ROAD TRIP DIARIES # 15
I started boiling two pots of water first thing in the morning after waking up draped in the crisp mountain air at Jourama Falls camping area. It was our last day of camping at Paluma Range National Park and I told myself if I couldn’t plunge myself into the cold swimming holes, at least a traditional bucket shower would do for now. It was all back to basics again as I found myself in a roofless makeshift shower nook right in the middle of the forest.
Crossing the Creek
Walking through the bed of rocks
After breakfast and packing up our camper van, we had a short drive to the jump-off point for the falls, which was just a few hundred meters past the main camping area. From here, we followed the paved track through open woodlands and were quite pleased to see new species of plants as well as some familiar rainforest dwellers.
While walking on the trail, we spotted an Achtung sign along the path and just as I expected, Charles duly ignored it and scrambled down the creek before I could even say another word. At least the danger sign wasn’t a crocodile warning so I followed him down the creek as well. The huge boulders and crystal clear waters reminded me of Flat Rocks at Mt. Makiling in Laguna, a place I often visited when I was still working at Makiling Botanic Gardens as a student assistant.
Rock Pools Area
One of the smaller cascades at Rock Pools
A section of the creek
Charles on top of the bigger cascades
We didn’t linger too long at this spot and instead scurried back to the trail in order to make it to the lookout before lunchtime. The fun part really started when we crossed the creek surrounded by palm trees and traversed the dry riverbed upstream. It must be filled with raging water in wet season, but at this time, it was just a bed of rocks. It was still early when we reached the fork in the trail leading to the falls’ lookout so we decided to check out Rock Pools first.
It was probably the biggest flat rocks we’ve seen so far during our road trip. We had a great time climbing over these huge boulders and exploring its numerous cascades. It was surrounded by a magnificent gorge, and we could see Jourama Falls although it didn’t look that spectacular down below. Charles and I went our separate ways after agreeing on the place to meet up. He further explored the gorge upstream while I delighted myself taking pictures of the numerous cascades.
Trekking Gray Nomads
It would have been nice it we brought food and drinks and just whiled the time away down the Rock Pools, which we both loved. But later in the day, we got back to the walking track and trekked to the lookout. The trail was all uphill and was a bit difficult especially if you’re unfit so I was quite surprised to see an old lady with a cane resting along the way. I was rather impressed she made it that far. It wasn’t actually the first time I have seen gray nomads/ retirees doing bush walks and treks during our road trip, which reminded me age shouldn’t stop you from having adventures.
We made it easily to the lookout this time walking through hundreds of gum trees with bark peeling off and exposing a very smooth white trunk. Jourama Falls wasn’t that spectacular even from the top but the rock formations around it were stunning, they must have been slowly carved out over millions of years. The gorge was massive and deep, and we could see glistening golden speckles on the rocks. It was surely a great way to start our day and a fitting finale for our last day at Paluma Range National Park.
In no time, we were back on Bruce Highway and had a stopover at Tyto Wetlands Tourist Center to get more information about our next destinations. Seeing other nomads camping out in front of the center, we decided to have our lunch here and have a nap before exploring the wetlands nearby.
Fellow backpackers making lunch at the car park
(This is part of our 6-week North Queensland Road Trip Series, which took place July- August 2010)
Australian Road Trip 101: A Vantastic Beginning
Road Trip Diaries # 1 – An Encounter with the Strangest Animal in the World
Road Trip Diaries # 2 – Of Strangler Figs, Leeches and Long Holidays
Road Trip Diaries # 3 - Exploring Finch Hatton Gorge
Road Trip Diaries # 4 – Cape Hillsborough: On Bush Walks Beach Strolls and Star Gazing
Road Trip Diaries # 5 – Cape Hillsborough: Sunrise and Wild Kangaroos
Road Trip Diaries # 6 – Airlie Beach: Beaches Babes and Backpackers
Road Trip Diaries # 7 – Ocean Rafting to the Whitsundays
Road Trip Diaries # 8 – Unexpected Encounters
Road Trip Diaries # 9 – Exploring Bowenwood
Road Trip Diaries # 10 – Townsville: Finding Nemo and the Sunken Pandora
Road Trip Diaries # 11 – A Visit at the Billabong Sanctuary and Castle Hill
Road Trip Diaries # 12 – Magnetic Island: What Captain Cook Missed
Road Trip Diaries # 13 – Paluma Range National Park: A Walk in the Clouds
Road Trip Diaries # 14 – Of Didgeridoo, Exotic Fruits and Why I love Camping in the Bush