Close your eyes, take a slow deep breath, and stand still on the walking track in Mapleton Falls National Park… then allow your senses to be absolutely soothed by the wonderful variety of bird calls echoing through the trees.
Squawks, whistles, quick light chirps, and even a sound very much like joyful bright bell are among the sounds that emanate from the greenery.
If you look closely as you walk the 1.3km circuit, you can catch a glimpse of the tiny birds that flitter amongst the undergrowth of this lush green rainforest area, as well as other birds scratching and playing among the leaves and rotting trees on the forest floor.
The Mapleton Falls National Park walking track remains one of the hidden and relatively unknown natural gems of the Sunshine Coast hinterland, but well worth a visit.
It is also section three of the Hinterland’s Great Walk – four individual hikes that stretch a total 58km from Lake Baroon, through Flaxton, through Mapleton Falls National Park, and then onto the adjacent Mapleton National Park.
Mapleton Falls represents some of the best the Sunshine Coast’s inland mountain range has to offer in terms of natural beauty, magnificent views, lush plants and that thriving birdlife, as well as providing a historic glimpse into what the hinterland landscape was like in the years before development.
The pathway is not very long compared to some other coast walking tracks; it is well marked, although it has more gradients and steps along the track than many other bushwalks – and if it’s been raining, take extra care not so slip on the muddy spots.
The falls that are the centrepiece of the park are fed by the crystal clear waters of Pencil Creek, which cascades over the rocks to fall 120 metres into the rocky and lush gorge below. It creates a damp and flourishing, vibrant green ecosystem that doesn’t fail to captivate and surprise the curious and inquisitive visitor.
The mist that is generated by the waterfall has helped create an unspoilt natural paradise that is also home to a wide range of fauna, including the Australian peregrine falcon and the wompoo fruit-dove. As spring and summer approaches, a variety of frogs also make their presence known through their characteristic cries from the pristine pools beside the causeway on the walking track.
The beauty and tranquillity of Mapleton Falls National Park is very accessible, with the main observation platform providing superb views through the rainforest and down along Obi Obi Creek and its adjacent bush and farmland.
There is a car park nearby, picnic area with tables but no barbecues and a toilet block Wheelchair access to the main viewing deck is very good.
It is well worth a visit; and, remember, while there, take a moment to stop and listen to those many varied calling birds – their song will slow your heart and give you peace.
Come On Up is an independent publication featuring the best kept secrets in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Locally published and produced by Hinterland Publishing House.