I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published November 16th 2019
I had to wait a few years to get onto one of my bushwalking club's popular Rimfall weekends. I had heard it was a great weekend. I finally got to spend a weekend there recently and it was worth the wait.
We drove down to Rimfall at the base of Mt Gipps, near the Border Ranges, on a Friday afternoon. Our bushwalking group stayed in three private cottages belonging to the Drynan family. Rimfall farm has been in the Drynan family since the 1880s. It is a beautiful wild area near the NSW border. Jan and Ken Drynan run 300 head of beef cattle on their 1200 acres and follow sustainable farming practices with awareness of conservation issues.
The property has large areas of rainforest and open forest on the north facing slopes. Beautiful Running Creek runs through the area. They have signed a Nature Agreement for over 1000 acres of their property. They welcome visitors who can rent their cottages for short stays. It is a wonderful area for bushwalkers, birdwatchers and nature lovers.
After settling in to one of the cottages and having some afternoon tea, Di and I walked up to check out the other two cottages where our fellow walkers were staying. We walked over Running Creek at the end of Chingee Creek road up to the old schoolhouse. It was a lovely old building, complete with a blackboard. It had been brought onto the property on the back of a truck.
We then walked up to the Rimfall Cottage, which overlooked a beautiful billabong containing several platypus. We sat down by the creek bank watching the platypus swimming around at dusk. It was only the second time I had seen playpus in the wild. The first time was on the Beatrice River near Milla Milla on the Atherton Tableland many years ago.
If you go there, be prepared for variable phone and internet reception, and if you go during daylight saving time your phone may switch over to NSW time, even though you are still in Queensland. Mine did and my alarm went off at 5.30am instead of Queensland time of 6.30am. We had been warned, so I should have set it an hour later for Saturday morning.
Early on Saturday, we all met up at the schoolhouse and piled into four-wheel-drive cars to take us to the start of the Running Creek Falls walk. Luckily we had some good four-wheel driver bushwalkers because the road was steep and slippery in places and required good four-wheel-drive skills. Several of our drivers also belonged to four-wheel-drive clubs and were very experienced. I had heard stories of previous trips where cars got bogged and were towed out. People had to do a long walk back.
After about five kilometres, we parked the cars at the base of Black Snake Ridge on the edge of Lamington National Park. We walked up and down a faint track to meet Running Creek, which we followed to the junction of England and Running Creeks. This is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area, which contains many rare, threatened and endemic species of plants and animals.
From this junction, it was approximately 600 metres of creek walk/rock hopping till we got to the falls for lunch. We then retraced our steps. We had the option of either rock hopping the whole way up the creek to the falls or going part of the way up the side of the creek in the rainforest. I chose to take the track for part of the way.
It was a beautiful dry day and the creek crossings and rock hopping was fairly easy on dry rocks. Some people on previous trips missed seeing the waterfall because they had to turn back after rain made the rocks too dangerous to rock hop up the creek. A bushwalker died in the area in August 2008. The 65-year-old man went missing on a bushwalk after getting separated from his group. His body was found in a ravine in a remote area of Lamington National Park near Running Creek Falls. He had fallen while attempting to climb a steep escarpment.
On the way to the falls, we walked through thick rainforest battling wait a while, trying to avoid Gympie stinging trees, and climbing over and under lots of fallen logs. We also walked through lots of open palm forests. You do need to do this walk with someone who has done it previously, unless you are very experienced at navigation because there are no tracks, and it would be easy to get lost.
As we walked along, Annalena pointed out a rough track heading up from our track. She said it led up to the stretcher track, but was very steep and rough. The stretcher track was cut to bring out the survivors of the Stinson plane crash.
I had heard the story about the Stinson wreck many years ago when I first moved to Brisbane. I bought the book Green Mountains by Bernard O'Reilly, but I've never been to the wreck site or Westray's grave on Christmas Creek. I must go there one day. I read he fell down a waterfall by grabbing hold of some lilies, which gave way. I often see lilies in Lamington National Park around creeks and waterfalls. I must remember to never trust them when holding onto them as they have can break off and give way, which is what happened to Westray. Bernard O'Reilly found his body further down the creek. He was propped up against a tree with a cigarette in his hand.
You can read an interesting story about the plane crash here.
Running Creek Falls were very impressive. They are around 100 metres high and very beautiful surrounded by huge boulders and thick rainforest. It was too cold to swim, although one of our group had a surprise swim when she was rock hopping up the creek. She held onto a tree branch, which gave way, and she dropped into the cold creek water and arrived at the waterfall very wet. Running Creek eventually joins the Logan River. Larapinta Falls are over the next valley. I haven't been there yet, but I must go there soon.
The walk had everything, beautiful rainforest, creeks, waterfall, history, as well as the usual things that are not so welcome such as wait a while, ticks, stinging trees and lots of logs to climb over and under and bush to push through.
There was a trip planned for Sunday to climb Mt Gipps, but after a delicious communal dinner and wine on Saturday night, and because it was hot, everyone who was going up the mountain decided to stay around the cottages and just explore the local area. It would have been an interesting walk because there used to be a sawmill in Mount Gipps from at least 1920. The border between Queensland and NSW passes over the summit of the mountain.
I explored Running Creek with Di. It was very interesting. We saw a dead coastal carpet python and lots of beautiful native birds.
If you plan to walk to Running Creek Falls, you really need to go with someone who knows the way, or be very confident in navigating through untracked areas. If you don't have a four-wheel-drive, you will need to walk an extra five kilometres to the start of the walk, which is on the edge of Lamington National Park. You need to wear shoes or boots with good grip for hopping over the large boulders and long trousers or gaiters and long sleeved shirt to prevent getting scratched by the wait awhile. If it is wet, it is not advisable to rock hop up the creek as the rocks can be very slippery and dangerous. You will need to get permission to go through the private property belonging to the Drydens.
I loved my weekend at Rimfall and hope to get back again one day. If any readers want to go there, you can contact the property owners Jan and Ken Dryden through the Facebook page or ring Jan on 07 55448235, mobile 0490317723. KJDrynan@bigpond.com
They are very welcoming.
Address: 249 Mount Gipps Rd, Mount Gipps QLD 4285
Phone: (07) 5544 8235
249 Mount Gipps Road
Mount Gipps , QLD 4285