The picturesque location at Tooloom Falls is often touted as one of the best free-camps within an easy drive of the southeast Queensland metropolis. It’s quietly set at the end of a no-through-road and designated fireplaces, picnic tables, a shelter and a clean, long-drop toilet complement the natural beauty of the peaceful waterway.

Tooloom Falls free-camping reserve, south of Urbanville, NSW, August 2014
From the vantage of the pool below, the waterfall looks more spectacular, but it's really little more than a creek.

Tooloom Falls definitely isn’t a grand waterfall — especially in this part of the world! — as it starts under a causeway and down a ten-metre rocky cliff. It’s surrounded by flat granite rocks that stair-step down to the water below, and I’m sure more adventurous souls have climbed up the face of it before jumping back into the pool below.

Tooloom Falls free-camping reserve, south of Urbanville, NSW, August 2014
The roadway that once traversed Tooloom Creek is closed to traffic and only one plank is left of the short bridge-section that covers over the shallow ditch which allows water to keep flowing downstream.

Tooloom Falls free-camping reserve, south of Urbanville, NSW, August 2014
The top of the waterfall is shallow with flat rocks on either side. The creek is directed into a shallow ditch (under the old causeway) before it drops over the rock bed to the pool below.

While we’re here, we see numerous day-visitors — some vehicles drive in, look at the water and quickly drive off. A canoeist brings his craft on the roof of his little car and paddles around in the top river for several hours. Others take the time to pick their way over the falls to explore the other side. We discover numerous tracks that take us to the pool below, where we find evidence that this is a favourite swimming hole for locals in summertime.

Tooloom Falls free-camping reserve, south of Urbanville, NSW, August 2014
From the far side of Tooloom Creek, the view is much more beautiful.

We like being here at Tooloom Falls. There is plenty of room for many different campsites — some are more secluded than others, and rather than parking directly next to the water, I choose a spot near the picnic shelter. The girls can run freely, the waterway is sluggish and even the waterfall is fully accessible, the surrounding rocks are flat enough, making a moderately safe playspace for older, daring children. We don’t see any native mammals or reptiles, but the birdlife is abundant and interesting.

Tooloom Falls free-camping reserve, south of Urbanville, NSW, August 2014
With acres of camping spaces to choose from, we opt to park next to a picnic table and close to the long-drop toilet.

Tooloom Falls free-camping reserve, south of Urbanville, NSW, August 2014
Another beautiful camping spot is directly adjacent to the slow-moving creek, with improvised steps leading into the water.

Located 5 km south of Urbenville, NSW (the Tooloom Falls Road turn-off is on the way to Tenterfield), the only downside for us is that the location is completely devoid of any mobile network signal. Still, that could mean the perfect getaway from city life for another visitor! As a free-camp with water views, swimming, small bush-walks and lots of room to play, Tooloom Falls gets our approval!