There's little more in life that brings me such immediate joy as running through nature. Whether in the bush, a rainforest or along the beach, the feeling of instant elation (followed pretty quickly by an inability for me to breathe properly!) is unsurpassed.
The hike at Witches Falls is just under 7kms and well trailed so despite not having run much over the past few weeks, I thought it would be a good chance for me to channel my inner child and go for a run through the Witches garden.
“Established in 1908 Witches Falls National Park is QLDs oldest established national park and was named by a local child who was inspired by its haunting beauty.”
Setting off from the car park in a clockwise direction the trail quickly changed from a bitumen path, to a downward sloping rock strewn trail. With signs advising visitors not to linger as it was a landslide area I took the advice to heart and ran swiftly downwards towards the forest floor, the air cooled instantly by the giant palms and rain forest trees looming above.
Off the sloping face the trail became smooth and was edged prettily by rocks, encouraging the hiker to stay on path, or perhaps dance whimsically along the top of them… it also ensured the chance of getting lost was minimised making this a great hike for people unsure about navigation.
Even down here the lack of rainfall is evident with the dirt path cracked and the seasonal lagoon completely dry. Considering we had a small rain shower up here just a few days ago I had expected at least a small remnant of it to remain, but it had been thirstily soaked away by the parched ground.
As I left the lagoon a small, furry marsupial ran out from behind one of the huge Cycads that grow in the area. Darting across the path in front, a Biyan, or Red Legged Pademelon stopped to scavenge amongst the forest floor.
As the path began curving gently upwards towards the falls, I was grateful to hear the sound of running water.
The hikes namesake, Witches Fall was flowing, although slowly, again evidence of the drought we are experiencing. The viewing platform offers a nice panorama of the surrounding ranges and with the sound of water falling gently beside me it made a nice place to stop and appreciate how lucky I was to be able to get out and experience this side of nature despite the global pandemic we are currently facing.
Just past the lookout on the Witches Chase Track, a fallen tree lays aside the path, the roots stretching upwards like a mythical throne from a fairytale, polished by the thousands of hands that have passed through.
The trail then continues meandering along the side of the mountain, alternating between hardened muddy path and rock strewn trail where vines have grown over the top creating Alice in Wonderland type tunnels, before ending at Beacon Rd where I made I a u-turn to head back the way I had come.
The last hundred or so meters of the hike takes you along the back of residential properties where prolific growths of jasmine, their flowers in full bloom release their pungent scent perfuming the air.
The Witches Fall Circuit Hike completely surpassed my expectations and if you are looking for a shorter, visually and aurally spectacular hike I cannot recommend it more highly.
If you have time make sure to stop in at Witches Fall Winery and taste some of their vegan friendly wines!
“Lost is a state of mind, I prefer to think of it as exploring” - Lia Skye
What to Expect
A well tread easy to follow dirt path with some larger rocks and steps at the end. A reasonable level of fitness will help but if you take it slow this is one of those hikes that most people can accomplish. The hike is just under 7kms if you include the Witches Chase return track as well as the circuit.
How to get there
Put Witches Falls Walking Track into your GPS or click here for Google Maps
Water – At least 2 Litres depending on how much you drink and the time of year you choose to hike in.
This hikes relatively short so I didn't bring any snacks but the lookout would make a nice place to stop and eat if you were so inclined.