Crystal Falls, Paluma

The easiest way to get to Crystal Falls is from the Paluma Dam.

Crystal Falls

We had 30 people on this incredible walk, many were JCU international students. After recent winter and spring rains, it was an absolute delight to see the Paluma Dam so full. Our route took us directly to Crystal Creek where we enjoyed the views of the Falls, a swim and lunch.

Torsten's Rock Garden

After a very relaxing lunch we made our way back towards the dam. One the way back, we turned left towards Torsten's Rock Garden and saw the bower of the Golden Bower Bird. This bower is active and was decorated with bits of lichen and small white flowers. Ah, spring must be in the air.

The bat cave entrance at Torsten's Rock Garden
The bat cave at Torsten's Rock Garden

Approaching the Rock Garden from a lower vantage point made for a really spectacular sight. There is a secret cave but what we didn't know was it is full of bats. We must have disturbed them! They were flying all over the place, a few even flew straight into us, falling onto the ground. The squeals of terror and the laughter from others must really have upset these poor little creatures, but it made for good entertainment.

Wilfred's Lookout

The next destination was Wilfred's Lookout; A spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and a chance to see a rather large, two meter long black snake really capped the day off. From here it was a 30 minute walk back to the Dam.

Wilfred's Lookout

The alternative to heading back the same direction is to do a circuit and stopping off at DCK circuit. It's a nice 17 km rainforest track walk, creeks, two swimming holes, colourful fungi, and moist mossy rainforest. The temperature is pleasant, much nicer than down on the coast in Summer.

Hammock at DCK Shelter, Paluma

Starting at the Dam 899m in altitude, head towards Junction 29 which is 1.6 km from start. Turn right here and go straight to Crystal falls pool which is 765m in altitude, 5.27 km from start. It's a great place to rest and swim here. Make sure you see the falls downstream 20m!

Follow the track across the creek and up the steep short hill to Bullocky Toms track junction (Junction 28), a good 22 minute hike, 1.1 km uphill hike (6.35 km from start).

Then down to cross Crystal Creek, the rope in place was very handy to cross over the mossy rocks. Then to Johnstone's Clearing (Junction 7 - 7.69 km from start. 1 hr 2.4 km from the falls). You can see Dolby Creek behind the clearing which is usually flowing and is a pretty rainforest creek scene.

Then onto DCK hut which is a great place to rest. It's 9 km from the start and 854m in altitude. After resting a little, head on up the track via the old tin mine sites (Junction 2). Have a look around at the old mine pits before heading back to the dam which is about a two hour walk via Junction 24.

Being out in the bush is invigorating, refreshes the mind, and you can focus the brain on the important things in life. I highly recommend getting out into nature at least once a week for a few hours. This route is about 17km with an overall ascent of 609m and descent of 612m. Make sure you take a map with you so you don't get lost at the Junctions.