View Full Version : Gap Creek Falls

27th August 2008, 10:24 AM
The rain and wind had been pounding in for some time now, so our annual trip to Moreton Island with friends had to be postponed. The rangers were moving campers from the ocean side of the island to the western side, so the hard decision was made to abandon the trip. This left me with a weeks holiday to burn up and some unpleasant weather. What better to do in our summer rainy season then get out and see some of our waterfalls that would normally be dry, trickling to life.

It is the second week of January, the low pressure system off Mackay is breathing life into our parched land while we head off in our trusty Landy in search of adventure. Earlier in the week, we had done a night drive out to the Condamine River Road, only to be stopped in our tracks by the rising waters. The Condamine, Logan, Albert and Coomera rivers were in various stages of flood, and the decision was taken to visit a normally dry fall at some elevation.

Gap Creek Falls is located on a walk 9.5k round trip from the carpark at the top of Cunninghams Gap in Main Range National Park, West of Brisbane on the Cunningham Highway. It is a fairly straight forward drive along the highway, and once past Willowbank raceway the mountains of the Great Dividing Range come into view. You pass Mt French and the world renowned climbing area of Frog Butress, on your left just before coming into the town of Aratula, and Mt Edwards close as you leave, as well as the impressive dome of Mt Greville which rises straight out of the fields surrounding it. Head to the top of the range, crossing the Bicentennial trail, past a helicopter pad as you take in the view of the Fassifern Valley. You will find the Carpark on your right as you reach the gap.

Our walking group comprises of my wife Cheryl, son Jasper, daughter Lily and myself. The kids are quite adept at travelling a good distance and keep us well entertained.

We travel past the monument and head towards the lookout, then onto the track junction for Bare Rock/Mt Cordeaux and the Gap Creek Falls walk. This walk is a descent first up, so the kids are fairly happy to run along the trail, pointing out wildlife as they go. I wonder what they will think of the climb out at the end of the day, although my daughter refuses to be carried. It isn't long before we see the first of what turns out to be 4 snakes for the day. I only caught a glimpse of a grey body slithering of the trail to the north. The pounding of what must have seemed to the snake as a herd of elephants was enough to warn it that it was time to go. We kept on descending along an easily followed trail through open sclerephel forest until we came to the final drop into the creek. This was a short scramble down an earth bank into the elevated watercourse at the top of the falls.




This was a perfect spot to have our lunch, and for Jasper and Lily to explore and play. There was an abundance of Queensland Blue butterflies around and as my son found out, alot of very large spiders with enormous powerful webs strung out between the bushes just waiting to catch little boys. We were following the watercourse upstream on the right bank, chasing the butterflies to get a decent photo of them, when Jasper steps around the bush and his head is engulfed in a massive web. The spiders abdomem was as thick as your thumb, and it's long spindley legs spanned larger than my hand. I laughed so hard at his impromptu dance I nearly fell in the creek. I did manage to get a shot of a butterfly though eventually.


Our daughter is the entertainer in our family, and I'm not quite sure here if she is copying the monster on her shirt, or poking fun at her brother. Either way has a way of amusing us all.



A little more exploring around, then it is time to head back out.


After packing our gear and swinging or packs on our backs again, we start up the earth bank to regain the track, In doing so, I nearly grabbed a smaller version of the pale grey snake I had seen earlier by the tail. Luckily for us this variety is happy to just get out of our way. We continue back up the trail, slowly retracing our steps, when the kids, after a little coaxing to continue, decide it is time for a rest. As they rest on some steps on the apex of a switchback, I have a bit of a look around after about 2 minutes. Out of the corner of my eye, over my left shoulder, not more than 2 feet away from me, I spot a King Brown sunning itself on a log. This thing was HUGE. Now I had to get everyone up and moving. Mr snake was happy to just sit there, basking in the little sunlight there was, as our party travelled by to leave him in peace in his little corner of the world. It was strange to see so many snakes, as we normally walk in winter.

The Kids admired the King Brown as they walked by commenting on it's sleek and powerful appearance. It wouldn't be long until we had an encounter with one they wouldn't like. Cheryl was ahead, with myself about 10 paces behind trying to amuse and encourage Jasper and Lily behind me to keep going when there is a rustle in the grass ahead, Cheryl had nearly stepped on something that shot out from under her foot to the right and into the grass. All she new was it was brown. I watched the rustling grass and noticed that whatever it was was it was travelling in a circular direction to come out behind Cheryl. I grabbed the kids and moved them up inbetween Cheryl and myself and moved them up the trail. No sooner had I gotten them through then a brown snake appears out of the grass onto the track about 6 feet away and rears into the strike postion. I stood my ground as we stared each other off. Another couple we had passed earlier appeared on the scene at this moment and in the time taken to lift my eyes to them and back the snake had vanished. A warning was relayed to the others and they kept well left as we all got passed and continued on the the carpark. The shot of adrenelin was just the thing the kids needed to keep them going strong. How many questions do you think 2 kids could ask you about snakes in 3k? Luckily I love teaching my chidren about the natural enviroment.

Our Landy loomed into view in a deserted carpark and it was a job well done all round. It is a walk best done after rain, as most falls walks are and our wildlife adventures certainly added to the experience.

Colonel Coleman

27th August 2008, 08:52 PM
Sounds like a fun family day out. I too have encounted numerous snakes down Frogs Butrus way which with a bit of respect for their personal space are OK it's only when you stumble on them that they become scary. Especially with kids.


27th August 2008, 09:03 PM
Thanks for that report it was a Great story and great place,

we (family) were up there in July but some of the tracks were closed, we didn't do the track you did due to the lack of water. But went out on the Bare Rock/Mt Cordeaux track.

We also started at the car park down the range. Which was a good place to return for lunch.

Some of the walks in this area are great, however like most I think we just drive past to explore another day


long stroke
27th August 2008, 09:13 PM
Thanks for that great report!!


11th June 2010, 01:48 PM
I haven;t been out there for years ! Thanks for the write up.