Larapinta Falls

Lamington National Park is one of those places that you can spend a lifetime exploring; some people do. Having started my exploration roughly 25 years ago I’m on my way, but of course, don’t find it hard to discover new places within the park that I’ve never heard of before.

Larapinta Falls on Christmas Creek is found in the Southern section of the park and until weeks ago was one of those places.

Getting to Southern Lamington is a straight forward trip out through Beaudesert. Following the signs to Rathdowney out of town you soon come across Christmas Ck. Rd on the left. From there you simply follow the road through (currently) very green farmland. As you travel, the valley grows narrower and the sides steeper until there is only room for the road and the creek. Before long you cross a small bridge and reach the carpark where the walking starts.

Start of the track

The track begins

The track started along the same route required to get to the more well known Westray’s Grave. Standing as a test for what was to come, we encountered a creek crossing only a couple of hundred metres from the start. I made the decision very early that I wasn’t going to bother with all this balancing on rocks business and accepted my fate of having wet feet.

The tracks in this section of the park are not maintained, which adds to the adventure of the trek, but it also means that you should come prepared for dealing with a few obstacles.

Tree across the track

Exhibit A

As we proceeded further up the valley the foliage became more lush, with beautiful moss covering almost every stationary surface.

Mossy rocks and logs

Did someone say moss?

Christmas Creek itself was gorgeous as it bubbled its way over cascades and waterfalls, each more photogenic than the next. This was definitely one of those walks where I had to keep in mind the destination. I would have been happy to spend the whole day taking photos along the first kilometre of creek.

Cascades on Christmas Creek

Christmas Creek

Juvenile naked tree frog

Juvenile Naked Tree Frog (corrections welcome)

We eventually reached Westray’s Grave. Jim Westray was a survivor of the Stinson Plane Crash in 1937 who left the site of the crash and the other two survivors in an attempt to reach help. Tragically he perished from a fall over a waterfall. You can read a summary of the amazing story here on the O’Reilly’s website. The grave site is very tranquil and I can’t imagine a better place to be under the ground (except for all the tourists I guess…).

Westray's Grave

Westray’s Grave

From this point the track essentially disappeared, leaving us to follow the creek further upstream. Having previously decided to get our feet wet, we chose to simply walk up the creek where possible. This certainly wasn’t the fastest route, but it was very pretty.

The path up Christmas Creek

The path

Minor obstacles on the creek

Creek obstacles

Compared to previous creek adventures such as Cedar Ck. this was definitely the next level up in terms of the size of obstacles encountered, slippery rocks and general difficulty so allow plenty of time and take care in the wet.

Eventually we spotted our first glimpse of Larapinta Falls, and after dealing with one more muddy scramble around a cascade we arrived. The waterfalls themselves were stunningly beautiful and grand in size. The way the creek exited the pool and the steep valley sides covered in vibrant greenery also added to the photogenic qualities of this spot.

Larapinta Falls through the trees

Peeking through the trees

Larapinta Falls

Larapinta Falls

After having some lunch we braved a refreshing dip in the pools below the falls. Needing to allow enough time for the return journey however, we soon packed up and headed back down the creek. To expedite our progress we stuck to the banks of the creek and followed some ribbons left by previous walkers.

My advice here is not to stray too far up the banks and if there looks like a large obstruction or the sides of the creek become too steep, it is a good bet that the path will be better on the other bank.

Larapinta Falls

One more look

As hoped, our return journey took much less time and we arrived back at the cars roughly 7.5 hours after leaving. We spent some time pulling off some final leeches before heading for home.

Nearby/Similar Walks:

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9 thoughts on “Larapinta Falls

  1. I LOVE Lamington National Park, but haven’t been to these falls. Looks like I’d better make another trip soon. Beautiful images! 🙂 Looks so cool and welcoming at the moment. Great post. We are so lucky to live near such enchanted forests, aren’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bernard O’Reilly’s book “Green Mountains” is a really good read. I know you can walk to the Stinson wreck (or what’s left of it) with a group organised by O’Reilly’s Lodge (still – impressively – family-owned) but we haven’t done that (yet). It’s great to now see photos of the creek to have images in my mind to go with the amazing story. That’s quite some waterfall that they clambered down!
    Unlike you, I probably would have been transfixed taking photos in the first kilometre of the walk, and quite possibly too deterred by leeches to go too far. They are quite numerous on some parts of the mountains in summer! I have many fond memories of O’Reilly’s, but one walk on a hot, humid summer day does rather stand out thanks to those very persistent little critters!
    Lovely post. Thank you : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Dayna. Thanks for reading. Yes, the leeches are definitely a package deal with seeing these places. Good to hear that Green Mountains is a good read. I’ll have to get around to that sometime.

      My brother and I did the through walk to the Stinson wreck quite a few years ago. Unfortunately I can’t find my photos from back then. Although I think I was too busy trying to untangle myself from vines while wearing a heavy pack to take many photos.


  3. So good to see more Lamington lovers here! O’riellys and Binna Burra are where I spent most of my youth bushwalking. My first ever bushwalk in Lamington was Elabana Falls when I was about 10. I studied the story of Bernard O’reilly and the Stinson plane crash the same year and was thoroughly facinated. I remember our teacher reading us the book by Bernard O’reilly and watching the movie. I always felt so sad for Westray that he died out there all alone (broken and mangled foot dangling in the creek and cigarette in his mouth as I remember it). Westrays Grave and the Stinson track are still on my hit list. One day!

    Liked by 1 person

      • The movie is called “The Riddle of the Stinson”. Stars Jack Thomson as Bernard O’rielly ans Richard Roxbrough as Proud. Its old school but still worth a watch 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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