The lower Ballanjiu Falls is a popular side destination of a couple of different circuits in Lamington National Park, however many people choose to walk the direct track, past 3 amazing lookouts, down to the base of the falls and back again. Despite this option not even being listed on the National Parks website, it is one of the great walks to do at Binna Burra.
This hikes is located in the Binna Burra Section of the Lamington National Park and starts in lower section of the upper car park. This is the overflow section for the car park at the very end of Binna Burra Road. Normally though, we choose to park up at the very top near the tea house and stroll down the short section of road to the start of the walk. That way, at the end of the hike when we go to the Lamington Tea House, we don't have far to go back to the car.
The total return distance is 10.5 kms with maybe an extra kilometre if you chose to visit the Bellbird Lookout. The walk heads down hill, so coming back is harder than going down. While not steep, it is important to be aware of this fact if you are unsure of your fitness levels. The track is well maintained, with just a couple of steep sections and a little bit of rock hopping for some creeks, but nothing challenging.
The track is well maintained, with just a few steep or rocky sections that won't be much of a challenge
The first lookout is the Bellbird Lookout. This lookout, as well as the Bellbird Clearing, is accessed by a track that would add at least another kilometre to the length of the hike. It is well worth visiting though. You can probably skip it if you are pressed for time.
The view from Bellbird Lookout down the Kurraragin Valley
The second lookout is the Koolanbilba Lookout. This lookout gives a nice expansive view down to Egg and Turtle Rocks. However it is not really a great place to stop with little room if there are more than a few hikers stopping here.
Egg and Turtle Rocks seen from the Koolanbilba Lookout
The lookout with the best, if slightly scary, views, is the Yangahla Lookout. This is essentially a rock jutting out and overlooking the valley. It is the favourite place to stop and take a photo of yourself (safely) posing on the rock.
The Yangahla Lookout is a rock jutting out giving views of the valley below
At the base of the falls is a lovely little pool. If there has been recent rain it should be deep enough for a dip. At its deepest, it is maybe waist height. Not exactly a great swimming hole, but a popular spot to cool off at on a hot day. Though of course you have to hike back up afterwards.
If you are lucky there is enough water in the pool for a swim
Hiking back up is simply a matter of retracing your steps. Alternatively you can walk back up the following the Lower Bellbird Circuit. This increases the length of the hike for very little reward, especially as at the end you have to walk 2 kms back up the road to where you parked your car.
Finally, when you are back to the top, the place to goin for tea, coffee, beer, cake or a meal is the Lamington Tea House. This wonderful and popular cafe serves great food with amazing views.
Lamington Tea House is a convenient spot for food and drinks after the hike
Overall, this is a fantastic little hike that combines great views, an amazing waterfall and beautiful rainforest. Given that the hike involves first walking down into the valley and then back up, it is probably better to walk directly down skipping most of the lookouts and then rest at the 3 lookouts on the way back up.