The Rock Slides (Nolan's Gully)

The Rock Slides (Nolan's Gully)

Location - Paluma Range National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - 500 metres
Duration - 5-10 minutes
Difficulty - 3, easy

Located one hour north of Townsville near Crystal Creek in Paluma Range National Park, Nolan's Gully rock slides has several waterfalls to jump from, rocks to slide on, and pools to swim in.

Paluma Range is mostly comprised of granites and greenstones with areas of exposed rock, huge boulders, and cascading waterfalls. This geology is appreciated in the various creeks and gullies, particularly at the Rockslides on Nolans Gully, incorrectly known as Big Crystal Creek Rockslides.

Huge slabs of polished grey-pink granite separate a series of shallow pools and flowing cascades within the bed of Nolans Gully, a tributary of Big Crystal Creek. Lichen-covered granite boulders can be seen above the flood level, and water-polished granite slabs line the creekbed. These Rockslides have long been a popular site for locals to get away from the summer heat and an alternative to the ever-popular and nearby Paradise Waterhole.

Upstream are several private waterfalls and a once-popular place where a rope swing hung. See the full length of Nolan's Gully article.

Interactive Map

How to get there

Park at the end of Spiegelhauer Road at the locked gate, 2 km past Big Crystal Creek campground and day-use area. Walk 200 metres along the sealed In Take Road downhill and across a floodway. Continue up the slope to the start of the gravel walking track on the left-hand side of the road. The signposted track is near the top of the hill.

Walkthrough the dry eucalypt forest for a further 200 metres to the Rockslides. Along the way, there are a couple of steep pinches and some steps at the end of the walk. A sidetrack branchs off the main route just before the end and climbs around more huge blocks of granite to reach the next tier of cascades. Not as imposing as the main 'slides', but they also provide shallow pools and places to relax.

Downstream the gully is filled with smaller boulders, worn smooth over aeons, and combined with pools and rainforest create good photographic opportunities. Return by the same route.

crystal creek rock slides
The Rock Slides in flood; Photo credit: @exploringthiswonderland

Notes

  • Glass containers are not allowed at the waterhole.
  • There are free BBQ's, toilets and cold showers on site.
  • Camera, food, snacks, hat, towel, sunscreen, and insect repellent.
  • Fishing in Paluma Range National Park is not permitted.
  • Never jump or dive into the water and be careful at the water's edge, especially during and after rain or drizzle. Rocks can be extremely slippery and submerged timber can appear after flooding. Injuries have occurred.
  • Camping, by permit booked online prior to visiting, is also available at Big Crystal Creek nearby.

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