Experience cool subtropical rainforests - Image: Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons (no attribution required)
Oh my gosh, we sure have been having some warm weather in Queensland…. not that we're complaining as we know that Autumn is just around the corner with it's beautifully mild and temperate days! But…in saying that, if you're anything like me, it's quite difficult to be motivated to get outdoors in the heat to do some exercise - my preference is to stay indoors and enjoy the air conditioning at full blast.
To ensure we get outdoors and stay reasonably cool whilst getting some exercise, here is my list of rainforest walks for those scorching summer days on the Sunshine Coast. For ease of reference, I've chosen to do them alphabetically.
Ben Bennett Bushland Park
Queen Street, Caloundra West, QLD 4551
Look out for the self-guided walk maps
The Ben Bennett Bushland Park
is one of the few remaining remnant bushland areas in the heart of Caloundra, with a number of varying ecosystems that can be explored, including eucalyptus, heath and rainforest systems.
On entering at the Queen Street entrance at Ben Bennett Bushland Park, walkers can find maps detailing the self-guided walks that range from 800m to 1100m return, offering the Rainforest Trail and the Eucalypt Trail.
Ben Bennett is the habitat for the Glossy Black Cockatoo
The Ben Bennett Bushland Park is a great place for bird watching, being the habitat for the Glossy Black Cockatoo - though on the day we visited, I suspect it was the wrong season, as these beautiful birds were nowhere to be seen.
If you're looking for a short, cool walk under the trees and perhaps a picnic afterwards, Ben Bennett Bushland Park in Caloundra is a great idea!
Booloumba Falls Walk
Conondale National Park
Conondale, QLD, 4552
Take a walk on the wild side at Conondale National Park
This has to be one of my all-time favourite walking locations. The Booloumba Falls Walk
is part of the spectacular Conondale National Park region, in the rugged Conondale Range. Lush green rainforests, waterfalls, boulder-strewn creeks and spectacular panoramic scenery, interspersed with a diversity of wildlife, is what visitors have to look forward to, when walking in this area.
The Bolooumba Falls Walk
requires average fitness levels and one should allow at least two hours for this three-kilometre return trip - and a bit more time for photos and a swim!
Enticing crystal-clear mountain water
Walkers follow a well-defined trail through tall open forest to discover Booloumba Creek's cascades, waterfalls and rock pools. You'll be immersed in the natural beauty of this remarkable, sprawling region. Admire The Breadknife from the Booloumba Gorge lookout, an impressive rock formation that marks the junction of Peters and Booloumba Creeks.
Water cascading over the rocks into the rock pools is very enticing with its cool crystal-clear mountain water, luring swimmers to enjoy a dip - definitely a worthwhile treat after a walk.
Buderim Forest Waterfall Walk
Lindsay Road or Quorn Close, Buderim, QLD, 4556
Buderim-ites - I love that word, sounds like veggie-mites - are truly blessed to have a forty-five hectare secluded oasis, tucked away on the northern side of Buderim, less than a kilometre from Buderim Village, to call their own. The Buderim Forest Waterfall
Walk is a rainforest world of tall trees, ferns, waterfalls (after the rains) and birds.
Enjoy a secluded oasis at the Buderim Forest
An excellent walking trail has been developed from two different entry points. The one entry is off Lindsay Road, via Harry's Lane, with a second entry point via Quorn Close, which runs off Lindsay Road at the top of Buderim - just past the Buderim Post Office centre.
Walkers have access to parking at both entry points of Buderim Forest
, with the added advantage of a large park available at the Lindsay Road entrance (the one via Harry's Lane). The Harry's Lane entrance also boasts an elevated wooden boardwalk, which takes walkers through the forest, criss-crossing Martins Creek at different spots. This fabulous boardwalk goes for 600 metres through the forest and is ideal for disabled walkers as well as wheelchair users.
Buderim Falls from the high arch bridge
Both trails within the Buderim Forest have electric barbecues and picnic tables, so it's an ideal spot for a family day out.
The Quorn Close entry point has its own memorial garden in memory of Edna Walling
. Edna is famous for creating many gardens around the world and actually retired in Buderim. Walkers go through the picnic area to get to the trail, which is a reasonably steep bushwalking track, ideal for walkers with moderate fitness levels. Please note this portion of the track is not accessible with strollers or wheelchairs.
Enjoy the Buderim Falls from the high arch bridge spanning the creek or take a dip in the rock pool. The dip in the rock pool is not really advisable as this creek is spring fed and passes through many urban developments and stormwater drains to reach the falls area. In saying that, I have heard of many dare-devils using this area to cool off!
Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk
Corner of Mons Road and Telco Road, Buderim, QLD, 4556
The Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk has lots of fun historical information en route
A walk without a waterfall, can you imagine…
Instead, think reminiscent
and historical pride
and all amidst lush green surrounds! That's what we found - another place of historical awesomeness that Buderim can boast about - the Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk
. This Tramway Walk used to be a railway - not a tramway, as the name suggests - and was built to service the needs of the farmers and residents of Buderim and surrounds, allowing for farm produce, fruit and timber to access Brisbane, via the main-line at Palmwoods.
Sunny Coasters are really lucky to have access to this free Heritage Trail
to be enjoyed as a walk or run - whichever might tickle your fancy. I need to caution you, that should you choose to run the Trail, you will definitely miss the historical highlights enroute. The Heritage Tramway Walk, through the regrowth forest, is two kilometres one way or four kilometres return. The trail starts from the corner of Mons and Telco Roads in Buderim; in Telco Road near the intersection, you will find a grassed parking area, providing a safe spot to leave your vehicle.
Take a walk or run 'back in time'
A wheelchair-friendly access ramp with a gentle gradient from top to bottom takes you down to the start of the moderate walking track. Give yourself at least an hour to complete the round-trip of the Heritage Trail
, whilst keeping an eye out for plaques and historical information boards along the way.
This Trail is perfect for walkers and runners but unfortunately is not suitable for bicycles or horses.
Grab a water bottle, your furry friend, on a leash, and head off down to the Buderim Palmwoods Heritage Tramway Walk for a fun walk 'back in time
Eric Joseph Foote War Memorial Sanctuary
Foote Avenue, Buderim, QLD, 4556
Eric Joseph Foote War Memorial Sanctuary
Eric Joseph Foote War Memorial Sanctuary is a secret only the locals appear to know about!
on the eastern slopes of Buderim Mountain is a precious pearl in the crown of Buderim - a secret tranquil place, only the locals appear to know about!
This well-kept Buderim secret boasts nine hectares of lush green surrounds, enabling visitors an opportunity to enjoy Buderim's fauna and flora. A local farming community family, the Foote family, gifted this land in 1948 to the community association, which is now known as the Buderim War Memorial Community Association
. The land dedication was to the memory of their son, Eric, who had been killed in the fighting at the Somme during the First World War.
Enjoy a stroll or, if you prefer something a bit more challenging, why not attempt one of the six walking tracks. These walking trails are marked 'easy to moderate
'; and 'difficult
'. Strong walking legs are required to take on the 'difficult
' of these paths.
Botanic Track - 20 minutes
A total of six walking tracks to keep visitors busy
- Follows a sealed path through 'young' rainforest, with picturesque creeks and native plantings making this the most popular of the Sanctuary walks (Easy - Moderate);
Cascade Circuit - 40 minutes
- This track is a steep descent from the sealed track, but well worth it to view the permanent water flow over the basalt rocks set amongst the young rainforest canopy (Moderate);
Southern Track - 15 minutes
- This is a lovely undulating bush track that will take you through the original plantations that were established more than forty years ago (Easy);
Brant's Circuit - one hour
- This circuit will take walkers through an area donated to the community by the Brant family. The birdlife is abundant through the rainforest sections - be aware that the walk back to the gazebo is all uphill (Moderate - Difficult);
Challenge Track - one hour
- This is a steeper circuit than the other tracks but well worth the views across the Northwest. One can see Little Eagles, Pacific Bazas', Lorikeets and Wrens who all find shelter in this woodland vegetation (Moderate - Difficult);
Eucalyptus Track - 45 minutes
- This is a beautiful walk through natural woodland forest and eucalyptus (gum tree) plantings - look out for birds in this area, there are plenty to be seen (Moderate)
An undercover barbecue and electric barbecues make for a great day out...under the trees!
The vegetation at the Foote Memorial Sanctuary
consists of beautifully wooded areas, stands of rainforest, eucalyptus, tree-ferns, melaleucas and eugenias. A large proportion of these plants are labelled for botany enthusiasts, even giving the Aboriginal medicinal usage for the different plant sections. This superb flora and fauna reserve has over two hundred and seventy-two indigenous flora species and is a haven for birds as well as a habitat for a range of larger mammals, including the swamp wallaby.
There are a few different entrances, but the main entrance, for cars, is located on Foote Avenue, just off the Buderim-Mooloolaba Road with plenty of parking spaces available.
An inviting, tranquil location for a family day out. Our furry family members are welcome too, as long as they're on a leash. Facilities include an undercover gazebo, electric barbecues, tap water, ablution block, picnic tables and a large grassed area to throw a blanket down, lie back and listen to the surrounding sounds of nature.
Maddock Park on Ewen Maddock Dam
221 Mooloolah Connection Road, Mooloolah, Glass House Mountains, QLD, 4518
A refreshing venue for a fun family day out
Escape your backyard, it's good for the soul!
Maddock Park is just off the Mooloolah Connection Road, Mooloolah, in the Glass House Mountains area, approximately three kilometres from Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast.
Maddock Park on the Ewen Maddock Dam
is a breathtakingly beautiful recreational destination for locals and visitors alike who have the choice of boating, fishing or using the nine kilometres of multi-use trails, that are shared between walkers, horse-riders or bike riders. The main trail from Maddock Park to Gympie Street North is multi-use, while the boardwalk and the narrow walking tracks near Maddock Park are reserved for walking only.
Both the dam and Maddock Park were named after Ewen Maddock, an early European settler and local pioneer. The Coach House at the entry to Maddock Park is a replica of the family cottage, Koongamoon
, built by the Maddock family on the banks of the creek. Koongamoon
is believed to mean plenty water
in the Gubbi Gubbi dialect.
Rules and Regulations to having a good time
Swimming is permitted in designated areas
✔️Swimming (designated areas)
Enjoy some shaded trails
Opening hours for this recreational site are September to April 5.30am to 6.30pm and May to August 6.30am to 5.30pm.
Maddock Park on Ewen Maddock Dam is one of the Sunshine Coast's perfect outdoor venues for the whole family to get out and about. Enjoy some shaded trails, followed by a swim in the dam - an escape that has
to be good for the soul!
Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens
Off Palm Creek Road, Tanawha, QLD, 4556 (via Tanawha Tourist Drive)
A calm and tranquil spot to visit on sweltering hot days on the Sunny Coast
On sweltering hot days, a visit to the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Gardens will always ensure a feeling of calm, tranquillity and coolness. The eighty-two hectare gardens of these Bushland Botanic Gardens have a magic and spirituality making visitors feel connected, and as one with nature.
The stunning Maroochy Botanic Gardens is set amongst eucalypt and riparian forests with creeks, lagoons, walking tracks, glades, artworks, picnic tables and a myriad of native plants.
A magical place!
With eight different exciting and innovative walks available at the Maroochy Bushland Botanic Gardens, visitors can either opt for a walk on the wild side or perhaps sit back and contemplate the mysteries of creation. I recently wrote an article on this showcase green space - for more details on the self-guided different walks, please click here.
Free guided walks are available between February to November on Tuesday mornings at 9.00am (excluding Public Holidays), commencing at the Arts and Ecology Centre.
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
148 Mountain View Road, Maleny, Qld 4552
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
Views to the Glasshouse Mountains
consists of fifty-five hectares of subtropical rainforest, overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains. A remnant of the rainforests that once covered the Blackall Range, this stunning Reserve is a living museum of diverse plant and animal life, delighting visitors with its tranquillity and beauty.
This scenic jewel comprises more than two kilometres of walking tracks, boardwalks and viewing platforms. Benches are spaced at varying intervals so that one can sit back, relax and enjoy the myriad of bird calls or the Red-Legged Pademelons, basking in the early morning sunlight, as it streams through the treetops.
The Rainforest Walk is only 1.7km return, but is a world of its own, an ecological island, growing in optimum conditions, on flat deep basalt soils in a high rainfall area. Some of the trails within the Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve are accessible by wheelchair - please click here for the map of rainforest walks.
Visit the ecological island of Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve
On entering this sub-tropical rainforest at Mary Cairncross
, you are greeted with a cacophony of sounds - nature's own orchestra. This bird sanctuary is a haven for a variety of birds (139 recorded species) including the Green Catbird (sounds like a baby crying in the distance); the Eastern Whipbird; the Wompoo Fruit Dove and even the Rufous Fantail - it truly is a thrilling experience to try to locate where the sounds are emanating from.
This beautiful walk came to an end far too soon and if it wasn't for the fact that I was feeling a tad cold and was looking for a spot of sunlight, I would have considered doing it all again. With the heat of summer that we've been experiencing, this is truly a magnificent walk to do to escape the heat and enjoy the lushness and coolness of a Rainforest Walk.
The main Rainforest Track is open daily from 7.00am to 6.00pm - a gold coin donation on entry is appreciated.
Narrows and Baroon Lookouts on the Obi Obi Forest Walk, Kondadilla National Park
Narrows Road, Montville, QLD, 4560
Views from Narrows Lookout
By now, I know my readers have realised that I'm not the sort of person who wants to participate in a six-month exercise regimen in order to tackle a bush hike, but rather prefer a relaxed, laid-back experience of going 'bush'.
The Narrows and Baroon Lookouts
form a section of the Obi Obi Forest Walk within the Kondadilla National Park
, which is also one of the starting points for fitness gurus who want to complete the 58km Great! Walk. The Great! Walk was definitely not on our agenda. Our goal was the 4.4 kilometres (two hour) return hike, which included a short detour to Narrows Lookout. This walk takes visitors through rain-forested gullies with interspersed boardwalks, culminating in a steady climb to the Baroon Lookout overlooking the Obi Obi Gorge.
Views from Baroon Lookout
These two lookouts with their panoramic views are in the Blackall Range, on land discovered by a man called William Skene, who was out searching for lost cattle. William originally named the area Bon Accord
before giving it to the Queensland Government who, during the fifties, renamed the area Kondadilla
- an Aboriginal word for running water
A tip to remember when walking through these parts - please stay on the boardwalks from Narrows Lookout to protect the rare hip-pocket frog aka assa darlingtoni
, a very special local in these parts.
Our beautiful Sunshine Coast Region is not only about the ocean and mountains, we have our fair share of wondrous rainforest canopies that are well worthy of a visit during summer time. Escape the scorching heat of long summer days and experience cool retreats of subtropical rainforests - a superb way to get back to nature!
All images by author unless otherwise indicated
Wondrous rainforest canopies - Image: Pixabay CC0 Creative Commons - no attribution required