The Great Walk between Kondalilla Falls at Flaxton and the Mapleton Falls National Park could be described as the most challenging and also the most beautiful of all four sections of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland’s Great Walk.
This section of the Great Walk extends around 10.6 kilometres in total, which includes around 3.5km along mainly bitumen and concrete roadways and footpaths at the Kondalilla Falls carpark, along Montville-Mapleton Road at Flaxton and 1.7km walking along Flaxton Mill Road until the track goes bush.
It’s also possible to park at the bottom of Flaxton Mill Road so as to skip the first “urban” section of the walk.
The 4.3km section of the walk from Flaxton Mill Road, down into Baxter Creek Valley and then back up toward Obi Obi Road at Mapleton, is perhaps the toughest physically of all sections of the Great Walk.
Flaxton Walkers Camp
It includes a gradual-but-relentless zig-zagging descent as the track makes its way down toward Baxter Creek, before walkers cross a suspension bridge across the creek and then begin the journey back out of the valley and towards Mapleton.
It’s not hard to argue with the signage that suggests experienced walkers only should venture along the walk. While the tracks are very good, in some parts they are narrow, they include quite a number of steps, and can be slippery when wet. It’s a great workout for the lungs and thighs.
Walkers of moderate fitness should allocate around 2.5 hours to complete this 4.3km section, one way.
The walk is perhaps less popular that other more-publicised sections of the Great Walk like the section from Baroon Pocket Dam to Kondalilla Falls, as well as the shortest section that encompasses Mapleton Falls National Park, but its beauty is unmatched.
Most noticeable are the presence of many huge birds nest ferns and staghorns growing in trees. There are also the tell-tale huge tree stumps, with their axe holes, that are a reminder of the logging days long gone – how the workers back then managed to move those massive trees through the forests to the timber mills is astonishing.
This section of the Great Walks is sporadic with its mobile phone signal, so it might be advisable to switch to airplane mode when not being used to avoid running the battery dead.
It’s also advisable to bring plenty of water per person and some healthy snacks to provide a little extra energy just in case.
The walk provides great points of interest including interesting flora, steep escarpments, the Baxter Creek suspension bridge and cautious wildlife.
If you’re looking for a beautiful challenge, try this second section of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland Great Walk. It’s worth the walk.