Whether you are visiting for the weekend or taking a week-long holiday, the Sunshine Coast is the perfect outdoor escape all throughout the year. With great waterfalls and waterholes to explore, there is plenty to keep you busy all weekend long.
Located right in the heart of the Kondalilla Falls National Park and only a 40km drive from Coolum Beach lies the serene Kondalilla Falls. Your trip to this Sunshine Coast waterfall starts with a gentle 5km walk downhill to the falls – be warned though of the thigh-burning walk on the way back. There are plenty of signs to help guide you from the carpark down to the falls as well as the sounds of water in the distance enticing you. As you wind your way down in the dense rainforest you’ll come across Kondalilla Falls Lookout where Skene Creek makes a magnificent 80-meter drop.
Once at the falls you can pop in for dip – however, the waterhole isn’t big enough for a proper swim. If you’re wanting to bring a picnic there is a nice grassy area just near the carpark with shady picnic tables for you to use.
How to get there: Once you’ve entered the Kondalilla Falls National Park turn off onto Kondalilla Falls Road and follow it until the carpark.
Known as the (not so) hidden gem of the Sunshine Hinterland, Gardner Falls has everything every great waterhole needs – water suitable for swimming, great picnic spots and plenty of shade. You can park your car beside Obi Obi Creek – be sure to get in early if you want to be close to the entry and take the stroll to the fall. This short 300 metre walk from the carpark passes many shallower freshwater rock pools which little ones can play and splash around in, but the real star of the show is the generously-sized swimming hole below the falls. Swim a couple of laps, laze around on a lilo or nab a spot along the grassy bank or rocky ledges to lie out your towel. If you’re feeling brave, have a swing on one of the two rope swings over the pool.
Bring a good book and hang out here all day in the shade of the surrounding natural Australian bush – with the occasional dip to cool down. Be warned though, locals flock here during summer so be prepared to share the swimming hole with others.
How to get there: Turn off Landsborough-Maleny Road, at Obi Lane South and follow the road to the car park.
Located right next to the picturesque town of Buderim lies 45 hectares of pristine forest, waterfalls and native wildlife. Unofficially named Serenity Falls by the Aboriginal locals, Buderim feels just that – serene. Take the lovely walking trail from one of the two entrances – Quorn Close offers a quick 300m walk to Buderim Falls whereas the entry at Lindsay Road weaves you through grassy picnic areas, along wooden footbridges and across rocky paths. The main feature of the park is the gorgeous elevated wooden arch bridge which overlooks Buderim Falls. This icon was lowered into place via a helicopter and provides a great lookout point
While this Sunshine Coast waterfall may be as pretty a picture, it’s not recommended that you swim here. This is because while the creek may be spring-fed, it passes through many towns and developments before it reaches the waterfall.
How to get there: You can find Buderim Falls from either Quorn Close or Harry’s Lane.
Stunning Wappa Falls lies just outside the Sunshine Coast town of Yandina. This fresh water waterfall is fed by the South Maroochy River coming from Wappa Dam. Only a short walk from the carpark at Wappa Dam - you can almost see the falls from where you park your car. Comprised of a large waterhole with a drop off into a small Gorge below, Wappa Falls creates an excellent Instagram shot.
This Sunshine Coast waterfall can be fierce in winter after heavy rainfall so it has been advised to not swim here, however, it’s a prime sunbathing spot along the rocks. If you are visiting the falls on a Saturday then head to the famous Yandina markets and pick up some fresh local produce to fill your picnic basket. Right near the Wappa Dam carpark is a kids’ playground and picnic facilities if your little ones need a run around before the drive back to town.
How to get there: Either park at Wappa Dam and take the short, 10-minute walk to Buderim falls or follow Wappa Falls Road until you turn right at Pump Station Road and follow until you hit the carpark.
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