Prolific Explorer Lisa Owen has been scouring the Queensland countryside in search of waterfalls and boy did she find some beauties. Check out her seven favourite waterfall hikes near Brisbane.
1. Cronan Creek Falls // Mt Barney National Park
Cronan Creek Falls is a hidden gem of south-east Queensland – and it’s accessible for beginner hikers. The falls are located in the foothills of the magnificent Mt Barney. To get there, you’ll pass Mt Barney to your right and Mt Ernest on your left as you traverse the fire trail up to the falls. The trail follows Cronan Creek, which also makes for some scenic photo ops. The falls sit off the fire trail and you’ll need to do a short bush bash to get to the base. Plan for around 4-5 hours for the 13km round trip, starting from the Yellow Pinch Reserve carpark.
2. Warrie Circuit // Springbrook National Park
Along the Warrie Circuit you’ll come across not just one waterfall, but up to 10 if there’s been recent rain. My favourites along the track are Rainbow Falls and Goomoolahra Falls. It’s best to do the circuit anti-clockwise. The return hike from Tallanbanna Picnic Area – bypassing Twin Falls on the way back – is nearly 20km in total. You should allow up to eight hours to complete the circuit. Because the hike is so beautiful, you’re sure to be stopping to take in the views all the time! Another great waterfall hike in Springbrook National Park is to the base of Purling Brook Falls. The circuit is 4km return.
3. Coomera Circuit // Lamington National Park
The Coomera Circuit was the first waterfall hike I did and left me craving more! It’s a great one for hikers wanting to get some more distance on the legs – as well as take in the beautiful scenery in Lamington National Park. The hike is 17.4km return and starts from the Border Track in the Binna Burra section of the National Park. You’ll pass the beautiful Coomera Gorge and Coomera Falls along the track, as well as the Bahnamboola and Neerigomindalala waterfalls. Allow about six hours for the return hike.
4. Green Mountains Section // Lamington National Park
Coomera Circuit isn’t the only fabulous waterfall hiking trail in Lamington National Park. On the Green Mountains side, you’re spoilt for choice and I can’t pick just one trail. Choose your own adventure from the Box Forest, Albert River or Tooloona Creek circuits. These hikes vary in distance from 10.9km to 21.8km return, and all start on the Border Track near O’Reilly’s Guesthouse. Be warned – watch out for leeches in these parts. You’ll need to bring insect repellent with you and it’s a good idea to wear long pants and sleeves.
5. Larapinta Falls // Lamington National Park
Larapinta Falls rates high on my list of the best waterfall hikes near Brisbane – but this hike is harder than the rest. The trail is not maintained and is hidden in a remote section of Lamington National Park on the Christmas Creek side. It will take you about three hours one way to get to the falls, which includes a one kilometre rock hop. The trail follows Christmas Creek most of the way, however you may have to divert occasionally due to tree falls and erosion. The waterfall is worth the effort, and the walk in is equally as scenic as the destination. As you make your way up Christmas Creek, you’ll pass glistening cascades among the lush rainforest.
To get to the base of Larapinta Falls, drive to the end of Christmas Creek Road, follow Christmas Creek for about 90 minutes, then start the rockhop upstream. The rocks can be really slippery (which makes the hike hard work) so extra care needs to be taken. Allow at least 5 – 6 hours for the return trip.
6. Minyon Falls // Nightcap National Park
Across the Queensland border, but still only a two-hour drive from Brisbane is Minyon Falls. The 7.5km circuit route to the base of the 100 metre Minyon Falls starts from the falls lookout. The trail then heads down the ridge through beautiful rainforest. There’s a short rockhop to reach the base. The return routes takes you up the other side of the ridge, passing the Minyon Grass Lookout and its distant view back to the falls. Allow about three hours for the return trip.
7. Queen Mary Falls // Main Range National Park
Standing at the base of Queen Mary Falls is a must do for any outdoor lover. You’ll be in awe of the striking falls as they cascade 40 metres down the cliff face. The circuit to the base of the falls is only short at 2km, but you can also get some more waterfall action at nearby Daggs Falls and Brown Falls. Queen Mary Falls can be accessed off Spring Creek Road at Killarney, about a two hour drive south-west of Brisbane.