Everyone in Brisbane knows about Mt Coot-tha. The highest spot in city area, with a nice café and beautiful views out across the city. Most people also know about the botanical gardens and planetarium, the gardens are just gorgeous and I think everyone would find something of interest at the planetarium. I reckon that everyone we know has visited these great spots at Mt Coot-tha, as have we. But Mt Coot-tha has plenty more attractions and things to see - lots of walking tracks and trails, picnic and barbecue areas, even waterfalls!
We have visited Mt Coot-tha a number of times however we had never taken the time to get out and explore. Time for a change to that! We decided to go exploring and see if we could find the elusive JC Slaughter Falls (‘elusive’ is perhaps an unlikely term, given that it is on a well-worn track and well sign-posted – more on this later)! To get to JC Slaughter Falls, you will need to set off from JC Slaughter Falls / Ithaca Creek picnic area, a lovely setting in its own right. This area is very popular with walkers – not sure if it is like this through the week, but it was reasonably busy with cars maneuvering and parking and walkers everywhere, so you need to take a bit of care when driving in. We found a park without too much trouble, but there were a number of cars parked in areas perhaps not designated for parking. This might suggest that there is a high turnover of cars coming and going so finding a park is perhaps a non-issue.
We had done a little research on the walk and we had a reasonable idea of what to expect – this was not going to be high intensity walking and we did not expect to be out for too long, so even with 3 little kids we could pack lightly. Water, sunscreen, hats, insect repellent and a few snacks for the little ones were all things that that we carried (as well as a nappy change for the baby, which kind of goes without saying). Sturdy shoes are probably best, although our boys just wore sandals. Water is a must as the humidity on a summer morning in Brisbane can make any walk a little challenging, as is insect repellent after a bit of rain.
So after applying some sunscreen and a quick little snack and a drink, we set off! You need to follow the ‘Summit Track’, a walking trail that will take you right up to the café / lookout area if you keep walking. There’s plenty of nice bush, a creek crossing and a small weir to check out before you get to the ‘Aboriginal Art Trail’ – this is the trail that you will need to take to get to the falls! The walk up to this point is generally flat – a few loose rocks here and there but nothing that posed any challenges. The creek crossing provides for some great photos! We would not class the walk as ‘pram friendly’.
Just past the creek crossing along the Summit Track there is a sign which indicates where the trail starts from. The trail is essentially a loop so signage on the trail was not really necessary, however back to the previous point, a sign advising that you had reached the JC Slaughter Falls may have been appropriate! The first time that we visited there was only a trickle of water at the falls, so it was hard to even picture the area as a waterfall! For most of the time this is all that the falls are - just trickle of water. It was however very picturesque and we were by no means disappointed, but we just had to see this in flow! There is a viewing platform and from here you can see some artwork on the rocks. We stopped for a few photos and then kept going.
From here the trail gets a little steeper, but again not too difficult. There are a number of pieces of artwork – paintings and rock placements dotted around – however these are not always completely evident so it could be a fun and challenging game for the kids to see if they can find them! We all made it around the trail without too much difficulty of sweat lost, overall it was a fun little outing with engaged the kids, gave all of us a little exercise and plenty of fresh air! We chatted to a few of the walkers so there was a bit of socialising as well!
We returned to JC Slaughter Falls the day after the huge rainfall event delivered by ex-Cyclone Debbie and we have to say that the falls are definitely impressive and worth to trouble to visit (of course only when safe to do so)! Heaps of water coming over the falls - a little dirty, but still makes for an impressive sight (and sound)! We're not sure how much rain is needed to get this flowing nor how long the flow lasts for - we were there less than 12 hours after the rain had stopped and it was certainly worthy of being called a waterfall! And the little trickle that we saw when we visited previously remains, just with a few more friends this time!
Amenities: There is a toilet block and picnic area (with tables and BBQs) at the start of the trail, but nothing along the trail itself 👍👍👍
Parking: Plenty of parking, although expect it to by a bit busy on the weekends 👍👍👍👍
Access: This is a bush trail, so not really pram friendly (which is to be expected). 👍👍👍
Entertainment: The artwork along the trail kept the kids engaged! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: Families with kids toddler and up 👍👍👍👍
Wildlife: We didn’t see any, but no doubt there are some animals in there! 👍👍
Overall, (and even though the ‘falls’ part of our outing was a little bit of a let-down) we would highly recommend a visit to JC Slaughter Falls and give it 4 out of 5 thumbs up! 👍👍👍👍
A visit after heavy rain 2018
A visit after ex-Cyclone Debbie 2017
Brisbane continues to throw up surprises for us. We know that there are lots of beautiful areas around and fun things to do, but every now and then we are presented with something that we really weren't expecting. Bunya Riverside is one of those places! Hidden away in a strictly residential area, Bunya Riverside allows access directly in to the South Pine River, and right on Brisbane's doorstep! Strictly speaking, it's actually part of Moreton Bay Region right where the suburbs of Bunya, Albany Creek and Eatons Hill meet.
Getting to Bunya Riverside is easy (assuming you are driving), just head right to the end of Dungandan Road, Bunya and you are just about there. There is a road running down to a carparking area right down on the water's edge, although on a warm day expect this carpark to fill up quickly! The access road is gated and closed at night, perhaps to keep the noise down? I imagine they would keep it closed in heavy rains if there is flooding expected too. Regardless, the main reason for heading to Bunya Riverside will be for a swim or splash, so generally you will be going there through the day in nice weather, so expect the gates to be open.
The carpark is directly in front of a large meander of the river - great for swimming. There are toilets, picnic tables and lots of grass to set up for a picnic or barbeque. Having the carpark so close to the water is great for us with families as we can leave most of the usual family baggage in the car! We made sure we had our swimmers on, put on some sunscreen, had a drink of water, grabbed our towel and we were off!
We first headed off downstream, there is a path heading that way and we could see that there the river was shallow and rocky that way. The path itself was reasonably well maintained so it was easy enough to push a pram along should you wish. We had plans of getting down into the water so we left the pram in the car for this visit! It was a nice, easy walk along the riverbank - there were a few little tracks heading off into the bush which the boys were keen to venture in to so that they could do a little exploring. If you are planning to wander off the path (down to the river or up the riverbank), it's a good idea to wear some shoes suitable for bushwalking as the terrain can be steep and the surface a little loose in places.
After a five minute walk downstream, we spotted a worn track of the main pathway which led to to the rocky riverbed, so we had to jump off the path and make our way down there. The water was generally shallow in this area - a few little holes here and there that were suitable for swimming, but for the most part, the kids were happy to scratch around in the rocks looking for the perfect skimming rock! That was our favourite part about this area - we could leave the kids exploring by themselves, it wasn't too slippery and the entry into the waterholes wasn't too steep. After an hour or so of exploring the rocks, we headed back to the picnic area for some lunch. We didn't end up going for a swim in the waterhole area, but plenty of other kids were taking advantage of the water!
Our visit to South Pine River at Bunya Crossing was lots of fun! We weren't really expecting too much, and while there are a lot of more visually attractive creeks around, we had a great time here! It was easy to access, very relaxed and had plenty of places to explore. Being a reserve so close to residential areas did mean that there was a little bit of rubbish left around, but no more than you would see in any other suburban park. It seemed that lots of people were brought down to the river by their canine masters for a walk, so those of you with dogs would enjoy a visit here! It was a bit of a shame that not everyone picked up after their dogs, but again, probably no more than a typical park. Don't forget to bring your picnic mat or some snags for the barbie!
Amenities: A typical park area - toilets, tables and barbeques! 👍👍👍
Cost: Completely free! 👍👍👍👍
Parking: Limited parking down by the river, as with all swimming spots, expect it to be busy during the warmer months! 👍👍👍
Access: Easy to access if you make it down to the carpark, a bit of a steep walk down the riverbank if you decide to walk from the top! 👍👍👍👍
Entertainment: Lots of room to move, a large meander in the river for swimming and a rocky riverbed kept us satisfied! 👍👍👍👍
Best for: Great for supervised toddlers through to adults and their furry friends! 👍👍👍
Wildlife: A few lizards here and there and I am sure that some kookaburras would love to join in on your barbeque! 👍👍
Summary: Very little effort required to escape the city and get back to nature in a relaxed setting. Although there are prettier settings, we had a great time here and will certainly be back! 👍👍👍
Hints: Bring your fishing gear and try your luck - we think it may be a great place to introduce the little ones to fishing!
Brisbane Family Explorers