/ Paluma Range National Park

Paluma Range National Park trails

CHRISTMAS is coming and there's no better time to spend it in Townsville's great outdoors, albeit hot and humid. Paluma makes for a great getaway from the heat.

There's plenty of hiking trails to explore at Paluma Range National Park and many locals do know about them. These tracks will take you on an undulating journey through rainforest terrain, through thick woodlands, and past many gorgeous waterfalls and swimming holes. Relax and embrace these wonderful natural landscapes.

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AREA

  • Old tin and wolfram mines (Mine Shafts and Garde's Battery)
  • DCK Shelter (Private Property)
  • Waterfalls
    • Birthday Creek Falls
    • Ethal Falls
    • Triple Falls
    • Crystal Falls
    • Gold Creek Falls
    • Smith Falls (Part of the PRB Track)
    • Ollera Falls (A side section of the PRB Track)
  • Lookouts
    • Witts' lookout
    • Cloudy lookout
    • McClellands' Lookout
    • Star Valley Lookout
    • Garde's Lookout
    • Buttercup Lookout
    • Wilfred's Lookout
    • Foxlee's Lookout
    • Ollera Valley Lookout (A side section of the PRB Track)
  • Shay's Clearing, Johnstone's Clearing & Johnstone's Hut
  • Torstens' Rockgarden
  • The PRB Track which includes Circle View Mountain, Mt Halifax and Godwins Peak, Roly Gorge and falls as a side section of the route

MAPS

Here's an interactive map of the maintained tracks around Paluma & the dam (Mt Spec):

MAPS DOWNLOAD - TOPO MAPS
For the tracks south of Paluma township, see the PRB Track article.

WHAT TO TAKE

  • Enough water (or purification tablets)
  • Snacks and food
  • First Aid Kit
  • PLB (Personal Locator Beacon)
  • Map & compass and/or a GPS unit (Phone's are not reliable)

Bullocky Tom's Track

Once at Crystal Creek you'll enjoy a swim, a chance to explore around the waterfall and eat lunch.

Foxlee's Track

This track follows an old tin miners bullock track and was cut in 1903 by Roberts Foxlee.

Bambaroo Track

This track leads down into the Bambaroo area via an old tin miners property. There are a massive fig trees just off the main walking track that are pretty impressive to see. This trail ends at the Mobile Tower near Elenore Creek.

Jourama Falls Track

This track follows an old logging road at the start and passes Johnston's Mine where you can see old rusty artefacts.

Waterfall Creek

As the name suggests, this track follows waterfall creek down to Zammit Road near the Bruce Highway. You will see many pretty waterfalls along the way.

Jaconbsens Track

Although this is no longer a maintained track, It use to be a popular four wheel drive shortcut from Hidden Valley to the Bruce Highway.

Paluma Range to Bluewater Track

Smith Falls
Circle View Mountain, Ollera Falls & Big Rock
Mt Halifax
Godwins Peak
Roly Gorge & Roly Falls

PALUMA RANGE NATIONAL PARK SUMMITS

  • Mt Houston - 672m
  • Mt Spec - 995m
  • Mt Leach - 938m
  • Circle View Mountain - 831m
  • Mt Halifax - 1063m
  • Godwins Peak - 783m

TRACK DETAILS

The tracks north of the Paluma township, around the Paluma Dam were accidentally discovered by Wilfred Karnoll and has spend the last 30 years recutting and recording the old tin miners tracks. They are only now being recognised by the local forestry department; National Parks will soon take over the maintenance of these trails.
The trails to the south of Paluma village were initially cut and marked by Vietnam veterans, Cyclone Yasi knocked out the canopy and the tracks turned to ruin.

HISTORY

The historical pack horse tracks, tin miners' tracks & logging roads in the Mt spec area provide walkers with the opportunity to explore old mining and alluvial tin workings, enjoy spectacular views of the coastal areas from rocky lookouts and discover the unique flora & fauna of the highland rainforest. The area is mostly National Park & is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, spanning from Paluma to Cooktown. The average temperatures are about 8°C lower than along the coast, making hiking in summer more enjoyable.

DCK SHELTER

Erected on private property owned by Wilfred Karnoll. This roofed shelter with cooking, shower & overnight camping facilities is available for anyone to use. Please respect this property & leave it in neat & tidy condition for the next visitor. Please book in with Wilfred & Suzanne via email [email protected] or 47788441 if you intend to stay overnight.

WILDLIFE

  • Snakes - Most common are pythons & tree snakes which are harmless, however the dangerous Red Belly Black snakes are also present. Treat all snakes with caution & respect and carry a compression bandage.
  • Ticks - Most common in the dryer season. Best killed with an application of insect repellent.
  • Leaches - Easily removed by using a fingernail or a knife along the surface which forces them to retract their teeth. Alternatively the old fashion ways are to sprinkle them with salt or heating their rear end with a match or lighter.
  • Native Rats - are nocturnal & are attracted by the smell of food. Keep your camping area clean & pack all food at night in your tent or suspend from a tree.
  • Wild pigs & cane toads - Unfortunately they have also found their way into the area. Pigs are very destructive to the vegetation on and around track. While attacks from pigs on people are very rare, the larger ones could be dangerous if startled.
  • Cassowaries - Although very rare to spot, you can see their droppings over many of the trails. I've been lucky enough to see one on the Bambaroo Track.
  • Golden Bower Birds - A number of their stick mound bowers can be seen on or near the walking tracks.
  • Tooth-billed Bowerbird - Also known as a Tooth-billed Catbird. Their bower consists of a one meter round area cleared of all leaf matter & then decorated with upturned silvery leaves from a particular tree.
  • Fireflies - Lighting up the rain forest at nighttime make it a wonderful sight to see.

Keep your eyes & ears open - you never know what you might come across.

FLORA

Quandong, Plums, Silky Oak, Cedar, Pimply Pine, Iron Wood, & Satin Ash are just some of the tree species found in the rain forest.

  • Fungi - Their shapes & sizes vary greatly, colours range from white, yellow, orange, purple & black, some are bioluminescent so have a walk on the 'Sensory Trail' at night.
  • Gympie or Stinging tree - Mainly found on the margins of the rain forest or in regrowth under open canopy. Inflicts excruciating pain when touched that can last up to a year. Contact with any part of this plant should be avoided. The plant is recognised by its large, heart-shaped, furry, insect eaten leaves & purple berries.
  • Wait-a-while vine (Lawyer Cane) - With its rows of hooks & thorns, more common in dense thickets & along creeks should be avoided.
  • Barbed Wire vine - A vine with large thorns that present a trip hazard.
  • Bramble - A scruby plant with many small hooks & thorns.
  • Lantana - An introduced pest with a distinctive scent and small hooks

Watch where you walk, stick to the tracks.

SAFETY

Most of the tracks around the dam are easy walks for the general public. The others are bush tracks that require a degree of fitness, preparation & navigation.
Advise someone, with reference to the map, where you are going and when you expect to be back. Most of the area is covered by thick rainforest which makes navigation very difficult due to a lack of reference points. Please stick to the marked tracks unless you are very experienced, or join the Townsville Bush Walking Club or Townsville Adventures.

You should not attempt these tracks unless you are appropriately equipped. Always carry a map & compass or GPS. Mobile phones cannot be relied upon for communication due very patchy coverage. A PLB (personal locator beacon) is highly recommended and should be carried for emergency. An unplanned night can be very cold & wet so you many want to carry a space blanket (also known as a Mylar blanket & Emergency blanket).

Stinging trees and lawyer canes (wait-a-whiles) can quickly grow up on all tracks and cause significant discomfort or injury. Either walk around these or carefully cut your way through with a pair of secateurs - you any want to wear gloves. Carry water & first aid kit including a compression bandage for snake bites. There has also been extensive mining in the area south of Mt spec and are many mining shafts, some hidden. People have disappeared in this area, so stick to the tracks.

As you are walking in a high rainfall area remember that rocks, tree roots, and other vegetation can be very slippery. The water in the running creeks appears clear, however purification tablets are a good precaution for drinking water. The tracks around the Dam are part of its catchment area for the supply of drinking water. Bury human waste and toilet paper at least 15cm deep and 100m from camp sites, tracks and watercourses to guard against pollution and the spread of disease.

DISCLAIMER

Whilst all care has been taken in the mapping of these tracks, no responsibility will be taken for its inaccuracy or the safety of anyone using it or the tracks.

LEAVE NOTHING BUT FOOTPRINTS – TAKE NOTHING BUT MEMORIES!

I host advenutres every weekend around Townsville. If you are fit and capable, join us on these expeditions by visiting Townsville Advenutres.