Location - Paluma Range National Park, Queensland, Australia.
Skill Level - Very difficult & strenuous day trip.
Distance - 12km car to car (car shuttle required)
Time - 10-14 hours
Mt Houston is similar to Mt Leach and doesn't have a view to offer; however the summit's vegetation turns into bushland instead of rainforest.
Hillary Creek is quite a beautiful creek when it's flowing. The best time of year to do this hike is in the wet season (when it's not raining) or just after otherwise there may not be much water in the creek. This route requires a small car shuttle and can be done in one long day if you start early enough. I recommend cancelling your trip if rain is forecasted.
Leave car at the end of Zammit Rd and drive the second car to Eleanor Creek - start of the Bambaroo Track. Walk ~5km uphill the on the Bambaroo Track stopping at the fig trees. Then bush walk 500m over to the summit of Mt Houston which is 672m above sea level.
Once you reach the summit, you'll want to continue down into the headwaters of Hillary Ck rock hopping for 4km. There is only one rappel on this creek.
This is a 25m rappel down a waterfall and has been bolted. Bolts are located on the right-hand side of the creek when heading downstream.
After the abseil, rock climb down the next waterfalls and follow it in into Waterfall Creek. Continue rock hopping down Waterfall Ck for nice warm down of a 2.5km rock hop along Waterfall Creek to Zammit Road.
The walk is about 12 km in total. The middle section between the Bambaroo Track and Waterfall Creek will take most of the day. It will take all day so don't expect to be back in Townsville before 6pm. You'll need to request permission from the property owner at the end of Zammits Road.
You'll need a day pack with
- 3L of water for the walk in. The water in the creek should fine to drink without sterilising it but do so at your own risk. You may also want to keep a bottle of water in the car at the bottom.
- Food and snacks for the day.
- Secateurs - for cutting vines and vegetation
- Sun protection (optional) - this walk will be fully shaded for 80% of the hike.
- Shoes; I recommend shoes that have grip on wet granite rocks and drain & dry quickly.
- 60m rope, harness, rappel / belay device, prusik and carabineer as an extra safety precaution.
- A headlight in case you go into the night.
- An extra set of clothes to leave in the car at the bottom.
- First Aid Kit & PLB
- Insect repellent
- Dry bag
I recommend keeping your bag as light as possible.
A helmet is recommended for when your feet slip out from under you.