If you’re looking for an easy, quiet, yet rewarding long (and I insist on long) hike near Brisbane, Conan Creek Waterfall in the Scenic Rim might be the perfect option. It is not one of the popular waterfalls near Brisbane so you may even be lucky and have the place just for you.
Time: 3 hours
Disclaimer: the hiking time and difficulty are based on our experience. We’re experienced hikers with a good level of fitness and are used to hiking long distances and scrambling. We have good navigation skills and use a Garmin watch* with a GPS navigation map. Always check the park alerts and notes; trail conditions change over time which can impact the level of difficulty of the hike.
If you are looking for a scenic spot rather than a long hike and don’t mind sharing it with a few people, you may be more interested in hiking the nearby Mount Barney Lower Portals. Conan Creek Waterfall is lovely, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you haven’t explored other parts of the Scenic Rim or other famous waterfalls in the Brisbane Region yet.
We completed the 14-kilometre walk in three hours – not counting the time spent at the waterfall. You could spend the whole afternoon there; it’s one of the best rock pools near Brisbane. The National Park sign indicates it takes four hours.
How difficult is Conan Creek Waterfall walk?
98% of the hike is on a large fire trail through the forest. You’ll go up and down a bit, but nothing too challenging compared to most hikes in the region. If you take your time, you will hardly work on your cardio.
If the water level is low, the multiple creek crossings won’t slow you down too much. Especially if you wear waterproof hiking shoes or don’t mind getting your feet wet. If you prefer to stay dry, then it’s a different story as you’ll have to show good balance skills. Hiking poles could be helpful.
The only tricky part is at the end of the hike when you reach Conan Creek Waterfalls.
As you go up, in a turn, there’s a sign to leave the fire track and adventure in the bush on the left. After a very short walk on a narrow path, you’ll arrive at the creek and see the waterfall at the end. Some scrambling is needed for the last few meters to reach the waterfall and its lovely pool. If you’re okay to get wet, you’ll be fine. It wasn’t hot when we hiked to Conan Creek Waterfall and I somehow resent cold water, so I took the more challenging option and hopped from one rock to another. If you’re hiking on a hot day, you’ll probably want to jump in, though.
Always be careful in a creek. Debris can make it dangerous, and there may be a current after a lot of rain.
Responsible travel tip: Did you know your sunscreen can pollute the water and harm animals? The best way to protect your body from the sun is to cover it with long sleeves and pants. If you do have to use sunscreen, choose a mineral one (like zinc) and apply it at least 20 minutes before entering the water.
Keen to stay in the region for longer?
If you’re up for something a tad more difficult, take the short detour to Yellow Pinch Lookout. The steep 10-minute climb is very rewarding. It offers one of the best views of Mount Barney with Mount Lindesay and Mount Maroon next to it. Many other hikes in the Scenic Rim made it to my list of the best mounts to hike near Brisbane.
Why not stay overnight?
The Scenic Rim region has a lot to offer and you won’t see it all in one day. You may not want to spend a long time in the car and drive all the way back to Brisbane after a day of hiking.
There are many options to stay overnight and spend a full weekend in the Scenic Rim. We had a lovely stay at The Hill Station at Barney Creek Vineyard Cottage*. Mount Barney Lodge is a fantastic option too; the views are hard to beat.
Have you been to Conan Creek Waterfall? Share your experience in the comments below!
Where is Conan Creek Waterfall?
Conan Creek Waterfall is in Mount Barney National Park in Queensland (Australia). It takes about two hours to drive down there from Brisbane. The last part of the road is unsealed but still easy to access with a 2WD vehicle, at least on a dry day. Don’t be surprised if the car park is very busy when the weather is good. The fire track you’ll hike to reach Conan Creek Waterfall also leads to Mount Barney popular summit tracks.
The drive is lovely. You’ll get amazing views of the countryside with the most famous mounts in the Scenic Rim in the background.