Location: Paluma Range National Park
Article: Written by Rhett Stubbs; Imagery by Rhett Stubbs
Directions: Access is via Paluma Walking Trails (http://paluma.org/attractions/walking-tracks)
Every hiker has that special spot they’ll never say no to and for me the Black Hole tops the list. Its a love hate relationship really as the majesty of the remote 20m deep waterhole carved into rock and surrounded by jungle being fed by gushing falls always amazes me, but during every trek there I’ve injured myself at least once. That said I literally I can’t say no. This spot always draws me back.
Today I had the pleasure of leading a small group on their very first blackhole adventure, and like me another who just had to have that one more look. This marvel of nature is not an easy feet to achieve and its one of those treks where no two hikes are alike, with fallen trees, landslips and variations in water height always creating an adventure that is unique.
Walking down into Crystal Creek at 7.15am this morning, and crossing the sleeper bridges it was quickly apparent that there was a lot of water coming down as a result of a bumper wet season but in particular April’s deluge. Undeterred we took the challenging climb to the first ridge and were greeted with sensational views and crystal clear day. After taking these in we headed to the top of the falls for a few awesome pictures before pushing on up the track to the Black Hole Junction.. The climb to 560m elevatuon is steep and definitely gets the heart pounding…the massive fig just shy of the junction was a very welcome site.
As we commenced our decent we encountered a track that the wet season was trying to reclaim, leading to a few moments where the secateurs needed to be released. Navigating a small landslip i made a small footing and grip error, mistakingly standing on a loose rock and after grabbing what turned out to be a rotten stump to take my weight, I pummelled head first onto rocks below,..fortunately only a gouged knee cap on this occasion. A couple more of us slipped during the rest of the decent into the creek, and the overgrowth resulted in a small deviation where we needed to cut through thick clumps of spiky bush, so it was a welcome relief to make the creek without other injuries….. that’s the thing about this track its not one you can overrate for a challenge, and while the trek is rated a level 4 on somedays parts of it resembles a 5.
Our troubles on the decent into the creek quickly passed though as we experienced the black hole in all its splendour. Some of us took for a refreshing swim although the high waterlevels and gushing falls meant there was no ledge jumping today. Next time perhaps.
After a bite to eat we commenced our return trek this time via the creek. The higher then normal water meant that it was impossible to stay dry and in parts it was necessary to make some deep water crossings through fast flowing channells, making the wet boots on rocks another obstacle to add to this adventure. However that is the awesomeness of this hike…its never easy but is always fun. Making great time we made it back to the track creek crossing right on 3pm…meeting our fellow adventurer who decided to stay at the top of the falls for the day.
Which brings me to this moment. Im now laying in bed, writing this as I reflect on today’s trek while nursing my wound, reflecting on these pictures and pondering how long I need to wait before I return…not long I hope. Today’s hike was special….like all of ours at Townsville Hike and Explore… I got to meet some new people, make new friends, get a little fitter, have lots of fun and help build the awesome Townsville hiking community. While not everyone can do these hikes, we hope the pictures inspire you to one day giving them a go, and in the meantime never stop hiking…aside from the days with family, they’re isn’t a better way to spend a day.