This article originally appeared on VisitSunshineCoast.com.au
A hike in the Hinterland is an opportunity to see the Sunshine Coast in a way you have never experienced and will never forget.
We’ve uncovered some of the best hikes, bush walks and waterfalls that will make you want to grab your camera, strap on your backpack and hit the road.
- Kondalilla Falls
Located within the Kondalilla National Park, you’ll find a breathtaking waterfall that drops 90m down, before meandering through the Obi Obi Valley.
The shortest walk is the Picnic Creek Circuit (1.7 kms) which winds through wet eucalyptus forest and pristine rainforest en route to the natural rockpools at the top of Kondalilla Falls. This majestic swimming hole is surrounded by trees, native flora and rocks which are perfect platform for picturesque picnics, and it is deep enough for a proper cooling swim too.
The Kondalilla Falls Circuit (4.7 kms) passes the rockpools and drops down to the base of the waterfall. The walk features 100 steps but the insta-worthy views looking back up make it all worth it.
- Mt Ngungun
If you’ve ever seen a picture of a Hinterland summit, it’s probably been the top of this mountain. Arguably the most popular and photographed Hinterland hike, climbers love it due to its relative ease and spectacular views.
The Mount Ngungun summit walking track is a 2.8-kilometre trail that begins in open forest and offers great views of Mount Tibrogargan, Mount Coonowrin and Mount Beerwah.
At an average pace it will take you 30-40 minutes to get to the summit but there is plenty to explore and admire along the way – including a cool rock overhang creating a cool cave.
This is the ultimate hike to schedule for sunrise or sunset to make the most of the 360-degree views and stunning colour-changing skies.
- Mapleton Falls
These impressive falls come from Pencil Creek and the drop is a remarkable 120 metres! But don’t worry, you can capture amazing views via a raised platform just 10m from the carpark.
To highlight the beauty of the surrounding bushland, there is a 1.3km circuit where you can catch a glimpse of the tiny birds that flitter amongst the undergrowth of this lush green rainforest area, as well as other birds scratching and playing among the leaves and rotting trees on the forest floor.
The walk takes you along pathways that let you experience the amazing rainforest while providing interesting and educational information signposted to help guide you on your way.
- Booloumba Falls
Head to the Conondale National Park and find lush rainforests, tall eucalypt forest, waterfalls, boulder-strewn creeks and spectacular scenery.
The Booloumba Falls walk is 3km return and will take about two hours, plus any additional time for a picnic lunch. You’ll love exploring the rock pools and dipping your toes among tadpoles and little fish. As you follow the path you’ll come to the Booloumba Gorge which presents an impressive outlook over The Breadknife rock formation, cascading waters of the creek and the waterfalls at Peters and Booloumba creeks’ junction.
In the warmer months, the main pool at the top of the falls is pretty deep and around 15m wide allowing you plenty of space to cool off with a swim.
Getting to the start of this hike is a little harder. The road in is unpaved but gravel-covered and there are three river crossings. A high-clearance 4WD vehicle is recommended to access this spot – especially after any heavy rainfall.
- Gheerrulla Falls
This hike is part of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk in the Mapleton National Park but you don’t have to walk the whole 58km as this section is just 1.5km down to the falls.
The walk is relatively quiet – it doesn’t even have a designated carpark – so if you are lucky, you might end up with the trail all to yourself.
It’s an easy walk with no rocks to climb over when taking a dip in the beautiful crisp clear water so if you’re looking for a water hole away from the crowds in a peaceful and secluded setting, then this is the one.