Mapleton National Park
A hidden gem in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where the South Maroochy River cascades over giant boulders into a spectacular gorge.
The short version of this lightly trafficked walk begins from the end of Kureelpa Falls Road in Gheerulla. A longer version of the walk (8.5 kms) can also be completed from the Mapleton day-use area on Mapleton Forest Road in Gheerulla.
The walk takes you to a wonderful cascading waterfall, where the South Maroochy River tumbles over giant boulders before plunging into a spectacular gorge.
If completing the short version, go through the marked gate at the end of the road. The trail begins through the long grass and then shortly opens up into bushland.
After approximately 600 metres you will come to a creek crossing (South Maroochy River), which becomes flooded and dangerous after heavy rain. During drier periods, there are stepping-stones to help you across.
Continue along the path, keeping the creek to your right. You will link up with the longer track after some time, at which point turn right and shortly thereafter you will see a sign for the falls.
There is a small bluff with great views over the falls and into the gorge. It is also worth exploring the falls themselves, however care should be taken during slippery conditions and in particular near the gorge.
The longer version of the walk is clearly marked along a park management vehicle trail (follow the route markings for walk number 4). The track descends all the way to the falls, so is uphill on the way back. Given that this version has drainage culverts at all creek crossings, it is typically passable even after rain.
Track: The short version involves a mix of faint and distinct trails that are relatively easy to follow, despite the lack of signage, while the longer version involves a well-maintained and signed fire trail, with a short, graded path from the fire trail to the waterfall.
Difficulty: The short version is relatively flat and suitable for all fitness levels, however care is needed at the creek crossing, and should not be attempted in flood. The longer version is steep in parts, but is still suitable for all fitness levels, provided you take your time.
Direction: The short version is an out-and-back track that returns the way you came, while the longer version is a loop track.
The short version of this trail begins from the end of Kureelpa Falls Road in Gheerulla, while the longer version begins from the Mapleton day-use area on Mapleton Forest Road in Gheerulla, 1.5 hours drive north of Brisbane.
Both locations require driving on gravel roads for a few kilometres before the start point, which can typically be done in a 2WD vehicle in dry conditions.
Parking is limited at the short version start point, but ample at the long version start point.
best time to go
The walk can be completed year-round.
This waterfall is typically only a trickle unless there has been recent rain, so is best done after rain. However be sure to check the Queensland Parks website for updates regarding flooding and track closures.
Remember, whenever venturing into the outdoors, practice the Leave No Trace principles and be considerate of others. This means: dispose of your waste properly, don't remove things or move things from their natural position and respect all wildlife. Also be sure to plan ahead and adequately prepare for any adventure.
I respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which all activities listed on this website are found, as well as Elders past, present and emerging. I strive to not promote sites where requests have been made for people not to explore due to the cultural significance of the site to Indigenous peoples, or note how to respectfully visit a site. If I have a promoted a site with cultural significance, please send me a message and let me know.