The most picturesque (Instagram-able) waterfalls in the Scenic Rim
Don’t go chasing them – or, actually, do. Just pack lunch, a camera and an extra pair of socks because you’ll be surrounded by water in the rainforest all day. Bring friends and indulge in adventurous selfies around the best waterfalls in the, ahem, scenic Scenic Rim. Allow an hour from the Gold Coast and 90 minutes from Brisbane.
A straightforward, not too difficult hike will get you to the Elabana Falls in Lamington National Park. A 3.5km walk each way and a little scramble over rocks in the creek will get you the best Instagram angle but you can also view it just fine for tourist reasons from the track.
Another plunge waterfall, Queen Mary Falls is accessible through a leisurely stroll that takes about 40 minutes all up. From the Queen Mary Falls lookout, you’ll be able to see Spring Creek as it pours over the cliffs into the bed 40m below. Feel the cool spray of the falls in summer but take care on the causeway if it’s wet.
There’s even cabin accommodation and a caravan park nearby – just don’t take them up the approach.
About 100m off the beaten path – literally – you’ll find Cronan Creek’s Secret Falls. From the Yellow Pinch Reserve, follow the Cronan Creek Track past stunning views of the Great Dividing Range and Mt Barney. Pack spare socks and a camera for this 13km, rour-hour roundtrip.
Morans Falls, Lamington National Park
To reach Morans Falls, a plunging waterfall, follow the descending track about a kilometre back from the O’Reilly’s car park. Adventure through a sub-tropical rainforest of booyongs, figs and brush box along the well-marked track. Visit the clearing or the lookout – or both.
Curtis Falls, Tamborine National Park
In the heart of Tamborine Mountain, Curtis Falls is fed by Cedar Creek all year round. This circuit is the quintessential Mt Tambo walk at 1.5km and only half an hour in total. Double this with the Joalah Lower Creek Circuit and a trip just after heavy rainfall for the best, leisurely social content.
Take a day trip to the lush area of Tamborine Mountain where you will find Cedar Creek Falls. It’s worth the walk to the rock pools at its base where you can peer up at the 15-20m waterfall.
These aren't exactly waterfalls, but they're too pretty not too include. For those that like to hike, take a day trip to Mt Barney and do the Lower Portals or Upper Portals trail. Both hikes are approximately a three-hour return route that trek through these waterholes and are the perfect spot to cool off on a hot day.
An iconic landmark, the Natural Bridge is a short 1km clockwise circuit that descends through ancient rainforest, across Cave Creek and into the cave with the waterfall plunging down. At night, take yourself on a glow-worm tour of the cave but make sure not to expose them to torches, bright lights, smoke or fire.
The Purling Brook Falls circuit begins in the Gwongorella picnic area in Springbrook National Park. This track’s easier to walk clockwise but make sure you keep clear of the edge. The 4km circuit can be extended with a visit to the Warringa Pool – another 2km. Sections of these tracks are part of Gold Coast Hinterland Great Walk – don’t do this if you’re unprepared.
Off the Coomera Circuit, the Coomera and Yarrabilgong Falls are a 17.5km return trip that’ll take between five and eight hours, depending on how leisurely you feel. Wind down into the Coomera Valley itself and pack lunch or a picnic for a picturesque way to spend the day.
A huge 20km trek, Mirror Falls is a proper day trip and a physical investment. Starting from O’Reilly’s, you’ll be tired and sore the day after but the views are totally worthwhile. This one’s part of the Albert River Circuit.
On the Tooloona Creek Circuit, the Chalahn Falls walk to and from O’Reilly’s is roughly 10.5km. Creek crossings mean you should prepare to wade if you can’t rock hop. The track can degrade in heavy rain, and you’ll have to scramble over fallen trees too, but it’s the perfect spot for a picnic and a photo sesh.
Set against a basalt wall, Brown Falls is a 15m waterfall set 600m down Spring Creek Rd. As per usual, you’ll have to scramble over rocks and walk along a stream bank. It’s one of three falls along the track. Despite the short distance, allow about 40 minutes return. Also keep an eye – and a lens – out for platypuses.