It is a bit of a drive from Brisbane, being 162km from Brisbane, but I think it's totally worth it.
Crows Nest National Park is located 6km east of Crows Nest, 40km west of Esk and 56km north of Toowoomba. It boasts fantastic scenery, granite outcrops, a beautiful waterfall and eucalypt forest as well as a variety of wildlife including platypus, birds, bush-tailed rock-wallaby, and echidnas.
Picnic area. Image taken by writer.
Our turkey friend kept us company while we ate. Image taken by writer.
We reached Crows Nest National Park after two hours of driving and were relieved to see plenty of picnic tables at the picnic area near the carpark. We found a nice, shady table and were munching on our goodies soon after. There were a few birds and turkeys hanging around and did get too close at some point, but it was nice to be amongst wildlife. There are also gas powered barbecues for those who enjoy an outdoor barbecue.
After lunch, we set out for a walk to Koonin Lookout which is 4.5km return. If you take a look at the map, you'll see that you can go via Kauyoo Loop which takes you to The Cascades, Kauyoo Pool and Bottlebrush Pool. This Loop is 2.7km return.
The Cascades. Image taken by writer.
Clambering down towards Kauyoo Pool. Image taken by writer.
We took the creek-side walk and got to The Cascades after climbing over rocks. Not long after, we were clambering down over rocks before arriving at a sandy beach at Kauyoo Pool. There was not much water there at all. Scrambling down the rocks was fun and adventurous, but go extra slow if you have bad knees like me.
Bottlebrush Pool. Image taken by writer.
Then we headed back to the track and continued on to Bottlebrush Pool. This is a great place to sit and have a picnic, dip your feet in the water, and relax under the river she-oaks and bottlebrush trees. It's a fantastic place for various wildlife as the trees provide shade and habitat for them.
There were quite a few people here including a group of young people screeching as they stepped into the algae filled water. As a result, my husband and I decided to keep going. We chose to be more adventurous and kept heading down the boulder filled creek bed rather than returning to the walking track. It was exciting and tiring at the same time, but we had a ball. There were a few loose rocks along the way which made me screech as I stepped onto them making my husband chuckle, but other than that, I found it quite easy.
We got to Crows Nest Falls Lookout not long after. The waterfall was non existing due the current dryness of the region. If you do go after good rain, you'll see water tumbling through eucalypt forest, over granite cliffs before plunging 20 metres into the waterhole.
So we stood there gazing at the waterhole, which looked ever so inviting. The waterhole is now closed due to unstable boulders above the walking area and you'll see barriers put in place. If you do go, don't try to go past the barriers and jump into the waterhole as people have hurt themselves entering the closed falls.
Koonin Lookout. Image taken by writer.
We had a quick break before continuing on to Koonin Lookout. The track was fairly easy; there were steps and inclines, but nothing too extreme. I would definitely recommend wandering out to Koonin Lookout for the views were magnificent. The photos don't do it justice, but views over the deep gorge, Valley of Diamonds, as well as rolling hills in the distance were breathtaking.
We sat here for a while, chatting, catching our breath and gazing at the impossibly beautiful sight. Then we made our way back to the car.
I'd suggest bringing a picnic to enjoy at the picnic area and some snacks to refuel you along the way. Don't forget to chill out at the waterholes and lookouts to take in the views and enjoy the great outdoors.
You can pick up your picnic (or BBQ) supplies at the IGA in the town of Crows Nest and while you're there, don't forget to pop by Roger Salt's Antiques Emporium. This dark, dingy place is filled to the brim with hallstands, sideboards, hallchairs, tables, you name it. There are also old school sewing machines, grandfather clocks, roll top desks, lamps, records, pretty much anything and everything.
As we browsed through rows and rows of antiques, I started to feel a bit creeped out by all the 'old' stuff. I wasn't sure if it was because the warehouse wasn't well lit, or if the dusty furniture was giving off weird vibes (or both), but it gave me the heebie jeebies. Don't get me wrong, all the furniture was beautifully made and some even had intricate wood carvings of knights and lions heads.
The most amazing thing (and eerie in some ways) I saw was this huge, dark, wooden cabinet made in 1870. It was gothic, archaic, worn, but absolutely stunning. Their cast iron garden wares were gorgeous as well. We had a great time browsing, oohing and aahing every five seconds. And I found their red English cast iron telephone box outside their store pretty cool too.
So next time you're planning a day trip, why not head to Crows Nest National Park? While you're there, pop by the nearby towns, Esk and Crows Nest or even Toowoomba and take a look around.