I have a split shift today (well a week or two ago when I am publishing this). I finish my first shift at 8:30am and don’t have to be back at work until 4:00pm. We’re in the middle of a heat wave here in Brisbane but I’m not going to let that stop me. I want to do something active but also don’t want to overheat because this evening I will be responsible for my client’s welfare. Kondalilla Falls in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland ticks all the boxes. It’s only one hour to the start of the walk and it’s up in the mountains so the temperature is slightly cooler than at sea level.
It feels wonderful to be out in the bush under the tall gum trees. I miss the bush when I’m traveling. I take time to look up at the trees, drinking in the stringy bark and scribbly gums. It’s so hot that the only sound are the cicadas batting their wings. Not a single bird is singing today. Perhaps they have air conditioning in their nests and have decided to stay home.
The mountains here are gorgeous. I might only be an hour from home but a lookout to the northwest shows a vast valley waiting to be explored. There is a four day hike here that would be amazing in winter or spring when the temperatures are more bearable. I don’t know whether I’ll get a chance to do it as a through hike this year or whether I will need to do it as a section hike because I don’t want to take days off work unless it’s for overseas travel. I love my job and I love exploring the world with Paul so I’m more likely to do day hikes today.
I am only sharing the Rock Pools at the top of the Kondalilla Falls with one other group of walkers right now. The water is cold against my skin. I float around on my back for what feels like an eternity. I listen to the trickle of water at the small fall on the top of the Rock Pools. Dragon flies hover above the water. Green leaves reflect on the dark water. I’m glad for the trees casting shade because it’s already well over 30’C.
After cooling down I’m ready to explore the trails. I set off into the bush along the well-trodden trail towards the bottom of the falls. Part way down the trail I turn left instead of right, heading towards Baroon Pocket Dam. I have walked this trail before so know it is pretty. The trail is wilder here. Fewer people have turned this way and it gives the bush here a calm that is deeper than out on the tourist trail that is the Kondalilla Falls Circuit.
The bush here is beautiful. Far from being a plain brown and green, colours abound.
This trail follows the creek that runs into Baroon Pocket Dam. It hasn’t rained much so the creek flows slowly and water levels are low. With a bit more water there would be some gorgeous swimming holes along this creek. It’s so pretty that I wish I’d brought a picnic lunch with me.
After an hour I retrace my steps back towards the Kondalilla Falls Circuit. There’s barely a trickle falling over the 80m cliff that is the Kondalilla Falls proper. We need more rain before the falls roar like they sometimes do. There’s not even enough water for a photo because all I could share was a photo of a black-grey rock wall.
Returning to the top of the falls the Rock Pools are now bustling with families and groups of backpackers trying to find spots to sit. Kids of all ages jump off rocks. The braver (or more stupid) jump off high rocks above the top of the small waterfall. It’s now well over 35’C so I strip down to my swimmers and slip into the swimming hole. Despite the crowds this is still the perfect place to be on a hot summer day. I can’t believe I never realised this was here.
The walk back out of the Rock Pools is short but steep. I take my time. It’s early afternoon and there’s no point rushing.
Right near the exit of the track there is a strangler fig that has totally grown over an old tree stump. Perhaps this was once a host tree that has now died. I’m not sure. All I know is that this image takes me back to Angkor Wat in Cambodia last November. And that thought highlights to me the need to continue to focus on overseas travel. Mind you, this also means that I will discover more local places too because I have never really focused on half and full day adventures at home before. There must be so many more places like this that are beautiful without requiring epic adventures to reach.