Location - Bowling Green Bay National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - 9 to 18 km return
Time - 5-10 hours return depending on route
Difficulty - Easy to moderate; off-track hike with rock hopping
At just approximately 30 minutes drive from Townsville, the Mount Elliot section of Bowling Green Bay National Park is the easiest national park to access. It is another classic rock hopping bushwalk with beautiful pools, cascades galore and a bit of overland to get around an obstacle or two. Cockatoo Creek was a prettier creek before a cyclone washed away and eroded the banks. Past a pretty mudstone rock in Cockatoo Creek. Cockatoo Creek is also used as one of the ways to reach the summit of Mount Elliot and the base of Joy's Cliff.
Cockatoo Creek to Major Creek
Cockatoo Creek to Major Creek share a same watershed making for a through hike that has been done several times over the years. Towards the saddle, there are plenty of randia fruit and cabbage leaf palms. Going up to the watershed from Cockatoo Creek, take the left fork in the creek then immediately the right fork. It's quite an easy walk but it is long and not as pretty as some others.
Cockatoo Rock is a monolithic rock outcrop that can be seen from Castle Hill and as you drive along the highway southwards. It's a must see and offers 180 degree views out to the ocean and the city of Townsville. Views overlooking Joy's Cliff and Cockatoo Creek Valley.
A man's body was found in this creek and family have used blue spray paint to mark a track to where the body was found; Rodney Fielding known as Nook by his friends and family. "Nook 04/2017" is spray painted in blue on several rocks where the body was found.
How to get there
The journey starts of on a two kilometres walk along national park maintained Alligator Creek Falls Track and then turn right at Cockatoo Creek. The junction of Cockatoo Creek and Alligator Creek is the a nice place for a short rest and the pools are inviting after the wet season. Rock hop your way up Cockatoo Creek passing by various cascades and pools. There will be several waterholes along the way for a swim and lunch.
What to bring
- Water (about 2 - 3L)
- Insect repellent
- Snacks and food for the day
It is also a good idea to bring a change of clothes to leave in the car for the trip home.
What to wear
Wear something you feel comfortable in: Long sleeves will protect you from the sun and minor scratches. Gaiters will protect your legs as well. Sturdy shoes. Some wear boots but if you don't have any bushwalking books any shoes, like joggers will do as long as they have tread. I know of people who wear Dunlop Volleys up creeks. Some may wish to wear long trousers, but that is entirely up to the individual. It's a trade-off between protection, flexibility and the heat of the day.
Flora and fauna
Eucalyptus platyphylla (poplar gums) are dominant in this area and may be seen in full flower in October. Likewise the yellow flowers of the native kapok trees can be seen at this time. Other interesting plants in the area are the bottlebrush, Cycas media, native olive, and the delicate flowers of Coelospermum reticulatum. It's also a great place for the birdwatchers and is home to cicadabird, brown-backed, Lewins, yellow and yellow-spotted honeyeaters. Also around this area is plenty of evidence of the presence of wild horses and you are very to see them on your bushwalk.