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.
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.
As we proceeded further up the valley the foliage became more lush, with beautiful moss covering almost every stationary surface.
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.
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…).
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Albert River Circuit – Lamington N.P.
- Gold Coast Hinterland Great! Walk
- Booloumba Creek & Artists Cascades – Conondale N.P.
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