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Published August 8th 2016
Waterfalls and wildlife walk
First Falls is a spectacular seasonal waterfall. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
If you are looking for a stroller and wheelchair friendly bushwalk, head 12km northeast from the city to the Morialta Conservation Park. After entering the park from the corner of Stradbroke and Morialta Roads, you can park the car for free near the stone hut and walk to the start of the trail; alternatively, limited paid parking is available at the First Falls car park.
The scenic walk from the stone hut to the trailhead is dog friendly. Photo:Hazel Cochrane
The 1.6km First Falls Valley walk will take you along a well maintained, predominantly flat path toward the spectacular Morialta Waterfall, also known as the First Falls. Starting from the information boards in the First Falls car park, the easy track follows Fourth Creek, an area featuring prominently in the early settlement around Morialta in 1840. In the early days of European settlement, the native vegetation near Fourth Creek was badly impacted by tree felling, mining, quarrying and grazing, including the introduction of Angora goats in the 1870s.
The Stone hut on the path to the trailhead. photo: Hazel Cochrane
The negative impact on the environment could have continued, if it had not been for James Smith Reid, who, after purchasing 405 hectares in 1901, donated 120 hectares to the State Government in 1912. Placed in the control of the National Pleasure Resort in 1913, Morialta Falls was proclaimed as a Pleasure Resort in 1915. Combined with surrounding land in 1972, a 372 hectare allotment was renamed Morialta Conservation Park and protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.
Today, koalas sleep in the trees as you walk along the trail in the 533-hectare park, which is home to a variety of native wildlife. Frogs are heard, but rarely seen along the creek; rosellas and lorikeets nest in the trees and can be heard as you walk through the park toward the heart of the Morialta Gorge. Looking up, you will see the Deep View Lookout high above, from which amazing views of the park await for those who make the climb. In the other direction, the Giants Cave can be seen in the distance. It's only 93 steps up to the cave, and worth a look if you are so inclined.
A colourful rainbow in the waterfall. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
After crossing several bridges, the trail reaches the viewing platform for the First Falls. Visiting after the rains in winter, the waterfall is quite impressive as the water cascades about 30 metres down into the pond below. The soft spray from the tumbling water greets you as you make your way toward the front of the platform. If you are lucky, you'll see a small colourful rainbow wash across the water spray, resulting in great photos, if you have your camera.
Lorikeets enjoy watching the walkers from the trees. Photo: Hazel Cochrane
Returning to the car park, the picnic and BBQ facilities are available to complete the pleasant 45-minute stroll with a light lunch. Toilet facilities are available near the car park. Dogs on a lead are allowed in the information area and the car park, but not in the rest of the Conservation Park.
Morialta Falls is a popular place for walkers and families, and a popular place for visitors from overseas, so getting there early is advisable if you want a car park close by. You never know, there may even be a koala, waiting to greet you.
by firstname.lastname@example.org (score: 2|550) 618 days ago
This spectacular falls area..of which there are 3...is well worth a visit...need strong legs to walk to the last 2 falls.Back in the 50's there was a large circular wooden 1920's style kiosk/tea rooms..damaged during floods..then demolished...pity they never replaced..really fitted in with the surroundings and added a touch of history.One could catch a tram from the city to where the entrance/first car park is...would be nice to see it reinstated if they ever decide to put a tramline up Magill Road again.