I’ve always subscribed to the theory that the harder a place is to get to, the better it is. Most of the waterfalls in Queensland are incredibly easy to get to, which meant that Blencoe Falls had to be a lot better than the rest, no?
After doing dozens of amazing waterfalls in Queensland, and missing the section between Tully and Townsville, we decided to head back up the coast, and cover the area as well as we could. Wallaman waterfall was absolutely spectacular, but asides from a decent bitumen hill to drive up, its relatively easy.
Blencoe Falls on the other hand, is only accessible via a ‘road’ that goes between Mt Garnet and Kennedy, and requires a lot more effort to get to. I say road in apostrophes because its really a 4WD track in sections, and if there’s been any rain at all, its certainly not your average road at all.
Spoiler alert though; this place is nothing short of epic, and is easily one of our top 10 destinations in Queensland, for so many different reasons.
Where is Blencoe Falls?
This beautiful waterfall, and river is located just off the Kirrama Range Road, which starts just outside of Kennedy, and proceeds up the range, and then across and north, popping out just near Mt Garnet.
Blencoe Falls are roughly half way along this road, and can be accessed from either direction, depending on where you’re coming from, and what part of the road you want to do.
How do you get to Blencoe Falls?
As per the above, you either head in from Mt Garnet, or you head up the range from Kennedy.
Blencoe Falls Camping
This region is a national park, and there’s camping available for those in tents, vehicle based camping and camper trailers. Caravans are not supposed to be here, and its pretty obvious why when you drive the road, and when you get to the campground.
Normally the Queensland National Park Campgrounds are really obvious; a big sign, turn off and lots of sites to choose from. Not Blencoe Falls.
There’s a few signs around, but its really unclear as to where you actually camp, and its only after driving around that you find a heap of spots along the river, and further up. This camping area has had minimal intervention, and in many ways that is absolutely fantastic.
As for how the camp sites are, I can let the photos do the talking. This place is beyond magic, and its up there with the best camping we’ve done in Queensland. We jagged ourselves a beautiful, big camp site right next to the river, with a great little firepit, stunning views, pristine swimming an neighbours at least 30 metres away.
You don’t get these sort of sites much anymore, and we loved it so much that we booked a third night, and kicked back to enjoy it all.
If you want to stay here, you need to book in advance online, but its first come first served in terms of the sites available. There is some Telstra reception at the camp ground, in the higher camp sites (and near the toilets), so you can possibly book when you arrive, but its much easier to do it down the bottom, or before you leave!
What amenities are at Blencoe Falls Camping area?
You’ll find two drop toilets here, and that’s it. There’s no picnic tables, no steel fire pits (just rocks that people have used), and nothing else. What you take in, you must take out.
What other attractions are nearby?
If you’re driving up the Kirrama Range Road, you’ll go past a couple of lookouts, and a rainforest walk.
What is the Kirrama Range Road like?
If you look on the Queensland National Parks website, it specifically states that this road is for 4WD’s only, and to be done in ‘dry weather’. The map you get of the Kirrama Range Road does not really mention much about its actual condition, width or how steep it is, so we’ll cover that in detail.
When you arrive at the start of the track, there’s a sign that says the track is not suitable for buses, or caravans. It does not mention anything else. It states that there’s 18km of steep, windy road, and its accurate in that.
I’d say that a lot of the road is about 1.5 normal car widths, with a few sections where its less, and a few sections where its more. The road is primarily gravel going up the range, with a couple of corners that have been done in bitumen.
It is very steep, and if you are towing anything in an automatic 4WD you’d absolutely need to be in low range, and keep an eye on your transmission temperatures. Even in low range, we saw 101 degrees on the automatic transmission temperatures. It certainly wasn’t as steep as some of the Victorian High Country tracks, but its long, and there’s almost no opportunity to turn back once you’ve committed.
The drive up through the range is nothing short of magnificent. The views are amazing, you’ll go within arms reach of two beautiful waterfalls and there’s a number of creeks flowing that are truly sensational. The drive up the range was in fantastic condition when we did it, with very few corrugations and holes, and so much so that we didn’t even bother letting tyres down to start with.
At the top, the landscape very quickly changes, and we found that the road also deteriorates in quality, with a lot more holes, run offs and corrugations. On top of this, the gravel seems to dissipate, and you’re left with a hard, sandy sort of surface that turns to slick with a bit of water.
The road seems to continue deteriorating through to Blencoe Falls, and if you continue to Mt Garnet there is more of this, before it turns into a really good, graded gravel road.
The total road length from Kennedy to Blencoe Falls is about 70km, and it can take anywhere from 1.5 – 2.5 hours, depending on whether you’re towing, and what the conditions are. For reference, in the rain, and stopping to deflate tyres and take a phone call, it took us just under 2.5 hours, one way.
Take a chainsaw
We got chatting to a local at Blencoe Falls, who said you should always carry a chainsaw, as lots of trees fall down and block the road. As luck would have it, we came across a tree that had fallen which was about 300mm in diametre, and blocking most of the road. Our little Ryobi 18V Chainsaw isn’t really cut out for the job, and needs a new chain, but it cut most of the way through before going flat, and I used the winch to snap the rest of the tree.
Absolutely take a chainsaw, or a bow saw and lots of energy if you’re taking this track!
Can you tow something to Blencoe Falls?
We towed our 2.3 tonne Reconn R2 hybrid camper up from Kennedy, in low range, and it wasn’t until we were well over the top of the range that we hit some sections that had me a bit concerned, and it was only because of the rain.
We’d had about 20mm in the two days prior, and it was gently raining the whole way there. This is less of an issue when you’re a vehicle and no trailer, but if you have a trailer it wants to slide independently of the vehicle, and if you’re going downhill, or you don’t make it up a steep section you can be in a world of pain.
I had our vehicle and trailer slip a bit when we were around 30km from the falls, and I stopped and let the tyres down to 24, 28 and 37 PSI (front, rear and trailer tyres). I used the locker on a couple of hill climbs and gave it the berries, not wanting any chance of not making it up first go, as your trailer just jack knifes and puts you in a world of pain.
We met a couple coming the other way with a 79 Series Land Cruiser and Kings camper trailer who said coming down into Big Swamp they had the trailer sliding everywhere, and we could easily see why. Some of the ruts were deep enough to keep you in them, but we did a fair bit of slipping around and it makes a very easy track a lot harder.
When we arrived, our car and camper were filthy, and we saw a few others come in after who were in a similar situation.
Can you tow a caravan to Blencoe Falls?
Yep, you could, but it’s a terrible idea, and I’m going to say you shouldn’t. If it were completely dry, you’d probably be able to get an offroad van here, but the road up the range is so narrow, with so many corners that you’d have a very hard time trying to get around anyone coming the other way, let alone if you met a larger rig.
Leave the caravans and come up in your 4WD; we had issues squeezing just our 4WD past other vehicles in places, let alone a big, bulky caravan!
Do you need a 4WD?
Yep. I think you’d be mad taking a 2WD vehicle here. You could probably get away with an AWD vehicle if the track was completely dry, but you never know here; it rains all the time and even in the middle of the dry season, we found the track completely drenched and sloppy. An AWD in the conditions that we drove through would be seriously pushing the friendship in terms of traction, clearance and overall safety.
If you are towing something, you absolutely, without any shadow of a doubt need a 4WD, and the skills to use your engine braking, trailer brakes and so forth. This is not the place you want to learn to tow something off-road!
Cattle at Blencoe Falls
You will likely see some cattle around Blencoe Falls. Leave them alone, and they’ll do the same. They’re much bigger than you, and the last thing you want to do is get hurt out here; its a long way from help!
Walks at Blencoe Falls
If you’re an average tourist, who just wants to see the waterfalls without hiking for days, there are three options here. You can walk from the camping area to the other side of the bridge, and then to the falls. This is about 6km return. Alternatively, you can drive to the car park across the bridge, and walk from there, where its 5km return.
If you want the easiest option of all, drive your vehicle over the bridge, and take a left at the sign showing the lookout. This is a 5.2km drive on a relatively narrow track which arrives at a small turn around area with a lookout over the gorge. If you head to the West, you’ll follow a wide walking track that goes down the hill, and shortly after gets to a lookout beyond words, where you can clearly see the falls.
What’s Blencoe Falls like?
Queensland is king of waterfalls, with more than you could explore in weeks on the road. Wallaman Falls is truly awesome, being a 269 metre single drop fall, but I reckon Blencoe Falls is even better. This is taller, but has multiple drops on the way down and the lookout is much closer, and the drop off the edge is truly amazing.
We loved it even more because there’s no hordes of tourists, its not well signed or known about, and you really need a 4WD to get here. We spent a while just soaking up the magnificent views at Blencoe Falls; they are truly epic.
Blencoe Falls is one of our favourite destinations in Queensland
I was over the moon with Blencoe Falls. We had a heap of fun getting there in the mud, the drive through the rainforest is nothing short of beautiful and everything about the area is just amazing. The camping is much less sterile than many national parks, you’re metres away from the water in many spots and the views are divine.
The falls make it even better, with scenery that is truly next level, and I cannot possibly speak any higher of Blencoe Falls. If you’re considering a visit there, and you have a suitable setup, do it. It’s absolutely brilliant!