Saddle Mountain is located in Bowling Green Bay National Park with its peak rising above the surrounding area dominating the landscape. Saddle Mountain has quite an interesting east face – a rocky cliff line about a kilometre long horizontally – the separates it from other peaks in the area. However, the summit is similar to most of the other peaks in the Mount Elliot area – densely vegetated rainforest and canopy with no view.
RAAF Mosquito reconnaissance aircraft
A RAAF 'de Havilland Mosquito' reconnaissance aircraft A52-607, crashed into the top of Saddle Mountain on 25 March 1947. Three flares had been seen on the mountain on the day of the crash. On Sunday 30 March 1947, the wreckage was sighted by an Avro Anson in an air search about 30 metres from the summit. Several attempts were made to reach the crash site but all were hindered by bad weather and issues with navigation. The following day, the RAAF search party reached the plane at 10:30 am finding two bodies.
The aircraft is thought to have crashed into Saddle Mountain at more than 300 kilometres per hour. Trees were ripped out and cut through for more than 140 metres. The pilot died on impact and apparently the co-pilot had crawled to a nearby stream and died some time later. The crash site is located at -19.44687, 147.0145 about ten metres below the ridgeline. The plane wouldn't have crashed if it had been a mere 30 meters higher.
You'll see a leaning big rainforest tree, that had fallen over, pulling its root plate vertical and then later kept growing upwards. If you follow the right hand tributary of Emmet Creek all the way up you can see debris that's been washed into the gully. Whichever route you take up, from the summit it's about a five minute walk down to the wreckage.
Alan Simet, a well known adventurer of the previous generation, and a few other soldiers from Townsville walked to the crash site in 1996. They found the frame of the co-pilot's seat near the stream along with flare tape which were still intact after all this time. Apparently Sid Beck, an aircraft recover and a museum curator, has also recovered bits and pieces from the crash site. There's a memorial in Giru's Lions Brolga Park in remembrance of the crash and a propeller at the RAAF Base Townsville Museum which was recovered from the crash site.
There are not much remains of the plane wreckage, only two of the motors and other bits of metal, partially still together and strewn in an approximately a 20 metre radius. Sme bakelite, electronics, and wiring can also be seen. The remains are all tarnished, weathered, and blended in well with the surroundings.
We would like this historic site to be remembered and for the relics and artefacts to stay at the site and not fall victim to collectors and trophy hunters. Please be responsible, respect the history, and the importance of this site for future generations being able to visit and appreciate. There are few places like this left to explore that haven't been pillaged and there is absolutely no reason to remove objects from any of these sites. Note that this is a national park and we must only take photos and leave only footprints.
There are several ways to gain a summit peak, however, these are the conventional routes:
North East Ridge Route
Starting at the highway, park your car on the western side of the highway and the northside of Emmit Creek. From here, make your way up the ridgeline though bushland before reaching rainforest. Either summit the false peak and descend or conture around. Continue on toward the main peak. The south east ridge would also be possible. There are many great vantage points along this hike that provide superb views.
Emmett Creek Ridgeline Route
The route is a personal favourite of Alan Simet. Starting from the highway, make your way up the creek rock hopping over boulders. Taking the left fork, you then make your way up to the saddle. Once at the saddle, you follow the ridgeline up towards the saddle with the possibility of an easy walk down to the crash site.
Emmett Falls Route
Involves scrambling that is close to rock climbing. If you follow Emmett Creek up, taking the right fork, you will come up to Emmett Falls – a 50m cascading waterfalls. Scramble up the right hand size. At the top of these fall is a spectacular view out to Wongaloo Conservation Park, Bowling Green Bay Conservation Park, Corrick Plains Nature Refuge, and the ocean.
Eastern Face Route
The eastern cliff is a rock climbing or abseiling route with views over the wetlands, saltpans and mangroves on the coastal plain. Though the first ascent and descent of this area is fairly recent. View the Saddle Mountain routes on theCrag.
Killymoon Creek Route
Another route is via Killymoon Creek albeit slightly longer than others. The route follows the creek into the upper reaches before taking a right into the headwaters and high slopes of Saddle Mountain. From heres, the route then joins the North East Ridge to the false peak, passing the saddle before reaching the true summit.
Here's an interactive map of the area including POI and the different routes.Information has gather from ozatwar, Alan Simet, and other adventurers.