Written by Damien Burrows
Photography by Damien Burrows
Looking for a short, easy-to-access adventure that avoids the crowds – try lower Nolans Gully.
The rock slides, on the most downstream part of the creekline known as Nolans Gully, are a well-known and heavily-visited local swimming destination. Last Month Townsville Hike and Explore hiked the full length of Nolans Gully from Witts Lookout, Paluma, down to the rock slides just up road from Paradise Waterhole. That walk description is posted here – https://townsvillehikeandexplore.com/nolans-gully/
That was a challenging, all day adventure. However, several of the best water features of Nolans Gully are in the more accessible lower reaches of the creekline. From the rockslides carpark, 2km past popular Paradise Waterhole, follow the bitumen path for 400m to its end (these are the rockslides, which flow all year round and are justifiably popular). From here, 200m of easy rock hopping brings you to a pleasant waterhole with its own small, child-friendly water slide. A further 1km rock-hopping up the creek (~1hr in total) brings you to another swimming hole with a waterfall and immediately above that waterfall, a water-filled canyon to be explored.
The kids loved it. On a recent weekend, despite the bitumen path section of the creekline being full of swimmers, no-one else ventured beyond the bitumen path, so we had it all to ourselves. The rock-hopping requires good grip shoes, reasonable balance and use of your hands for scrambling and support, and although you may feel somewhat challenged at times, its not difficult (I rate it moderate – our party included an 11 yr old and several 50+) but you should be prepared in the event that a member of your party has a slip incident.
The creekline walk is exposed to the sun, though the creek valley sides provide shade in the early morning and late afternoon. The creek is still flowing (Oct) along the whole length of this walk.