As my sense of direction improves the improvised side trips reduce and there’s more time to explore things that grab our attention while travelling. A couple of weeks back we were stopped having a cuppa in Maidenwell when we spotted the sign to the Coomba Falls swimming hole cunningly hidden away behind the toilet block.
We were heading back from five days hiking and relaxing in the Bunya Mountains and the local swimming spot sounded like a worthy diversion. It’s only a 4km round trip detour from the general store so there’s no good reason to leave town without taking a quick look. This is why I love road trips, they’re so flexible and in a country the size of Australia, I’m not likely to run out of destinations and diversions in my lifetime.
Incidentally, the Maidenwell Trading Post is worth a stop if you need to restock the supplies, have a coffee and snack, or pick up a couple of bits of local produce to try. It’s always nice to put a couple of dollars back into the local economy when they’ve provided such a great little rest stop for those in transit.
Coomba Falls turned out to be one of the best and easiest side trips ever. We arrived at the car park area at the end of the road, grabbed the camera and shoved our feet back into our hiking shoes. It’s worth a stop just to look around the parking area with its dramatic landscape of large boulders and grass trees.
We walked down a couple of short flights of stairs and unexpectedly we were at the water hole, I felt a bit over-prepared. For some reason I expected it to be a bit of a trek to get to but it’s super short and if you’re OK going up and downstairs it’s super easy.
Clearly, there’s been a significant recent investment with new non-slip stairs installed top to bottom to make entry super safe and easy, and also to protect the hillside and vegetation from all those sets of feet.
It was a sunny morning but August is winter and way too cool for me to consider swimming in a water hole with no thermal activity. Never the less this one looks super inviting. I can imagine it must be mega-popular with the locals during the summer. I’d definitely come back for a dip myself when it’s a little warmer.
At the edge of the pool there was a cleared area and a bit of charcoal, perhaps a popular spot for an evening bonfire and get together. It had obviously been done carefully which is just as well given how dry everything is, brown grass is dominant and with predictions of another El Nino weather pattern this summer (hot and dry) Queensland is going to need to be extra careful with its water supply and fire control again. Something the southeast has become a little more blasé about after a few good wet seasons. You’ll notice in the photos that the falls were barely more than a mossy trickle over the rocks during the dry winter weather.
I’d definitely keep this spot in mind if you’re heading through Maidenwell on your way anywhere over the summer. If you’re towing a caravan the road down to the water hole isn’t suitable, there’s nowhere to park a large vehicle and turning around would be tricky but there’s a free campground just behind the pub and opposite the general store.
There are toilet facilities and BBQ’s and if you’re in need of a hot shower ask the shop for a key they’ll let you use the ones in the memorial hall. You can’t beat that country hospitality. This camp stop is also an option if you’re not confident towing your van up to the Bunya Mountains or just want to make a day trip of it, you could definitely stay in Maidenwell overnight and head up the mountain on a day trip.