Must Do: Waterfalls & Waterholes
Image credit: @mintmatcha_adventures
Whether you’re in it, on it or beside it, the calming, cooling quality of water is something we all crave. Venture into Southern Queensland Country’s national parks and natural places to find waterfalls, natural pools, lagoons, lakes and rivers – the perfect places to relax and rejuvenate body and soul.
Waterfall Drive – Killarney
Go chasing waterfalls on Killarney’s Fall’s Drive, especially great fun after summer rain. Just out of Killarney, Spring Creek Road offers access to three beautiful plunge waterfalls; Daggs Falls, Browns Falls and the crowning glory, a little further along this pretty forest-fringed drive is Queen Mary Falls – part of Main Range National Park.
You can view the falls from the lookout at the top (a short walk from the car park) or do the circuit walk in about 45 minutes, but stay a little longer and sit amid the lush ferns at the base of the falls to enjoy the cool fresh spray from the 40 ft drop. Safety tip: Stay on designated tracks and be careful as steps/rocks could be slippery particularly after rain.
Local tip: Keep an eye out for bowerbirds and king parrots.
Take a picnic or enjoy homemade scones and jam or lunch at the café opposite the car park. Keep an eye out for local produce stalls and travel 10 minutes beyond Queen Mary Falls and you will find Spring Creek Mountain Café and soaring views of Condamine Gorge from Carr’s Lookout.
From Toowoomba you can easily access Crows Nest Falls in Crows Nest National Park. Swimming at the falls is not permitted however you can view it from the lookout – at its best after big rains.
You can take a cooling dip in the national park at the Cascade Pool and the Kauyoo Pool both have sandy beaches and shallow water perfect for paddling (best for small children) or the Bottlebrush Pool a little further down the track is the deepest and best for a few refreshing laps. (Be aware that natural pools can vary in depth and rocks may be just under the surface – never dive in and be careful on rocks as they may be slippery.)
Local tip: Keep an eye out for brush tailed wallabies bounding about!
Coomba Falls near Maidenwell is perhaps the coolest pool of all - this large natural pool is actually icy cool all year round! As with all natural pools, recent rain and evaporation will mean depth varies so take extra care to check water levels and never dive in.
Local tip: It’s a very pretty spot to spread out with a picnic, but get there early to nab your spot.
Image credit: Queensland blog
Lovely Lakes and Dams
Around Toowoomba head for serene Lake Cooby to fish, kayak and picnic. Lake Cressbrook offers a waterside camp ground, fishing and boating, a beach volleyball court, free BBQ facilities, picnic areas, and a children's playground. Perseverance Dam is closed to water activities, but still a lovely spot to picnic, birdwatch and catch a cool breeze.
In the Southern Downs, Glenlyon Dam, Storm King Dam and Leslie Dam are peaceful spots offering great picnicking, kayaking and fishing.
In the Western Country area throw in a line for local freshwater fish or sit on the shady banks and relax at Cecil Plains Weir, Caliguel Lagoon near Condamine or Chinchilla Weir on the beautiful Condamine River. The kids will be entertained catching native red claw yabbies.
Image credit: @bronte_thompson
Just south-west of Dalby you’ll find Lake Broadwater, a great spot to relax and to appreciate nature. This beautiful natural freshwater wetland offers swimming, canoeing, a boat ramp for boating and skiing, walking tracks, a bird hide and picnic spots. There’s a camping area with showers and toilets, picnic tables and campfire grates.
Image credit: @westerndownsrc
Local tip: Lakes and dams are magnets for birds of all kinds – take your binoculars and get there early.
For more inspiration on where to explore, dine and relax across Southern Queensland Country, check out our handy guide.