Toolona Creek and Mount Wanungra

Lamington National Park
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A full day walk that follows Toolona Creek in which over 8 waterfalls will be seen, also reaching Mt Wanungara lookout to provide views to Byron Bay and North Stradbroke Is. The round trip takes 6-8 hours.

1195m
Maximum Elevation
524m
Total Climb

Getting there

Driving from Brisbane take the Narang exit and follow signs to Canungra. Turn left in the centre of Canungra, following the signs to Lamington Plateau, Green Mountain Car Park (aka O'Reillys). From Canungra the drive takes approximately 50 minutes along narrow winding roads. Take care, particuarly with the numerous blind corners.

Maps

There is a gift shop up from the main car park where you can buy various maps that cover the local walks.

Hema Maps has a 1:25000 that covers Lamington National Park in a single map.

Sunmap sheets Tyalgum and Beechmont cover the walk in 1:25000.

There is also a National Park Information Centre with brochures which outline the track system. The applicable points where the track splits are signposted as well.

Route/Trail notes

The first part of the walk to Picnic Rock is easy and the surface is a compacted rock and concrete track. Start on the border track and ignore the first turnoff (250m - Blue Pool and West Canungra Creek Circuit). Take the second exit (1.7km) leading to the Box Forest Circuit, Picnic Rock and the Toolona Creek Circuit. The Box Forest Circuit branches away from this track so take the right branch leading to Picnic Rock.

The track continues on the opposite side of the creek and continues to descend for 200m. The next branch is where the Box Forest Circuit and West Canungra Creek Circuit return. It's a crime if you don't turn left and walk 140m to see Elabana Falls. After that detour return and take the right hand turn to start on the Toolona Creek Circuit proper.

The walk along Toolona Creek crosses the creek over 5 times and takes you to or past around 7 small waterfalls (sometimes a short track will leave the main track to take you to a waterfall).  It is really a spectacular walk.

Once you reach Toolona Falls which take approximately 2 1/2; hours, you soon join up with "The Border Track". Turn left and head to Mt Wanungara it is a well signed a 100m detour to the Lookout. The Lookout is approx 50 min walk from Toolona Falls and is a good spot to take a break for lunch. Here you can see views of the Tweed Valley, Murwillimbah, Mt Warning and even Byron Bay and North Stradbroke Island on a clear day. Mt Wanungara is also home to a majestic Antarctic Beech forest.

After that head back to where you first joined the Border Track and continue straight ahead towards O'Reillys. As the track heads off the ridge and down towards o'reilys the tree trunks are covered in moss and creeper plants colouring the whole place green.

Be prepared for a muddy track, particularly in the wetter months. Also be aware that recent rain may raise the creek level and make the creek crossings more interesting.

Permits/Costs

No Cost. However you can pay for guided walks.

Other References

Maps if available at the following link: https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lamington/pdf/lamington-green-mts-map.pdf

http://www.oreillys.com.au/lamington-national-park/bushwalking/full-day-walks/

http://wanungara.com/

Comments

A nice scenic circuit with heaps of waterfalls and a few opportunities to get some nice views. It is extremely similar to the Coomera Circuit/Mt Merino although probably not quite as good. Unlike Mt Merino where you get an exceptional view out to the south standing on the edge of a sheer cliff, the Toolona Creek circuit views are a little obstructed by vegetation. You don't quite get to the summit of Mt Wanungra (the summit is just thick rainforest so the lookout is as close as you need to get). You do get to the summit of Mt Bithongabel, however it is also thick rainforest marked with a cairn honoring the people who first ventured out there. The waterfalls are fantastic, plenty of excellent photo opportunities! Great introductory hike, easy to follow track , heaps to see and no steep parts. Really pleasant way to spend a day if you are out that way!

Vonsnrub on 26 Apr, 2021

Great walk,we had perfect weather for it also. Heaps of waterfalls & small rapids to see & the lookout back near the border track at Mt Wanaugra has terrific views. It took us 6 hours to complete but plenty of stops for photos & 1/2 hour lunch break included in that time

Bribie 61 on 18 Jul, 2020

Completed after 2 days of rain and was very muddy. Walked clockwise from boarder track. Lots of beautiful waterfalls and creek crossings. Lookouts were white out due to cloud cover all morning. Boarder track back I imagine would be quite scenic in good weather. Quite a flat walk with slow and low gradient climbs. Lots of tree roots and rocks on path and had to climb under a few fallen trees. Took about 5hrs walking as fast as we could in slippery mud and puddles. Fatastic!

Jimcar on 11 Jul, 2020

Another of our regular walks, lovely scenery, beautiful waterfalls and arctic beach trees. Love the walk

Adalynn on 20 Jun, 2020

I think it took us about 4.5 hours, and was pretty cloudy when we started. It did clear up later but even when overcast the waterfalls make it worthwhile.

Bec on 30 Apr, 2020

Beautiful steady but long walk. Lots of birds and wallabies. Started off with the realisation that I left all my food in the fridge at home... DOH. At least I could purchase a couple of chocolate bars at the Hotel restaurant and my walking buddy bought some extra protein bars, so I was OK..... the first part of the walk heading up with the waterfalls is picturesque, narrow cliffs, dark and a slight incline the whole way. The Waterfalls were stunning. The creek crossings were dry-ish, I would NOT attempt them after heavy rainfall. The Lookout at Wanungara was our first and only break. Beautiful spot with some clearing to sit and chill and some spectacular views of Limpinwood Valley and Murwillumbah to the sea as far South as Byron Bay but view was a little obstructed with trees. I was just glad to have somewhere to sit for a while. On our way back we stumbled across a campsite "Bithongabel" and it excited me to see the remnants of a campfire. I would love to camp here one day. There is about enough room for maybe 2 tents? Finally we made it back to the start at O'Reillys. I discovered my knees were a bit shonky and that I need to pad up my toes after this walk. There is a lot of loose rock terrain so its a bit hard on the joints. As an avid bird lover, I will return here with my camera set up soon. The birdlife is spectacular and they aren't afraid of us humans. At about 18kms in total, I was full of self achievement as this is by far the longest hike I've ever done and I would do it again in a heartbeat. NO LEACHES at all. Maybe July is a good month to do this walk as its dry but cold. My bum was cold the whole way through. I never took my jacket off once. LOVED IT. Took us 5 hours and 10 minutes with a 20 minute break included.

TracyV75 on 17 Jul, 2018

Awesome walk! Finished it yesterday and it took us 6hr 12 mins to finish it. It was a rainy day and the creek was fully running. Hips of leeches on the track but if you spray yourself regularly shouldn’t be a problem. Didn’t see any views from lookouts due to foggy day but waterfalls were stunning. Track starts and finishes from the Border track (entry to the track straight after toilets on the left-hand side). We also made a video of our little journey: https://youtu.be/ZOiAGfAU5Rk It's easier to do it clockwise if you stay towards the entry of the track. I've also uploaded GPX file for navigation purposes.

Ilya Kornienko on 11 Nov, 2017

Beautiful walk! Absolutely loved the section along the creek..... many waterfalls, I think my favourite was Chalahn Falls. Great swimming spots dotted along the trail. I plan on doing it again soon as the return section from Wanungara along the Border Track was stunning but we unfortunately had heavy cloud cover so we missed what I imagine would be some amazing views from up high. Clearly defined paths the whole way; just look for the markers on the other side of the creek crossings and it's basically impossible to get lost. Did it in 6.5hrs with loads of stoppages on the outbound and a rather swift return.

walkingwithtim on 4 Nov, 2017

Amazing Walk

The road up to O'Reillys is terrible at the moment. There are a lot of single lanes that have not been there on our prevous visits so you need to take a lot of care getting there and getting down the mountain as well.

We left Brisbane at 6.45 and got there at 8.45. For a Winters day it was perfect weather for walking. Although it was sunny at O'Reillys we hardly saw the sun for the rest of the walk due to it mostly being in heavy rainforest.

There was rain a few days before we visited so the tracks were a bit boggy in some places but the result of the rain was that the waterfalls were running very nicely.

I would recommend very good footware as my runners didnt really cut it for such a long walk with creek crossings and rock hopping added in there.

The waterfalls were absolutly magnificent and worth all the effort to reach them. I would do this walk over and over again to see the changes.

At one stage the track took us away from the rushing water of the creek and into a wooded area and we stopped and soaked in the silence of the forest. It was magnificent.

The views from the track over to the coast was a little disappointing today as it was a bit hazy. I could imagine that they would be wonderful on the right day.

I have to say that I was a little worn out after the 18km trek but it was well worth the effort.

A lot of other posts have mentioned leechs but even though I had shorts on we didnt encounter even one on the whole trek.

Recommended

Time for us to complete 6 hours.

Paul on 1 Jul, 2017

I loved this walk. My favorite walks are the ones like this, Christmas Creek, West Canungra Circuit, Coomera Circuit, where you get to follow a creek as it makes its way up to its origins, with regular cascades, waterfalls, pools and creek crossings.
We were lucky enough to have scheduled this walk a few days after rain, so the creeks and falls were spectacular. Mist helped give the walk a gothic atmosphere.

oldcoastwalker on 22 Apr, 2016

The walk down to Picnic Rock and Elabana Falls is one of my favs

AGerussi on 10 Apr, 2016

Great walk. Some really stunning waterfalls. Did whole lot in 5 hours carrying 16kg pack (Tassie training!). Too wet for a lunchbreak so walked right thru to O'Reilly's. A number of trees over the track made things fun. Lookouts were all whiteouts due to low cloud. Creek crossings can be a bit tricky with one particular crossing difficult to find track on the other side. Recommend long pants and gaiters to keep leeches at bay.

Bushy Bloke on 12 Feb, 2016

Great walk and not too much water at this time of year so crossing were fairly simple, just a few slippy rocks and a little bit of mud to deal with. Finished in four hours including 5 min stop at Toolona lookout. Signage could be better down through the dense forest and the border track gets boring pretty quickly on the return.

Richard on 6 Jul, 2015

Beautiful walk, lots of creek crossings and sections of muddy track near waterfalls so waterproof shoes recommended. Probably prime territory for leeches, although we did not experience any. Antarctic beech forest on border track was a highlight. Comfortable full days walk with a few stops along the way.

Kathryn03 on 21 Jun, 2015

Leeches leeches leeches - First time doing this walk and from all accounts I had seen (Not on this site) it was to be a relatively simple affair and as such was under prepared. Walk took us 7 hours walking at a steady pace with a 20 minute break for lunch. Recommend long pants (due to leeches) and ankle supporting boots. Once out of the creek section the views are spectacular.

Daytime Dan on 3 May, 2015

Very wet walk today out on the tracks negotiating the creek crossings trying to prevent water flowing into my boots, you've got to love gortex :) got almost eaten alive by leeches, this was the worst I've ever experienced. Made it out just on 6pm after slogging it out along the border track in wet soggy socks after slipping in on the last water crossing.

Walkinghawk on 3 Apr, 2015

This was a really picturesque walk. There was a complete white out at Toolona Lookout but we heard the call of bird that hasn't been sited in 3 years so that was exciting! (I have no idea what the bird was, I was walking with a wildlife biologist)
There are a couple of large trees fallen over the path which were a little tricky to crawl over/under due to the dense vegetation but nothing 'difficult'.

Highly recommend! Also, Toolona circuit by itself (plus elabana) took 5 hrs with frequent stops for selfies and bird watching.

Alice on 29 Mar, 2015

Added box circuit to it aswell. Very pretty, well worth while, so many waterfalls.

B_T on Mar, 2014

Did this walk for a bit of fun, really enjoyed all the waterfalls and the scenery along the way. Mt Wanungara lookout was spectacular. Camped at Mt Bithongabel campsite which was beautiful as the clouds rolled up the cliffs in the evening.

Viking on 22 Nov, 2013

Waterfalls are fair flowing!

Allan Allport on 7 Oct, 2013

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