Kondalilla Falls

Mapleton / Kondalilla National Park, Queensland, Australia

About Kondalilla Falls


Hiking Distance: 3.2km return (Rock Pools only); 4.8km return (Falls circuit, incl. Rock Pools)
Suggested Time: 1-1.5 hours (Rock Pools only); 2-2.5 hours (Falls circuit)

Date first visited: 2022-07-05
Date last visited: 2022-07-05

Waterfall Latitude: -26.67309
Waterfall Longitude: 152.86513

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Kondalilla Falls is the most impressive waterfall in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland north of Brisbane in Southeast Queensland.

This waterfall is where Skene Creek drops a reported 80-90m within the Blackall Range, and is best experienced by doing some or all of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track.

Kondalilla_Falls_173_07042022 - Kondalilla Falls
Kondalilla Falls

At the top of the waterfall is also a Rock Pool, which has a waterfall of its own as well as the opportunity to go for a swim.

That said, not many people were swimming on our very cold and wet visit in early July 2022 where La Nina Rains subverted the normal Dry Season.

So that allowed us to witness this waterfall flowing instead of trickling (as it typically has its best flow in the Wet between January and March).

To get the most out of our experience with Kondalilla Falls, I did the entire 4.6km Kondalilla Falls Circuit, but there was also a shorter loop between the car park leading up to the main circuit walk.

Kondalilla_Falls_073_07042022 - The Rock Pool above Kondalilla Falls, which would typically be suitable for swimming though it was bitterly cold and rainy during our early July 2022 visit
The Rock Pool above Kondalilla Falls, which would typically be suitable for swimming though it was bitterly cold and rainy during our early July 2022 visit

Indeed, the track took on more of a figure-8 shape, and as a result, I ended up doing this hike in a way that minimized the amount of backtracking (i.e. I explored as much of the figure-8 as I could).

Trail Description – Prior To The Kondalilla Circuit

From the car park (see directions below), we followed a well-signed paved path that immediately went 150m through some of the rainforest before entering a clearing.

The clearing featured picnic shelters as well as a restroom facility, but then the trail continued to plunge back into more rainforest as it went by some signs indicating what to look forward to on this hike.

The trail continued another 150m or so descending towards a bridge spanning Picnic Creek with a nice cascade spilling before the bridge.

Kondalilla_Falls_030_07042022 - Context of a pleasant cascade on Picnic Creek with the trail crossing before it not far beneath the Picnic Area
Context of a pleasant cascade on Picnic Creek with the trail crossing before it not far beneath the Picnic Area

Beyond the bridge, the path then climbed up to a fork where there was a path that followed Picnic Creek downstream while there was an upper path that went towards the Obi Obi Valley Lookout.

Both paths lead to the Rock pool and the brink of Kondalilla Falls in another 1km so we opted to follow the upper track on the right first and then come back on the Picnic Creek path on the way back.

So continuing on the upper rainforest path, there were some rest benches as well as ferns, boardwalks, and tall trees, which attested to tendency for high rainfall in this area.

After about 600m from the first fork of the trail, we arrived at the Obi Obi Valley Lookout though it was partially obscured by clouds from the rain during our early July visit.

Kondalilla_Falls_048_07042022 - Tahia and Julie on the Obi Obi Valley Lookout, which was partially obscured by low clouds resulting from the rain during our early July 2022 visit
Tahia and Julie on the Obi Obi Valley Lookout, which was partially obscured by low clouds resulting from the rain during our early July 2022 visit

Beyond the Obi Obi Valley Lookout, the trail then went another 100m to rejoin the main trail (or at least the one that briefly followed Picnic Creek for a ways).

Then, in another 200m, the trail descended along some cliff ledges before reaching the next trail junction.

This junction is the beginning and end of the actual Kondalilla Falls Circuit, where the Rock Pool was another 100m away to the left.

At the Rock Pool, there was a large plunge pool with a 5m waterfall going into it.

Kondalilla_Falls_093_07042022 - Some wired fencing had been set up above the brink of Kondalilla Falls to keep people away from the dropoffs while also forcing us to enjoy the view before us
Some wired fencing had been set up above the brink of Kondalilla Falls to keep people away from the dropoffs while also forcing us to enjoy the view before us

Meanwhile looking in the other direction, there was a lookout right above the brink of Kondalilla Falls itself, where you can get a nice look at the valley carved out by Skene Creek.

It looked like there were remnants of an old trail that clung to the cliff ledge with perhaps a closer perspective of the Kondalilla Falls.

However, it was probably destroyed in a rockslide (seeing how abruptly it ended and now there are barricades and warning signs), and I suspect this might have had something to do with a trail closure here back when we tried to visit in May 2008.

Anyways, for many people, this is the turnaround point, but for those willing to extend the walk, there was the opportunity to finish the Kondalilla Falls Circuit.

Kondalilla_Falls_092_07042022 - Closer look at what appeared to be the old Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track near the Rock Pool above Kondalilla Falls. I suspect the rock slides that caused this closure may have also been the same event that closed the trail when we first tried to do this hike in May 2008
Closer look at what appeared to be the old Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track near the Rock Pool above Kondalilla Falls. I suspect the rock slides that caused this closure may have also been the same event that closed the trail when we first tried to do this hike in May 2008

From the Rock Pool, you can cross the bridge over Skene Creek and continue on the circuit trail in a clockwise manner, and I saw quite a few people do that.

However, on my early July 2022 visit, I opted to backtrack to the trail junction and do the Kondalilla Falls Circuit in an anticlockwise manner, which I’ll describe in more depth below.

Trail Description – The Kondalilla Circuit Itself

So from the trail junction, I descended the stair-stepped ledge path for another 200m before reaching a lookout.

It was at this lookout that we managed to get our first satisfying look at Kondalilla Falls (provided the rain clouds had parted enough to see it).

Kondalilla_Falls_122_07042022 - This was the partial but still satisfying view of Kondalilla Falls from the lookout a short distance beneath the trail junction at the start and end of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track
This was the partial but still satisfying view of Kondalilla Falls from the lookout a short distance beneath the trail junction at the start and end of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track

For all intents and purposes, this was the turnaround point for my wife and daughter as they weren’t interested in doing the whole circuit (and this is why I’ve been using the first person to describe this experience).

So I continued on the steep descent beyond the lookout for another 250m or so, passing before the Kondalilla Falls before reaching another signed junction.

At this junction, the path on the left went to the bottom of Kondalilla Falls while the path on the right continued the circuit walk.

So going 100m down the left path, I then encountered a bit of a slippery boulder scramble, which was required in order to see the Kondalilla Falls from its bottom.

Kondalilla_Falls_170_07042022 - Looking up at the Kondalilla Falls (or what appeared to be just part of it) from its wet and bouldery base
Looking up at the Kondalilla Falls (or what appeared to be just part of it) from its wet and bouldery base

Only after getting through this somewhat rough and slippery scramble did I finally stand right at the foot of the impressive Kondalilla Falls.

While this waterfall was said to be 90m tall, it certainly looked smaller from this vantage point thanks to its forced perspective (and possibly its changing slope cutting off visibility of its uppermost sections).

Once I had my fill of this spot, I then backtracked to the neighbouring junction and proceeded on the circuit track towards a bridge spanning Skene Creek.

In nearly another 200m from the bottom of the falls, there was another signed trail junction, where I kept left to start ascending back up to the Rock Pool and complete the Kondalilla Falls Circuit.

Kondalilla_Falls_186_07042022 - Crossing the footbridge over Skene Creek at the very bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track
Crossing the footbridge over Skene Creek at the very bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track

Next, I continued to walk a mostly featureless 600m stretch that pretty much stayed within the rainforest canopy before it ascended high enough to start clinging to cliff ledges.

Eventually, the circuit track returned to the Rock Pools, where I then proceeded to go another 100m back to the original trail junction to complete the Kondalilla Falls Circuit.

Now, it was time to head back to the car park, but this time, I kept right at the next trail junction so I could follow the path I had skipped earlier that went partways along Picnic Creek.

And finally after getting back to the bridge on Picnic Creek, I then went straight back up through the picnic area before finally returning to the Kondalilla Falls car park to end this excursion.

Kondalilla_Falls_233_07042022 - Returning to the bridge and trail junction fronting the cascade on Picnic Creek after taking the lower path partway along Picnic Creek to get here
Returning to the bridge and trail junction fronting the cascade on Picnic Creek after taking the lower path partway along Picnic Creek to get here

Overall, my logs had indicated that it took me about 2.5 hours to complete the entire circuit, and that I had walked on the order of 4.8km.

This contrasted a little with the 4km distance and two-hour commitment stated in the literature and the signposts.

Some of that delta could be attributed to little detours, a little backtracking, and just trying to take in the experience without rushing.

In any case, despite the fairly nasty weather we had been experiencing in early July 2022, this track was still very popular as there wasn’t much time for solitude before encountering another person.

Authorities

Kondalilla Falls resides in the Kondalilla Falls National Park near Montville, Queensland. It is administered by the State of Queensland Department of Environment and Science. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Kondalilla_Falls_005_07042022 - The weather wasn't very good when we showed up to the Kondalilla Falls car park when visited in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_004_07042022 - Approaching the start of the walk to the Kondalilla Falls during our early July 2022 visit
Kondalilla_Falls_007_07042022 - The initial part of the Kondalilla Falls Walk passed through about 150m of forest before going to a picnic area clearing
Kondalilla_Falls_008_07042022 - Continuing on the initial part of the Kondalilla Falls Walk towards the picnic area
Kondalilla_Falls_010_07042022 - Passing through the open picnic area interlude on the way to the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk
Kondalilla_Falls_021_07042022 - Julie and Tahia continuing past the picnic area towards the Kondalilla Falls and Rock Pools during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_024_07042022 - Julie and Tahia descending deeper into the rainforest on the way down to Picnic Creek and beyond
Kondalilla_Falls_025_07042022 - Looking towards a bridge spanning Picnic Creek and a cascade spilling behind it as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_031_07042022 - On the bridge looking upstream on Picnic Creek towards an attractive cascade on the way to the Kondalilla Falls Circuit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_033_07042022 - Looking back at steps and a trail junction where the shorter loop split where an upper path went towards Obi Obi Valley Lookout while the lower path continued along Picnic Creek
Kondalilla_Falls_034_07042022 - Sign pointing the way to the upper path saying the Rock Pool and Falls is 1km away from Picnic Creek
Kondalilla_Falls_035_07042022 - Context of the split between the upper path to Obi Obi Valley Lookout and the lower path along Picnic Creek en route to Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk
Kondalilla_Falls_038_07042022 - Continuing along the upper path through a rainforested scenery with a rest bench along the way
Kondalilla_Falls_041_07042022 - Approaching a boardwalk flanked by some pretty tall trees on the way to the Obi Obi Valley Lookout en route to the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk
Kondalilla_Falls_043_07042022 - Context of Julie and Tahia forging ahead in the rainforested path on the way to the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk
Kondalilla_Falls_049_07042022 - This was the view from the Obi Obi Valley Lookout though rain clouds conspired to further block the panorama during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_055_07042022 - Making it to a signposted trail junction where the upper path and the Picnic Creek path merged again and continued towards the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track
Kondalilla_Falls_060_07042022 - Julie and Tahia descending towards the next trail junction at the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk
Kondalilla_Falls_064_07042022 - Julie and Tahia descending towards the trail junction marking the start and end of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_065_07042022 - Looking down at the continuation of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk in a counterclockwise direction as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_067_07042022 - Julie and Tahia taking the path leading towards the Rock Pool above Kondalilla Falls during our rainy day visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_070_07042022 - Julie and Tahia walking around the Rock Pool above the Kondalilla Falls as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_085_07042022 - Looking over the brink of Kondalilla Falls towards the valley carved out by Skene Creek with another round of rain clouds coming our way in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_088_07042022 - Contextual look back towards the waterfall spilling into the Rock Pool from the lookout by the brink of Kondalilla Falls as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_102_07042022 - Backtracking to the trail junction to now head anticlockwise on the Kondalilla Falls Circuit after having our fill of the Rock Pool in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_103_07042022 - Now descending more on the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track to try to get a better view of Kondalilla Falls during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_104_07042022 - Descending the cliff ledge track as we continued to go anticlockwise on the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_106_07042022 - Continuing the descending Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track as we went in an anticlockwise direction during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_108_07042022 - Continuing to follow the Kondalilla Falls Circuit in an anticlockwise direction as it clung to a ledge en route to a lookout
Kondalilla_Falls_116_07042022 - The Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track reaching a lookout where we finally started to get a decent look at the Kondalilla Falls itself though clouds conspired to block the view during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_118_07042022 - A more zoomed in cleaner look at the Kondalilla Falls seen during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_124_07042022 - Continuing the descent on the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk beyond the lookout as I now went solo during our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_125_07042022 - Continuing the fairly long descent towards the bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_143_07042022 - Near the bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk where the scenery is now a pretty dense rainforest as I continued my anticlockwise trajectory during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_146_07042022 - The Kondalilla Falls Circuit Track passing before the Kondalilla Falls near the bottom of the descent during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_155_07042022 - Context of the muddy Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk near the bottom with part of the base of Kondalilla Falls as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_159_07042022 - Partial look through some trees back towards the Kondalilla Falls when I still haven't gotten to the bottom of the descent yet during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_003_iPhone_07052022 - Another look at Kondalilla Falls from near the bottom of the circuit track at a somewhat open and muddy section of the walk
Kondalilla_Falls_161_07042022 - Another look back at the muddy track that passed before the Kondalilla Falls when I wasn't quite at the bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_162_07042022 - Approaching the next signed trail junction where the path on the left went another 100m to the bottom of Kondalilla Falls
Kondalilla_Falls_163_07042022 - Making the final descent to the base of Kondalilla Falls during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_173_07042022 - Finally arriving at the bottom of Kondalilla Falls and the very bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_004_iPhone_07052022 - Pano mode shot from the bottom of Kondalilla Falls as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_183_07042022 - After having my fill of the bottom of Kondalilla Falls, it was time to go back up and continue the anticlockwise trajectory of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_190_07042022 - Continuing across the bridge over Skene Creek at the bottom of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_191_07042022 - Starting the long climb up the other half of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk going in an anticlockwise direction during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_195_07042022 - Continuing up the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk in an anticlockwise direction as it traversed more rainforest scenery during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_198_07042022 - The Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk rising high enough to get into the fog of low-lying rain clouds as I continued the second half of the anticlockwise walk in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_202_07042022 - Near the conclusion of the circuit part of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk as the track started clinging to ledges among the low-lying clouds as seen in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_214_07042022 - Making it back to the Rock Pool where I crossed the bridge over Skene Creek to pretty much conclude the circuit part of the Kondalilla Falls Circuit Walk during my visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_220_07042022 - Now taking the darker and lower Picnic Creek path on the way back to the bridge over Picnic Creek en route to the car park in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_240_07042022 - Ascending back up to the picnic area on the final stretch back to the car park to conclude my Kondalilla Falls visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_242_07042022 - Making the final ascent back up to the Kondalilla Falls car park to conclude our visit in early July 2022
Kondalilla_Falls_001_05112008 - When we first attempted to visit Kondalilla Falls in May 2008, we weren't successful due to a trail closure. But this was what the trailhead looked like at the car park back then
Kondalilla_Falls_001_jx_05112008 - Beyond the picnic area near the car park, this was the signage and track leading down to the Kondalilla Falls Circuit as seen in our unsuccessful visit in May 2008
Kondalilla_Falls_004_jx_05112008 - Looking up at some kind of bird perched on a branch above us shortly before we turned back when we learned that the Kondalilla Falls Circuit was closed during our visit in May 2008


Kondalilla Falls National Park is in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland with the closest town being Flaxton though there are also other neighbouring towns like Montville and Mapleton.

There are actually many ways of getting to Kondalilla Falls National Park from the M1 Motorway, but the way we did it was from the exit 208.

Kondalilla_Falls_001_07042022 - The weather wasn't the greatest when we showed up to the Kondalilla Falls car park in early July 2022, but it was still surprisingly busy
The weather wasn’t the greatest when we showed up to the Kondalilla Falls car park in early July 2022, but it was still surprisingly busy

This exit deposited us at a roundabout where we took the third exit onto Bli Bli Road, which would then become Route 23 (Blackall Range Tourist Drive).

We then followed Route 23, and we’d take it for about 20km to the signed turnoff on the right for the Kondalilla Falls National Park.

Note that most navigation software as well as GPS satnav units will want to take you onto the Dulong Road, which is a much steeper and narrower shortcut residential road.

However, I’d strongly recommend staying on the Route 23 so you’ll always have the support of signs at key junctions when in doubt.

Kondalilla_Falls_243_07042022 - The weather cleared up a little bit by the time we were back at the Kondalilla Falls car park at the end of our early July 2022 visit
The weather cleared up a little bit by the time we were back at the Kondalilla Falls car park at the end of our early July 2022 visit

Anyways, once on the Kondalilla Falls Road, we’d drive the final 750m to the Kondalilla Falls car park.

Overall, this approach along the Route 23 between the M1 Motorway and Kondalilla Falls National Park would take around a half-hour or so.

For geographical context, Flaxton was about 4km (5 minutes drive) north of Montville, 5 km (about 5 minutes drive) south of Mapleton, 102km (over 90 minutes drive) north of Brisbane, 183km (about 2.5 hours drive) north of Gold Coast, and 545km (about 6.5 hours drive) south of Rockhampton.

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Fairly long video starting with waterfall and plunge pool with hint of upper tier then walking around to the top of Kondalilla Falls for the 'lookout'


Sweep focusing on the main falls as seen from the lookout on the way down to the bottom


Sweep from the base of the main falls

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Tagged with: kondalilla national park, blackall range, mapleton, sunshine coast, sunshine coast hinterland, queensland, obi obi valley, skene creek, picnic creek



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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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