Queensland has some of the most iconic landscapes in the country, from gorgeous bush scenery in the west, to pristine beaches on the coast and islands.
The Motorama 4X4XMORE Team went out to Killarney to check out the nearby 14 River Crossings of the Condamine River.
The Condamine Gorge plays host to this track, with the Condamine River zigzagging back and forth across fourteen times, creating an easy 4WD track for beginners, with the perfect backdrop of the Southern Downs and Scenic Rim Regions.
The 14 River Crossings officially starts just outside of Killarney, a small border town 20 minutes down the road from Warwick, nestled in the Macpherson Range – which feeds into the Great Dividing Range. It's a great little town to visit before your adventure and taste some of their local farm produce. There is also the Killarney Heritage Centre which is definitely worth a stop, next to several quaint shops run by friendly locals.
The easiest way to get to Killarney from Brisbane is via the Cunningham Hwy – which takes you directly out from Ipswich, travelling southwest into the heart of the Darling Downs. You can also take a more scenic route through Boonah, which is technically also the shortest route (especially if you’re travelling from the Gold Coast), although may not be the fastest, based on speed limits and driving conditions.
The 14 Crossings trek is an easy 4WD track that throws in river crossings that aren’t particularly tricky to get through.
Throw in a tyre pressure gauge and a portable air compressor to deflate and re-inflate your tyres, as well as a couple of towels, in case you have to wade into the river. None of the 14 Crossings get particularly deep, but if rain has been through the area recently, some of the crossings may be more swollen than usual.
Pack a picnic, because you can stop at picturesque spots perched on the Condamine River, and cool off with a swim. Killarney has a small population with just a few stores to cater for the residents, with the Killarney Hotel in the centre of the main street. If you need any specific convenience items, like specialty food or medications, you probably have to pick it up in Brisbane before you leave. Warwick is also close by, with big supermarkets and specialty stores to pick up anything you might have forgotten. Also consider that there are no toilets along the 14 Creek Crossings route; you'll find them in Killarney or at Queen Mary Falls. Plan your trip accordingly.
Attempting the crossings is not particularly difficult, even for those with the most basic 4WD knowledge. If you do get caught though, maybe you stall in the middle of the creek bed, keep the necessary recovery gear close by.
Not that the 14 River Crossings get that hairy, but it’s good practice to keep the recovery gear you need to pull you out within arms reach. And of course, only cross at the designated points and don't drive down the river. Excess turbidity and sediment disruption will disturb the Platypus that inhabit the river.
You’ll need a 4WD (obviously) with low-range gearing. A high clearance ute or wagon is preferred, smaller 4WDs might not be cut out for the depths of certain crossings. When you’re driving through the 14 River Crossings, or any river crossing, keep your windows wound down and drive slowly, but keeping a steady pace – enough to create a bow wave to push deep water out of the way of your car.
Remember, when you can’t see the bottom of a river, or if there is a shifting surface like rocks, you can’t speed through it or you’ll risk damaging the underside of your car, or flooding the entire car, if you dip below the bow wave created by the front of the car pushing through the water. Even if you have a snorkel fitted to your car, that doesn’t mean you can just charge through any river crossing. We'd suggest maintaining a respectful speed through the river crossings, to ensure you make it through, but being mindful of the local wildlife and impact to the local river.
You can travel to the 14 River Crossings as a daytrip from Brisbane or the Gold Coast, or you can camp or stay in the region (download the Visitors Guide) for the weekend to check out the other sights.
There are some spectacular waterfalls dotted around the region, including the Queen Mary Falls, as well as Carr’s Lookout, which overlooks the lush valleys of the Scenic Rim.
If you have a week of the school holidays to fill, you can complete a full bush to beach circuit, driving out to the sands of South Ballina Beach and Evans Head, before returning to Brisbane.
Remember, the expert team at Motorama 4x4xMORE can help you find the perfect vehicle for your next off-road adventure, and give helpful tips and tricks on how to make the most of your four-wheel drive. We strongly encourage safe and mindful off-road driving, reminding everybody to take their rubbish, drive a respectful speed that takes into consideration other road users and people swimming in the river. This is certainly one adventure to take your time, breathe the country air and enjoy the ride!
Any 4x4 purchased comes with complimentary membership to join the Motorama 4X4XMORE Club, which includes invites to tag-along tours to explore some of Queensland's most iconic 4x4 locations.
After our 4X4XMORE tag-along tour to the 14 Creek Crossings of the Condamine River, the team like to drive home the touristy, scenic way, via Boonah. Let us guide you!