Having visited Cockatoo Rock many times in the past, I was looking forward to spicing up this hike a little with a visit to the mid reaches of North Creek and North Creek Falls along the way. North Creek is known as one of the most scenic creek lines in the Bowling Green National Park and has been used in the past to access Mount Elliot (1220m), however I don’t know of anyone who has done this in recent times.
Heading off early from the Alligator Creek Campground, we hiked a section of the Alligator Creek Falls Track before leaving the trail and bush bashing our way along a steep, rocky ridgeline towards Cockatoo Rock.
Along the way we stopped at a black granite rock formation with some impressive views out over Cape Cleveland, Mount Cleveland, Alligator Creek and adjacent sections of the National Park.
Not long after, we could clearly hear North Creek flowing as we reached approximately 530 metres elevation and at this point, we were close enough to drop down into the creek and do a little exploring.
A couple of the group chose to sit atop a black granite boulder with clear views of Chunda Bay and Mount Cleveland on the horizon, while the rest of us marveled at the beauty of North Creek and one of it’s many waterfalls.
After regrouping, we headed off through some steep, thick grass tree (Xanthorrhoea) country that appears not to have burnt in many seasons.
I was looking forward to seeing the groups delight at hiking out onto Cockatoo Rock. This massive granite boulder protruding from the mountainside at just over 500 metres elevation overlooks the Cockatoo Creek Valley, Alligator Creek, The Sister Mountains and Magnetic Island. It also offers spectacular views out over the coastal plain south of Townsville and has to be one of the best points of interest in the National Park. It certainly didn’t disappoint us again! It was a clear day and the reward was well worth the effort!
After lunch and a nanna nap for a couple of our worn out adventurers, we left Cockatoo Rock and dropped elevation as we scrambled down the mountainside to meet up with Cockatoo Creek. This section of steep, damp, vine and boulder filled terrain between Cockatoo Rock and Cockatoo Creek is certainly not one of our favorites!
We stopped for a swim in the mid reaches of Cockatoo Creek. Water levels appear to be holding steady for this time of year, although the drop in level was evident from the last time I was in this section of the creek line, only a month prior.
We came across a newly marked trail along a section of lower Cockatoo Creek which slightly shortened our rock hopping experience – much to the delight of a couple of our adventurers!
It often humors me as we finish this particular hike – walking out of the scrub near the Alligator Creek Campground, clearly having hiked in relatively tough terrain for most of the day. The surprised and startled looks on the faces of some of the campers and swimmers visiting the area gave us all a giggle or two!