Cockatoo Rock - North Creek to Cockatoo Creek Loop

This hike may provide some of the best view this national park has to offer. This circuit takes you via North and Cockatoo Creeks to Cockatoo Rock and the musical rock garden. Enjoy views of Joy's Cliff and Cockatoo Valley along the way.

Cockatoo Rock - North Creek to Cockatoo Creek Loop

Location - Bowling Green Bay National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - 14 km return
Time - 6-9 hours return
Difficulty - 4/5, easy to moderate; off-track hike with rock hopping and rock scrambling

This walk offers the best of both North Creek to Cockatoo Creek with highlights such as Cockatoo Rock and the musical rock garden. There are also grand views from serval rocky outcrops along the way and usually a good breeze. This trail is best hiked in the cooler months of the year.

Cockatoo Creek Musical Rock Garden

This route is suitable for fit and experienced hikers with ~5 of the ~7 hours of actual hiking are in steep terrain following landmarks. The route has been roughly tagged with blue and pink tape by Stefan Aeberhard however, they are sparse or may no longer be present and/or hard to follow with no formed track to follow.

Cockatoo Rock
Views overlooking Joy's Cliff and Cockatoo Valley

National Park has left a UV stabilised box of chemicals up there - hold you breath if you intent to open the box.

How to get there

Drive to Alligator Creek day area car park and start the walking along the national park maintained trail towards Alligator Creek Falls for about four kilometres (crossing Cockatoo Creek early on).

Turn right onto the powerline maintenance track and either follow the ridge up beside North Creek / Sandy Creek or rock hop up North Creek / Sandy Creek to the shoulder at around 750 meters elevation.

If, by this point, you still have enough time, follow the spur down past Cockatoo Rock (a monolithic granite rock).

cockatoo rock views

After enjoying the views, continue down to the musical rocks before navigating your way into Cockatoo Creek. Note: the musical rock garden was discovered by Stefan Aeberhard.

Once in Cockatoo Creek, you can have a refreshing swim in pools of water before following the creek downstream to the start of an old track to Nook's memorial.

Walk back out via the old track to the National Park track.

Interactive Map

What to bring

  • 3 litres of water (there are places to top up if need be)
  • Snacks and food to last you the day
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Hat
  • Navigation equipment
  • First aid kit and PLB
  • Camera

What to wear

  • Long sleeved clothing for scratch protection and sun protection
  • Consider wearing gaiters
  • Hat
  • Shoes that will not fall apart
  • Backpack

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