Location - Bowling Green Bay National Park, Queensland, Australia
Grade - 5, difficult, recommended for experienced bushwalkers
Distance - 12 km return
Time - 7-9 hours return
UPDATE 2019- present: This area is no longer accessible via the Palm Creek Eco Park and is only accessible via private property. The Townsville Bushwalking Club still have access, however. If you're keen, join them on a hike to explore this area.
This is one of the Classic Palm Creek Walks, featuring a large, terraced cliff where the water cascades down the face. The other two points of interest are Hidden Falls and The Terraces. If you would like to do this walk, it is recommended to go with the Townsville Bushwalking Club.
How to get there
Once you arrive to the power line track and see the high voltage power lines, make your way along the old, overgrown road toward the mountains, a track known as Palm Creek Track. Follow this trail toward the old Chinese Farm, where, through the lanata and the mango trees, you can see the rusty plows and machinery from the middle of the 20th century. Continue to the bold "Black Rock", which you really cannot miss. It is also known as "Palm Creek Boulder" and demarcates the National Park Boundary. If you walk around the back of it, you will find a chain to assist you to climb to the top or you can challenge yourself to climb it unassisted. At the top of this boulder is the also the last place where mobile phone reception (Telstra) is available. For this reason, it is also marked as a safety location.
From Black Rock, continue along the marked track parallel to St Margaret Creek. When you reach a very large, white gumtree, there will be a pronounced fork in the track. The left-ward track will continue on to the Palm Creek Rockslides after which, you will need to venture up the main creek and and take the next right fork.
There are some beautiful trickling cascades along the way that will tease you, but the real pleasure comes as we gain height.
From here, the creek starts to steepen, and you will notice that the sides of the creek become gorge-like, reminiscent of a scene from the Indiana Jones movies.
Continue to rock hop up to the first waterfall. Ascend this first waterfall by scrambling up just to the left of the falls.
The next waterfall can be climbed via the scrambling up through the middle of the waterfalls and out to the left. Then continue up beside the second tier.
Once you arrive at the bottom of the large cascading, terraced waterfall, you have two options. The sensible option is to enter the bush, which will be the long way around the left of the large falls. This will get you near the top. Or, you can scramble up the falls on the right hand side, but this option involves more technical skills and should not be attempted otherwise.
If you choose to scramble up the falls, at some point scrambling turns into climbing, and at this time, a rope is recommended. Then, you can continue to climb up the ledges, or you can around the right side of the falls after which, you will be near the top.
Whichever route you take, once you reach the top, the views are as spectacular as the sense of accomplishment you will feel. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the big waterfall, and take in the views from the rocky platform similar to the one at High Camp at The Terraces.
Overall, you should gain approximately 400 metres or so over the course of the adventure. Once you have taken in the views and feel fully refreshed, make your way back to your car following the same route. Consider one last cool dip in the pools at The Rockslides on your way.
Here's an interactive map of the area:
What to bring
A normal day pack with the following:
- Sun protection (hat, sunscreen)
- Insect repellent (mosquitoes)
- Morning tea, lunch, and snacks
- Togs and towel
- Head torch
- Change of clothes for the ride home (leave in the car)