Friday, 9 January 2015

Lamington National Park - Toolona Creek Circuit and Elabana Falls

Lamington National Park is like a glossy postcard but with scent and texture - dripping leaves, slippery rocks, whipbirds cracking and waterfalls that endlessly cascade and bring to my mind vague philosophical questions about the endless generations of fallen beech leaves and the way water can out-do rock.

Some of the best, and most accessible, postcard-perfect rainforest is on The Toolona Creek Circuit walk which can be accessed from the Green Mountains section of Lamington National Park (this is where the well known O'Reilly's Guesthouse is located). The Toolona Creek Circuit is a 17.4 km loop walk that takes in the well-known (and much photographed) Elabana Falls as well plenty of other less famous, but equally pretty, rainforest cascades and waterfalls – Box Log Falls, Chalahn Falls and Toolona Falls.

Elabana Falls

You can add on extra distance to this loop walk by joining other tracks in the area including the Border Track and the Albert River Circuit. Or you can include the waterfall section of the Toolona Circuit as part of a one-way through walk from Green Mountains to Binna Burra (huge and windy car shuttle though).

We have also come to check out the many lookouts along the McPherson Range escarpment but, the weather is not cooperating. We get to Merino Lookout, Beerenbano Lookout, Wanungara Lookout, Toolona Lookout – they are just gaps in the trees that open onto a yawning space of white swirling mist and there could be a valley below, or it could be the edge of the earth. The mist clings to us and follows us back off the edge to where huge, stocky Antarctic Beech trees grow, feeding on the moisture-laden air. Their trunks are furrowed and carpeted in brilliant green mosses. We happily take in the view closer at hand – the tangled vines, birds nest ferns, walking stick palms dripping with red berries. I hear the soft scratching of the Logrunner, a small bird as dark as the shadows of the rainforest.  Its movement gives it away, as it scurries and hops and flicks its beak through the leaf litter.

We see an Alberts lyrebirds and hear a dozen currawongs singing like cathedral bell ringers. There are crimson rosellas, regent bowerbirds, king parrots, yellow-throated scrubwrens; and we hear, high in the treetops, the Paradise Riflebird.

I think it goes to show that picture-perfect is one thing. Postcards are pretty to look at, but nothing beats being in a place - in all weather, in swirling mist with damp air on my skin, the sounds of the forest, touching the soft moss and drinking from the clear creek and wondering whether questions or answers even matter.

All rights reserved. Craig Fardell and Christina Armstrong.


  1. You beat me to it. :) I also did this one over the break. You make a very good point comparing postcards to actually being there. I like the photo from the top of Elabana. So hard to find a unique perspective there.

    1. Hi Cameron. Would still love to hear your thoughts on this walk so I hope you post something on your page sometime down the track. And thanks for the comment about the photo. Caz always tries hard to find a different angle so its nice to get good feedback.

  2. Great place, also loved the top-down shot of Elebana falls! Hoping to make it down your way around Easter, looking forward to checking out some of these places I've seen in all your great photos!

    1. Thanks for the comments Champion Munch. Great to hear you are thinking of checking out some of our local spots! If you need any further info about places, or some ideas for certain types or lengths of walk, feel free to email us on awildland @ gmail dot com.