About Simpson Falls
Simpson Falls is another waterfall flowing within the Mt Coot-tha Reserve, which itself is part of the urban sprawl of Brisbane (Queensland’s capital city).
The waterfall actually consists of a series of cascades where I found it hard to tell where it started and ended.
That said, just based on the signage supporting its visitation, the main drop is the uppermost tier just beneath a footbridge spanning West Ithaca Creek (see photo above).
Similar to the nearby JC Slaughter Falls, the Simpson Falls is a very seasonal waterfall (perhaps even just ephemeral).
Therefore, timing a visit to see it perform is pretty much limited to the Wet Season (i.e. the Australian Summer), when heavy monsoonal rains would fill the Mt Coot-tha drainages.
That said, in my particular visit in July 2022, which was supposed to be the Dry Season (i.e. the Australian Winter), we had experienced a week of unseasonably persistent La Nina rains.
Whether that’s a consequence of the destabilization of our climate through Global Warming, it is proof that historical norms may not be as reliable of a predictor of timing a visit as it once used to be.
Aside from the waterfall’s short-lived nature, I did find the experience to be far less busier and more intimate than the JC Slaughter Falls.
Experiencing The Simpson Falls Track
My Simpson Falls experience began at the Simpson Falls Picnic Area (see directions below), where I descended steps to a bridge crossing West Ithaca Creek to reach a large open grassy area.
Towards the far western end of this grassy area was signage for the Simpson Falls Track, indicating that the waterfall itself was about 650m away.
Continuing on, I found myself in a shaded path alongside West Ithaca Creek as it generally ascended a combination of switchbacks and steps.
At 100m from the end of the picnic area, there was a spur track that descended to the creek, but I wondered whether it was a remnant of an old trail or whether it was just to get close to the creek.
Anyways, continuing on the Simpson Falls Track, I saw that at a couple of the switchbacks on the increasingly steep trail, there were nice views of parts of the cascades comprising the overall waterfall.
In fact, some of these cascading sections turned out to be every bit as scenic and photogenic as the rest of its drops further on.
Eventually at about 600m from the picnic area, I reached a footbridge spanning West Ithaca Creek, where the apparent main drop of Simpson Falls dropped below.
Although it’s generally not the greatest way to experience a waterfall from its top, there was no safe way to get to the bottom of this drop.
Granted, I did notice from the other side of the bridge some seemingly old trails that were overgrown and unsanctioned, but I decided not to pursue them to the bottom given the possible presence of unseen venemous wildlife.
Nevertheless, I was able to get a teasing glimpse of the Brisbane City by looking downstream from the bridge over West Ithaca Creek at the top of the falls.
Even though I could have extended my visit to join up with other neighbouring tracks like the Eugenia Circuit, this was my turnaround point.
When all was said and done, I logged about 2km in total, and the entire excursion took me about an hour away from the car.
JC Slaughter Falls resides in the Mt Coot-tha Reserve in Brisbane, Queensland. It is administered by the Brisbane City Council. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
Since Simpson Falls resides within the Mt Coot-tha Reserve, which itself is within the sprawling city limits of Brisbane, there are many ways of driving to its nearest starting point.
So I’ll just say that the key to getting here from the Brisbane CBD would be to drive west on Milton Road (State Route 32) towards the Mt Coot-tha Road (briefly becoming the Route 5).
The roundabout where you get onto the Mt Coot-tha Road was near the end of the M3 Motorway.
We then followed the Mt Coot-Tha Road (which became Sir Samuel Griffith Drive) for about 2.4km to the signed Simpson Falls turnoff on the left.
We then followed this turnoff for the remaining 500m or so to the road’s end at the Simpson Falls Picnic Area.
Just to give you an idea of how long the drive from the nearby JC Slaughter Falls was, that drive was only 2.4km and took us about 5 minutes.
Just to give you some geographical context, Brisbane was 78km (about an hour drive) north of the Gold Coast, 166km (2 hours drive) north of Byron Bay, and 617km (7 hours drive) south of Rockhampton, 911km (about 10 hours drive) north of Sydney, and 1,698km (about 20 hours drive) south of Cairns.
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