I've spent the last year exploring many of the creeks around Townsville, some being a hit and miss. Sometimes it can be hard to read a topographical map and you expect to find non-scaleable cliff faces ending in an abseil but other times you end up carrying all the heavy equipment to no avail.
After doing plenty of canyoning, my definition of it has changed significantly. I use to think it was only when you we're going down an actual slot canyon, like in the Blue Mountains but now a days, I consider abseiling down waterfalls and creeks canyoning like most others do.
There are several places around Townsville to go canyoning that many people don't know about it. Several of the creeks around Townsville have been bolted where there are no safe natural anchors to rappel from.
Here's my top 6 favourite canyoning places to explore around Townsville:
I would consider this one of the best creeks in the Townsville vicinity to rappel down. You can either do the full length of the creek from the Jacobsen Track, Station Creek or cut across to the top of the main falls and do a half day trip. It's a granite creek bed that drops quickly off and provides views of the valley below and out to the ocean. The slide into the infinity pool at the top of the main drop is my favourite part of this trip and is a must do.
One of the well known waterfalls for canyoning and often used by Defence for training. This trip starts at Paluma Dam and ends at the Bruce Highway. None of the raps have been bolted but there are plenty of natural anchors like trees to rappel from. You will need sacrificial slings or use rope retrieval techniques to ghost it.
Wow! What a beautiful place we have on our doorstep. Crystal Falls and it's gorge is one of the most beautiful creeks I've been down around Townsville. Massive cliffs and untouched, pristine swimming holes make this trip a must do. This trip starts at Paluma Dam where you walk on track to Big Crystal Creek Falls and abseil down to the Water Inlet and exit at Mango Tree Car Park (the rock slides car park). Has a mini slot canyon about mid way down. There are a few trees and boulders to rappel from, no bolts have been placed.
Wet, mossy, and fully shaded! This route will take you down myriad waterfalls.
Gold Creek is very mossy and untouched. It has king ferns which, in my experience, are not so common in PRNP. As usual, you'll need to be sensitive of vegetation. No bolts have been placed as there at plenty of suitable natural anchors.
This is more of a hike out there just to do the abseil. It's not really a journey like the others above. There is only one major pitch in this Alligator Creek. It involves a 4 hour hike out to the base and a 30min climb to the top of the falls. The good thing is that you can do both climbing up the waterfalls and then abseiling down. No bolts have been placed.
Mainly a rock scramble, there's only a couple small cliffs that can be abseiled but can also be easily walked around or scrambled down. The last waterfall at the base of the range is quite a good area to hang out at. It's a good abseil or cliff jumping area and offers a few good climbs including deep water solos. Plenty of natural anchors to be used if wanting to do the optional rappels. There's only one set of bolts just above the last waterfall at the base of the range.
Hillary Creek is a beautiful creek with little flow. With a long and hard return trip, Hillary Falls abseil is not known to have been repeated.