36 Waterfalls

I won’t try and show you all 36 waterfalls that we saw in the week in the Lamington and Springbrook National Parks behind the Gold Coast but they certainly were impressive. There was a good fall of rain that we sat out on the coast so all the falls were in good flow. We started at Binna Burra with a circuit walk called Dave’s creek (we never did find a creek of this name, in fact not many creeks!) which gave us views down into the valley. The next day we headed off to Coomera Falls which were almost surpassed by the lovely drop of the Yarrabilgong Falls through the lush green growth opposite. I farewelled Ray and set off to complete the 17 kilometre circuit. The first few river  crossings had large stepping stones to keep my feet dry but unfortunately the supply of large rocks didn’t keep going and I ended up wading across a few times. I followed on up the Coomera River with a series of falls and side streams also providing more highlights before returning to camp via the border track.

We then headed to Canungra where we left the trailer rather than towing it up the steep narrow road to O’Reilly’s where the campsites were small. We had our packs so that we could complete two walks without having to backtrack. The first day saw us heading for Albert River. We zigzagged gently down the mountainside with each corner giving us a new waterfall to view on Lightning Creek. We only spent a short time on Albert River but it provided a number of pretty falls.

Our campsite was deep in the forest but it was in a saddle and the wind roared through. We tried our best to screen the gas cooker but it took a lot longer than usual to cook. We were near Echo Point Lookout which gave great views towards Mt Warning and the coast so we visited to see it in different lights.

The next morning took us along the edge of the rim and through beautiful, mossy rainforest dominated by Antarctic beech trees. We then descended to Toolona Creek and one waterfall after another. Each one was different from the towering Toolona falls to the pretty Gwongurai Falls tumbling into a leafy green  bower. We finally had to leave this creek to return to our starting point.

Springbrook NP is on the other side of the valley so we towed the trailer up the steep road to the excellent campsite. We took a short circuit walk to visit the very powerful Purling Brook Falls and were rewarded with rainbows in the sunshine. Best of All Lookout lived up to it’s name as we again enjoyed a view of Mt Warning and the coast.

We arose in the dark the next morning to capture sunrise only to find we had to clear ice off the windscreen first. It was worth the trip to the lookout and there was still plenty of frost when we returned for breakfast.

Another circuit walk had us again visiting multiple waterfalls as we completed the 17 kilometre Warrie circuit. We must have been going the wrong way as we met many people walking the other way and no-one going our way.

We weren’t waterfalled out yet so managed to visit a couple more on the way home including the well known Natural Bridge. The weather was cold as the clear winter skies gave us frosts as we dashed through New South Wales and home.

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South to Surfers

It was time to turn south and head for home though we still had four weeks to get there. We stopped as usual at National Parks along the way. Jourama Falls had less water than the last time we were there but the camping area was greatly improved. The camp at Big Crystal Ck in Paluma Range was another great spot and we revisited the photogenic bridge as well as seeing new sights.

We reached the Whitsundays where we first had a stopover at Bowen. It was very scenic out on the point and there were beaches in every direction. We could snorkel off the beach but unfortunately the visibility was not great. We moved to Airlie Beach where we organised an overnight stay on Hamilton Island on standby. We found it good value with our boat trips, bus rides, sailing and other beach activities included. We made the most of our two days but found that was enough – we are not resort people and couldn’t spend a week there.

Back on the mainland the first stop was Eungella to spot platypus (pretty much guaranteed) and then out to Cape Hillsborough where we didn’t see the kangaroos on the beach as in the brochures but enjoyed our stay. We headed inland to visit Cania Gorge, a much less dramatic version of Carnarvon Gorge. We managed to complete almost all the walks in our two days – our most walking since the Thorsborne Trail.

The hinterland of the Sunshine Coast was a pleasant surprise as we drove up on one of the steepest roads so far. We bypassed all the tourist shops and headed to Kondalilla Falls for an excellent circuit walk over the top and to the bottom of the falls. We couldn’t go past the Glasshouse Mountains without revisiting Mt Ngungun (pronounced noo-noo) as we had 17 years ago. They had improved the track putting in gentle zigzags instead of scrambling up the steep mountain side but the view was just as good if a little more crowded with houses. We then stayed at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast to wait out bad weather and catch up with family.