Scenic Rim Waterfalls: Nature’s Beauty Unleashed
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Now is a great time to seek spectacular waterfalls in the Scenic Rim, named by global travel authority Lonely Planet in 2022 as one of the hottest destinations to visit!
Located just an hour’s drive from Brisbane and 30 minutes from the heart of the Gold Coast, this breathtaking region stretches from Canungra to The Lost World, Beaudesert to Boonah, Tamborine Mountain to Kalbar.
It is not only recognised for its proximity to major cities, but is also home to the ancient World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests, six historic national parks, charming towns and villages, adventure parks, farm stays, craft breweries, boutique wineries, ecolodges, gourmet experiences, world-class camping, and glamping.
The Scenic Rim boasts over 4,200 square kilometres of rich volcanic soil surrounded by ancient mountains and is dotted with three dams – Lake Moogerah, Lake Maroon and Wyaralong.
With the recent rain filling the region’s rivers and creeks, Mother Nature is in full performance mode, creating an ideal setting to explore the many waterfalls, some requiring a decent hike through ancient rainforests, and others just a casual walk from the car.
So, fill your water bottles and lace up those boots, as we guide you through 11 magnificent waterfalls for your holiday bucket list in the stunning Scenic Rim.
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1. Cedar Creek Falls at Tamborine Mountain
An easy day trip to Tamborine Mountain gives you Cedar Creek Falls. There’s parking and the short walk gives wanderers a range of great viewing points, looking down from the first platform is breathtaking, and further down gives views up at the majestic 15-20m waterfall. Stay at Cedar Creek Lodges in a choice of stylish self-contained lodges and holiday cabins set amid the lush rainforest or glamp, and take the rock pools walk as well.
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2. Witches Falls at Tamborine Mountain
The Witches Falls section of Tamborine National Park was declared in 1908, making it Queensland’s first national park. Witches Falls Circuit takes wanderers through the lush rainforest before reaching a lookout over the waterfall with inland views of the Great Dividing Range. It’s a 3.1km circuit, and easygoing. Bonus: visit the Witches Falls Winery afterwards for local wine and cheese!
3. Curtis Falls in Tamborine National Park
One for all ages, stages and abilities. In the heart of Tamborine Mountain, Curtis Falls is fed by Cedar Creek all year round. The circuit is an easy stroll at 1.5km, about half an hour in total. Set amongst the super lush rainforest, there’s the Curtis Falls Café for a bite before or after the walk. To see another, add on the Joalah Lower Creek Circuit – it’s quite spectacular right now. Tamborine Mountain has a wonderful range of accommodations, from quaint guest houses to bed and breakfast places, hotels and more.
4. Cronan Creek Falls in Mt Barney National Park
About 100m off the beaten path–in this case, the Yellow Pinch trailhead–there’s the “secret” Cronan Creek Falls. From the Yellow Pinch Reserve, follow the Cronan Creek Track past stunning views of the Great Dividing Range and Mt Barney. Pack spare socks, water and a charged phone or camera for this 13km, four-hour round trip.
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5. Lower & Upper Portals, Mt Barney National Park
Not exactly waterfalls, but the Lower & Upper Portals fill the wanderer’s cup just the same as a series of incredible waterholes (great for having a dip) as Mount Barney Creek cascades down the mountain between often towering rocks and cathedral-like cutaways. Both tracks follow a three-hour return route and are for more experienced walkers.
6. Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park
Elabana Falls is another beautiful waterfall in Lamington National Park – take the Main Border Track from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat and walk 3.5km–including a scramble over rocks in the creek–and wanderers will find the cascades before retracing your steps back to O’Reilly’s.
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7. Moran’s Falls in Lamington National Park
The plunging Moran’s Falls are reached by following a descending 4.4km return track about a kilometre back from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat car park. Walks through the sub-tropical rainforest of booyongs, figs and brush box–it’s a well-marked track–and then visit the clearing or the lookout–or both–and return for a well-earned treat at O’Reilly’s Mountain Café.
8. Chalahn Falls at Lamington National Park
Accessed via the Tooloona Creek Circuit, the Chalahn Falls walk to and from O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is around 10.5km. Creek crossings mean wanderers should prepare to wade. The track can degrade in heavy rain and there are some fallen trees, but it’s the perfect spot for a picnic and an awe-inspiring view at the end.
9. Stairway Waterfall in Lamington National Park
Stairway Waterfall is at the turnaround point of a 14km hike beginning at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, where there are plenty of places to cool off along the way, including the Blue Pool. It is a more difficult walk, but passes through gorgeous scenery. Wanderers will get wet feet as there are multiple creek crossings.
10. Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls at Lamington National Park
Off the Coomera Circuit at Binna Burra, the Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls are a 17.5km return trip that takes between five and seven hours, depending on the wanderer! Dense forests, creek crossings, waterfalls, gorges, and cliffs will all be encountered. Binna Burra Lodge has wonderful accommodation options ranging from luxe Sky Lodges to Safari Tents, as well as a restaurant, café and great coffee. NOTE: once at Binna Burra, there’s a whole range of wonderful walks from which to choose, and after this rain, most have waterfalls or cascading water involved!
11. Mirror Falls at Lamington National Park
One for the fitter wanderers, and the 20km trek to Mirror Falls is worthwhile, starting from O’Reilly’s. The views are spectacular. Accommodation at O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat studio apartments and suites that all boast equally spectacular views! This is sky-high wandering at its best!
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A NOTE FOR WANDERERS AND WATERFALL CHASERS:
A reminder to walk carefully through Mother Nature’s beautiful places. Protecting our natural environment is a priority and a responsibility of every wanderer. Always plan and prepare, stick to designated tracks and go only where it’s permitted. Some activities may require proper guidance, navigation skills, special permits, or equipment, so please check with local tour operators or visitor information centres for up-to-date information and guidance.
Story and photos contributed by Visit Scenic Rim
Feature photo: Cameron Falls at Tamborine Mountain, by Lachlan Gardiner 2021.
Published 11 January 2024
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