Conondale National; Park
Booloumba Day Use Area
Conondale Range Great Walk is found in Conondale National Park which is a wonderful area set between Conondale and Kenilworth out the back of Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Starting at Boloumba Day Use Area which is found at the end of Booloumba Creek Rd you can head out on one of the short walks or longer hikes. My first venture out there entailed a 20km round trip hike from the Day Use Area out to Wongai Walkers Camp and back. This trip took us past the a few pretty amazing points of interest:
1. The Gold Mine - yes a real old Gold Mine from the 1920’s. It is now home to Eastern Horseshoe and common Bentwing bats so you cannot walk inside it but still worthy of a sticky beak.
2. Straingler Cairn – an impressive sculpture created by artist Andy Goldsworthy. The Cairn is made from hand-cut granite and has a strangler fig sapling growing from the top –the artists intention is the fig will eventually grow until its roots eventually cover ‘strangle’ the cairn.
3. Artists Cascades – A lovely little waterfall and cascade area, I absolutely love waterfalls so spent a bit of time here. Nb. to continue on the track you do need to cross the river here so be careful.
4. Booloumba Falls – an incredibly impressive waterfall and swimming area. There is a natural swimming area at the top of the falls which is deep and about 15m wide so plenty of room for a dip. You can access the Falls more easily from Booloumba Falls Carpark but hey, where is the fun in that?
So continue past all of these after taking time to admire and have a swim if you are game, up to Wongai walkers camp where there are very basic facilities (water is not drinkable without purification). You can stay here overnight if you wish – check out more information here: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/great-walks-conondale-range/camping.html. After a brief stop we turned around and went back the way we came.
This is not a hike for the faint of heart and a high level of fitness is required due to both the distance (20km) and the terrain. Experienced hikers only as there are areas where the path gets, well a little sketchy – it is a natural area after all. There are no major climbs but like most hinterland areas there are enough hills and stairs to tire legs out and ensure you get a decent workout. All up it took us about 5-6 hours with stops along the way. Oh and you will need a 4wd to access the Day Use Area as there are a couple of river crossings, I have heard of people parking at the start of the road and hiking in if you don’t have access to a 4wd just be very careful if you take this option.
As always for the long hikes, take plenty of water, food, first aid kit,etc and a map of the Great Walk can be found here: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/great-walks-conondale-range/pdf/crgw-topo.pdf . Getting there – Booloumba Creek Rd is located between Conondale and Kenilworth off Maleny-Kenilworth Rd, the Day Use Area is found down this road 🙂