Location: Paluma Range National Park
Article: Written by Rhett Stubbs; Imagery by Rhett Stubbs, VJ Sumiller & Narelle Cavallaro
Directions: Access is via Private Property
Paluma National Park is a treasure trove of flora, fauna, creeklines and waterfalls yet sadly many of these remain hidden as the Park is just so big and not enough ranger power is available to open it up as much as possible. Over the years however volunteer members of the Townsville bushwalking community have worked with the NPWS to help open up more of the park, exploring, charting and marking trails to some spectacular sights such as the now very popular Rope, Gorge and Loop Falls, Mt Halifax Summit, Godwins Peak and the Black Hole above Jourama Falls. In fact it was approx 2 years ago, on one of the trail maintenance days that I discovered the beauty of Lizard Gorge and the stunning Ollera Creekline.
The actual trail traverses the landscape alongside Ollera Creek, located at the base of the Paluma National National Park just south of the turnoff to go up Mt Spec Road. The trail head starts from adjoining private property therefore land owner permission is required however the extra effort and time needed to plan and organise this hike so you can venture up this creekline is well worth it.
The trail markings take you up as far as marker known as Mickles Entry which beyond you’ll find Ollera Falls and Circle View mountain, however on yesterdays group hike we followed the trail up as far as Lizard Gorge. After a quick swim we THEN doubled back down the creekline.
Getting to Lizard Gorge is akin to scaling the walls of a castle to find the crown jewels…..you’ve either got take a 4.5km marked trail which includes a steep ridge climb to an elevation of 230m, along with many deep gullies to climb in and out of, or take the option og rockhopping 6-7km up the creekline and as some our hikers found out yesterday….rockhopping is taxing both in terms of energy and concentration and its easy to fall and succumb to injury.
In fact both ways in and out make for a good solid day hike, yet the perk of relaxing and swimming in some magical waterholes make this place a must do….if not more the once, at least once. Yesterday was my seventh time up Ollera Creek one of my favourite places to hike in the Townsville area, and is one Ill always go back to.