Sitting pretty in the gorgeous hinterland that lies beyond the Sunshine Coast‘s famed beaches lies a stunning plethora of walks that instantly immerse you in a beautiful, timeless wonderland. Todays dealing of choice was one that had been on my list of hikes to tick off my list for quite some time now: Kondalilla Falls Circuit.
Before I go chasing waterfalls, deviating from the lakes and the rivers that I’m used to, I always try to go after a big ass deluge. Living somewhere that often goes through extensive periods of drought, the waterfalls around here, while usually still running during the driest of times are not anything inspired, so I try to hold out for one more day before things will go my way.
In some ways, it’s lucky that this summer has been weird as all hell. While the fires have been catastrophic and the heat insanely hot and the rain torrential and too late, they have filled up the dams extensively. And that also means that the waterfalls are flowing more than their usual trickle and it was time for me to check out one of the waterfalls I had been waiting patiently to hike too.
Picturesque Picnic Creek
Starting at the trailhead mid-afternoon, it was barely a few hundred metres before I came across the first waterfall, Picnic Creek. It was small, glorious and gushing, and the little bridge that crossed it only made it even more picturesque.
With this pretty little waterfall being so close to the carpark and my innate love of shooting anything and everything, I knew this was going to be a long, long walk. Positioning myself for the best possible composition amongst the trees and waiting for other folks to cross the bridge so I could shoot the scene unpopulated, I felt the wrath of all insects in the land descend upon me using me as their personal blood bag.
Pressing along, the Obi Valley Lookout a short stroll later was a lovely little stopping point that had some ominous clouds hovering above a narrow valley with a small clearing where a single tree stood serving as a focal point amidst a pristine landscape.
Kondalilla Rock Pool
Heading down some steps and narrow zig-zag pathways and turning left at the intersection, I arrived at an incredibly stunning rock pool fed by the Skene Creek as it fell over a small cliff into a large, swimmable basin surrounded by lush bushes before navigating its way between boulders and over the main cliff that was Kondalilla Falls.
By this time, the rain had started falling. The moderately heavy but short-lived rainfall was a pleasant welcome reprieve from the humid air that had left me drenched in a layer of sweat and accumulated dirt.
I was overwhelmingly tempted to take a dip in the paradisiacal waters that were bestowed before me but I had been wanting to get the main falls for many moons and as it had rained a lot in the preceding weeks, now was the time to photograph them at a heavy flow.
Bidding a fond farewell to the stunning rock pools with the promise I’d be back to bathe in its refreshing waters, I made my way to the bottom of the falls. The easy walk led to a bridge where you could cross streams and get views of the river navigating between countless boulders as well as the base of the falls in the distance.
Further along, a track deviated to the base of the waterfall and stunning visuals awaited. Eighty metres of crystalline waters snaking and cascading its way over jagged rocks in an impressive curtain of water that started as one waterfall and separated into two as it crashed into a large boulder and divided the watercourse.
Clambering over the small rocks and large boulders that were scattered at the bottom with fashionable ineloquence for favourable composition was an adventure in itself. Slipping and sliding like a cannibal riding, my ass was introduced many times to the rocks as I butt scooted my way over as far as I could where I spotted a lovely little water dragon gazing up at the stunning scenery before them.
Not wanting to let nature make what it would of someones left-behinds, I claimed some one-eyed aviator glasses for myself, while in the process accidentally losing my camera’s eyepiece. Son of a gun.
Even less elegantly than I did before, I made my way back to the steadier ground and started the ascent back up. Shortly after, there were incredible views of the waterfall in its entirety. Looking significantly larger than the view I had gotten moments before, I was in absolute awe. Looking down at the pools and the rock upon which I was perched really gave an incredible sense of scale. This waterfall was dramatic and EPIC!!! (Unfortunately, I don’t have photos of it as it was too dark by that time, but I’ll definitely be taking pictures the next time I go there for a swim.)
Glorious waterfall gazing and picture taking done and dusted, it was time to work those calves. Up until this point, the walk has been easy, too easy. Now was the time to put in the hard yards. Step upon step upon step was the going here. It was unrelenting and for someone who has had a rather lazy summer in this god awful baking heat, this was certainly making up for it.
The Creatures Come Out To Play
Three hundred steps going on the up-and-up was not without reward. The creatures of the night were out and about! First, I came across a little greyish-whitish rodent scurrying across the path (grassland melomys?) then two terrifyingly creepy, jumping giant king crickets whose bodies resemble slugs, a snail, an Australian wolf spider, a green tree frog, and two cane toads, but the best part was walking right into a spiders marinading dinner.
Nothing like getting tangled, squelching and screaming in a spiders web strewn across the pathway thinking you’ve got a giant spider attacking your neck like some kind of Spiderman origin story! Thankfully, it wasn’t a spider, but that spider is going without dinner tonight!!!
Surviving it back to the carpark and making it out alive despite the mosquitos syphoning off a good chunk of my blood, I was thrilled to have the uphill battle behind me. My legs were aching, my knees were quaking, but the walk was a spectacular one.
I was glad that I held off doing this walk until after torrential rain because the waterfalls and the pools they collected into were glorious, gushing and unbelievably picturesque. Kondalilla National Park has to be one of my favourite places in south-east Queensland to go chasing waterfalls.
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