FNQ: Paluma (19-22 Apr 2019)

With Nationals in Townsville over the ANZAC weekend and Easter falling the weekend before there seemed no excuse for spending a bit more time in Far North Queensland. Originally we had hoped to do some canyoning but with our collective fitness and the effort of lugging all our gear we ended up settling on just bushwalking. We based ourselves in the very small village of Paluma which has a great trail network right on its doorstep.

Day 1: Wallaman Falls

Wallaman Falls is Australia’s tallest single-drop waterfall, with the main drop being 268m. After two flood events during this year’s wet season all of the waterfalls we visited were pumping!

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All 268m of Wallaman Falls

 

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You know it’s big when you struggle to fit someone into the photo at the bottom

 

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Warning!

 

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Grass trees

 

Day 2: Jourama Falls

Originally we were going to do our walk to Crystal Creek today but as we were driving to trailhead not that long before 10am we decided it might be a bit late in the day to start. Instead we headed down the hill and around to Jourama Falls. There are some lovely rock pools to swim in below the main falls but our destination was the top of the falls. Beyond the tourist lookout is a bushwalker’s pad which takes you around to the top of the falls. It was hot and sweaty work but we were well rewarded with a swim, views and the place to ourselves.

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The multi-cascaded Jourama Falls from the tourist viewpoint

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Almost level but a fair way to go to before a swim

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Dry feet crossing

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Finally swim time!

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Wet feet crossing

Abseiling Jourama Falls was one of our intended canyoning trips – but I wasn’t too disappointed we weren’t. The amount of water was intimidating and the bolt placements were such that you would be rapping directly through the main falls.

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Checking out the first major drop

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Looking downstream

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First drop

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The joys of not camping :)

Day 3: Crystal Creek Falls, Birthday Creek Falls

This was by far our biggest day. Started walking around 8am and not back until 5:30pm. Following the most recent flood event the road to Birthday Creek Falls (and Paluma Dam) was closed so the only way to visit was to walk. I had came up with a loop which took in Ethel Creek Falls, Crystal Creek Falls, Torsten’s Rockgarden and Birthday Creek Falls and completely exhausted us!

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Rainforest walking

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Ethel Creek Falls

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Well marked track junctions

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I’m not sure I’d want to be crossing this creek if you needed to use that rope!

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The top cascade of Crystal Creek Falls

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Crystal Creek Falls

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Fungi

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Trail marker

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Vegetation

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Torsten’s Rock Garden

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Swimming below Birthday Creek Falls

Day 4: Cloudy Creek Falls

After our big day yesterday we just did the local tourist walks that most visitors do.

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Crossing Cloudy Creek Falls

This finished up at the Rainforest Inn, the only cafe in Paluma (opening hours vary generally open Fri – Mon). I’d read about the scones on the web and they did not disappoint!

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Rainforest Inn, Paluma