Through the forest from falls to falls on the Sunshine Coast
The Sunshine Coast Great Walk has a number of wonderful sections that you can walk. The Mapleton Falls to Gheerulla Falls section is a 16 km return walk between two falls. Along with the falls, the track includes 3 lookouts. With road access at several points, you can shorten the walk if you prefer.
This hike is very well signposted with a combination of Great Walk markers, specific trail name markers, as well as maps at key intersections, so even though the trail intersects with other tracks, roads, fire trails and so on, it is hard to get lost unless you are not paying attention to the signs. However, it is worth downloading the map before starting the walk.
Just follow the Great Walk signs and you won't get lost
The hike starts at Mapleton Falls. You can drive up to this lookout where there is limited parking next to the lookout and more parking up the road. If you are walking it is better to park further up the road and leave space for people who just want to visit the falls.
The hike starts at the Wompoo Circuit. This beautiful little track features a forest of palm trees down by the creek, a giant strangler vine and Peregrine lookout. If you keep to the left, it will take you along the shortest route. Basically, follow the signs saying Great Walk.
The goes through the Wompoo Circuit which is full of palm trees
The path passes by a track to the Peregrine Lookout. It is only a few metres down this track to the lookout where there are nice views of the valley. Though the view is not much different from the one you get from the Mapleton Falls Lookout, it is still worth wandering down for a look as it is only a short distance from the main track.
The next part of the track after the Wompoo circuit is very varied. First, you will walk behind some houses, then cross a road and follow narrow tracks. Keep an eye on the signs or you might end up on the fire trails instead of the hiking trail, though they often end up in the same location.
The walk is well signed but make sure you pay attention to them or you could end up going up the wrong path
As you walk you will come across another entrance to the walk-off Daymar Road. If you are looking for a shorter walk you could start the walk at this location. It is marked as entrance M4 on the Sunshine Coast Great Walk Map.
Entrance M4 to the great walk can be used to shorten the hike
The next part of the walk is along a multi-use trail known as Leafy Lane. While not as shady as the other parts of the track, there is still plenty of cover except when the sun is at its highest. In addition, the open track usually lets a cooling breeze come through. Being a multi-use trail you might be sharing it with people on mountain bikes or horses, though normally the main concern is making sure you don't step in the horse manure.
Part of the walk is on fire trails among the trees
The multi-use trail leads to the Ubajee Walkers Camp. You will find toilets and campsites with raised wooden platforms. During the day though it is rare to see anyone actually camping as most people camp only overnight and move on.
The Ubajee Walkers Camp is a great place to stop and rest because there is a nice lookout with views down the Gheerulla Valley. The lookout is not huge but there are places to comfortably sit 10 people to enjoy the view.
View of the Gheerulla Valley from the Ubajee Walkers Camp
Some people might decide the skip the last part of the walk down to Gheerulla Falls as this part of the track is fairly steep. These falls are nice enough, especially if there is water. The pool below the falls can be deep enough to sit and soak in, which is a great way to relax, especially if you are camping at Ubajee Walkers Camp.
Skipping this last steep section reduces the walk to 14 kms from Mapleton Falls to the Ubajee Walkers return, down from 16 kms return to the falls. If you started at the M4 entrance it is 14 kms return to Gheerulla Falls, s you might choose the shorter route if you are visiting the falls.
Not the best hike in South East Queensland but a great hike on the Sunshine Coast with falls at either end of a return track, three lookouts and varied vegetation along the path. Overall a great walk for walkers and is something you might do if you have also done some of the other hikes in the area.
After the hike
The best place to visit after the hike is Mapleton where there are several coffee shops, bakeries, shops and the Mapleton Tavern. The tavern provides the best views down the valley and has a range of light and full meals.
Mapleton has a number of places to stop at after the hike, including the Mapleton Tavern