About Browns Falls
Browns Falls was a stocky 10-15m waterfall that was remarkable in that it plunged over basalt columns, which were lava remnants of the Main Range shield volcano.
I suppose you could make the argument that this waterfall’s basalt columns were as pronounced as some of the more famous examples of these types of waterfalls in Iceland like Svartifoss.
Anyways, of the three main Killarney Falls (so named because they’re close to each other as well as the rural town of Killarney), this was by far the most adventurous and most difficult to reach.
That’s because it involved a creek scramble that involved multiple stream crossings, clinging to creek banks, mud, and paying close attention to clues about whether you’re on the correct side of the creek or not.
I recalled that when Julie and I first did this walk back in May 2008, there weren’t trail hints like there were for my July 2022 visit.
In fact, the trailhead signage gave us a false sense of thinking the hike would be a mere 600m taking only 20 minutes, but I took nearly an hour in each direction when I did my July 2022 hike.
I’m not sure if this had to do with Spring Creek South Branch running higher than usual due to the La Nina rains on our July 2022 visit to Queensland or if I was just slow.
Whatever the case, the signs here warn that only experienced hikers should do this excursion.
The Hike and Scramble to Browns Falls
Our adventure for this waterfall began at the Browns Picnic Area, where we left our rental car at a car park (see directions below).
Over the years, they’ve made some changes to the trail access from the Browns Picnic Area, and on my July 2022 visit, I had to take a path underneath the road bridge before the trail followed along the south side of the South Branch.
Back when we first did this waterfall in May 2008, we actually had to cross the road and then descend a sloping path down to the banks of the South Branch.
As we went further upstream along the creek, the track started to disappear and we pretty much followed the stream.
Perhaps one thing that the authorities here did was to put reflectors or manmade hints to let me know whether or not I was on the correct side of the South Bank.
In my latest experience, I had to do two unbridged creek crossings, where trying to get across without ruining a good pair of hiking boots just didn’t seem worth the trouble.
So I was glad I used my Chacos, which was more than capable of allowing my feet to get wet but also have some traction like most hiking boots could do.
After the second creek crossing, the path pretty much persisted along the south side of the South Branch before finally approaching the Browns Falls.
It was in the final stretch that I found the hiking to be quite muddy (almost quicksand-like) while at the same time requiring one more crossing of the South Branch.
Only then could I get right in front of the gusing Browns Falls, where I was pretty much all alone the entire time.
Overall, I had spent nearly 2 hours on my July 2022 visit while Julie and I spent closer to 75 mimutes away from the car in May 2008.
Again, I attribute my slower progress on the latter visit to the South Branch running high thanks to significant rainfall throughout the early part of the week, which may be a Climate Change-induced La Nina pattern that was going on.
Browns Falls resides in the Southern Downs Region near Killarney, Queensland. It is administered by the Southern Downs Regional Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
To reach Browns Falls, we pretty much had to get to the town of Killarney before taking the Spring Creek Road up to the trio the Killarney Falls.
Since we have already covered the driving directions (especially since there’s a couple of different ways to go) in the Queen Mary Falls write-up as well as the Daggs Falls write-up, I’ll punt the detailed directions to those pages.
As far as where Browns Falls is in relation to the other two waterfalls, it’s a mere 1.3km before Daggs Falls and 4.3km before the Queen Mary Falls.
Conversely, as we’re coming from Killarney, the drive would be 3.5km along the Tourist Route 21 before turning left onto Spring Creek Road.
Then, we’d drive about 2.4km east on Spring Creek Road towards the Browns Picnic Area to our left (right before the road bridge over the South Branch at a tight turn).
For geographical context, Killarney was 34km (about 30 minutes drive) east of Warwick, 182km (2.5 hours drive) southwest of Brisbane, 204km (3 hours drive) west from Byron Bay, and 210km (3 hours drive) west of Gold Coast.
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