One of the best longer hikes with several shorter options
This walk is one of the most amazing walks in South East Queensland. The walk includes views of the dam, Obi Obi Creek, upper and lower Kondalilla Falls and widely varying bushland, from rainforest to dense bushland and riparian forest. There are also 2 places to swim. The walk is a little long at 20 km and some sections are a little steep, however it is well worth the effort.
Upper Kondalilla Falls and Swimming Hole is the destination of this great hike
The official name of this walk is the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk, Baroon Section. You can do this walk as part the great walk or if you are looking for a shorter walk, you walk 6.5 kms from Baroon Pocket Dam to Flat Rock beside Obi Obi creek, swim there and return.
The Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk is made of 3 sections that are interconnected by walks along the road. Most hikers will do it in 4 sections and complete the walk in 4 days with camp sites along the way. The two main sections that day walkers do are this walk from Baroon Pocket Dam to Kondalilla Falls and the Gheerulla Valley Circuit.
Most people start the walk from the Baroon Pocket Dam, though you could also start at the Kondalilla Falls end, but this will add another 2 km to the walk going from the car park to the falls and back.
You will find the start of the walk on the northern side of Baroon Pocket Dam along Narrows Road. Near the end of the road you will see a car pack on your right. If you arrive at the damn wall you have gone too far. There are toilets at the picnic area nearby.
To Baroon Pocket Dam Lookout
The first section is just over 2 kms to the Baroon Pocket Dam Lookout with views of the dam as well Obi Obi Creek from above.
After the Baroon Pocket Dam you will see a sign on the trail recommending only experienced hikers continue. From here the trail is steeper and less well maintained but still something that any reasonably fit and prepared hiker can do.
From the lookout down to Flat Rock is reasonably steep. Remember you will have to go back up this path on the way back.
The walk goes down to the Obi Obi Creek where the terrain changes from rainforest to dense bushland and riparian forest. This starts the nicest walking part of the hike as it is mostly flat and shaded.
You can either follow the path to the right and go up directly to the upper falls or follow the track to the left and view the lower Kondalilla Falls. If you are doing the hike as a return trip you can choose either way to go up and then come down the opposite way, however if you are doing this walk one way as part of the Great Walk then go left to see the falls.
Upper Kondalilla Falls
Upper Kondalilla Falls has a small falls and swimming hole. This area is popular with families and day trippers. The car park is less than 1 km walk away from here so it gets very busy on hot days.
You do have to return back the way that you came. The hardest part is returning back up the hill from Flat Rock to the Baroon Pocket Dam Lookout. Overall though this is not a difficult walk for anyone who is reasonably fit. It is recommended that you leave early to give yourself plenty of time to return as most people will take about 7 hours, including breaks, to complete the walk.
The path varies from rainforest, dense bushland and some open patches
For a longer walk it is fairly popular and you will see a reasonable number of people on the trail compared with other similar length hikes. You will also see more people at the ends of the hike doing the shorter walks.
One of the highlights of the walk are several huge old rainforest trees
For a reasonably paced group of hikers, you can except to take 7 hours on this hike. There are not that many places to stop, but those where you can stop are so pleasant you will be tempted to linger. Afterwards you will be looking for a place to relax, have a cup of coffee and maybe a nice slice of cake.
I should mention that the Flame Hill Winery is just up the road and you to pass it driving to the hike and a great place to stop, sample some wines and have a snack. Otherwise your main choices are in Montville and Maleny. While both towns have great cafes, generally we head to the UpFront Club and Cafe or Colin James Fine Foods for ice cream in Maleny. But these are just two among many other choices.
The UpFront Club in Maleny is a great place for coffee, cake and meals during the day