Cronan Creek Secret Falls (QLD)

Want to know a secret? Hidden in the rainforest at the base of Mt Barney may be one of the Scenic Rim’s best kept secrets.

The waterfall is nestled among dense rainforest at the end of a boulder strewn creek perfect for rock hopping loving adventurers.

Cronan Creek Secret Falls is named because the Cronan Creek Track doesn’t lead you directly to the falls – you have to bash through about 100 metres of trees, ferns and slide down a couple of rocks to get to the waterfall.

You can find the waterfall on an easy walk 90 minutes from the Yellow Pinch Reserve car park.

From the carpark, the Cronan Creek Track heads up a ridge, winds past clear views of several mountains and hills, and takes you over a creek crossing.

After a few kilometres, you’ll come to a junction. The right fork takes you up the South Ridge of Mt Barney. Take the left fork to continue to the waterfall.

The trail is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done as you wind alongside the Cronan Creek as it cascades over the boulders.

There’s plenty of places to pull off the track and sit creekside.

After recent rain, there’s several creek crossings. You can either opt to get your feet wet or there are a couple of crossings where you’ll be able to find a way to rock hop across the creek. Be warned, in winter the water is ice cold!

As you walk higher up the ridge, the eucalypt forest turns to grasslands before you enter the rainforest.

Not far after crossing your third major creek crossing, the grass gets longer and dense rainforest starts on your left. Look for a large cairn on your left. This was supposed to be the best place to enter the rainforest to reach the waterfall, but it’s better to go a little bit further up the hill and you’ll spot a smaller cairn next to the path. Head toward the creek from here for about 100 metres and then the waterfall will be in sight.

Essential gear required

  • Spare pair of socks
  • Camera and tripod
  • Swimming gear (in summer)
  • Warm clothing (in the cooler months)

How To Get There

The Yellow Pinch Reserve is about a two hour drive from Brisbane via Beaudesert and Rathdowney.

Get on the road before the sun and on a clear day you’ll be greeted by the mountains of the Scenic Rim hued with streaks of pink and overshadowed by floating hot air balloons as the sun rises.

After you drive through the Rathdowney township, turn right onto Boonah-Rathdowney Road and follow the signs to Mt Barney Lodge. Once you get to the wooden sign for Mt Barney Lodge, take the track to your right and you’ll end up at the car park.

The road into Yellow Pinch Reserve is gravel for about 3km but is accessible by a 2WD vehicle.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Photography
  • Rock hopping

Skill

Beginner

Distance

13km, 4 hours return (including photo stops).