Have you heard of Beechmont before? They’ve been hiding a pretty big secret…
Lip Falls is located in Denham Scenic Reserve, in Beechmont. Beechmont is a quiet town west of Burleigh Heads and south of Mount Tamborine. The properties are large and often have cows or veggie gardens. It takes on average, around an hour and 15 minutes to get there from Brisbane CBD. The first time I visited Lip Falls, we spent a good quarter of an hour trying to find it, as the entrance is tucked away between properties with little signage to indicate that there is even a walking track there. In a way, I appreciate it being a little harder to find; it makes it feel like I did as a child exploring the campgrounds.
When the Going Gets Tough, Use the Seats Provided
The walk down isn’t too strenuous, but you should ensure you wear proper shoes as the path is quite rocky and uneven. As the trek is going down into a valley, it is predominantly shady but there are some very sunny areas. The path is occasionally obstructed by tree roots and rocks, and it gets muddy and slippery in some places. There is a little boardwalk near the beginning of the trail, as there is a lot of mud in this one section, but it does not cover all the mud. I discovered that fun fact when I stepped in a puddle by accident, and got mud caked halfway to my ankle. Be aware of new shoes! They will not stay white for very long.
To reach the falls at the end of the train, you will need to rock-hop across the creek. This is fairly easy, but the water here is shallow if you decide that way is better. As mentioned, the walk down wasn’t strenuous, but it is not a circuit track. I’m not sure if it used to be one, as there does appear to be another path with a chain as a guide, but it vanishes rather abruptly. You need to go back the way you came. Which means stairs, and lots of them. We took advantage of the conveniently located benches to recover from the seemingly endless stairs. I’m not the fittest person in the world, but I feel like unevenly spaced and sized steps would cause a lot of people discomfort.
What To Do
You can sit on Lip Falls without feeling too precarious and you can swim under the waterfall! A word of warning: there is nowhere to change into swimming outfits. Another word of warning: the water is freezing! I did wear my bikini there, but one toe in the water swiftly reminded me that spring was still not quite here (despite it reaching 24 degrees Celsius that day). In summer, the water had been cool but refreshing after the hot walk. We had been surprised by how cold it was but we had still swum under the waterfall to sit on the rock there. In winter, there was no chance of that happening. From my previous experience, I can inform you that the water is quite deep in the centre of the pool, but with lots of submerged rocks that you cannot see through the murky water.
The entire trip is a photo opportunity, if you are interested in that sort of thing. It is incredibly picturesque in the valley with the creek flowing by. The rocks around Lip Falls are quite stable and can balance a tripod, for those who want to do long-exposure or timed photography. This is the ideal setting for both the serious photographer and the serial instagrammer.
Pack a lunch and you can picnic by the waterfall! We had a relaxing time sitting and listening to the sounds of nature around us while we ate our food. If you have children, or in my case 21-year-old engineering/geology friends, they can have fun attempting to dam the creek or change the direction of the water, while you watch from a safe distance. Another option is heading there early in the day and meditating or doing yoga, if you enjoy that.
Explore your Surroundings!
Set in a valley, the creek meanders its way downward. Exploring downstream, you do a lot of rockhopping and find fallen trees to sit on and watch the water continue along its course. Exploring upstream, you find boulders and stone walls and will eventually come across the waterfall you see from the lookout. I am not sure what this waterfall is called, but be careful near it. The rocks are slippery! We climbed up onto the waterfall via a somewhat hidden path and continued along to see if we could find the larger waterfall we can see from the lookout. I don’t know what that one is called. I wasn’t even sure we could reach it but Instagram assured me it was possible (check out ‘#lipfalls’).
After a good hour of rock-hopping, we managed to get there. These rocks were bigger than we were, and according to the geology nerds (my dear friend and boyfriend), the igneous rocks were a basalt matrix with small olivine crystals. I don’t know; it’s all just words to me. Simplified, they probably came from a volcano. It took a while for me to safely navigate them, and I honestly wouldn’t suggest you try it unless you were confident in your rock-hopping abilities and/or first aid. Sorry, mum!
I wanted to stand under the waterfall but it was incredibly slippery and Will told me not to be stupid. So I got close enough to feel the spray on my face instead. I love being near waterfalls. The air is cooler and feels fresher, and I often get this little feeling of awe at something so beautiful. In saying that, I am aware of how dangerous waterfalls can be. Maybe that’s a little part of that unique feeling as well.
Ideal Time to Visit
We didn’t see anyone this trip, most likely due to it being late winter here in Australia, so many interested people wouldn’t be looking for places to cool off. I would recommend summer or spring as being the best time to visit, though it makes a very pleasant day out in winter. It will be more popular in summer due to the heat of the day. However, I have only seen a maximum of ten people there, in my few trips there. We did not encounter anyone else on this outing!
Review and Thoughts:
I would recommend it for those with reasonable levels of fitness (due to the way back up). This is a good activity for anyone looking to do something cheap, fun and different, especially for pre-teens and/or teenagers looking for new experiences. This experience is good for those on a budget as the only costs were petrol and picnic food! It’s also good for people who can’t take longer trips but still want to get outdoors. We completed our trip in approximately six hours. Of course, this is dependent on the time of the day and traffic, and GPS devices that decide to take you the scenic route.
Please be aware that there are no bins or bathrooms on site. Take your rubbish with you and be prepared if you are planning to swim.
Originally Published with Travelicious.world, 25th of September 2016.