Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, is the third-largest city in Australia population-wise. Built on the banks of the Brisbane River, this gorgeous and friendly city is full of Australian landmarks and locals and tourists who love spending time outdoors soaking up the sun, even if only in Brisbane for 48 hours!
One of the most popular outdoor adventures here is hiking to the myriad of Brisbane waterfalls with amazing lookouts in and around the Brisbane Region (a car will be needed for most). Many of these hikes can be found in national parks and have toilets, parking, and BBQ facilities at the trailheads or near the trailhead.
When hiking, make sure to stay on the marked trails when possible and walk with a partner or group. Many of the parks have rock pools and swimming holes that are plenty refreshing, so much so that you may want to pack an extra set of clothes and definitely a towel for after your swim.
Brisbane has various styles of waterfalls, including plunging falls, punchbowl falls, block waterfalls, cascades, tiered, and ribbon falls. From hiking to swimming, the Brisbane region is a waterfall wonderland. Go with the flow and follow this guide to visit the best waterfalls near Brisbane, Australia!
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Using the map of Brisbane, you can explore all the waterfalls.
One of the best waterfalls in the Brisbane area is Kondalilla Falls. The falls drop 90 m (300 feet) into the jungle below. These falls are tucked away in the aptly-named Kondalilla National Park, a 1.5-hour drive north of Brisbane, and offers one of the best weekend getaways from Brisbane.
You'll wander through eucalyptus and palm trees as well as other beautiful native trees and plants. Kondalilla National Park is home to over 100 species of birds, 70 types of reptiles, and 30 species of frogs, so keep your eyes and ears open.
The hike into the valley is well maintained and includes a series of steps to the rock pools below. The walk is about 5 km and takes 2-3 hours to finish, including a set of over 100 steps.
There are rock pools at both the top and bottom of the falls that you can swim in; however, the water can be super cold at times, so hopefully, you remembered to pack your towel!
This out and back hike is just shy of 10 km (6 miles) and can take up to 7 hours to complete. The walk includes three differently-named falls, and you can choose to turn around at any point as the hike gets harder the further you get.
Cedar Creek Falls, located in Samford, is just a short walk along the river. This first part is moderately easy with small kids and a fun place to swim and hang out during the summer.
You can hike further along the river to find the other falls known as Love Falls and Greens Falls. These falls are appealing for older kids and adults all year long.
While the hike is rated as easy, at times, you will have to scramble across rocks, and they can be slippery or covered after heavy rain. Of course, this will make the falls even more spectacular; you be cautious as you walk along the river.
For most of this hike, you won't find a trail or markers; just follow the river. During the trek, you'll notice swimming holes and rock pools to swim in as well as some smaller waterfalls. You might also run into some of the real locals, like lizards and snakes.
This hike is different from the one in Tamborine National Park. It can be found about 20 minutes outside the village of Samford, on the northside of Brisbane.
Located near Mt. Tamborine, Curtis Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls around Brisbane. This short, out-and-back trek is just under 3 km if you combine it with the Lower Creek Trail.
The walk takes you through flourishing jungle, thriving eucalyptus forest, soaring palm trees, and across rivers and bridges as you make your way around the Curtis Falls and Lower Creek Circuit.
Curtis Falls is accessible year-round and is a family-friendly hike with an elevation gain of only 291 feet. There are rock pools towards the bottom of the trek that you can cool off in.
The best time to go is after a rainfall or during the rainy season, which is December through March. This is when the falls will be at their most powerful and exciting. However, no matter what time of year you're visiting, Curtis Falls is always a treat.
The Curtis Falls hike is located in Tamborine National Park, which is just over an hour south of Brisbane. In the park, you can camp and complete other treks as well.
The Queen Mary Falls Circuit is an easy hike with breathtaking views of the falls plummeting 40 m (131 feet) into the river below.
The walk takes you down into the valley, where you can stand at the base of the waterfall and feel the mist on your face. This is incredibly refreshing and rejuvenating on those hot, sticky days.
The hike can be taken in either direction; however, one side has a long section of steps that can be tough on the legs if you are not expecting it.
The Queen Mary Falls hike can be a spectacular sunset hike if you time it right. To find Queen Mary Falls, you have to go to Main Range National Park, which is just over a 2-hour drive southwest of Brisbane.
An hour and a half south of Brisbane is the Twin Falls Circuit, a gorgeous hike located in Springbrook National Park that takes you to beautiful waterfalls near Brisbane, Queensland. Set in a Gondwana Rainforest, this hike is about 5 km (3.1 miles) and is totally magical with some stunning lookouts.
The hike leads you through palm and eucalyptus forest, beech trees, ferns, and rock clefts, and behind two different waterfalls.
There are steps and steep sections throughout the hike as well as bridge crossings and cliffs to watch out for. Once you get to the bottom, you get an incredible view of the Twin Falls plunging into a massive pool.
You can explore around the rock pool and go behind the falls looking for skinks and lizards, or you can go swimming and cool off before heading back up the trail.
Another hike located in Springbrook National Park, close to the Gold Coast Hinterland, is the Purling Brook Falls Circuit.
Purling Brook Falls is known as a horsetail waterfall, and it tumbles 100 m (328 feet) into the lush jungle below. The hike can get crowded on especially nice days. Roundtrip, the walk is about 4 km (2 miles) and can take up to 3 hours.
The track is well marked, making it easy to follow in any direction, except for a series of 450 steps that can get slippery when wet.
Along the hike, you can hear the hidden Tanninaba Falls before getting to the base of Purling Brook Falls. Once you get to the bottom, you'll be overwhelmed by the beauty, and you may want to jump right in; however, if you're going to swim, continue hiking to the Warringa Pool Track.
The Natural Bridge Falls is a phenomenal combination of a waterfall and rock bridge tucked away in a Gondwana Rainforest. The hike here is another popular trek within Springbrook National Park.
This natural rock bridge was formed because of the force of the water being rushed over the cave. The hike is super short at just 1 km, but it packs in a bunch of gorgeous sights along the way.
The walk is well marked with deliberately placed viewing platforms throughout. You can see the bridge and falls from all sorts of angles and viewpoints, and you'll take steps down into the cave as well.
It is crucial to stay on the marked trails only as the surrounding flora and fauna are protected.
Located in Springbrook National Park, the Cougal Cascade contains a hike that leads you deep into the beautiful, extravagant, lush jungle. However, the path is sealed the entire way, making it suitable for strollers and wheelchairs.
The hike is less than 2 km long and is an out-and-back track. It leads to a stunning viewing platform and is popular all year long. In the warmer months, you can go swimming in the nearby rock pools, and as you hike, you can look for kookaburras, whip birds, and a variety of lizards.
The trail takes you along Currumbin Creek, and you can see old sawmill tools towards the end. You can scramble down the rocks for better views of the cascades, but just be careful as you climb.
The Simpson Falls Circuit is an 8 km (5-mile) loop offering views of the city as you walk through the bush. This walk is also located within the Mt Coot-tha Forest, super close to the city of Brisbane. The trek starts at the picnic and BBQ grounds inside the access road.
The loop takes about 2 hours to complete and can be combined with the Eugenia Track and the Fairy Wren Trail. As you make your way to the falls, you'll begin along the road before venturing into the native bush. It is common for the falls to be a calm trickle during the dry season, but it can be roaring during the wet season.
You'll follow streams and the gentle inclines and declines of the trail and can bird watch along the way. Most people spot the white-throated treecreeper, the variegated fairy-wren, the powerful owl, the rose robin and the varied sittella.
The J.C. Slaughter Falls is a seasonal waterfall that is spectacular during the monsoon season or after a rainy day. For Australia, this is December through March. One of the closest reserves to Brisbane's CBD, the tracks here are great whether the falls are flowing or not.
There are two trails to view the falls from, The Aboriginal Art Trail and The Summit Trail. The Aboriginal Art Trail is an easy, scenic walk that goes to a lookout point of the falls when they are flowing. You can also see aboriginal rock paintings along the trail, and this walk takes about 30 minutes.
The Summit Trail is 2 km long, and though a majority of the hike is uphill, only certain spots are considered super steep. This track heads to the top of Mt Coot-tha, where you'll be rewarded with incredible views of Brisbane.
The Morans Falls Track is a super popular trail for both locals and tourists and can be accessed throughout the year. You can find this track in Lamington National Park, about 2 hours south of Brisbane, along with Morans Creek Gorge. These falls are known as plunge falls and sits in a Gondwana Rainforest.
The trail is a return track and takes most people about 1.5 hours to complete the 5 km. The course goes through a flourishing rainforest, where you see the falls plummeting 80 m into the jungle floor.
Though the falls and hike are gorgeous all year long, Morans Falls turns into a raging spectacle during monsoon season. The Morans Falls Trail is clearly marked, so make sure you follow the markers past the first lookout.
The Box Forest circuit is a nearly 11 km (7-mile) loop featuring numerous gorgeous waterfalls. You'll pass through lush rainforest, blossoming flowers, pink-barked brush box, and beech trees. It is excellent as a day trip from Brisbane as it's about a 2-hour drive there and back.
As you hike, witness the Elabana Falls. You will also pass Darragumai Falls, an epic spot to stop for pictures and a lunch break. You'll want to take your time walking this loop, making sure you soak in the full beauty of the surrounding area.
Along the rest of the loop is also Box Log Falls and Yanbacoochie Falls. There are various hikes, trails, and waterfalls throughout the circuit. This makes it one of the best hikes to see multiple waterfalls near Brisbane, QLD.
The Baxter Creek Falls has an out-and-back track that can take up to 3 hours to finish. Located in Mapleton Falls National Park, about an hour and a half north of Brisbane, Baxter Creek Falls and Mapleton Falls can be combined for a great day of hiking. These two falls are some of the most popular waterfalls in North Brisbane and beyond.
Baxter Falls is the shorter hike of the two, and at one part of the trail, there are steps leading down to the base of the falls. The steps can get a bit slippery due to moss and mud on them.
You can choose to head back to the car park or continue on to Mapleton Falls from here. Going to Mapleton Falls and back is a total of 12 km (7 miles), and the viewpoint from the lookout is unforgettable. If you don't feel like hiking to the viewpoint, you can also drive there.
Serenity Falls is tucked deep in Buderim Forest Park's jungle, but it is easily accessed by crossing a bridge spanning the entire falls and walking down steps leading to the jungle floor and the base of the falls. It is a 1 hour and 20-minute drive north of Brisbane.
There are several ways to view the falls, from above, below, and even cautiously from behind. The falls are a popular hiking spot all year long, and in the summer months, there are many great swimming holes along the way. No matter the time of year, the water can get super chilly, so just be aware of that.
The walk can take up to 45 minutes to complete and is relatively easy for most people. This hike leads to one of the most beautiful waterfalls close to Brisbane, Australia.
The Booloumba Falls are protected in Conondale National Park and feed into several rock pools that are magical to swim in. Just over two hours north of Brisbane, this national park will transport you to another world colored in shades of blues and greens and peppered with brightly-colored flowers.
The falls themselves are gentle enough to swim or "shower" under, and the pools are clear enough to snorkel with goggles as long as it hasn't rained in a few days.
You can hunt around for different pools to swim in both above and below the falls; just be careful scrambling on the rocks as they can get pretty slippery.
The track and falls are accessible year-round and are popular with mostly locals and the "real" locals. Keep your eyes open for kangaroos, platypus, kookaburras, frogs, and lizards.
There are loads of waterfalls fairly close to Brisbane that will literally blow your mind with their beauty. This guide will point you in the right direction to some popular waterfalls around Brisbane, QLD, but also a few secret gems.
As always, follow the general rules of hiking, like letting someone know your route and when you plan to be back, wear proper gear and bring water and snacks.
Don't leave anything or anyone, especially trash, behind, and respect the no dog or leashed only rules. These are set in place so that vegetation and animals can have a chance to thrive.
Watch where you step, especially in the bush and jungles of Australia, and have fun!
This article was edited by Loredana Elena.
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