At the heart of the Upper Mary Valley forests and parks, this park protects magnificent forests, deep gorges and creek catchments, and is an important refuge for many rare and threatened animals.
Conondale National Park
Getting there and getting around:
These state forests, national parks and forest reserves are in the Upper Mary Valley near the townships of Kenilworth, Conondale, Jimna and Amamoor.
Alternative access is via the Eumundi-Kenilworth Road, off the Bruce Highway. Kenilworth is about 28km from the highway. The turnoff to Charlie Moreland is about 7km past Kenilworth and the turnoff to Booloumba Creek and Conondale National Park is a further 0.5km.
Booloumba Creek Road and Sunday Creek Road are gravel roads, with several creek crossings, but are usually suitable for conventional, two-wheel-drive vehicles.
After heavy rain, check road conditions with the Kenilworth QPWS office before you go. Some roads may be closed due to deep water levels at creek crossings or slippery, wet road conditions.
In the rugged Conondale Range are some of Queensland's most popular and picturesque forests. Luxuriant rainforests, tall eucalypt forest, mosaics of plantation forests, waterfalls, boulder-strewn creeks and spectacular scenery make this area well worth a visit.
The diverse forests provide homes for a wonderful variety of wildlife including more than 120 species of birds and many mammals. The threatened but seldom-seen yellow-bellied glider lives in the open forest.
At the junction of Peters and Booloumba Creeks, scenic Booloumba Gorge features cascades, falls and rock pools.
This area has a colourful history of gold mining and timber milling. The last flurry of mining activity in the 1940s yielded 2.8kg of gold. Jimna township was built around the timber industry. Steam-driven sawmills processed timber at Jimna and near Sunday Creek. Today, a rich green mosaic of sustainable pine forest plantations and contrasting native forests create spectacular scenery.
Recreational areas at Amamoor are beside Amamoor Creek. The creek provides important habitat for many animals including the shy platypus and several rare and endangered frogs. The surrounding state forest produces some of the best plantation hoop pine in Queensland.
A Changing Land:
Gubbi Gubbi, Wakka Wakka, Jinibara and Kabi Kabi people lived a traditional lifestyle in this area for thousands of years. Natural resources were plentiful and families were self-sufficient in all seasons. Bunya pines growing throughout this area were a very significant food source.
Arrival of European settlers changed the Aboriginal lifestyle forever. In 1842, Governor Gipps declared a large reserve to protect bunya pines because of their importance for Aboriginal people. It was illegal to settle or clear land where bunya pines occurred.
In 1860 the new Queensland Parliament rescinded the reserve status and settlement began in the early 1890s. Forests were cleared and dairy farms and fodder crops established. Townships grew around gold fossicking areas and a flourishing timber industry.
Today, strong cultural links with the land are maintained. Descendants of the traditional owners strive to share their knowledge and culture to help protect this region.
Upper Mary Valley's sustainable timber plantations continue to provide quality timber resources. Native forests are recognised for their high conservation and recreation values. These areas are managed to protect natural values and provide essential habitat for many plants and animals. Some rare and endangered species occur only in the Conondale and Blackall ranges.
Camping and Accommodation:
Kenilworth State Forest and Conondale National Park
There are three camping areas at Booloumba Creek and one at Charlie Moreland. All require a camping permit and fees apply. All camping areas have toilets and taps. Preferably bring a fuel stove. Barbecues and fire-rings are provided for cooking. Bring your own clean-milled firewood, as it is illegal to collect firewood from the forest. Generators are not permitted.
Booloumba Creek camping areas 1 and 3 are nestled in luxuriant rainforest. They are for tents only no campervans, caravans or camper trailers are allowed in these areas.
Booloumba Creek camping area 4 and Charlie Moreland camping area are in grassy open forest and have sites suitable for tents, large groups, campervans, caravans and camper trailers. At Charlie Moreland camping area, the toilets and some campsites are wheelchair-accessible with assistance. A large enclosed paddock is provided beside the camping area for horses.
Camping permits for all campsites must be booked in advance, on line or by phone.
Bush camping is permitted in remote areas of Kenilworth State Forest and Conondale National Park. Contact the Kenilworth QPWS office to obtain your permit.
Jimna State Forest:
Peach Trees camping and picnic area is 45km north-west of Kilcoy along the Kilcoy-Murgon Road. Camp on grassy sites beside Yabba Creek, watch the water quietly near dusk and dawn and you might see platypus. Eastern grey kangaroos and possums are frequently seen here. There are tent and caravan sites, picnic tables, fireplaces, taps, wheelchair-accessible toilets, coin-operated showers and a public phone.
Amamoor State Forest:
Travel 12km west from Amamoor township along the Amamoor Creek Road to Cedar Grove camping area. Tent and caravan campsites are in open grassy areas beside riverine rainforest, tall open forest and Amamoor Creek. Wheelchair-accessible toilets and cold showers, taps, barbecues and a public phone are provided.
About 4km west of Cedar Grove camping area, Amamoor Creek camping area provides flat, grassy campsites, suitable for tents and caravans, surrounded by ironbark and blue gum forest. Wheelchair-accessible toilets and cold showers, taps, barbecues and a public phone are provided. This is the only camping area where dogs are permitted. If you plan to camp here in August contact the Kenilworth park office first. The entire camping area is used for the annual Country Music Muster, a major event that runs for one week in August.
Preferably bring a fuel stove. A small amount of firewood is provided for cooking purposes only. It is recommended that you bring your own clean-cut firewood to ensure you have an adequate supply of firewood, especially on long weekends and during school holiday periods.
A range of holiday accommodation is available in the Sunshine Coast hinterland. For more information see the tourism information links below.
Things to do:
A scenic forest drive winds through Kenilworth State Forest and Conondale National Park, starting from QPWS Kenilworth office (map ref 1). Allow 90 minutes driving time for this 37km forest drive and extra time for picnics and bushwalks.
Travel past pine plantations established to ensure supply of timber resources. Stop at Charlie Moreland camping and picnic area and explore Little Yabba Creek (map ref 2).
Drive on to a lookout with views of hoop pine plantation, natural forest, Mt Allan and the distant Blackall Range (map ref 3).
Pass through open eucalypt forests of grey ironbark, grey gum and white mahogany with a grass and shrub understorey. Where there are moister conditions, tall open forests of brush box, flooded gum, tallowwood and blackbutt grow with a shrubby understorey. At Peters Creek, take a short 500m stroll along the picturesque creek lined with rainforest (map ref 4).
Drive through dense rainforest in Conondale National Park to Booloumba Falls (map ref 5). Enjoy a 3km return walk to cascades, waterfalls, rock pools and The Breadknife rock formation.
Booloumba View (map ref 6) offers scenic views of Booloumba Gorge and Mt Allan, where a fire tower is located.
Travel on, past Booloumba camping and picnic areas (map ref 7), to the Maleny-Kenilworth Road. Picnic facilities and a short rainforest circuit are provided near Little Yabba Creek (map ref 8).
When driving on forest roads expect the unexpected!
Slow down allow time to react to unexpected situations and changed conditions. You share the road with other drivers, logging trucks, cyclists, walkers, horseriders and wildlife.
Be courteous pull over to the left to allow vehicles to pass. For photography and enjoying the scenery, find a safe place to pull over or turn around. Do not stop in the roadway.
Watch out for curves stay on your side of the road. Avoid sudden slowing as the vehicle may slide.
Take extra care on steep and wet roads shift down a gear. When creek water is across the road, check water depth and road surface before crossing. Water usually covers the Booloumba Creek crossings.
Obey road signs speed limits apply.
A Permit to Traverse is required if you wish to drive on restricted access roads in the state forests.
Several walking tracks let you explore diverse forests, observe inquisitive wildlife and cool down in cascading creeks and swimming holes. The walks range from short strolls to the challenging Mt Allan hiking trail, which offers views over Booloumba Gorge.
Things to know before you go
Essentials to bring:
>>Plan your trip carefully, be self-sufficient and ensure your vehicle is in good condition.
>>Carry enough food, water, equipment and other supplies for your trip.
>>Pack a first aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, sturdy shoes, hat and raincoat.
>>Bring suitable clothing. Temperatures in the area soar above 30 degrees Celsius in summer and drop below zero in winter. Nights can be cool at any time.
>>Rubbish bins are not provided. Remove excess packaging when you pack for your trip. Bring rubbish bags, and take all recyclables and rubbish with you when you leave.
>>Preferably bring and use fuel or gas stoves. If you do wish to use the barbecues provided, bring your own clean, milled firewood, as it is illegal to collect firewood from the forest.
These parks and forests are open 24 hours a day. The Kenilworth Office is usually open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm, park duties permitting.