One Of The Great Australian Walks… Kondalilla Falls National Park

Park Track entranceIn the hinterland behind the Sunshine Coast lies a range of mountains….. Well, hills really, called the Blackall Ranges.  They run from South to North and are dotted with some great walks of all grades.

Today I walked the Kondalilla Falls Circuit track from the top to the bottom and back.  These falls are a part of the Kondalilla National Park and form a part of the Great Australian Walking tracks.

The carpark is really just a large cul-d-sac at the end of the street and from there, one heads down to a grassy area dotted with barbecue facilities and table/chair benches.  There are also toilet facilities here which it is wise to take advantage of as there are non further down.

Bridge Over No WaterFrom the bottom of this area a sealed track take you down a few hundred metres to a small bridge.  This is wheelchair friendly but the bridge is as far as you go.  There are stairs at the other side which would make it difficult

 

 

 

 

 

Here there is a fork in the path.  The left leads down to the top of the falls and is perhaps the easier track to take.  It is also a part of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Walk track. The right fork, a part of Kondalilla Falls Circuit, also leads to the falls but is perhaps a steeper path, although easy enough to traverse.

The TrackI took the right fork, and would recommend this, as the return journey is easier if you come back the other way.  The track wanders through rain forest and you will see Piccabeen Palms and Bunya Pines growing along the way.  You may also see some examples of Pink Ash trees which grow in some interesting shapes.

There are some spectacular views all along the track down to the falls
There are some spectacular views all along the track down to the falls
This couple take a moment to rest on one of the many benches along the track. This one is set at the top of the steepest part of the track when headingback to the carpark
This couple take a moment to rest on one of the many benches along the track. This one is set at the top of the steepest part of the track when heading back to the carpark

Just above the top of the falls, these two tracks merge before you head down a series of steps to come out at the top of the falls.  Here I met a couple who were resting after the long slog back up the side of the hill from the falls.  We chatted for a while about the effects of climate change on the forest before we each continued our respective journeys

The PoolAt the bottom of the next section is the top of the falls and there is a popular swimming hole, just before the water tumbles over the cliff.  There is space here to eat a picnic lunch or relax in the sun on the flat rocks around the pool.

The Road To The BottomFor many, this is the end of the trail but I headed down the side of the cliff face following the well formed Sunshine Coast Hinterland Walk track to the bottom..  Along the way there is a look out where you can see the whole of the falls although on this day, after a long dry spell, there was no water to be seen tumbling down the cliff face.

The Falls

_-2Peaceful TranquilityAt the bottom, the creek bed is strewn with huge boulders and here and there are small rock pools which are home to the beautiful dragonflies that hunt here.Poise

Fellow Travellers
Fellow travellers cross a bridge just below where I was photographing the dragonflies

Heading on I came to another fork.  It is here that the Kondalilla Circuit branches off and returns via an easier grade to the top of the falls.  There is a saying that what goes up, must come down.  In the this case the reverse applied and, having made my way all the way down from the car park, I now had the climb back up to the top.

The track forks off towards Baroon Pocket Dam to the right. The left path takes you back to the falls
The track forks off towards Baroon Pocket Dam to the right. The left path takes you back to the falls

The route is around 4.7 kms and doing it the way I did, the return journey was just a little easier.  Even so it pays to carry plenty of water as the hard bit is at the end.  I had two water bottles and had just opened my second when I started my climb.  It slipped from my hand and split open on a rock and I watched as it all soaked away into the dry soil.

This massive tree has come down across the track enforcing a climb over the roots to gt back to the track
This massive tree has come down across the track enforcing a climb over the roots to get back to the track

Heaven Set

Giving Ground

A Forest View
There are some stunning views from all along the track
The Pool Again
Back at the pool at the top of the Falls
Well formed steps help the traveller along the way
Well formed steps help the traveller along the way

From the top of the falls there is a section of over 100 stairs and this is perhaps the most punishing part of the trek.  Without water, I was in trouble by the time I reached the top and was thankful that the path had levelled out somewhat for the walk back to the bar-b-que area.  The real kicker for me was the short walk from there to the car park.  I was dehydrated badly and the track seemed almost too steep to tackle.

 

 

A Long way to the End
This massive tree had fallen across the track, The track had been cleared but this trunk is left to nature to return to the soil over time

 

Board Walk
Boardwalks along the way make the track an easier traverse

 

A short drive down the road to Mapleton and I thankfully pulled in to a service station to top up my water levels, the first bottle barely touching the sides as it went down

All said and done, it was a great walk and I recommend it to anyone with an afternoon on their hands and wondering what to do with it.  Just head up the Blackall Range from Nambour or Landsborough and you will find the turn off at Flaxton.

 

Mt Tinbeerwha Lookout

Time is always the elusive factor in getting this Blog on the road.  These last few months have been so taken with my day job that there has been precious little time for taking photos, let alone writing about them.  Things seem to have settled and so today I decided that it was time to take some “me” time and I headed up to Tewantin to climb a small mountain that has been on my radar forever.

Mt Tinbeerwah is situated in the Tewantin National Park, just ten kilometres west of Noosa.  Travelling west on the Noosa-Cooroy Road it is found by turning left at the top of the Tinbeerwah hill.  Here the road travels a few kilometers before ending at the carpark at the bottom of the final track

First Lookout
The rock bench at the Eastern Viewpoint on the track up Mt Tinbeerwah

There is a paved pathway that is wheelchair friendly that leads to the first lookout.  From there the track is a little steeper but is by no means difficult.  It passes close to the cliff faces where there are anchor points set into the rock for those who follow abseiling.

Safety Preparations
Jim takes care of the safety preparations before decending one of the cliffs on Mt Tinbeerwah while Ryan looks on

I was fortunate to run into a group who were taking part in a four-day course to get various qualifications in the sport.  Today, vertical rescue was the subject being examined and I had a chat to Jim and Ryan who were preparing to make, yet another descent down the cliff face. With safety topmost in mind, they secured the rigging before checking each other off.  Then it was over the edge and into the abyss just as Aline and Tegan arrived back at the top after their last descent.  Tegan told me that they had done around twenty abseils during the four days of the course which was run by The Outdoor Education Consultants (TOEC) who provide training in various outdoor sports. You can check them out at www.toec.com.au/ .

Abseilling Weekend
Aline and Tegan took time out for a chat while waiting for their turn for yet another abseil down the cliffs at Mt Tinbeerwah

Then it was onwards and upwards to the Fire Tower at the top where there are views over most of the northern part of the Sunshine Coast.  Even the Glass House Mountains could be just made out in the distance to the south.  While it was a cloudy day, and visibility was a little hazy, it was still worth the half kilometer walk to the top.

Tewantin National Park
Views of Tewantin National Park looking back towards Noosa

Mighty PeaksI arrived to find a trio trying to set up their camera to take a group shot.

Visitor From Nepal
Three visitors from Nepal stop to take in the views from the Lookout at Mt Tinbeerwah on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia

After offering to do the honours for them I discovered that the were here on holidays from Nepal.  This is one of the great things about this sort of photography… One gets to meet so many people from so many different countries and cultures.  After sharing emails and promising to send them the photos I had taken they were on their way leaving me to enjoy the views

I have been trying to sort out the best gear to use to carry what I need on an extended photo walk.  After carefully attaching everything to my rig I had set off only to find that I had left the tripod behind.  With the cloud cover breaking up on the western horizon it promised to be a glorious sunset, and so I headed back down to the car to collect it.

On the way I checked out the cliff face where the abseilers were operating

Cliff Face
The steep rock face that attracts so many abseilers to the area
Abseiler
Aline carefully descends the cliff face during her abseiling course with The Outdoor Education Consultants

On the way back up the clouds to the east began to show early colour and so I stopped to snap off a quick shot, thinking that the best of it might be over before I reached the lookout.

Afternoon Glow
The early sunset begins to bathe the cloud in colour over Noosa Heads as I climbed back up Mt Tinbeerwah

 

At the top again, I met up with a group who had made the trek from Cooroy.

Watchers On The Hill
Watching the sun go down on Mt Tinbeerwha

We all stood around chatting while waiting for the sun to sink below the horizon.  Slowly, too slowly the colour began to tinge the clouds but in the end, this sunset’s promise fell well short of expectation.