10 Tips For Kureelpa Falls In Mapleton National Park Walk
Looking for one of the best swimming holes in Sunshine Coast? Welcome to Kureelpa Falls in Mapleton National Park, a hidden gem that pleasantly surprised us.
We couldn’t find much information about Kureelpa Falls on the internet so we thought we’d give you a heads up about what to expect. If you’re looking for a good bush walk in Sunshine Coast and love the idea of cooling off in some beautiful secluded rock pools, look no further.
1. What makes Kureelpa Falls special?
Wondering if this Sunshine Coast walk is worth going to? We couldn’t believe how beautiful the rock pools are here as we weren’t expecting much. You’ll find so many pools up the river to jump into with many feeling like a natural jacuzzi where the South Maroochy River enters into a hidden gorge.
We could have spent hours here and if we had known more about it, we would have put aside a whole day here as I feel like we didn’t explore much of it at all. It’s easily one of our best finds in Sunshine Coast to date!
2. Where is Kureelpa Falls?
Kureelpa Falls is located in Mapleton National Park in Sunshine Coast, just five minutes drive from the beautiful town of Mapleton.
You can stop off here to stock up on water and sandwiches or pastries at the local bakery here. Alternatively, you could time it to have lunch at the legendary Mapleton Tavern which has epic views overlooking the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and out to the ocean.
Watch Our Kureelpa Falls Video!
We filmed the trek to show you what it’s like!
3. Which track to take?
There are two ways to get to Kureelpa Falls in Mapleton National Park. You can either go to the Kureelpa Falls Road entrance which is the shorter route, being only 2.2km. Or you can do the route we did which is 8.5km (we actually walked 10km).
We were going to do the shorter route but we heard that if it’s been raining, it’s hard to get to as you have to walk along the river and jump over the creek crossing, rock hop and climb over boulders to get there. Because it had rained in the night before we went, we decided to do the Kureelpa Falls Circuit which takes you down a fire trail from the Mapleton National Park Day Use Area.
4. What to expect on the Kureelpa Falls Circuit
We read that the walk would be really boring but it would be an easy walk . When you park up at the Mapleton National Park Day Use area, you’ll drive past the sign for Kureelpa Falls on the right as you park up.
We took a photo of the map but we had no idea if there would be signs or a clear path to follow. The path is clear and you just need to follow the signs for the number 4.
The track takes you down hill on a path big enough to get a car down there. We only saw one other person on the whole track who was on an electric mountain bike. You can take your horse down here, or even a mountain bike, although I think it would be kinda hard to cycle back up the hill on the way back.
When you reach the circuit section which should take around 15 minutes to get to, take the path on the right with the number 4 on the sign to go down to the falls. On the way back, you’ll come back on the other path!
Obviously the walk isn’t as amazing as doing one of the Lamington National Park walks, but it is lovely to get away and into nature for the day.
The walk back up to the car park on the way back felt like it went on forever, but it was around 30C and felt really hot. You’ll be mostly walking in shade but there were plenty of times when we weren’t protected by the trees.
5. What is Kureelpa Falls actually like?
Kureelpa Falls is a beautiful waterfall in a hidden gorge. The rive winds down to the falls which drops into a hidden gorge. You’ll only be able to see snippets of the gorge which opens out into more swimming holes and what looks like a lap pool too.
I’m not sure if you can get down there as we didn’t try but we flew the drone over to take a better look and it really does look amazing.
We stayed at the top of the falls which has plenty of rock pools and natural jacuzzi’s to sit in. We were expecting the water to be freezing but it’s a beautiful temperature in the Summer sun! Bring a picnic and sit up on the rocks in between swims.
6. How long does the walk take?
We timed the Kureelpa Falls Circuit walk and although we planned to spend 2.5-3hrs in total, we were gone from the car for 4hrs. This is because we spent a bit of time down at the pools, but it didn’t feel long enough as we left our doggy at home and didn’t want to leave her for more than five hours.
Here’s our timings, (we walked slowly and weren’t in a rush):
Carpark to Kureelpa Falls: 1h10m
Time at Kureelpa Falls: 1h30m
Kureelpa Falls to Carpark: 1h20m
7. Is this walk suitable for children?
I wouldn’t take young children on this walk because it can feel quite long, especially on the way back up. You’ll need to be careful on the rock pools as well as the rocks can be a bit slippery.
8. Bring reef shoes & wear hiking boots
As soon as we got to Kureelpa Falls we realised we should have brought our reef shoes with us to make it easier getting into the pools. It’s something we would have definitely brought with us, had we known. But don’t worry if you don’t have any, you can still easily go for a swim.
I would wear hiking boots on this track because there are sections that can be muddy. As always we would never go on a hike in Australia without ever wearing hiking boots. I have my trusted SCARPA hiking boots and Steve wears Solomon hiking boots. My trick is to buy half a size up and buy decent hiking socks – both make a world of difference which I sadly learnt the hard way (especially when hiking in South America years ago!).
9. Would we go back again?
We just loved Kureelpa Falls, it really does feel like a hidden gem and it was totally unexpected to find a really good swimming hole in Sunshine Coast. We would plan it better and spend more time here. Maybe next time, we’ll go the shorter path when it hasn’t rained! (We’ll update this post and let you know if we do!)
Don’t forget to watch our Kureelpa Falls Video!
10. Other swimming holes in the area
If you’re wondering whether it’s better than the famous Kondalilla Falls near Montville, you can’t really compare the two. Kondalilla Falls is an easy 20 minute walk to get to the beautiful swimming hole at the top of the waterfall. It gets busy there whereas Kureelpa Falls feels much more like a hidden gem.
We’ve also been to Baxter Falls which is another lesser known swimming hole in Sunshine Coast. This is a more beautiful walk than Kureelpa Falls, but when we visited, the water was brown due to the rain. I’m sure it would be much more appealing with clear water for sure.
And while Gardeners Falls is the easiest to walk to, being just a five minute walk from the car park, it’s also the busiest swimming hole in Sunshine Coast Hinterland that we’ve seen. It is a great spot though, especially if you go early and have it to yourself!
Check out more of our Sunshine Coast guides
We’ve always been a fan of the Sunshine Coast, even before we moved here! There is so much to do here so we thought we give you a heads up on some of the places to visit.
Make sure you head to Maleny, especially if you’re going to any of these swimming holes as there’s plenty to do in this beautiful little town. You can check out our guide for the Best Things To Do In Maleny.
We also love the small town of Yandina which is home some cracking markets, shops, cafes and of course one of the best Asian restaurants in Australia called Spirit House. It’s incredible and obviously you can check our Spirit House Review too. Read our guide for the Best Things To Do In Yandina.
You can’t beat the beaches in Noosa which is our go to for a weekend of swimming in the ocean. Read our updated guide for the Best Things To Do In Noosa to make the most of this slice of paradise.