One of our favourite local camps and walks, is Queen Mary Falls, which is part of the Main Range National Park and about a one hour, forty-five minute drive from Toowoomba, just over two hours if you are travelling from Brisbane. This little piece of wilderness is an absolute haven and an invaluable escape from work for me. We can drive out just for the day or even better, with the pod we can stay the night at the great little campground/caravan park just across the road from the falls.
The falls walk itself is a short walk only about 2km and over well maintained path, you do descend to the base of the falls from the ridge and then back up again on the other side. You can do the walk either clockwise or anti-clockwise. If you start on the Falls lookout side, (clockwise), it is a nice gentle decent but the assent back up involves some stairs. Having done the walk in both directions I recommend going anti-clockwise and starting at the stairs end, personally I much prefer a gentle incline to all those stairs. The walk it self is a beautiful descent from a Eucalypt ridge down into a temperate rain forest gorge, even with the current drought, the falls are still flowing, just not as dramatically as they can during heavy rainfall. The base of the falls can be misty and the walkway across the creek can get wet, not so much at the moment with the drought. It is a lovely cool green walk at any time.
If you do the walk slowly and quietly you should encounter some of the local inhabitants, wallabies abound, no pun intended, and possums, and koalas are also forest locals.
What I find most striking are the small bird species that flit manically about the trees, so quickly it can be hard to identify what exactly they are. I am still uncertain what some of the birds were, tiny finch like creatures, smaller even than wrens that frequent the area or the yellow robins which I have also seen there, perhaps a pardalote species but I am uncertain. I Really need to get a really good what bird is that book. Incidentally the cafe has a few cafe copies of bird identifying books you can peruse over your coffee or lunch.
Birds are big thing at Queen Mary Falls, with the cafe having a long history of feeding the visiting parrot species, mainly King Parrots and Crimson Rosella. You can buy small bags of seed if you want to have that personal encounter with the birds. Weekends are busy with visitors, during the week it is much quieter, so I suspect the birds are not totally dependent on the handouts, at least I hope not, but they are well used to interacting with humans and the handouts do seem to benefit other species as well, including some of the smaller dove species that frequent the area. I noticed a pair of diamond headed doves cleaning up the left over spilt seed.
I feel a bit conflicted about the bird feeding, I am aware of the negative impact dependent feeding can have, but I wonder if the chance to engage so closely with nature does not have a pay off in increasing overall concern for the environment. Satin bower birds are the other notable local bird, with at least one pair being present in the caravan park itself. Lovely elegant aristocrats, with their shimmery plumage, the females in green and the males in their aristocratic, show off deep blue to purple, real avian royalty.
The park is great for a relaxing stay, powered and unpowered sites, cabins if you don’t want to rough it. Excellent hot showers, a luxury I always appreciate. Fire pits are also provided and you can purchase wood from the cafe as well. Queen Mary Falls, really is a little piece of paradise in our south east Queensland back yard and the Caravan Park is one of my favourite places to stay; https://queenmaryfallscaravanpark.com.au/ . We paid $28 for an unpowered site on Saturday night. You also have access to additional walks; Browns Falls and Daggs Falls are just a short stroll down the hill. You can choose to be super active and tackle the extended walks or you can just chill and watch the beautiful bird life. The one thing you don’t have is internet or mobile coverage, I can get a couple of bars on my phone if I am sitting at the cafe but beyond that mobile access was pretty much non existent, but then what are weekends for, if not for gong where the WiFi is weak.