Conondale National Park

Campfire Disabled Horse riding Shower Swimming Toilets Wildlife Aboriginal site Camping area Lookout Picnic area Place of interest Ranger Walking

Introduction

In the Conondale Ranges, to the west of the popular tourist destination of the Sunshine Coast, lies the sprawling expanse of Conondale National Park. In addition to protecting a diverse array of natural treasures, Conondale also houses an intriguing sculpture and the Conondale Range Great Walk, one of the best walking trails in Queensland.

Fact file

Access

From Brisbane via Bruce Hwy then Steve Irwin Way, Landsborough–Maleny Rd, Maleny–Kenilworth Rd and Booloumba Creek Rd; from Nambour via Nambour–Mapleton Rd then Obi Obi Rd, Maleny–Kenilworth Rd and Boolooumba Creek Rd

Best season

March to October

Location

130 km north of Brisbane; 37 km west of Nambour

Park information

NPRSR 13 7468

Permits

Camping permit and fees apply; bookings essential

Size

35 500 ha

Visitor information

Maleny Hinterland (07) 5499 9788

Montville (07) 5478 5544

Featured Activities in the National Park

  • Take a walk along some (or all) of the 56-kilometre Conondale Range Great Walk

    Find and experience Andy Goldsworthy’s Strangler Cairn

    Marvel at the falls and rock pools of Booloumba Gorge

A look at the past

Unlike most other national parks, Conondale National Park began as a natural reserve protected from European settlers. George Gipps, governor of the colony of New South Wales, recognised the importance of bunya pines to Indigenous people and in 1842 declared illegal the clearing of any lands north of Moreton Bay which contained bunya pines. This edict effectively halted European settlement of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland region.

Unfortunately this protection of the land was overturned in 1860, shortly after Queensland formally separated from the colony of New South Wales. Settlement of the area began in earnest, and the native old-growth trees of the Conondale Ranges became a significant resource for the timber industry. Demand for timber peaked in the 1900s as steam-powered sawmills were brought to the area to allow on-site processing of logs.

In 1907 the first of a series of state forest reserves in the area was declared, and the timber industry gradually began to shift from logging old-growth forests to the establishment of native pine plantations. The current national park was established after lobbying by a group of committed conservationists, the Conondale Range Committee, in the 1970s.

Aboriginal culture

The traditional owners of the Conondale Range are the Gubbi Gubbi people, whose connection with the land is attested by the presence of several culturally important sites. The nuts of the bunya pine were an important food source for the Gubbi Gubbi, and nut harvests formed the basis of a triennial celebration in the Conondale region, where the Gubbi Gubbi would come together to share their culture and food, to socialise, and even to arrange marriages. The Gubbi Gubbi maintain a strong connection with the land today, and were integral in the development of the Conondale Range Great Walk.

Natural features

Conondale National Park protects the forested slopes of the Conondale Range, part of the Great Dividing Range. The tallest peak of the Conondale Range, Mount Langley, sits within the park, reaching 868 meters. Needless to say, this is a hilly region, cut through with gorges and creeks – make sure you bring good walking shoes.

One of the key features of the park is the Booloumba Creek, around which the day-use and camping areas cluster. This creek’s stunningly clear water reveals a creek bed covered by a colourful mosaic of rocks, a testament to the area’s unique geological history. Visitors are welcome to swim in the creek, but should attempt to minimise their impact on native frog species – not to mention the wonderfully clean and translucent water.

Native plants

As the area’s history as a timber centre suggests, this is a land dominated by big trees – not just the bunya pine, but also blackbutt, hoop pine, red cedar and tallowwood. Beautiful native hyacinth orchids can be found throughout the park, flowering from December through to February.

Wildlife

The Conondale Range is an important area for native frogs, and the park protects a large tract of habitat for the endangered Fleay’s barred frog and giant barred frog, as well as the threatened cascade tree frog. To protect these valuable frogs, the park advises that visitors clean and disinfect their footwear before entering the park, remove soil from footwear and camping gear before leaving an area, and keep to designated tracks and creek crossings.

Bushwalking

If you’re after a quick stretch of the legs, the Peters Creek walk (500 metres return, 15 minutes) takes you from a carpark on Booloumba Creek Road to a scenic, boulder-strewn spot on Peters Creek. For a longer walk rewarded by an excellent view, take the Booloumba Creek to Mount Allan walk (11 km return, 3½ hours), which winds from the Booloumba Creek day-use area to a fire tower at the peak of Mount Allan. Climbing the 9.6-metre fire tower after a 5.5-kilometre uphill walk may test your endurance, but persevere – you’ll be rewarded with splendid 360-degree views of the Mary Valley and the Conondale Range. If you don’t want to turn around, the track continues from Mount Allan to the Charlie Moreland camping and day-use area (4.4 km one way, 2 hours) in the adjacent Imbil State Forest, although be aware that the track is frequently closed owing to forestry work in Imbil.

Serious hikers will delight in the Conondale Range Great Walk, a 56-kilometre, four-day circuit that winds its way through the park. The walk can be taken either as a full four-day trek or in smaller sections. The shortest of these is the Booloumba Falls walk (3 km return, 1.5 hours), which departs from the Booloumba Falls carpark on Booloumba Creek Road and offers excellent views over Booloumba Falls. From the Booloumba Creek day-use area casual walkers can proceed south along the trail to various points of interest, including the historical Gold Mine (5 km return, 2.5 hours) or the Artists Cascades (10.6 km return, 4 hours). These walks just begin to touch on the possibilities of the full four-day great walk, which moves deep into the Conondale Range, well beyond the areas visited by daytrippers. Camping at the walkers’ camps dotted along the great walk must be booked and paid for in advance.

Horse riding

Conondale is one of the few national parks in Queensland where horse riding is allowed. Horses and riders in the park are restricted to the Queensland Horse Trail Network, which connects Conondale to Imbil and Jimna state forests.

Scenic touring

A network of gravel roads threads through Conondale and the adjacent Imbil State Forest. These roads intersect with various walking trails and allow ready access to scenic areas. The Booloumba View, south of the Booloumba Creek day-use area, and a lookout on Sunday Creek road near the border of Imbil State Forest are two such scenic areas that are only accessible by car. The roads inside Conondale are suitable only for 4WD vehicles. 

Campsites

Booloumba Creek no. 1 camping area

This area offers secluded camping in a rainforest setting, ideal for tents but not for caravans or trailers, which are not permitted here. To reach it, go through Maleny and follow the signs to Kenilworth. You’ll... Find out more


Booloumba Creek no. 3 camping area

Much like site no. 1, no. 3 offers secluded tent camping in a rainforest setting. No caravans or camper trailers are permitted. To get here, go through Maleny and follow the signs to Kenilworth; the turn-off to Booloumba... Find out more


Booloumba Creek no. 4 camping area

Booloumba Creek’s no. 4 campground is suitable for campervans, caravans and trailers. To get here, go through Maleny and follow the signs to Kenilworth; the turn-off to Booloumba is about 13 km past Conondale.... Find out more


Summer Falls camping area (walk-in camping)

This campsite near the picturesque Summer Falls offers simple facilities for a maximum of 24 campers. Boil or treat the water before drinking and bring a gas/fuel stove, as fires are prohibited. Summer Falls is 12 km... Find out more


Tallowwood camping area (walk-in camping)

As the name might suggest, Tallowwood camping area is located in a section of Conondale National Park dominated by the tallowwood. The camping area offers simple facilities for a maximum of 24 campers. Boil or treat the... Find out more


Wongai camping area (walk-in camping)

This camping area in the grassy open forest offers simple facilities for a maximum of 24 campers. Boil or treat the water provided before drinking and bring a gas/fuel stove, as fires are prohibited. Wongai is 11 km from... Find out more


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