I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published January 9th 2018
Walk and swim in beautiful area
I finally got to go on the Artists Cascades walk after my initial attempt was cancelled due to impending storms a few weeks ago. Twelve of us from Brisbane bushwalkers piled into three 4-wheel drives and headed to the start of the walk in the Conondale Ranges National Park at the Booloumba Creek day area. The Artists Cascades walk is part of the Conondale Range Great Walk
We did need 4 wheel drives. There were three creek crossings to get there. Even 4 wheel drives would have difficulty after heavy rain and flooding, so if you go there, you need to watch weather warnings. It is possible for people with 2 wheel drive cars to park and walk in across the three creeks for a couple of kilometres to the day use area.
We drove up from Brisbane to Maleny via Lansborough and then towards Kenilworth and through the small town of Conondale. The turn-off to Booloumba Creek day-use and camping areas is about 13km past Conondale. You could also get there by driving to Kenilworth via the Eumundi-Kenilworth Road.
The walk was worth the wait. As I lay on the rock ledge with the cool cascades water gushing around me, I felt life couldn't get much better. A few people jumped in clothes and all. Booloumba Creek day-use area to Artists Cascades was10.6km return. Although a lot of the walk was in shade, we all still sweated a lot and needed to drink lots of water, so you need to carry at least a couple of litres with you.
We had a couple of detours on the way to the cascades. First, we visited the old gold mine site. It is closed off now for safety reasons. A large bat colony has moved in. There are two types of bats living there including, Common Bentwing and Eastern Horseshoe bats. The goldmine was worked in the early 1900s. The length of the drive was 60m. Gold and manganese were the main deposits mined.
A bit further on, we took the short track to the Strangler Cairn art installation. It is 3.7m high. Neil told us the large stone egg artwork had caused a lot of controversy when it was made. The international artist, Andy Goldsworth,y created the artwork using hand-cut granite and metamorphic blocks. There is a little strangler fig (Ficus watkinsiana) sitting on top of the egg. I heard there have been more than one of these as the other one died. The blocks of stone had to be carried in by helicopter and the whole exercise was very expensive.
Part of our walk was alongside Booloumba creek. The water was an amazing green colour. There are campsites beside the creek with open fireplaces, and I think it would be a lovely place to camp. We could hear the happy sounds of children splashing and laughing in the creek as we walked along.
I remembered the name Booloumba Creek from years ago when two women disappeared from the area. A man is currently in jail for their murders, but their bodies have never been found. He was arrested when his babysitter went missing after he had picked her up to drive her home. He had been in the area when the other two women were last seen.
One woman, Celena Bridge, a backpacker from Cumbria in England, was last seen walking along Booloumba Creek Road in 1998 to meet up with a birdwatching group. The other woman, Sabrina Glassop, lived along the road and disappeared about ten months later.
Some of our group jumped in the water in their clothes. They were cool on the walk out. After lunch, we walked back to our cars. It was a lot quicker getting back without the detours. After changing we headed off and had afternoon tea at a great organic food shop in Maleny. I had a large fresh mango smoothie, which was delicious.
We didn't see any snakes on our walk, but I have heard other people have seen snakes along this track, so it is important to always carry some bandages and know snake bite first aid. I always carry bandages, which show how to achieve the correct tension, which is essential when applying a pressure immobilisation bandage for snakebites to prevent the venom circulating through the lymphatic system.
The Strangler Cairn is not an egg but a seed. The roots are expected to take 100 years to reach the ground. Or they may destroy the cairn. nd yes I have been told that this is the third strangler fig. The two previous ones died.