Location - Paluma Range National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - approximately 40 km return depending on route
Time - an overnight trip recommended
Grade (AWTGS) - 5
Ollera Creek offers many great waterfalls, most beautiful is Big Ollera Falls, as well as many rock slides and gorgeous swimming holes. This walk can be done return in one day but it's recommended to camp overnight at the main falls. It's a stunning creek with a six square kilometre catchment above Ollera Falls so should have a good flow in the creek all year round.
The rocks in Ollera Creek are very unusual with sharp jagged edges instead of the normal round river rocks seen in many of the nearby streams. There's a bunch of landslides in the area which in uncommon in the Paluma Range National Park.
If choose the Ollera Creek option to summit Circle View Mountain, be sure to check out Ollera Creek Falls (both the small and big falls). They may be the prettiest in the entire Townsville area, and because they are difficult to reach, not many have enjoyed them!
Ollera Creek flows over the causeway on Caleo Road in the wet season and flows like crazy making it great fun to float down with tubes; You are able to flow for about nine kilometres to the highway.
Tube Falls can be easily accessed via going up Tube Creek, a tributary of Ollera Creek located just before Big Ollera Falls. You can also access Tube Falls, Ollera Falls, Circle View Mountain, and Big Rock from the PRB Track when it's open.
The old trail head is at the end of Caleo Road and makes it's way left around the private property at the end of the road. The track then goes along side Ollera Creek for one kilometre before reaching Leo's Creek. You can enjoy a dip in the small waterhole before continuing. Another 80 metres along the track and you'll have a view of Ollera Creek from a small cliff.
The track then climbs along the ridge to Spurls Lookout. From here, if you continue further uphill, you will be greeted with a vantage point of Big Rock – Big Rock Lookout. However, the track then descend southernly toward Coffee Creek where you enter Ollera Creek and begin rock hopping. Just upstream from Coffee Creek is a very tiny waterfall and slide. It is possible to slide down the waterfall when in full flow – but be aware of the submerged rock.
Continue up the creek through Lizard Gorge and more small waterfalls for three kilometres. Here, you'll find some ancient trees that were not fallen in the logging era and swampy palm garden. What a sight to be had! Circle View Mountain can be ascended from any of the creek forks on the left and eventually up a steep spur.
Alternatively, head another kilometre upstream will bring you to a long rock slide and a interesting natural stone bridge. A further 500 metres and you will arrive at the beginning of the large waterfalls. These smaller falls is impressive but keep going as the Tube Creek (350 metres upstream) and Big Ollera Falls awaits (500 metres upstream). Scramble around left of small falls.
At the fork of Tube Creek, you can ascend the creek 300 metres to see Tube Falls.
Alternatively, continue on to Big Ollera Falls where you can scramble around the right hand side and climb up (grade 12).
200 metres onwards and you'll arrive at Small Ollera Falls. Scramble up right again to gain the falls (Grade 9).
Another 200 metres upstream and you can either take a left up the ridgeline to reach Circle View Mountain, or head right onto the PRB Track.
If traversing the PRB track, do stop by Ollera Valley Lookout for grand views along Ollera Creek, Big Rock, and Circle View Mountain.
There are a few spots along this creek for small cliff jumps if you're inclined. There's a few rock walls in the valley to climb; however, the rock cliffs up the mountains are made of out decomposed granite, from crumbling kitty litter, to enormous exfoliation flakes, which isn't very good for climbing as it falls apart.
Here's an interactive map of the suggested route and things to see near Circle View Mountain:
Flora and fauna
Wild boars (pigs) roam the national park and are quite destructive of the environment. Australian Brush Turkeys and Bush Stone Curlews are also seen. Water dragons and snakes are visible on the warm rocks. Jungle perch and eels inhabit the creeks. Many of the pool will contain Green Filamentous Algae in the dry season.
Ollera Creek flows under Ed Kratzmann Bridge and now into private property. Ollera Creek and beach area were once a popular camping, dirt biking, and 4WDing location with lots of variety; easy tracks to holes that will swallow your truck. There was a track from the highway straight to the beach, as well as some that followed the creek down. There was also the track that ran along the powerlines. It was a perfect place not too far from Townsville to relax with the creek, beach and open bushlands to explore. This area is now private property on a 100 year lease. It is also marked as Clerk Creek near the creek's mouth on QTopo and on some old Forestry Maps.