop up the mountain is the Teviot Falls Lookout. This lookout is not that well signposted and many people fail to see the falls itself, as they focus on the view of the mountains down Teviot Gap




.Moving on from the lookout our first major stop is Carrs Lookout and Spring Creek Mountain Cafe & Cottages. Both provide similar views of the mountains with the lookout being free and Spring Creek Mountain Cafe serving delicious coffee, cake and meals made from the freshest local ingredients. For lunch on weekends, it is recommended that you book ahead.



There are numerous other little spots to stop along the way, including patches of farmland. Once we hit rainforest country, we would wind down the windows to enjoy the fresh mountain air and also to better hear the bellbirds (which we could hear with the windows wound up).



Once over the head we arrive at Queen Mary Falls. This is one of the best spots to linger. There is a beautiful picnic area with both electric and wood fired barbecues, toilets and the falls itself. It is only a short easy stroll to the two lookouts above the falls and a 2 km walk down to the base of the falls and back up (lots of stairs but well worth the effort).



Directly across the road from The Queen Mary Falls Picnic Area is the Queen Mary Falls Caravan and Tourist Park which includes The Falls Cafe. If you started early then the Picnic Area or The Falls Cafe are great places to have lunch. You can just have a break here with coffee and cake while sitting on the deck at the front watching the rosellas and king parrots which are attracted to the bird feeders.


We then move onto the Daggs Falls. Just stop, walk 10 metres to the lookout, take some photos, and keep on driving. The spectacular waterfall is worth the quick stop.



Our last falls are the smallest but has the most interesting walk. Be aware that it is a rough and muddy track along and across a beautiful creek to Browns Falls. While it is not difficult for most people, you might rethink the walk if you are wearing clothes or shoes that you don’t want to get dirty.
From Browns Falls, the land opens up into beautiful farmland. 



This is Killarney where the black soil is two feet deep. They grow a little bit of everything but the steep hills means that most of the area is cattle country. If you have timed your trip properly your mind will be turning to steaks for lunch or dinner at the Killarney Pub.



Vegetable lovers need not despair. As you approach the town you will see a few roadside vegetable stalls. Simply stop, grab the vegetables that you want and put money in the tin. We picked some lovely pumpkins for $1 and $2 each. A lot of people have never heard of Killarney and even fewer have visited it. It is not on any major routes, so if you arrive here you are either lost or meant to be here, rather than passing through. While it is a sleepy country town, it is not a bad destination with a number of attractions.
Along with country cooking from several cafes and the pub, it is also worth visiting the Heritage Centre or shop at one of several shops selling local handcrafts and products such as the Willow Gallery. These places are usually run on a co-op basis with several local people taking turns at running the shop, while part of the sales goes to the rent and upkeep of the shop.

The quickest way back to Brisbane is via Warwick and the Cunnighams Gap. Longer scenic routes suitable for multi-day trips included heading north through Toowoomba or south through Stanthorpe and Tenterfield, before heading back towards the coast or Brisbane.


//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=ra-59a0a83bbefaf8c1

MALENY, QUEENSLAND. AUSTRALIA

Now’s the time when it’s much cooler,  and while everything is so beautifully green, to explore the back roads a couple of hours out of Brisbane.

The film of dust which settles over your car is a small price to pay for the pleasures of ascending into Bellthorpe State Forest on a winding dirt road, and following the switchback country lane east through picture-book scenery eastwards towards Maleny.

The gravel crunches under tyres as you stop in the woodland’s shade. Switch off the engine, get out and take some moments to appreciate the entrancing forest, the peace, the occasional call of a bird.

In Bellthorpe, the massive grey trunks of blue gums soar high to the canopy. Below, the ground is a sunshine-patterned garden of brackens and ferns, and piccabeen palms punctuate the scene.


Just getting to this beautiful place is what Sunday drives are all about.
We’ve done this trip quite a few times and each time we leave different times. Some of the photos reflect the differences.



We always like to head off early, heading out of Brisbane for Samford, and checking for bargains at the Ferny Grove Station market. Then head off to Dayboro, were we come across the weekend cyclists are out on their long-distance rides, so watch out for them.

Dayboro is just over 40km from Brisbane, has a small Sunday market along the pavement in the main street, note the selection of home-baked cakes.



We then take the hill route to Mount Mee, sometimes calling in at the impressive cafe in the vaulted-roof pole house at Ocean View Winery. Further on, we always stretch our legs at the Dahmpongah Lookout, with its wide view over pastures and the distant spires of the Glasshouse Mountains from the southwest.




We then move onto Woodford, and on a Sunday morning it’s busy with pleasure drivers, motorbike tourers and locals. On the first and third Sunday of every month, volunteers offer steam train rides on the Durundur Railway. The Australian Narrow Gauge Railway Museum Society has an assortment of mining and cane trains to run on its “two foot” gauge line. Passengers sit in wagons once used to move bagged sugar to the port for the six-minute run to Storey Brook station, where cottage herb gardens are the attraction.



Heading northwest on D’Aguilar Highway, ignore the next right turn to Beerwah, but three or four kilometres further on, take the next right to Stony Creek.

This little road climbs north up into the Conondale Range, but a short way in, take the right turn and drive 4km into Bellthorpe Forest Reserve. At road’s end is Stony Creek recreation reserve, with picnic tables, toilet block and a short walk to a pool fed by the creek. The running creek is a pleasant place to sit and cool your feet, and the pool is shallow but inviting for a cool-off.




Back on the road to the Conondales, the bitumen runs out as the road climbs into state forest. There’s an expeditionary element to the drive because sign posts are few and far between. High up, there’s a junction. Turn right on the narrow West Bellthorpe Rd, a graded gravel route which follows a hogsback, with forest on one side and dairy cattle meadows on the other.




Here are glimpses of the Glasshouse Mountains from the northwest. You’re in the Mary River catchment, back on a ribbon of bitumen and heading through Booroobin in very picturesque hill country. You emerge on the Woodford-Maleny Rd. Turn left, then right on the Maleny-Kenilworth highway and ease down into the charming town, round about lunchtime.
Maleny has an interesting mix of shops and a great choice of places to eat. The Big Byte Cafe has an internet corner and a gallery of black and white photographs of pop music stars well worth checking out.

No visit to Maleny is complete without a side expedition through more attractive landscapes down to Baroon Pocket Dam.



This is the Sunshine Coast’s drinking water supply, a forest-fringed lake covering 380ha. The Lake Baroon Freshwater Fish Stocking Association has been introducing Mary River cod, golden perch and Australian bass fingerlings in large quantities since at least 1989, so it might be worthwhile taking your rod.

For the best Glasshouse Mountain views, when heading back towards Brisbane, retrace your route on to the Maleny-Woodford road and follow the Blackall Range Tourist Drive signs towards Mary Cairncross Park on Mountain View Rd.
A kilometre along, there’s ample parking space at McCarthey’s Lookout, commanding a fabulous view over the Glasshouse Mountain caldera from the northeast.

A couple of kilometres further on, at another good mountain viewing spot, Mary Cairncross Park is a hugely popular picnic ground. Abutting dense rainforest, the open grassed area is skirted by a path. Timber benches have been provided along this Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Walk, complete with a bamboo trellis on which vines essential in the lives of the butterfly are being cultivated.




Mountain View Rd leads back on to the busier Landsborough Rd down the range towards the coast. At Landsborough, follow the old Pacific Highway south. On this drive, there are plenty of excuses for another stop: Australia Zoo, roadside shops selling locally grown pineapples, macadamia nuts, fruit and vegetables and even a fisho’s van. And suddenly, you’re back on the motorway, vying with the traffic, which on a Sunday afternoon is probably slowing down well ahead of the Bribie turnoff.

Things to do in Maleny

 Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World.

Meander through some of the most exquisite gardens in Queensland featuring a panorama of waterfalls, ponds and colourful plantings, idyllic rainforest surroundings and views of the spectacular Glass House Mountains at Maleny Botanic Gardens and Bird World. Bring a picnic to enjoy by one of the many lakes or lounge under a tree with a good book and soak up the peace and serenity. 

Baroon Pocket Dam.

Baroon Pocket Dam is a picturesque lake tucked away between Montville and Maleny. The dam offers a range of fantastic recreational facilities and you could easily spend the whole day exploring the shores and waterways. There are picnic tables, free barbecues and playgrounds for the kids, making it the ideal spot for a get together with family or friends. Take a dip in the calm waters, kayak the lake and its tributaries or simply cast your rod and wait for the Australian Bass to bite. 
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve.

Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve is 55 acres of subtropical rainforest overlooking the Glass House Mountains. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, the Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life. There are several tranquil walking tracks, boardwalks and viewing platforms where you can soak up the natural beauty and read information about various species.

Gardners Falls.

Leave your vehicle in the car park on the banks of the Obi Obi Creek and take a short, level walk downstream to Gardners Falls, a hidden gem in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. You’ll pass a number of shallow rock pools which are ideal for smaller children who just want to splash about. Follow the bubbling waters downstream where the pools increase in size and enjoy a freshwater swim in the largest pool underneath the falls
The Cheese Circuit.

A visit to Maleny Dairies will not only prove that milk comes from cows (not cartons) but that it tastes so good! The milk, yoghurt and ice cream can be tasted and bought at the farm shop. You can also join a farm tour, ride a tractor and see the cows milked at 3 pm.  Once you’ve tasted the raw goods, head to Maleny Cheese, where you’ll see the cheesemakers in action and enjoy tastings in the café and shop.

Brews and Views.

Stop in at Maleny Mountain Wines to sample a range of reds, whites, fortified and dessert wines from Australia and around the world. The friendly staff will find the perfect wine for your palate or the best drop for your celebration, picnic or BYO dining. If you prefer beer, make a pit stop at Brouhaha Brewery.

//www.powr.io/powr.js

//www.powr.io/powr.js

//s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=ra-59a0a83bbefaf8c1