In 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.
From 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.
I 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.
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
At 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.
For 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.
At 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.
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 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.
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 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.
With spring well and truly settled in here in the Southern part of the world, the days are getting warmer and the sun is in the sky longer. Today I headed north from Maroochydore on the Sunshine Motorway. The plan was to pick up a friend from Perigean Springs and take a hike in the Noosa National Park.
The park lies between Noosa Beach and Coolum and is divided into sections along the coast. The section we were visiting today was the Noosa Headland Section which has a web of walking tracks running through and around it making it suitable for almost anyone to access.
As with most National Parks one can find a diverse range of wildlife and plants here. The list includes the koala, a ground parrot, the wallum froglet and glossy black-cockatoo. I have seen Echidnas wandering the tracks here as evening falls as well.
The Coastal track is a little over 5 kilometers and takes roughly two hours walking at a steady pace. The tracks are well signed and often cross each other so it pays to take note of which one you are on.
The Coastal track runs from Sunshine Beach in the south, around the headland in finishes at Noosa Beach. Parking is easier at the Sunshine Beach end as there are several jumping off points whereas, at the Noosa end, the track starts at the day use area and there is very limited parking. There used to be a bus service from Noosa Beach to the day use area but that has been discontinued and once the small parking area is full it means a 700-metre walk in from the beach.
We opted for the Sunshine Beach end and parked at the end of Surf Street before taking Track 5 (Blue on the Map) which would bring us out on the beach at Alexandria Bay. This beach is more commonly known among the locals as A Bay and has gained some notoriety as a clothing optional beach.
The day was fine and hot and so we made sure we had hats and a good supply of drinking water. Good walking shoes are also recommended as parts of the track can be a little rough underfoot.
When we actually arrived at the beach it was quite deserted with only a few folk strolling along and the odd sunbather in the dunes. I guess it is rather isolated from the rest of the world with a one hour walk in from either end, there are plenty of beaches that are far easier to spend the day at.
Steep steps lead off the northern end of the beach as we headed up to the actual Headland. Here there are magnificent views of the coast and over the park itself.
As we approached Hells Gate, a group of young women was sitting on a rock resting and my friend, Peter, suggested that I might like to take a photo of A Bay beach, indicating that the rock would form the foreground to the photo. He laughingly offered to be in the photo as a focus point.
It was a lovely setting and so, to his horror, I asked the girls if they would mind indulging Peter’s whim. After some moments of confusion because of a language difference, Peter duly settled himself in amongst the bevy of beauties. A veritable thorn in the rose bush if ever there was one.
The four girls came from Switzerland and were studying here before heading off to see more of the country.
The headland is called Hells Gate as there is a deep cutting that channels the sea making a cauldron during rough weather. A similar outcrop at the other end of A Bay is called Devils Kitchen. From here, and indeed all along the higher points on the track, one can often spot a whale or two as they head to and fro between their winter and summer ranges. Today was not one of those days unfortunately however, we did see a lot of coral spores that had been blown down from the huge coral reefs to the north.
A Bay is around the halfway point and so we headed on around the shoreline checking out the view from the various bays along the way. There are lookout points at Dolphin Point at the end of Granite Bay and then again at Boiling Pot just beyond Tea Tree Bay.
Tea tree Bay is a popular spot and is at the end of the paved track that allows pushchair and wheelchair access to the park. Koalas can often be seen in the trees although again, it was not to be for us this day.
There are some extraordinary views to be had all along the track with stunning sea views going back into the hinterland behind the coast.
We finally made it back to civilization and Peter treated me to a burger and beer from Betty’s Burgers and Concrete which is just over the road from the surf club at Noosa Beach. This had to be one of the best burgers I have had in a very long while.
After the burger and feeling well satisfied we caught a bus back to Sunshine to pick up the car and head home. A great day’s traveling right here in my own back yard
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
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.
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/ .
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.
I arrived to find a trio trying to set up their camera to take a group shot.
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
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.
At the top again, I met up with a group who had made the trek from Cooroy.
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.