Cedar Creek Falls Mount Tamborine
Next time the sun peeks over the horizon, bringing with it the humid promise of another hot summer’s day, forget about making the routine trip to the beach, pool or water park. Instead, steer your family-filled car in the direction of Cedar Creek Falls at Mount Tamborine. Not only will you spend less time in traffic and avoid returning with two buckets worth of sand sprinkled generously throughout your car, but your entire family is bound to fall in love with the gorgeous scenery this natural attraction has to offer.
One of the most delightful walks in the whole Tamborine area is the Cedar Creek Circuit (3.2km), which explores the creek’s various cascades, rock pools, flora and fauna. This section of the park is easily reached via Tamborine Mountain Road, with the turn-off to “Cedar Creek Falls Road” being just past the information map stopping bay on the left. From here it is only a short drive down a narrow road and across a tiny creek before coming to the Cedar Creek Falls section and the small car park at its entrance. The trip up the mountain and to the falls entrance is stunning in itself, though the best is still yet to be discovered!
A Picturesque Picnic Spot
Whether you choose to head straight to the falls or to eat something first, you definitely want to pack a picnic lunch for your day trip here. Located right at the start of the walking trail are two spectacular picnic spots with toilets nearby. Nestled amongst a canopy of trees is a sprinkling of picnic tables and barbeques with plenty of large, flat grassed areas perfect for throwing down a blanket or kicking a footy around with the kids. You can try to spot the many types of birds that chirp overhead or see if you can make friends with any other wildlife crawling around below. Some people opt to picnic beside the falls themselves, though for families with little ones the picnic spots will be less stressful.
Once all bellies are full, it’s a good idea to take all the picnic gear back to the car before heading off on the walk to the falls. Although it is not a very long (15 minutes) or difficult walk, once you reach the falls the main place to rest is on the rocky boulders surrounding them, so it’s best if you don’t have to carry a great deal with you. Just make sure you have your swimmers!
The Cedar Creek Trail and Lookouts
The first section of the track is a quick walk along a flat bitumen path to the Cedar Creek Falls Lookout point (roughly 500m). The even path that crosses over a small wooden bridge is stroller and wheelchair-friendly, as well as easy for the very young or elderly to navigate. With no need to catch a breath, upon reaching the lookout you are rewarded with views over waterfalls, rock pools and cascades from a high vantage point.
The final 900m from the lookout to the actual rock pools themselves is not as friendly, so it is advisable to do this on foot and without strollers. Even so, it is still a relatively easy trail and the entire track is sealed, making it a safe walk even after heavy rain (one of the best times to visit the falls). As you walk along, the track forks and you can choose to go either left or right (with both tracks meeting up again). If you head down the stairs to the left, you will reach another viewing platform with views to the three upper waterfalls and rock pools. Once the tracks rejoin, follow the path as it zigzags down the canyon through open forest before finally arriving at the rock pools below.
The Cedar Creek Rock Pools
At first glance you will know that the short trek down was worth it. These breathtaking natural fresh water pools are surrounded by an impressive amphitheatre of rock formations and lined by lush tropical rainforest filled with Strangler Figs and towering Cedar Trees. The air comes alive with the natural orchestra of rushing waterfalls, trickling streams and the gentle birdsong that filters down from the canopies above. The lagoons are crystal clear and inviting and the rocky surrounds are usually delicately littered with sunbathing tourists and families making the most of this breathtaking natural playground.
Access to the lagoons is easy, via sloped rock shelves, though care does need to be taken as they are often slippery. Feel free to immerse yourself and explore the different pools and waterfalls as they flow steadily down the canyon, trickling over rocks and weaving amongst boulders. Be warned though – the water is often chilly, even in the peak of summer, and jumping from the higher areas is prohibited due to submerged rocks. Filling the large rock pool at the base is a natural waterfall that runs all year round, but is most spectacular in the wet season. When the rains have come, the falls are thunderous in their decent and it’s magical to sit behind them as it falls magnificently around you.
The best months to view the falls are between December and April, although even the dry months provide clean mountain water into the lagoons. You can make it a full day too, as the park is open until 8pm in October to March and until 6pm from April to September, but be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as it is quite exposed.
It would definitely be an experience missed if you didn’t visit the Cedar Creek Falls next time you are in the area or looking for a fun way to spend a summer’s (or winter’s) day with your family. With its enchanting falls, magnificent gorge, gentle trek and delightful picnic grounds, it really is an easy way to lose some hours and gain some memories with your loved ones. Better still, its sheer beauty and refreshing pools will ensure you leave with a carload of tired, happy bodies with not a grain of sand in sight!
For families looking for more swimming holes in this area, there is also the Cedar Creek Conservation Park that has smaller rock pools, located downstream on Cedar Creek Falls Road. There is also a large swimming spot on the corner of Beaudesert-Beenleigh Road and Stanmore Road that is better suited to older children or more competent swimmers and has no facilities.
Cedar Creek Falls Rock Pools are located in Tamborine National Park, off Cedar Creek Falls Road in Cedar Creek.