The Condamine River is probably one of our favourite day trips to take from Brisbane. A winding, rocky track with 14 river crossings, you may have seen it's famed sign before – there’s nothing like an obstacle that declares so directly just what it's about, a subtle "Go on, I dare you."
We've probably driven the route at least 5 times in the last few years since finding it, and it's quickly become one of our favourites when we need to get away from everything, but don't want anything too challenging.
There's a myriad of ways to get to Condamine Gorge, but our favourite is via Boonah and Falls Rd. Snaking your way west, the terrain changes slowly at first and then all at once, farmlands first littered with rocky outcrops, and then thick scrub and a steep, single lane, winding ascent.
Reaching the top you're met with beautiful mountainous views out over the Scenic Rim. We've not found it uncommon to set off on an overcast day, finding once you arrive at the top of the range you're up in the clouds, only to then push forward on the road and suddenly be out amongst bright blue sky.
The drive into gorge is a beautiful one, with steep, cliffy ranges surrounding you, and a slow descent in until eventually you find the river snaking alongside you.
The crossings aren't hard – far from it in fact. I've seen small hatchbacks do them in drier weather! They tend to be solid rocky or pebbly based, and no more than a foot or two deep. Of course it always depends on the season, and there's that golden rule: if in doubt, walk the crossing first to ensure your vehicle is capable.
We used to drive through towards Kilarney and grab something for lunch there (although it's a tiny town!), but now we prefer to find a nice patch of grass somewhere, pull out the awning, the picnic rug and snack on fruits, meats, cheeses and crackers with a drink. There's something so wonderful about an old fashioned picnic – it just can't be beat.
If you're game you can walk – or my favourite, rock-hop – through the creeks, and sometimes you might even find a cow or horse approaches a neighbouring fence for a scratch.
If you're feeling a little more adventurous, there are a myriad of places you can stop in before your trip home. A few of our favourites include:
Queen Mary Falls – A 40 metre drop, this one can be quite beautiful after a heavy rain!
Browns Falls – Don't underestimate the beauty of this walk - this is a true example of journey vs destination. The intimate waterfall setting at the end is also one of my favourites - grand waterfalls are beautiful, but smaller cavern-like settings feel so special.
Main Range National Park - Accessible from Cunninghams Gap, you can do a small circuit track here amongst beautiful rainforest, or even head towards Mount Cordeaux or Mount Mitchell. Check out QLD NSPR for more details here.
Or, if you're like us and sometimes just feel like a nice drive, take the scenic route through Carney's Creek. You won't regret it.
Brisbane-based lover of travel, off-roading, camping and photography.