Queensland / Road Trips

The Falls Drive: Killarney to Boonah

Enjoy one of the region’s most scenic drives past waterfalls and spectacular mountains and valleys. The Falls Drive is a circuit making it the perfect day trip from Brisbane, or stay locally to really get to know and appreciate the natural beauty of the area.

While there are a number of waterfalls along the scenic drive, the most popular destination is Queen Mary Falls which is located about 45kms outside of Warwick, just outside a little town called Killarney on the QLD/NSW border.

Take your time to explore the area and pack a lunch to enjoy at one of the picnic areas.

If you’re doing a day trip, you’ll want to allow a full day, otherwise you have the option of staying the night to break up the drive.

Day Trip: Brisbane to Queen Mary Falls

If you are day tripping, I recommend driving down the highway from Brisbane to Warwick and through to Kilarney. From Killarney drive along Border Road for 3.5km and turn left onto Spring Creek Road, following the signs to Queen Mary Falls. From here you’ll begin the scenic Falls Drive which you can follow all the way through to Boonah and then back to Brisbane.

In the morning, I highly recommend stopping at the bakery at Aratula between Brisbane and Warwick for a delicious coffee and breakfast, before continuing along the highway towards your destination.

Browns Falls

The first stop along this drive is Brown Falls. Brown Falls is often overlooked due to its famous sister just down the road, however it is my favourite.

There is a small picnic area and playground with composting toilets at the carpark and entry to the walk. Begin the 20 minute walk here which takes you scrambling across rocks and hoping over logs as you follow the creek towards the falls. Keep an eye out for the red markers which indicate the trail as it’s quite easy to loose.

This track is quite flat with little to no incline, however it does require some fitness as you’ll need to jump over rocks, cross the creek and climb over large trees that block the path.

At the end you’ll be rewarded a 15m drop waterfall. This is a great spot to cool off in the mist and enjoy the beautiful forest that surrounds you. This walk is mostly shaded with the protection of trees and the creek to keep you nice and cool.

Daggs Falls

About 1km further down the road is Daggs Falls. This waterfall is visible from a lookout at the car park so provides the most rewards for the least amount of effort

This is a giant 38 meter drop waterfall that crashes into the creek below. Due to the ease of accessibility, this is a must stop along your drive.

Queen Mary Falls

Just a little further down the road you’ll come to Queen Mary Falls. It can’t be missed as this is the most popular destination along the drive and always has a lot of people. There is a cafe, a caravan park, picnic tables, BBQs and flushing toilets

This is the perfect place to stop for lunch along the drive, before or after you take a walk.

From the picnic area, being the walk through the forest towards the falls. You’ll hear them before you see them!

After about 400 metres of an easy stroll you’ll come to the falls look out where you can watch the 40 meter falls crash into the creek below. There is no tree cover over the falls and the opening below so the harsh sunlight often reflects off the water and you can sometimes see a rainbow form.

Standing here, it’s easy to become mesmerised by the tumbling water as it flows and crashes down below.

Down below you will see some tiny people walking around, based on this you can decide if you want to complete the 2 km full circuit track which will take you all the way to the base and back up to the carpark.

Make your way down following the well maintained path until you reach the base of the falls. Allow the mist of the powerful falls cool you off before you begin the steep climb back up.

Cross the bridge over the creek and continue along the path to take you back up to the top. This is a steep climb that finishes with a big staircase but every step is worth experiencing the falls from the bottom.

Carr’s Lookout

Continue down The Falls Drive about 8km until you reach Carr’s Lookout. This stop is well worth pulling over for as it gives you breathtaking views out over the valley and the mountains.

From here continue along the narrow and windy road as you make your way towards the town of Boonah, before continuing back to Brisbane.

Where to Stay

While Queen Mary Falls and the Falls Drive can be done as a day trip from Brisbane, you can also stay local and make a weekend of it. This also gives you the opportunity to explore the area after the day trip crowds go home.

There is a caravan park located at Queen Mary Falls suitable for caravans and campers, as well as having some cabin accommodation available.

For hotel stays, the closest main town will be Warwick which is about a 30-40 minute drive.

We chose to stay at Cullendore High Country, a privately run campground about 45 minutes from Queen Mary Falls. One thing to note, is that while this area is in Queensland, due to the curve of the border, Cullendore is actually in New South Wales, so make sure to check Government restrictions and requirements before planning your travel.

Cullendore High Country is one of the quietest and most private campgrounds I’ve stayed at, with beautiful country views, very large sites (meaning no one is going to set up right next to you) and great facilities including hot showers and flushing toilets.

Getting There

From Brisbane, the easiest way to get to Queen Mary Falls is to drive down the highway into Warwick which takes about 2 hours, then take the Warwick Killarney Road into Killarney before turning down Falls Drive. From Warwick to Queen Mary Falls will take about another 30 minutes.

You can return the same way or instead continue down the incredibly scenic Spring Creek Road to Boonah before joining back onto the Highway near Ipswich as you head back into Brisbane.

This road is steep and winding so you’ll need to take it easy and it’s not suitable for caravans, but it will take roughly the same amount of time as the highway and is one of the most beautifully scenic drives if you’re lucky enough to be the passenger.

If you’re coming from Stanthorpe direction, before reaching Warwick, simply turn down the Warwick Killarney Road into Killarney before turning down Falls Drive.

Essential Info

  • Wear a hat and/or sunscreen. The Queen Mary Falls track is only partially shaded, so make sure to wear sun protection.
  • Carry water, and drink plenty of it. The heat in Queensland is no joke. Make sure to stay hydrated when walking to prevent heatstroke.
  • Leave no trace. Remember to respect the environment around you and put any rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you – never leave it on the ground.
  • Composting toilets are available at Browns Falls, otherwise flushing toilets can be found at Queen Mary Falls.
  • Make sure to check Government restrictions within the state before planning any travel.

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