Crystal gorge is the closest thing to a real canyoning experience North Queensland has to offer and it's super beautiful!
There are three options to do this trip:
- Organise a car shuttle from Paluma Dam to Mango Tree carpark. Walk to Crystal Falls rappel down the creek to the inlet plant.
- Or walk from Paluma Dam to Crystal Falls, rappel down the falls to Gold Creek fork and rock climb up Gold Creek to the Bullocky Tom's Track and walk back to Paluma Dam.
- Or walk up the Bullocky Tom's Track to Crystal Creek Falls and rappel down the falls and continue down stream to the water intake plant and water back along the road to the Mango Tree carpark.
Trip Plan - Possibly the best option
- Start very early and park your car between paradise and mango tree (rock slides) carpark and walk quickly up along the Bullocky Tom's Track.
- Repell down Crystal Falls and the other falls
- Continue down stream, rock hopping along the creek to the water intake plant
- Exit the creek and walk back along the bitumen road to your car
What to bring
A day pack with:
- about 1L of water for the walk in. The water in the creek should fine to drink. I drink it without sterilising it but do so at your own risk.
- Food and snacks for the day.
- Sun protection (hat, long sleeve shirt recommended, I like wearing shorts for easier movement), sunscreen. The creekbed is mostly open - so it's sunny.
- Shoes; I recommend shoes that have grip on wet mossy granite rocks and drain & dry quickly. I usually wear joggers. Can take two pairs of shoes, one for the wet stuff and the other for rock hopping - it's up to you.
- Remember to take mossie spray
- A 60m rope, harness, rappel device, prusik and carabiner as an extra safety precaution.
- First decent: Bolting gear (~18 anchors and bolts + cordless rotary hammer-action drill and drill bits, hole cleaning stuff)
- A headlight (+ spare torch) in case we take too long again.
- Please bring an extra set of clothes to leave in the car at the bottom.
- First aid kit
- PLB (Personal Locator Beacon)
Here's a map with all the suggested routes:
Note take we take the Paluma tracks to Crystal Ck or Gold Ck so no bush bashing involved.
After having a swim in the pool upstream from "Crystal Falls", head down stream to the falls and rock scramble down the RH side of the waterfall. Careful of the wet rocks as they are super slippery.
There are many technical rock scrambling sections and I highly recommend cancelling your trip plans if its going to rain or it has recently rained and overcast. A good level of fitness, coordination is require - expact rock hopping and rock scrambling sections.
Rappel down from the tree on the LH side of the creek.
This rappel is 30m into a pool on water
Option 1: Sacrificial sling around the tree far away from cliff edge
Option 2: Place bolts never cliff edge
You can also walk around approximately 1 hour with stinging trees.
A 15m abseil down into the creek fork.