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20 Best Waterfalls in South East Queensland

Home > Brisbane > Lists | Nature | Outdoor | Views | Walks
by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published May 3rd 2016
These are the best waterfalls in and around Brisbane
There is a Chinese poem that roughly translates to, The wise person walks in the mountains, the intelligent person sits by the waterfall. Being both wise and intelligent, we obviously want to head to the mountains in search of some waterfalls. There are plenty around South East Queensland. This is a list of the 20 best.

One of many waterfalls in South East Queensland
One of many waterfalls in South East Queensland


On this list are waterfalls near Brisbane, others that you can drive up to and some you have to walk for hours to reach. I have probably left a few off this list which are on people's favourites list. Please let me know in the comments.

1. JC Slaughter Falls: Mt Coot-tha

While not the most exciting falls, it is the most convenient, JC Slaughter falls at Mt Coot-tha sometimes even has water flowing over it. While the falls are not that interesting, you visit these falls via the Aboriginal Art Trail. It is just one of the many reasons to explore Mt Coot-tha.

JC Slaughter Falls with some water flowing over it
JC Slaughter Falls with some water flowing over it


2. Simpsons Falls: Mt Coot-tha

Simpsons Falls is the other waterfall at Mt Coot-tha. There is usually a trickle of water over these falls as the creek is often constantly fed by an aquafer. It is worth the walk to the falls and if you want to see it flowing, try visiting it after recent rain. There are several trails around this Simpsons worth walking.

Walking over the bridge above Simpsons Falls (you used to have to rock hop over the top of the falls)
Walking over the bridge above Simpsons Falls (you used to have to rock hop over the top of the falls)


3. Greenes Falls

Mt Glorious has the falls that is closest to Brisbane, Greenes Falls. The 4.3 km return hike goes from the Maiala Picnic area, through rainforest, to a lovely little falls. On a weekend it is a quick drive up here where the air is cooler and you are immersed in rainforest. The falls just add to this great experience on Brisbane's doorstep.

The walking track to Greenes Falls
The walking track to Greenes Falls


4. Mapleton Falls

Mapleton Falls is one of the great lookouts in South East Queensland. The lookout is nearly directly above the falls, so while it provides beautiful views down the mountain, the views of the falls are not that great. It is worth visiting if you are in the area of Maleny or Mapleton. There is also a large picnic area and a short walking track near the falls.
Enjoying the views of the valley from the Mapleton Falls Lookout
Enjoying the views of the valley from the Mapleton Falls Lookout


5. Daggs Falls

Daggs falls is on the Boonah-Killarney scenic drive. The lookout is only about a 10 metre walk from the car park and provides great views of the falls and the creek below. Definitely worth stopping if you are in the area and is just one of many stops on that drive.

Daggs Falls on the Spring Creek scenic drive
Daggs Falls on the Spring Creek scenic drive


6. Natural Bridge Springbrook

Springbrook National has a number of waterfalls worth visiting, include some that you can walk under. The most interesting and easiest to visit is Natural Bridge. Accessed by a 1 km circuit that goes into the cave through which the waterfall flows. It is well worth doing this walk at night to see the glow worms that inhabit the cave.

Photo of Natural Bridge courtesy of Michael Lynch @ Flickr
Photo of Natural Bridge courtesy of Michael Lynch @ Flickr


7. Queen Mary Falls

Also in the Killarney area, Queen Mary Falls is one of the best short walks in South East Queensland. You can visit the two lookouts above the falls through a very short and easy walk, and you can also do a 2 km walk down to the base of the falls and back up again.

Queen Mary Falls
Queen Mary Falls


8. Curtis Falls Mt Tamborine

Mt Tamborine has a number of waterfalls, and Curtis Falls is easily reached via a short 1.5 km return walk. Normally we park near the shops on Dapsang Drive and walk a short distance beside the road to the start of the track.

Curtis Falls
Curtis Falls


9. Kondalilla Falls

Kondalilla Falls is popular because of the swimming hole above the main falls. It is only an 0.8 km walk from the car park to the great swimming hole where there is a small waterfall. Then there is a walk that heads down to the lower falls. This hike is not long with a total distance of 4.7 km, but there are over 100 stairs on the circuit. It is doable if you give yourself plenty of rest, and of course you can have a swim at the swimming hole afterwards.

Kondalilla Falls
Kondalilla Falls


10. Cedar Creek Falls

Cedar Creek Falls in Mt Tamborine are not spectacular but the great swimming hole makes it a popular summer destination. If you are going on a weekend or school holidays in summer, make sure you arrive early. Often there is no parking at the car park or even by the road. From the car park it is only a short walk to the swimming hole. If you want to escape the crowds you can walk further down the creek in search of some more small rock pools.

Swimming at Cedar Creek Falls
Swimming at Cedar Creek Falls


11. Purling Brook Falls

You can visit Purling Brook Falls at the lookout at the top or walk the 4 km circuit down to the base. Of course you can do both. The track down to the base of the falls is steep with lots of steps. But it is not too long, so as long as you give yourself plenty of time and rest if you feel tired, then it is not too difficult.

Purling Brook Falls at Springbrook
Purling Brook Falls at Springbrook


12. Ballanjui Falls Binna Burra

The Ballanjui Falls at Binna Burra is one of the nicest hikes to the base of a falls in that section of Lamington National Park. The falls is on a side track on the Lower Bellbird Circuit. I think it is a total of about 14 kms, including the Lower Bellbird Circuit and the Ballanjui Falls Track. Be aware that coming back up is a long, but not steep, hike back up to the start of the hike.

Ballanjui Falls at Binna Burra
Ballanjui Falls at Binna Burra


13. Browns Falls

Browns Falls is one of the 4 falls on the Boonah-Killarney scenic drive. While not the most exiting of falls when compared with the other falls on the route, Browns Falls has the most interesting walk. The 1.2 km track follows the creek and requires a bit of easy rock hopping and scrambling along a poorly defined track. Just follow the trail markers and you can't get lost. Along the creek are cascades and a small falls that some people mistake for Browns Falls.

Photo of Browns Falls courtesy of Bryce Walker at Flickr
Photo of Browns Falls courtesy of Bryce Walker at Flickr


14. Elabana Falls: Box Forest Circuit

The Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park (also known as O'Reilly's) is full of waterfalls. Both the Tooloona Creek Circuit and the Box Forest Circuit go past many waterfalls and cascades. If there is one falls that stands out, it is the Elabana Falls on the Box Forest Circuit. If you are walking the track anticlockwise then it is the last falls on the hike, which means you save the best till last.

Elabana Falls on the Box Forest Circuit at O'Reilly's
Elabana Falls on the Box Forest Circuit at O'Reilly's


15. Coomera Falls

The 17.4 km Coomera Circuit at Binna Burra is a favourite hike among people who enjoy longer hikes. The track heads out alongside Coomera Gorge. The first falls you come to is Coomera Falls. There are actually two falls here that converge on a pool. You have great views from above but there is no track down to the base of the falls. It is probably at least a 10 km walk just to the falls and return, so you might as well continue along the track where there are numerous other falls.

Coomera Falls at Binna Burra
Coomera Falls at Binna Burra


16. Baxter Falls

One of the falls that are not often visited, Baxter Falls is located on the Sunshine Coast Great Walk. The falls lies midway between two entrances to the great walk. You can either come in from Flaxton Mill Road or Suses Mill Road with Suses Mill being easier, while Flaxton Mill Road has better parking. A return walk from either direction is about 6 kms down up a fairly steep track. You can also walk from Flaxton Mill Road up to Suses Mill Road and along Obi Obi Road to Mapleton Falls. This is a return walk of 12 kms.

Baxter Falls in Kondalilla National Park
Baxter Falls in Kondalilla National Park


17. Boonoo Boonoo Falls

I should include one of my favourite falls just over the border in New South Wales. Boonoo Boonoo Falls is just a short walk from the car park in Boonoo Boonoo National Park. The lookout provides great views down the canyon and okay views of the falls. The best feature of these falls is the series of amazing rock pools above the falls. Be aware, like most national parks in NSW there is an $8 fee per car when you visit.

Boonoo Boonoo Falls
Boonoo Boonoo Falls


18. Killarney Glen falls

This so called secret swimming hole and falls is not really a secret. Located on the Canungra Army training area, the track to the Killarney Glen Falls is open most of the time and usually open on weekends and holidays. The falls are not that spectacular, but the area is famous for a heart shaped swimming hole that you either have to jump in from the cliffs above or swim up to through the gorge.

Killarney Glen Falls
Killarney Glen Falls


19. Cronan Creeks Secret Falls

There are many waterfalls on creeks around South East Queensland where there is no track and so remain secret to all but a few locals. On example of this is the falls on Cronan Creek at Mt Barney. Now I don't know the official name of these falls because they are not marked on any of the topographical maps that I have looked at. While there is no track to the falls, there is a track that gets you very close. You have to find a pile of stones on the side of the Cronan Creek Track, then walk down to the creek and rock hop a short distance up to the falls. It is well worth seeking out these falls.

Cronan Creek's Secret Falls
Cronan Creek's Secret Falls


20. Larapinta Falls

The beautiful Larapinta Falls is not often visited as it requires about 7 hours of bush bashing and rock hopping to reach these falls. There is a track as far as Westray's Grave. After that topographic maps show a track, but as this section of Lamington National Park is not really maintained for hikers, if there was a track it is has disappeared under vegetation. However if you keep an eye out for trail markets you should be okay.

Laripinta Falls is at the end of a long rock hopping walk
Laripinta Falls is at the end of a long rock hopping walk
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Why? The intelligent person sits by the waterfall
Your Comment
This is an awesome article! Save it for later I think :)
by Chloe Doyle (score: 3|1361) 535 days ago
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