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 Family Explorers