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Winners 2017

Overall the quality of the entries was higher in 2017 than in previous years and the judging was therefore more challenging. While the images selected below are the winners, almost all the entries were outstanding in some way and many will go on to feature on the QORF website and in social media from time to time to help us promote the outdoors and outdoor activity in Queensland.

Best Photo

Robbs Monument by James Kaczmarek

A year long dream ...

The Robb’s Monument sunrise climb was a year long dream … a year before I captured the shot, I climbed Robb’s Monument with Glen Hayford, who happens to be the climber in the photo. Witnessing spectacular views, I repeatedly reminded Glen for months how great it would be to capture the climb during a sunrise. My goal, was basically to create an image  that would reignite rock climbing in Cairns.

James Kaczmarek

This inspiring, well-executed shot combines great lighting, composition and colour – and a real sense of the scale of the outdoors.
Chris Bray, Photo Judge

Best Youth Photo

Live Life at the Top by Abe Oliver

Best Film

North Shore Camping
by Joey Vieira

Want to stay forever!

From Los Angeles and my son’s best school friend invites us on a camping trip…and we can’t wait to do it again! Moved to Queensland from Los Angeles with my family 3 years ago and it’s a camping trip like this one that makes us want to stay forever!

Joey Vieira

The purity of the story for the kids who were experiencing Fraser for the first time, was a reminder of how important it is to expose them to the great outdoors at an early age so they fall in love with it.
Ben Southall, Film Judge

Best Youth Film

Adventures on Thetford Reef
by Sophie Kalkowski-Pope

A thrilling trip to the reef ...

Thrilling trip to the Thetford Reef, 50km East of Cairns, featuring a uncommon sighting of 50+ massive (1m long) bumphead parrotfish! A spectacular up-close encounter on our Great Barrier Reef. Thetford Reef, was looking healthy when filmed in December 2016, but unfortunately was hard hit by recent coral bleaching events.


The competition was a fantastic opportunity to share my images, films and personal experiences with many like-minded people in the outdoor recreation community. The event was streamlined and well run and I would highly recommend entering to any young photographers or videographers looking to develop their skills and showcase their love of the outdoors to a large audience.


Personally, my love of the outdoors developed from a very young age. Ever since I can remember, I’ve played in nature, building cubbies and forts and swimming in creeks and oceans. My family are quite adventurous people, and often go camping or out on trips on our boat. My interests were refined upon joining scouts, where I developed my leadership skills and began running expeditions of my own. Of course, the outdoor education program run by Trinity Anglican School and my Certificate II in Outdoor Recreation course only further fueled this desire to explore. Now, my love of the outdoors has taken me far and wide, from scuba and free-diving the depths of the Great Barrier Reef, to scrambling amongst the caves of Chillagoe or pumping down the great rivers of the north in a whitewater kayak. Whether it’s that breathtaking view upon reaching the tip of that mountain, or your heart in our mouth as you pound down narrow track on your bike, there’s something about the emotions brought on by our natural world that just can’t be described…

The outdoors are my passion and release that provide an escape from the realities of everyday life. I am sure that many people would say the same. However, our natural environments are now under significant threat from the impacts of human activity. If we do not act now, we risk losing countless natural ecosystems and the benefits that they bring to humanity. It’s now more important than ever to highlight the benefits of exploring the outdoors and our reef in order to encourage people to realize the natural world’s beauty and inspire us to protect our earth’s wonders in this time of change.

Sophie Kalkowski-Pope

People’s Choice Photo

Governors Chair
by Shane Cresser

We woke up before sunrise ...

Myself and a two of my trail running buddies spent the night camping at Spicers Gap camp area the night before this shot. It was a perfect clear weather Winter weekend – which also means freezing cold up in the range. We woke up before sunrise and made the short climb up to Governor’s Chair lookout for the most spectacular sunrise you could ever hope for. As soon as I walked towards the lookout i could see straight away the shot I wanted, perfectly framed by the small trees on either side. It’s actually just shot on a GoPro atop a small tripod and set to time lapse mode. When conditions are right, your equipment is just not that important!

“Thanks QORF for not only putting on this competition but also championing the outdoors lifestyle in Queensland. We live in a truly beautiful and diverse state and I feel privileged to be free to explore it.”

Shane Cresser

People’s Choice Film

Huge Rope Swing off a Waterfall
by Jarrah Brand-Adams

Want a little spice in your life? ...

Well, one must get one’s friends together and jump off a waterfall. We set up a huge rope swing off a 90m waterfall in the Tropical North Queensland hills just north of Townsville and had some adventures and good times.

The idea stemmed from a new years eve camping trip to Blencoe Falls with friends. As soon as the raw power, majesty and beauty of the falls came into view, we all knew something fun and adventurous had to be organised soon. We returned a few weeks later after organising all the gear and knowledge, then went about setting it up. A few test jumps (a bag of rocks) and adjustments later and we were all ready to jump! Steve bravely jumped first, followed by myself. The weather turned a bit too wet for our liking so we packed it up and came back a few weeks later again. With a more streamlined set up and a better jumper retrieval system, we had seven people jump. Marina was the only one who swung through the waterfall, but not because she wanted to, it was her jump angle and freefall that slung her into the raging torrent. We all worked hard, and had fun, stayed safe, and got our adrenaline pumping in one of the most beautiful areas of Queensland. Now bigger and bolder projects await.

Jarrah Brand-Adams


Maroon after Midnight by Lachlan Gardiner

Sometimes the best adventures ...

Sometimes the best adventures aren’t meticulously planned… I found myself cycling home from the pub one night early in 2017 with a few pints under my belt and far too much energy. A phone call to my best mate Kai (pictured), followed by a quick packing job and a 90 minute drive later (he drove)… we were setting off at midnight up Mount Maroon. Neither of us had set ever foot on the Mount Maroon previously, plus it was raining. Needless to say, we took our time and didn’t get too lost. The sky cleared as we neared to top and this view was the reward upon reaching the saddle, looking back towards the impressive East Face.

Lachlan Gardiner