If you take a long drive away from the bright, city lights of Queensland’s capital and head into the vast, open agricultural plains of the Scenic Rim, you’ll find a seemingly endless line of mountains that make up its outer edges.
Heading for those high hills offers many spectacular choices, but none more so than the road that crosses the boundary and takes you into some magnificent Southern Downs country: the Falls Drive.
The scenery all around the Scenic Rim is gorgeous and at the heart of it is Boonah. Here is where I begin to see it in all its glory. Going south out of town along the Boonah-Rathdowney Road for about 10kms is where the start of the Falls Drive begins. Another right another 10kms down took me on to Head Road, the only road I’ll ever need to be down. Well, for this drive anyhow.
The narrow road takes me across several pretty creek crossing, some with more flow than others, the scenery alternating between vast, open plains and intimate forest settings and everything in between.
Soon the two-lane road narrows into a single file and the fences disappear entirely as the landscape becomes dense with forest. The road then climbs upward at a moderately steep incline.
It goes on like this for some time. I move from being within a forest to skirting its edges. Stopping spaces are in short supply but the pockets of view I obtain between the gaps in the trees offer spectacular scenery across the Scenic Rim basin.
Teviot Falls & Condamine Gorge
Soon, I’m at Teviot Falls. It’s not easy to notice. Coming across as just a large stopping bay before the mountain heads inland, the falls were across the canyon obscured by some trees. Though the falls themself were distant and barely flowing, the cliff face it sat upon was interesting and dramatic. Cuts across the geographical feature seemed to indicate layers of rocks from different eras and a landslide indicated instability.
Further forth, the landscape opened up again and revealed beautiful undulating hills that looked like a small scale version of something you might see in The Sound Of Music. Good hills for sliding or rolling down if you ask me.
The road books a hard left and it’s here where there’s a breathtaking view across The Head to Condamine Gorge (I did try going down there once, it was pretty but not suitable for a two-wheel-drive after a few kilometres), and not long after that, it opens up even more and I could see the lush surrounding mountains the road meandered ever so gently around the landscape.
Soon after, I had arrived at the Queen Mary Falls car park. Taking some snaps of a cool tree trunk that looked like it had been “Thunderstruck” with err… Lightning. I don’t think the thunder did this. Hahaha.
Actually reading the sign and heeding its advice to go in a clockwise direction to avoid a buttload of stairs (I’m looking at you, Kondalilla Falls), it was a short, easy descent through moist rainforest to the stunning 40m plunge waterfall that is Queen Mary Falls.
Base Of The Falls
It wasn’t flowing a tonne even though there had been heavy rains not long ago, but the reveal as you walk towards it and its beautiful cliff face and giant boulders still made it breathtaking and a sight to behold.
Lingering around a while and getting my usual fill of photographing it from every angle, I was soon joined by a lizard that has scurried onto a nearby rock. And then later, another. Then another. I must have spotted 5 just here at the base of the falls. They were so cute, just there enjoying the view! (or probably not! Ha! We all know they only think about food and not dying! Lol, Jk.)
I also had a bit of fun being a natural-born idjit pretending I’m Van-Damme between two moving trucks. I’m not as flexible as that karate wielding ninja, which makes no sense because you can’t wield a karate, but dear God, I hoped no one was watching.
Making my way back to the top just before it got pitch black, I stopped by the lookout and crossed the river that fed Queen Mary Falls, and just as I was getting to the very end of the trail, what did I spot waddling along the ground?
A possum! And not just any possum! A possum with a baby on its back! And not a little one either! It was a giant baby! The kind of sized baby that makes you wonder how the hell momma is still able to walk and climb trees with that overgrown precious clamped to her back? Either mommy possum is uber buff under that layer of fuzz or she’s about two seconds away from becoming a pancake!
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo of this super adorable sighting but it was awesome nonetheless, seeing as how outside of a kangaroo or a wallaby, I’ve never seen anything of the infant variety out in the wild.
Recovering from the super cuteness, I headed to my last stop of the day, a pretty waterfall with a viewing platform next to the road and gazed upon Daggs Falls. It was too dark to take a photograph but it’s a beautiful plunge waterfall similar to Queen Mary Falls, but without the effort and a nice way to cap off a day of chasing waterfalls.
The Falls Drive took me through some spectacular scenery, but the highlight amongst all these fields, mountain ranges and lookouts were definitely the waterfalls. Even though they weren’t gushing, they are still spectacular and breathtaking.
This is a place that brings me back time and time again thanks to its sheer beauty and I’m certain that this outing in the Scenic Rim and Southern Downs won’t be the last.
(Browns Falls is just down the road from Daggs Falls, but that one requires a bit of effort and a bit of daylight, so while I gave it a skip today, you can read about my Dad’s and my mini adventure to seek out this elusive waterfall here: Searching For Browns Falls.)
More Southern Downs:
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