Christmas Creek

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Christmas Creek
The Christmas Creek region is beautiful … and very peaceful. PIC: Rebecca Buckmaster Hall / Facebook

Tiny Christmas Creek in south-east Queensland’s beautiful Scenic Rim region normally flies under the grey nomad radar … except during the holiday season.

And the locality of a population of around 50 permanent residents has a lot more to recommend it than just its wonderfully festive name. It may be small but there’s a lot of history here, as well as some absolutely stunning bushwalks, great 4WD tracks, and there is idyllic camping alongside Christmas Creek itself, a tributary of the Logan River.

It’s also next door to the iconic Lamington National Park. Christmas Creek started life as a timber town, and the Beaudesert Shire Tramway had a station at Christmas Creek, or Lillybank as it was previously known. A school opened here in 1878 and, by 1901, a timber Catholic church with a corrugated iron roof had been built.

The Sacred Heart Church still stands today and, as is the case in most of these small rural communities, a wander around the church’s cemetery is a great way to get to grips with the area’s fascinating past. The Christmas Creek Café & Cabins are about 12 kilometres or so south of the Sacred Heart.

The cabins were apparently established back in the 1930s when Australia was developing a national fitness campaign and that ‘get-away-from-it-all’ and ‘reconnect-with-nature’ philosophy has been embraced by current owner-managers Katy and Dennis Chan. Just next to the cabins and café is the Stinson Park budget camping area.

Set on the banks of Christmas Creek in the shadow of the Darlington Range, it offers grassed and shaded sites with flushing toilets and modern facilities. Several of the many excellent bushwalks in the area start from here, including the one to Westray’s Grave, and the more challenging hikes to Larapinta Falls, the Stinson Crash Site, and Point Lookout Peak.

Jim Westray was buried next to Christmas Creek in 1937 after initially surviving when a Stinson Airliner crashed on a flight from Brisbane. With most searches for the airliner taking place in New South Wales, it was more than a week before local man, Bernard O’Reilly – acting on a hunch – searched the Lamington Area. He found two survivors at the crash site, but Jim Westray had already set off down the nearly sheer bluffs to Christmas Creek where he ultimately met his demise.

The three-hour return walk out to the gravesite takes you along Christmas Creek through beautiful rainforest and past small waterfalls with pools suitable for swimming To get out to the actual Stinson crash site is a somewhat more gruelling 10-hour affair and is not for the faint-hearted. The ‘reward’ at the end is to see the remains of the plane wreckage which is now said to resemble ‘a rusted decaying piece of farm machinery’.

But really it is all about the adventure and the scenery … and that is simply stunning. Happy Christmas!

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