Wicked waterfalls trilogy
29th April 2020
Content supplied by Wander Stories
Looking for something to do this weekend? Then lace up those boots, and hit the trails to catch some fresh air and be one with nature.
With many unique and sometimes secret trails peppered throughout the National Parks in our region, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to walking trails - and many of these trails lead you right to some spectacular waterfall wonders!
Some National Parks and State Forest sites will reopen from 11.59pm on Friday 1 May. Visitors are encouraged to visit only where there are car spaces available in the car park and will need to follow social distancing measures to stay 1.5m apart. Swimming areas, barbeques and camping areas will remain closed. Check Park Alerts for up-to-date information about closures.
Ethel Creek Falls
Distance - Approximately 3 km return from Hussey Road or 8-10 km return from Paluma Village
Time - Approximately 2 to 3 hours return
Ethel Falls is a hidden gem in the middle of Paluma Range National Park. Not only are these falls beautiful, but you're very likely to be the only one there! The falls are located behind the acreages to the west of Paluma and are primarily accessible on-track via the Paluma trail network.
Access these falls via Hussey Road, Smith Crescent, or Cloudy Creek Falls. For the latter option, start from McClelland's Lookout at the eastern edge of Paluma township. Once you reach Cloudy Creek Falls you will notice two steel poles concreted into the ground and two more on the other side of the creek, of which are the remains of an old suspension bridge.
The track to Ethel Creek Falls has markers on tree trunks along the route and numbered markers at the major intersections as part of the larger trail network. All of these elements should help you find your way without trouble.
Once you reach Ethel Creek, you'll find yourself at the top of the falls. Cross the creek and follow the track to the right where you'll find a steep climb down to the bottom of the falls. There, you'll also find a rope tied as a handrail most of the way down. The waterhole at the bottom of the falls makes for a refreshing swim to cool off before your return journey. Consider packing a picnic to enjoy at the falls!
Distance - Approximately 15-22 km return, depending on route
Time - Approximately 6 to 10 hours return depending on fitness and stopages
Diorite Falls offers uniquely appealing water cascades over broad rock slabs, which creates a perfect swimming hole to cool off and enjoy the day! If you have an opportunity for a swim, do it! But be mindful when leaning up against the waterfalls as you may end up with some pesky little leeches hitching a free ride!
Diorite Falls is best accessed via Paluma Dam and covers about an 18 km loop. A great route is via crossing the Paluma Dam wall and then heading north east to Diorite Falls. It is also possible to enter Waterfall Creek from the northern track. Then you can rock hop about 100 metres upstream to Diorite Falls. When you depart you can take the southern track back to the main trail network.
Distance - Approximately 3.5 km return
Time - Approximately 2 to 3 hours return
The Bluegum Creek Circuit starts on the south side of Paluma village and is an easy day walk that takes you on a loop down into Star Valley. It only takes about one hour from the ‘H Track’ to get to what is locally known as ‘Triple Falls’. The track takes you through a variety of rainforest, blue gum forest, and ecotone areas.
The track branches off from the well-known ‘H track circuit’ at the National Park ‘H Track Loop’ sign. The track is not marked at this point, but the footpath is clear and well-used. This route is actually a part of the original forestry 'H Track' that went down the ridgeline to Bluegum Creek. You can occasionally see old forestry track markers as well.
The track is easy to follow and flat for a while. Further on you will encounter a 400-metre steep descent into the valley. When you reach the junction marker, turn right and take a short, but very steep walk down to Triple Falls. There, you'll find a rope in place at the bottom to assist you to the pool and base of the falls. To explore the mid and upper falls, scramble up on the left side to reach them. Return via the same route.