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Great Outdoors

Nature at its best

summer 09/10

GLORIOUS, NATURAL NATIONAL PARKS and forests – the Sunshine Coast is blessed with heaps of them. To take the pain out of choosing which green corner to explore, salt writer Justin Loveridge has hand-picked and profiled four of the finest in the land.

Noosa National Park – famous by name, iconic by nature.

From its diverse tracks and inhabitants to the myriad vistas to seduce the eye, it’s the park’s combination of bush and beach environs and subsequent flexibility that brings me back time and again.

One such example is the aptly named coastal track. Cruising along this picturesque path for an eventual soul-quenching dip at Tea Tree bay epitomises everything the park has to offer. With abundant wildlife to observe, deep blue ocean views to gaze at and a range of landscapes to ponder over, the alternatives are breathtaking.

Once at the beach the choice is again yours; relax, swim, surf or explore the surrounding rock pools and their inherent wondrous qualities. Not to mention that this track is wheelchair accessible and easy enough to give the little ones a work out whilst building up an appetite.  


Noosa National Park covers more than 4000ha stretching south from Noosa Heads. About 160km north of Brisbane, it consists of a number of sections with several access points to the park including Park Rd, Noosa and Parkedge Road, Sunshine Beach as well as various points along David Low Way.


A series of walking tracks weave between beaches, bays and lookouts allowing dips in the ocean or views over the coast.

Longer walks are offered throughout the Headland section ranging from 1-8km in length. Here you can stop for a break at the picnic area near the park’s main entrance where tables, electric barbecues, public toilets and drinking water are provided. Toilets and tap water are also provided at Tea Tree Bay.

The Palm Grove circuit is close to facilities, whilst the Coastal track is wheelchair and stroller-accessible.


Noosa N.P. offers a diverse range of environs from open woodlands and rainforest to the wildflowers of the wallum heathland. It is sanctuary for threatened species such as the ground parrot and swamp orchid whilst bush turkeys, lace monitors and koalas call it home. Dolphins and turtles can also be spotted along the coastal tracks.


As occurs with any challenge, there is always an enticing reward that can bring you back for more and this is indeed what I discovered with Kondalilla National Park.
Aboriginal for rushing waters, Kondalilla certainly lives up to its name with life-giving water surging through the park like blood coursing through veins. The resulting terrain is demanding on leech-ladened feet, with the park’s circuits winding their way through a variety of wildlife-packed gullies, cliffs and valleys.

Although taxing, the zig-zagging circuit to the cascades and waterholes rewards the choice of a rejuvenating dip or al fresco break with sensational views. Walking further down into the valley however, the park’s ultimate offering becomes clear. The monumental 90m Kondalilla Falls are an inspiring spectacle.


Kondalilla National Park covers 327ha in the Blackall Range of the Sunshine Coast hinterland. Located nearly 100km north of Brisbane, the main entry to the park lies just north of Montville. Access is via sealed roads which are suitable for all modes of transport.


A number of interconnected circuits are based from the day use area at the main entry and are not wheelchair or stroller accessible.

Suitable for kids, Picnic Creek Circuit leads to a lookout with valley views whilst Rock Pools Walk heads down over 100 stairs to the top of the falls. Otherwise, continue on the more demanding Kondalilla Falls Circuit into the valley or start from Lake Baroon.

Alternatively, pack lunch and have a dip in the rock pools or relax at the picnic tables, timber barbeques and public toilets provided at the day use area. Please note drinking water is not provided. 


With water shaping the landscape, Kondalilla’s deep valleys and streams have formed with the magnificent Kondalilla Falls as their centrepiece. Encompassing open eucalypt forests to subtropical and riparian rainforests, the park offers refuge to more than 600 species of animals and plants including the rare plumed frogmouth whilst the vulnerable bopple nut and curious tusked frog also call it home.


Amamoor State Forest – go for a day, stay for three!

Delivering more than I expected, this is my advice after a rejuvenating weekend trip with the kids to this heavenly portion of the Sunshine Coast.

“Rejuvenating with the kids?” I hear you ask. Well that’s because Amamoor offers something extra: the ability to relax and camp whilst unleashing the exuberance of youth in nature.

A sensational combination, not only are there various hiking trails to suit all tastes but waterholes for a soothing dip and enough open space for a fusion of cycling, cricket, touch footy and free flowing Frisbee! All this along with ample camping facilities to allow some creature comforts and a marshmallow feast at the end of an action-packed day.


Amamoor State Forest covers about 700ha and sits about 20km south-west of Gympie. Accessible via Amamoor Creek Road near the town of Amamoor, it is suitable for all vehicle types including towed caravans.


Enjoy a quiet drive or relax at the sheltered picnic tables at Amama day use area. Afterwards, take a stroll to the viewing platform along Platypus Walk or enjoy the more lush Amama Walk.

Alternatively, hike the more challenging Cedar Grove or Amamoor Creek hiking trails. Otherwise, ride or take a dip in one of the refreshing waterholes at Cedar Grove camping area.


Amamoor State Forest is well-known for its varied landscapes and associated wildlife.  With water playing an essential role, Amamoor Creek provides crucial habitat for numerous species such as the iconic platypus. More than 120 bird species have been spotted throughout the forest.


 Want to get outside somewhere close by but still feel you’re away from it all? Well after a recent outing I have the answer for you … Buderim Forest Park.

Like a densely studded tiara, this park may be small in size but is surprisingly big in charisma. With separate entries near Buderim Mountain this pocket dynamo not only has a choice of walks to suit everybody but a variety of environs to encapsulate the senses. The gem though lies at its heart with the aptly named Serenity Falls. 

Surrounded by striking rock outcrops and cool cascades, this stunning natural setting demands chill time with a bite to eat before nestling into its soothing rock pools. Meanwhile, the kids can explore its every nook and cranny.


Buderim Forest Park covers 45ha near the village of Buderim. Located about 100km north of Brisbane, entry to the park is via sealed roads from Lindsay Road to the north and Quorn Close to the south.


Buderim Forest Park has two entry points with interconnected walking tracks.

Circuit Track off Quorn Close takes approximately 20 minutes to complete and allows direct access to Serenity Falls. It is stroller accessible with two bridges crossing the creek.

Walking Track off Lindsay Road is about an hour’s return. Beginning with a wheelchair-accessible boardwalk to Palm Forest, it then becomes a tougher bush track to Serenity Falls and the Circuit Track.

Have lunch beside Serenity Falls with a refreshing dip in the rock pools or relax at the picnic tables, electric barbecues and wheelchair-accessible toilets provided at both entries.


Buderim Forest Park is renowned for its tranquil forests, pristine streams and cool waterholes. Incorporating lush subtropical rainforest, stands of palm forest, piccabeen trees and towering strangler figs, it provides habitat to many species including the raucous flying fox.

Permits are required for all camping areas and can be obtained by phoning 131 304 or online at

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