Location - Paluma Range National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - 10 km loop
Time - approximately 5 hours
The BlueGum Creek Circuit is on the south side of Paluma village and is an easy day walk taking you on a loop down into Star Valley. It's only one hour to from the H Track to get to what is locally known as Triple Falls. See the waterfalls and enjoy a chance for a swim. The track will take you through a variety of vegetation; Bluegum Forest and ecotone areas: Rainforest to start, she-oaks later then into the creek where you will bottle brushes, etc.
Cloudy Creek was originally given as on the headwaters of the Star, possibly in the vicinity of today's Bluegum Creek. Cloudy Creek today is a small creek on the other side of the divide that flows into Big Crystal Creek. BlueGum Creek flows into the Star River which in turn flows into the Burdekin River.
You will go past historical mining sites, tin and wolfram (tungsten), where you can see the exploratory trenches and water races in the area. There's is also an old rock crusher made out of a tree stump, grate and a large metal chuck used as the hammer. This mine was called Hang Flat Mine. See also the old wolfram mines at Wolfram Creek and tin mines at Mt Spec.
Also check out the Star Valley Lookout while in this area.
How to get there
Clockwise or anti-clockwise, the direction you decided to go on the circuit doesn't matter.
The track branches off from the well known H track walk at the old H track Loop sign. The track is not marked at this point, but the footpad is clear, well used. This route is part of the actual old original forestry H track that went down the ridge to Blue Gum Creek. You do see old forestry track markers occasionally.
The track is easy to follow, and level for a while, then 400 meters steep descent in to the valley. When you reach the junction marker, turn right and short track walk down to Triple Falls - very steep; There's a rope in place at bottom to assist. This brings you to the pool and bottom falls. To explore the mid and upper falls, scramble up on left side to reach them.
After a swim and photo session, continue down the original H track to the creek junction. If you go down Blue Gum Creek 200 metres, there is a long great pool perfect for swimming. Then head back to Blue Gum junction. Once at at Bluegum Creek and Mine Creek Junction you'll make a complete right turn up the creek; rock hop along the creek for 500 metres.
Leave the creek and head up to the ridgeline. There is another junction here where you can have a look at Miner Ck waterfalls & pools. Then for the 400 metre altitude climb past an old wolfram mine area, and up an old forestry track. The other end of the track is about 1 km (roughly 20 minutes) west of Paluma (The track is bit hidden from the road by overgrowth).
What to bring
- Morning tea, snacks and lunch
- Water (at least 2 litres). You will be away from water for a couple of hours, ensure you have sufficient supply. You can refill from the creeks, but it may not be a bad idea to bring water purification tablets with you given the boil-water-notice in effect for Paluma Village water supply. Remember it takes about 20-30 minutes for the tablets to become effective.
- Hat, sunscreen, insect repellent
- Togs and Towel for a nice refreshing dip
- Camera (for waterfall and creek action and jungle scenery)
- A change of clothes for the journey home
What to wear
Some people like to wear long sleeves (sun and scratch protection) and some wear long pants, but many of us wear shorts and gaiters or sock protectors. It is up to you what you choose to wear.
Here's an interactive map of the track:
Cover photo by Keith Dyson