Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

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Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Kuhr » Tue 12 Feb, 2019 8:00 am

Hello everyone

In the Daley's "Take a Walk in South East Queensland" book there is described a walk to Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls) in Lamington National Park. The description mentions walking nearly all the way to a bend in the border track roughly half way between Green Mountains and Binna Burra.

Twice now I have tried to follow this route, turning off just before a bend in the border track, and I have route searched, rock hopped and bush whacked along the little creek there for a short distance, looking for any sign of the abandoned graded track that used to run along here. I have seen two pieces of pink tape, but nothing more than this, and no sign there was ever a graded track there. The progress was tediously slow along the extremely wet and slippery small boulders in the creek, or the thick foliage alongside the creek. (Meanwhile half the forest's leeches have tried to make a meal of me, but I was well enough covered and protected to keep them at bay - one small success!)

Both times I have felt it would take me many hours to push through all these to the falls, so I have abandoned the walk both times. I feel I must be missing something obvious here. Has anyone else managed to walk to the top of these falls alongside this creek, and is there some sign I am missing, or traces of the old track - maybe I am missing where you need to cross the creek or something?

Interested in any clue to this, and photos would help if possible.
Kuhr
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby ofuros » Wed 13 Feb, 2019 11:17 am

Hang in there, Kuhr...sooner or later someone will chip in with some useful info. :wink:
Mountains view are good for my soul...& getting to them is good for my waistline !
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Lyrebird » Wed 13 Feb, 2019 4:23 pm

Interesting. I've been meaning to do that walk for some time but haven't made it yet.
I've attached an image from an old sketch map of Lamington that I think is about 1930s vintage (and an image of the key). It shows the track they refer to, marked as leading to 'cascades'. It also shows another track that starts at the same point and heads north west. I'm not sure how well these tracks were graded, and TAW is a great book but nearly ten years old, so what was 'obvious' in 2009 may not be so obvious now. I don't think it's shown on the big map in the Binna Burra lounge, so I don't know how long ago it fell into disuse?
Anyway, hope the images help.
The problem with Lamington is that you can be a few metres off a track and not see it, particularly if it's an old one. I spent three hours looking for the Bull Ant Spur entrance, only to give up, return to the car and find that I'd pretty much parked on top of it.

Happy hunting!
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby ofuros » Thu 14 Feb, 2019 4:15 am

Told you so....info with a historical map thrown in too, nice. :mrgreen:

...and with my early morning bleary eyes I can see old off-track routes to the Giants Garden area, another along Darlington range & a creeky shortcut down to Ungurungbana Falls, just above Coomera Falls lookout.

Love the old sketch map, Lyrebird. :wink:

P.s. Just a thought, maybe O'Reillys & Binna Burra should have some maps in their shops/cafes, printed up in that old style... 8)
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby cough » Thu 14 Feb, 2019 11:35 am

I've seen photos/videos of the top of Wanungara Falls on Instagram and they didn't look too impressive. Apparently it's too difficult to get down to the base of the falls without a rope.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Kuhr » Thu 14 Feb, 2019 7:48 pm

Thanks for the sketch. I think I see where I went wrong. I was on the wrong tributary perhaps.

Attached a screenshot from omsand from my trip, think I turned off too soon, which is odd, take a walk book map looks like this tributary.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Lyrebird » Fri 15 Feb, 2019 10:11 am

No worries at all. I wondered if you'd hit the wrong tributary but didn't like to ask :lol:.
I do enjoy the Take a Walk track notes but I've found their maps are very general; of course they say themselves that they're only a guideline. When I get a chance I'll wander around there myself, you've got me curious!
Love the old sketch map, Lyrebird. :wink:

Isn't it cool? I'm told it was done in the 1930s by someone called Tim who lived at Tamborine. I scored a copy of a copy. When I get a chance I'll scan the whole thing and put it up, because it's really useful.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby dalehikes » Mon 04 Mar, 2019 12:55 pm

Hi Kuhr,

I recently went to the top of Wanungara falls. Your entry point is fairly close, maybe 50m further west (just drop straight down into the depression). There is a very missable old track marker on the border track showing OR-BB 7M. From this marker you head on a Nth bearing into the tributary, until this point all traces of the old track have been scrubbed.

No trace is found until you hit the next tributary, some 50 downstream of where you exited. The track is always on the west bank.
Once you hit the main stream, you cross and continue on the west bank passing Chajoom and another falls before the main falls. All 3 waterfall signs still remain.

The track itself is traceable for the most part however very overgrown and scrubby. Better off higher or even in the creek at some points.

It is possible to get to the bottom, it was done recently despite the track having suffered major landslides wrecking the track. The way down is not obvious from the top. It is clearer from the bottom.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Champion_Munch » Sun 10 Mar, 2019 9:18 pm

Have also visited Wanungara falls a little while ago (July 2017). A few years before that we totally failed to find the entrance, so don't despair!

It's not at all obvious from the Border Track or even from the initial creek section just in off the track. Dalys' book suggests going from the bend where the creek crosses the border track (seems this is what you did), but there's so much scunge at that point, I went in a bit further west (maybe 50-100 m closer to OR). I took a photo of a track marker on the south (?) side of the track, and from memory this is where I left the Border Track. This is probably the marker that dalehikes refers to.

As said above, you essentially just head directly into the creek and follow it further downstream until you cross a tributary and hit the old track. I guess the tributary is the one entering from bottom left in your map. The old track is extremely obvious when you get to it (lined with rocks, just like on the other waterfall circuits). I was surprised how "good" condition this track was, although of course there was lots of tree falls, vines and the usual nasties etc being so close the escarpment. But if you are used to walking off track in Lamington this will be nothing new...

Shouldn't take too long to get there. Time stamps from my photos indicate 30 min to Chajoom Falls, 5 more min to Wollongalla Falls and 5 more min to Wanungara Falls (from border track). It's a pretty creek but the waterfalls are nothing exceptional (I didn't even bother taking photos of them). I didn't see any obvious way to get to the bottom of Wanungara Falls, the area near the top looked especially precipitous. Falls look to be very high.

Cheers,
Munch
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby dalehikes » Wed 13 Mar, 2019 12:39 pm

Champion_Munch wrote:This is probably the marker that dalehikes refers to.


Yes, thats the one. My memory of the markings though, appear hazy. I must have mistaken the marker with BB OR on it for one of the very old markers on the Albert circuit.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Champion_Munch » Thu 14 Mar, 2019 8:39 pm

Maybe this the one you were thinking of? Timestamp on my photo says it was taken about 15 min before the other one (i.e. closer to Binna Burra), but I don't remember whether I stopped or wandered around a bit first.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Lyrebird » Sat 16 Mar, 2019 10:50 pm

Glad you posted the photo of the 7/7 marker. I searched through my photos for a photo of that marker that I know I have, but could I find it? :roll:
From memory one of the books states that "A" was used for Border Track markers; it said there was a 1MA marker at the start of the track, Binna Burra but I've never been able to find it. I'm guessing the 7M is 7 miles? Looking at the two photos together it seems more Official than the other one.
I was surprised how "good" condition this track was, although of course there was lots of tree falls, vines and the usual nasties

They knew how to build tracks. The old Border Track that duplicated the Pensioner Track (now the Border Track) has been closed since the late 1980s and has received no maintenance since, but it's still completely walkable. Apart from a few tree falls it's just as traffic-able as the maintained track. I sometimes use it for variety and crowd avoidance.
Thanks to you both for the updated info.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby dalehikes » Fri 22 Mar, 2019 11:35 am

Ahh yes Munch, that is the marker.
I definitely entered at the 7MA marker though. I remember being surprised I saw it due to how it blends into the forest.

@Lyrebird, I too walked the old Border track section recently and as you said, it is very walkable indeed. The biggest problem for our group were the endless cobwebs lining the track!
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Kuhr » Tue 16 Apr, 2019 6:40 am

Thanks dalehikes and champion_munch, great info, seems I just need to enter further west closer to OR by a bit and persist.
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Re: Lamington: Wanungara Falls (Belsen Falls)

Postby Don R » Thu 02 May, 2019 11:29 pm

I haven't been to Belsens for many years (try 1990s), it was quite nice. You can from Belsen's, slowly, rockhop down stream to Curtain Falls and return via the Central Traverse. I was at Curtain Falls at Easter and there is a pink tape trail for most of the way to Purragulli Creek from there( although it is not really necessary for competent navigators). There is a lot of water in the creek at the moment so crossing it between Fountain and Curtain Falls is somewhat dangerous. A fit party can go from O'Reillys to Belsens, down East Canungra Creek to Curtain Falls and out to O"Reillys in a fairly stroppy weekend (done that a couple of times). Leeches are very active at the moment.In the 90's you could still relatively easily walk both branches of Canungra Creek in a weekend but that is more difficult these days.However it would not be advised in the rain.If you are really keen, you can use the Central Traverse to go to Binna Burra and pass through Curtain Falls, but the scunge on the eastern slopes of the range past East Canungra Creek is pretty bad last time I did it.That is a reasonable two day trip with a road walk to Binna Burra from the Swimming Pool track.If you are deranged you can follow that route and return to O'Reillys via the Border Track (did it once in 1988 as a day walk of 15 hours).Interesting country.
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