Waterfalls are pretty simple: water starts up high, and falls down low.
Despite being so simple and natural, people, myself included, make long drives and embark on extensive hikes to catch a glimpse of the natural beauties.
Why is watching falling water so thrilling?
Water is essential for life, but don’t be fooled by its necessity. Water can shape rock, tear down buildings, and take away life just as quickly as it can give it. Waterfalls show how absurdly powerful the element can be.
Waterfalls humbly remind me of how fragile I am.
That’s why I always love watching water falling from up high too down low.
We recently paid a visit to Wallaman Falls in Queensland; the tallest single drop waterfall in Australia at 268 m/ 870 ft. The fall itself was jaw-dropping, and the trek to get there was an adventure in of itself.
Step 1: Getting Past the Gate Keepers
Before arriving to the entrance of the Girringun National Park forest, you have to be led through by the giant, lumbering gatekeepers: The mighty Brahman cows.
Brahams are originally from the US, and the breed has an impressive heat tolerance with thick skin, which deters insects and any emotional damage caused by onlookers making fun of their saggy neck skin. Not to mention, Brahams produce more milk, are more fertile, and are great for cross breeding. (Click HERE for more!)
The breed caught the eye of an Australian veterinary scientist in Texas in 1920. Thirteen years later, the breed was introduced to Australia and was wildly successful. (Click HERE for more.)
These cows own the road and have no intention of moving aside for just anybody. We crawled down the stretch of road, and had to come to a full stop for 5 minutes while a baby was enjoying its dinner.
Step 2: The Ascension Up
The winding road ascending up towards the camp grounds and trail head takes you through dense, green jungle. Given our later than expected timing, frogs were hopping every which way. A wild pig even scuttled past in the distance.
Step 3: Get Some Zzzzs
The campgrounds are well maintained with a bathroom facility and shower available. There were no more than 3 other sites being occupied by fellow campers. It was already past 8 pm, so we quickly winded things down to call it a night.
Step 4: Tackling the Falls
We woke up to the sound of rain. Shit.
We had coffee, ate some oatmeal, and took the brief drive from the camp ground to the Wallaman Falls trail head. I moseyed over to the look out. The sound of pounding water echoed through a mist filled ravine with zero visibility.
“Well, maybe it will clear up…”
There is no cell service in the Girringun National Park, meaning no quick swipe and tap to get the hour by hour forecast. My dependency on my smart phone has certainly been brought to my attention in moments like these.
The walk down to Wallaman Falls is an easy 1.6 mi / 3.2 km return track. The drizzling rain was a refreshing break from the suffocating Queensland heat. I wasn’t sweating bullets at 7:30am? What a treat!
The track is well kept with gradual switchbacks. As a reference, I could have done it in Birkenstocks.
An interlude of drama!
Paths are made for a reason. Yet, I can never seem too resist a little short cut. Why not cut corners to get there faster? This corner cutting came back to bite me in the ass, or I should I say, sting me in the knee? I brushed into a plant and immediately felt a stinging sensation. There had been a sign warning of these stinging nettles that I had foolishly disregarded. Red dots erupted up over my knee and the stinging persisted for 3 hours. Lesson learned
Finally, we made it to the falls. The clouds began to clear, and it was nothing short of epic.
The plummeting water cascaded down, emitting a slight mist through the air. Sheets of water that were falling in chunks looked elegant and sparkly in the air, just to shatter into millions of pieces by the time the 870 ft journey was over. I perched myself on a rock and just stared.
It was equally beautiful as it was humbling.
Step 5: The Final Leg
We turned around and made the trek back to the car park. We wove back down the winding road. We went through the cows once more.
Wallaman Falls isn’t just a thing to see, but a total package experience that is certainly worth your time if you find yourself in Queensland. Just watch out for the stinging nettles!