Mapleton National Park is just 95kM (roughly an hour) north of Brisbane city, making it one of the 10 closest national parks to Brisbane by car.
At least 107 species of birds live in the Blackall Ranges parks (Mapleton Falls NP, Kondalilla NP and Mapleton NP), including the peregrin falcon (Falco peregrinus), the Wompoo Fruit-Dove (Ptilinopus magnificus) and many more. The Blackall Ranges Parks are also home to some 70 species of reptiles and 32 species of frogs, including the vulnerable cascade treefrog (Litoria pearsoniana), the vulnerable tusked frog (Adelotus brevis) and the endangered giant barred frog (Mixophyes iteratus).
The Blackall Range isn’t only crucial to protecting vulnerable and endangered species, it has also held spiritual significance for many Aboriginal people in South East Queensland.
The Bunya Pines which grow in abundance in the areas provide enough food to support large gatherings.
Every three years, the Kabi Kabi and Wakka Wakka people would hold the Bonyee Festival at the same time that the Bunya nut crop peaked.
The Bonyee festival was attended by guests who would travel great distances from inland and coastal areas so they could share food, songs, dances and arrange marriages.
From 1842 to 1860, it was illegal to clear land or settle where Bunya Pines grew however when the reserve status of the area was rescinded, logging became an issue. in the 1880s, there was widespread clearing of the Blackall Range tableland forests as part of settlement.
Then from the early 1990s, people began visiting the area to enjoy the natural scenery of waterfalls and spectacular views. In 1945, Kondalilla was the first national park in the area, followed by Mepleton Falls National Park in 1973 and Mapleton National Park more recently in 2014.
The Mapleton Falls National Park is 26ha and Mapleton National Park is an additional 10064ha following the amalgamation of Mapleton Forest Reserve and Delicia Road Conservation Park.
Things to do
As with all Queensland national parks, this is a great area to switch off from technology and reconnect with nature. There are 12 walking trails in Mapleton National Park, ranging from easy 300m return walks to 3 days hard walks over 35kM one way. One of the most popular walks is the Mapleton Falls & Wompoo Circuit, an easy 1.8Km return trip that takes roughly 1 hour to complete.