The very term Great Walk in itself is almost enough to wave away the idea completing that challenging hike aside and think instead about coffee shops and quaint boutiques.
But there comes a time when these alternate but beautiful attractions in the Sunshine Coast hinterland should also be added to the bucket list and given true deserved consideration.
One part of the Great Walk is the walking track between the Montville side of Lake Baroon and Flaxton – a 15 km walk that conveniently includes the popular Kondalilla Falls day walk and picnic area.
The walk is graded a Level 2 difficulty by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, which also suggests allocating between five and seven hours to complete the one-way journey.
However, as a male of moderate fitness, I was able to complete the walk comfortably, including various stops to take photo graphs, in an easy three hours.The section of the track from Lake Baroon to Kondalilla Falls is around 10 km, and a convenient finishing point for those not wanting to complete the full walk. Or, ofcourse, a good start point for those wishing to head the opposite direction.
In total, the Great Walk stretches 58km, from Lake Baroon to Kondalilla Falls at Flaxton and, then, from Flaxton to Mapleton Falls National Park, and the national park itself as the fourth piece of the puzzle.
Thankfully, that considerable bucket list walk is broken up into those four sections. Each one is do-able in oneday – most are between 10 and 15 km, which, at average walking pace, means three to five hours of walking.
The Lake Baroon to Kondallilla Falls walk is characterised by good pathways, good signage, mostly shielded from the sun by the rainforest canopy.
At times, the path can be a little muddy, mossy and slippery, and there are stretches or gradual inclines and declines that do get the heart moderately racing. Ofcourse, there is no need to rush, and, any time that the walk becomes a little strenuous is a good time to have a rest and grab a mouthful of water.
The walk, as expected, has the wide variety of natural features like waterways and small waterfalls, birdlife, unusual plants, including fungi and lichen, but, in my observation, does include some of these huge buttressed rainforest trees that seem to have vanished from most other shorter common walks.
There are also those runners who complete the 10 km track before turning back to do it all again for a solid 20 km training session.
Much of the track has no mobile phone coverage so it’s a good idea to switch the phone to airplane mode for the walk, to avoid suffering a flat battery as the phone continues searching for the non-existent signal.
So, if you get the chance, consider giving the legs a good stretch and the heart a comfortable workout along one of the sections of the hinterland’s Great Walk.