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Artists Cascades at Conondale National Park

Home > Sunshine Coast > Adventure | Escape the City | National Parks | Outdoor | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published August 30th 2017
This walk includes a great swimming hole, art and history
The Artists Cascades walk is one of the most interesting walks in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. The hike follows a creek, visits a historic gold mine, takes you to unique artwork deep in the rainforest and ends at a great swimming hole.

The Artists Cascades is a popular place for swimming
The Artists Cascades is a popular place for swimming


The official start of the walk is at the Booloumba Creek Day Use Area and Campgrounds from where it is a 10.6 km return walk. To get to here, you need to drive across the creek 3 times or walk in from before the first creek crossing.

It is highly recommended that you only drive here if you have a high clearance vehicle. If the creeks are low you might be tempted to try in a normal car, however because the crossings are made from loose stones you could easily become stuck or do damage to your vehicle if the stones shift. Having said that, I know many people who have driven across all the creeks without any problem, but I personally would avoid doing that.

The official starting point of the hike
The official starting point of the hike


However, the best option if you don't have a four wheel drive is to park just before the first creek crossing and walk in. Your feet will get wet and it adds a couple more kilometres to the walk, but it is the safer option and a pleasant walk.

If you don't have a 4 wheel drive it is better to walk in from before the first creek crossing
If you don't have a 4 wheel drive it is better to walk in from before the first creek crossing


From the official start of the walk, the path follows along the creek, sometimes down close by the creek and sometimes up on ridges. The walk doesn't require any more creek crossing from this point on and is easy to follow.

The path follows along Booloumba Creek
The path follows along Booloumba Creek


The path is well maintained and signposted, with plenty of shade. It is not a particularly difficult or steep path, instead heading up along a gentle rise towards the artists cascades. There was one long steeper rise that might cause the less fit to struggle, but it is not a problem if you take your time and not hurry.

The path is well maintained and shady
The path is well maintained and shady


While the path lacks views, there are a couple of places of interest on the way. The first is the old gold mine dating back to the 1920s. While not overly exciting it is worth the short diversion to visit.

The old Gold Mine at Conondale National Park
The old Gold Mine at Conondale National Park


The other place of interest along the track is the Strangler Cairn. This artwork by Andy Goldsworthy was made from stones that were helicoptered in. The stone cairn is topped by a strangler fig which they hope will grow and cover the rock. There is some controversy about the artwork due to its cost and location, however it is unique in Australia to be able to hike to see art inside a forest and that makes it well worth visiting.

A unique artistic creation deep in the rainforest
A unique artistic creation deep in the rainforest


The walk ends at the Artists Cascades, a lovely swimming hole with a beautiful cascade with a rock ledge that you sit on and enjoy the water on your back. The area around the swimming hole has plenty of shade as well as exposed rock to sun yourself - so it makes a great place for lunch before returning back to the start of the hike.

The Artists Cascades is a popular place for swimming
The Artists Cascades is a popular place for swimming


Overall this is one of the nicest hikes in the area and one of the best swimming holes in South East Queensland. It has yet to be really discovered by hikers ,so it is rarely as crowded as some of the others in the area such as Kondalilla Falls.

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Why? A beautiful walk that includes history, art and a swimming hole
Where: Turn onto the Booloumba Creek Rd, from the Maleny-Kenilworth Road and keep driving until you either reach the first creek crossing or keep driving until you get to the Booloumba Day Use Area
Cost: Free
Your Comment
The stone sculpture looks fantastic.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11435) 24 days ago
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