QUEEN Mary Falls is one of southeast Queensland’s most iconic day trip destinations. Located within Main Range National Park, this waterfall is one of those spectacular locations that satisfies the need for adventure.
The trip to Queen Mary Falls is an extremely picturesque drive, though if travelling from Brisbane you will be cruising on blacktop to get there. However, don’t be discouraged as you won’t be disappointed! Most four-wheel-drive directories will guide you along a tight windy road through private property before heading up an extremely steep range. Although this road is fairly straightforward, I urge you to keep an eye on your coolant temperatures (oh yes, my old Nissan Terrano II hated this hill) and take your time to check out the view.
This trip is one that is special to me for a few reasons. First and most simply, it is a relaxing adventure with absolutely amazing sights and it’s one of the only trips I can say I haven’t broken something on! But more importantly, this is one of the first trips my late father took me on, and it was one of two specific trips I remember exposing me to 4WDing, and yes, I’ve been hooked ever since.
Anyway, back to the trip. At the top of this magnificent range you are greeted with one of the best views anywhere. From the top, it takes about half an hour to drive to Queen Mary Falls. Once you’ve hit the carpark at Queen Mary Falls, I suggest you get stuck into some tucker from the caravan park café. With brilliant service and quality food, this is a well-deserved and enjoyed stop before taking a walk down to the falls themselves.
During our last adventure to Queen Mary Falls, we met one of the most brazen kookaburras ever. The sneaky bugger flew onto the end of our table before casually walking over to our food and eating our chips as if we had invited it to share. Reaching the top of Queen Mary Falls requires only a short and gradual descent from the carpark.
Once you hit the lookout you will experience amazing views of the canopy below and of course the stunning 40m-high plunge waterfall. Queen Mary Falls is part of Spring Creek, which links with the Condamine River shortly after the falls. After heading off from Queen Mary Falls, you have two options: either take the bitumen back home or hit the dirt and get your wheels dirty.
As always, we chose the dirt track and cruised down to the start of Condamine River Rd. This is an easy 4WD track that meanders along and crosses the Condamine River a total of 14 times. It is a perfect trip for inexperienced 4WDers and a great track for learning your rig, especially if you aren’t up for a huge challenge straight off the bat.
Condamine River Rd winds through Condamine Gorge, and consequently you’re presented with scenery including massive rock faces and stunning flora and fauna, which gives you an unforgettable experience driving through nature. However, Condamine River is prone to flooding during heavy rainfall, so please just check with local authorities if you are planning to head out there after storm activity.
After popping out at the end of the gorge, you will once again have a choice of following the blacktop home or continuing along the road less taken. I would highly suggest taking the road less taken, as this dirt road is an extremely easy track that gives you a true feeling of being in the middle of nowhere. Travelling along this track you will cross over the Queensland/NSW border before dropping down into thick bush and spending half an hour winding around the mountainous countryside.
We were lucky to time our trip to catch the sunset in the mountains – a-ma-zing! After following this road, you find yourself popping out the back of Maroon Dam, which is another great spot to stop for some refreshments before embarking on your final leg home. Although Maroon Dam has a few free camping spots, we highly recommend checking out Camp Lake Fire.
This little campsite is run by one of the most amazing, genuine country blokes we have ever met and for $5 per person you can gain access to the dam via a private track, at the end of which you will find a number of campsites set up and access to both canoes and tinnies with electrics. Either with your own fishing gear or the hireable gear, this is a great spot to get onto the water and flick a line chasing yellowbelly and bass (don’t forget your Stocked Impoundment Permit!).
Our favourite part of Maroon Dam is the yabbying. With an abundance of yabbies and easy access to the dam, we love catching our limit and cooking up delicious garlic butter yabby tails. Make sure you keep an eye out for next month’s article as we have a special trip organised.