I’ve been struggling a tad of late. I’m behind in delivering my novel, and a few other bits and pieces are getting on top of me.
After giving myself a talking to I’m beginning to get on top of things again. What has also helped is that I’ve been forced to take a couple of days off – the last two Tuesdays – in the day job. It’s a reduced hours covid thing, but something that has occurred right at the right time for me. Last week it rained, but this week we packed some soup, sandwiches and a thermos of hot water for tea and off we went to explore Noosa Botanical Gardens at Lake MacDonald.
The first thing you need to know about this place is that it isn’t in Noosa. It is, in fact, just out of Cooroy in the Noosa Hinterland. The only other thing that’s worth knowing is that this place is beautiful.
In fact, it’s so beautiful that I’ll do a bit of showing rather than telling.
Note to self: come back in the summer when these poincianas will be a mass of red flowers.
If you want to know more about the gardens and its history, check out this link.
These are not your average Botanical Gardens. Aside from the Sculpture Garden, there are no manicured lawns and exotic flowering plants. Instead, what you have is bushland – a place to breathe, and wander, and relax, and remember what it’s like to reconnect with nature after a hard week in the office where you’ve been thinking too much. That last bit came out loud, didn’t it?
Why come? Aside from the breathing, relaxing, reconnecting, and grounding part? The bush walks, of course – gentle enough for all levels of fitness, short enough to fit into a busy day, and interesting enough to make you think you’ve been in the bush.
This track takes you on a round trip around the lagoon.
It’s about 1.2kms – or thereabouts – has a bit of up and down, but is an easy walk. The track is dirt, but well maintained – although I imagine there could be some slippery parts if it’s been raining. There are a few stairs, so I wouldn’t recommend this path for wheelchairs or prams.
There are viewing platforms at a couple of points around the lagoon, and on a clear day the reflections are worth a picture or three.
The Fern Glade is another short walk – about 900m, on a fully accessible concrete path.
A few degrees cooler than the bush track, I’ll be keeping this little oasis in mind on a hot summer’s day.
Another 900m on another fully accessible path, it’s worth a wander.
There are plenty of picnic tables, but no barbecues – you can bring your own, if you want. Oh, and there are no rubbish bins, so make sure you bring something to take your garbage home in. Inconvenient yes, but it’s all about not interfering with the natural feeding patterns of the animals and birds that live in the gardens.
Yes, there are toilets.
Aside from the bush tracks, there are other accessible paths in the gardens.
No dogs are allowed in the gardens.
The gardens are open every day and admission is free.
The gardens are located off Tanawha Tourist Drive. You’ll find more information here.
I’ve been bookmarking pictures of Buderim Falls (or “Serenity Falls”) since before we moved to the Coast. The pictures on instagram showed a lush rainforest with a relatively short (hello, I’ve seen the size of those falls in New Zealand…just saying) waterfall into a beautifully lit turquoise swimming hole. Of course I was keen to go!
There are two entry points to Buderim Forest Park – and two ways to get to the falls:
The lower entry is at Lindsay Road near Harry’s Restaurant. The track from here takes approximately an hour return – longer with stops. It’s boardwalk for approx 600m and then bush track. Apparently the track gets a tad “rugged” and the website says it’s not great for those with “walking difficulties or a low level of fitness.” I’ll try that way next time. There’s apparently barbecues and picnic facilities here.
I went with the entry closest to our house – the one at the base of Quorn Place. There’s a good amount of parking here and well maintained barbecues and picnic tables for when you’ve finished the circuit.
The circuit track itself is quite short – less than a kilometre return. It begins with a relatively steep downward bush trail. My knees aren’t great – and I’m petrified of being the big fat lady falling down the hill, so I took it quite slowly and it was absolutely fine.
About 100m down there’s a fork in the park. I took the option of heading through the open forest so went to the right, crossing a short bridge and walking through the edge of the forest. With the sound of the trees, the birds and the tinkling of the water below, it’s just beautiful in here. It’s also hard to believe that we’re pretty much in the middle of Buderim.
From here there’s another short and steep-ish downhill scramble to the bridge above the falls. Apparently the bridge was built offsite and lowered into place by a hovering helicopter. #funfact
You can walk down into the swimming hole and around behind the waterfall,but when I was there, there was a proper photographer with a proper kit set up down there – and ruining my photo (see the main shot below).
The falls themselves weren’t at full flow today – we haven’t had rain in a long time – but it’s still beautifully serene down there…get it? Serenity falls? Oh, never mind…
After a short piece of boardwalk, it’s all uphill from here to get back to the carpark. But it’s do-able, it’s only 300m (or so), and there’s a viewing platform part of the way up that you can catch your breath at.
The path from Quorn Close is not accessible for prams or wheelchairs.
Sorry, no, not this one. There are no dogs allowed in the forest park.
Yes, at the entrance.
How hard is it?
It is quite steep downhill to start – which means it’s quite steep to come back up. You step down from rock to rock – so it can be very slippery after rain. The path itself is in pretty good condition. The steep parts are over and done with quickly and the distance is short so anyone with moderate fitness can do this one. Just take care after storms when there can be debris over the path as well. Don’t try this in thongs/ jandals/ flip-flops
Can you swim in the swimming hole?
People do – I’ve seen the evidence on instagram. Apparently the creek passes through suburbia and some stormwater drains to reach the falls, so…well, I’ll leave that to you.
Apparently Captain Cook, on his trip up the coast way back when, thought these mountains looked like the glass furnaces from back home in Yorkshire. Aye.
Now, I’ve never seen one of these glass furnaces for myself – although I have been to Yorkshire – so I’m just going to have to take Captain Jim’s word for that. The mountains, rising straight up from the ground, are, however, magnificent – and the best place to see them (without climbing one) is from Glasshouse Mountains Lookout on the Glasshouse – Woodford Rd. Here’s a link to the map.
Aside from being a great place to view the mountains from, there’s also a bushwalking track, picnic areas, gas barbecues, and (long drop) toilet facilities.