After so many, ehh, too many weekends with rainy days, we finally had a weekend weather forecast that was promising. Yasmine and I had both three days to spend together and we decided to pack the car and headed to Conondale National Park. This park is located just West of Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with Maleny and Kenilworth the most interesting townships in the neighbourhood. From previous experiences we knew that the camping where we wanted to go, can only be reached by 4WD, especially after a lot of rain. There are 4 area’s to accomodate visiters. Three camping site’s and one day use area. To be precise, one camping area (24 places) with showers, another (24 places) no showers and the last one is a field for caravans, trailers and tent with no allocated spots to put your camping either of them. We choose the latter. Pre-booking is essential and thanks to modern technology, you can apply for a permit and pay online via the Queensland government website.
After having crossed a couple of creeks we found the camping area and a good spot to set up our tent. During lunch, a Lace Monitor slowly walked in our direction but after I got up, he/she decided that a view from above was as good (if not better) as trying to fill its stomach with part of our delicious midday meal. We strongly adhere to the wishes of rangers not to feed wildlive. Along the path a three people were exploring the site and stopped for a while at a particular spot. The boy ran back to their caravan to get his dad. They looked at a thing but I could not make out what it was. I walked to the place where they pointed at and discovered a carpet snake nicely rolled up in the grass. Only about 40 metres from our tent. We left it alone.
In the afternoon we headed to Booloumba Outlook, walking over Booloumba Creek road (dirt road 4WD) from the camping is a very steep climb, up to 22%. The views at the lookout were nice but nothing special. The return trip was about 3.5 km. Downhill was a lot easier. Just before we reached campsite, a building to the left had our attention. It was the toilet block for the number three area and Yasmine discovered a track that started at the back of the block. Giving in to our hunting instinct, we had to follow it. The path led us to a creek crossing and on the other side of the Booloumba creek we saw some stairs leading into the bush. The depth of the water was so that we if we didn’t want to walk the rest of the day in soaking wet socks and boots, we had to go naked (from the knees down).
With shoelaces in a tie, we draped the boots over our shoulders and crossed the wild water. Thanks to the grinding effect of the water the rocks were very smooth so without cuts or bruises we reached the western bank. Yasmine climbed the stairs but a very low hanging branch hit her hard on the head. We stopped for a while. When our feet felt dry, we laced up again and continued our way up to see signs telling us that a goldmine was 1.6 km away. Not greedy but only interested in mines we decided to follow this track. What a disappointing sight. The mine was closed. Outside the old mine we couldn’t find any traces that it has been a GOLD mine but, according to the sign, it was worked in the early 1900’s and is now closed. Common Bentwing and Horseshoe bats have set up camp in the mine.
On the return trip we walked to the day use area to discover that, to get to the campsite, we had to fight another creek crossing which didn’t look as friendly as the first one plus the walk would be a lot longer. We went back to the first crossing and from there to our tent. Today we covered around 11 km.