Just a city girl who dreams of dusty trails and endless oceans.
Published June 4th 2017
Day-trip from Brisbane
If you are looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Brisbane, but do not want to travel too far, then you need to check out Kondalilla National Park. Nestled in the hills above the Sunshine Coast, this unique escape to the country is only 1-1.5 hours drive from Brisbane near the country town of Montville. It is a great day trip from Brisbane that the whole family can enjoy.The National Park itself has existed since 1945, and although it is only 3.27 square kilometres, it is easy to feel like you are the only people for miles around.
To get to the park, you can opt for two different but easy routes. You can take the fast and straight Bruce Highway (the M1), taking the Nambour Connection Road exit. For a more scenic option, Steve Irwin Way takes you through historic towns and passes some great farmers markets before you turn off at Maleny Street. A highlight of the drive will be the steep climb over the Blackall Ranges, giving an amazing view over the rural Sunshine Coast. Either way, you will be looking for Kondallia Falls Road which ends in a small carpark.
Here you will find a small clearing with BBQs, picnic tables and toilet facilities. There is also some educational boards detailing the Indigenous and environmental heritage of the area. It is from here that you have access to two relatively short walks. The small 1.7km Picnic Creek Circuit takes you to the lookout point over the valley. This is a mild-moderate walk with some stairs and uphill sections, a great option for a family with smaller children. The Kondalilla Falls Circuit also follows this track, before branching off and taking you a further 3kms over rougher terrain.
The Kondalilla Falls Circuit is a moderate track that is listed as 1.5-2 hours long (although we managed it in 1 hour and 10 minutes). It takes you right to the bottom of the falls, passing a lookout point near the top, and a beautiful swimming hole roughly halfway along. Remember, if you go down, you have to get back up again, and that means a lot of stairs. Some areas of the track are rougher than others when stone steps give way to dirt trails.
The picturesque swimming hole on the Kondalilla Falls Circuit
To get the most out of this trail I definitely recommend bringing a packed lunch and a towel, so you can spend the day amongst the beautiful scenery and take advantage of the swimming opportunity. Make sure you take water and enclosed shoes as well. Rubbish bins are not provided in the park, and insect repellent is a must. Don't forget to take a peek in the boutique stores and cafes around Montville before you return home to Brisbane.