Location: Paluma Range National Park
Article: Written by Jo Hurford; Imagery by Jo Hurford
Directions: Access is via private property
Last week when Michael Mohring put out a call for someone to join him for a 3 day, 2 night hiking adventure to Ollera Creek I jumped at the opportunity. Ollera is my favourite creek line in Townsville with its multiple pink granite gorges, undulating rocks and cascades greeting you around every bend. But I didn’t read the fine print, this was to be a working hike.
Day one: 10 hours
After seven hours of rock hopping along the creek we arrived at the campsite. It was amazing to see the change in the creek, from pink granite to rock and rainforest similar to Rope / Loop / Gorge falls. A quick setup of camp and we were off, continuing up river marking the trail to Big Pool, a gorgeous waterfall and swimming hole that reminded me of Black Hole or Triple Falls. We returned under headtorch, a test to ensure our markers were in the correct locations.
Day two: 10.5 hours
An early wake up greeted by a chorus of birds and we were off by 7:30am to create and maintain a track to a lookout point, which will link with a trail to Paluma. Michael worked hard to navigate and create the track. He found the perfect ridge line to ascend. I followed slowly behind cleaning up. It was very satisfying to look behind and see the trail snaking down. It took 8.5 hours to climb 300m, create an 800m track and reach the lookout which provides views down the valley to the ocean and across to circle view mountain. 1.5 hours down with thoughts and ideas to adjust and improve access to the spur for the next work hike.
Day three: 8 hours
We packed up and hit the trail back, conscious of the rain forecast and potential for slippery rocks. We had side trips to towering fig trees and Michael continued to maintain and mark the track when I deviated onto bush pig tracks. The adventure finished with a relaxing and cleansing swim.If anyone has the time or the opportunity to join a working hike I highly encourage it. It took me a while to find my work hike mojo, but it is a great way to appreciate the time and effort it takes to create and maintain many of those trails we love, such as Mt Halifax and Godwin’s peak. It is also an educational trip as you learn why things are named as they are; such as swallow pool or lizard gorge. And you may end up with something named after you, such as Jo’s waterfall and plunge pool As a working hike I only took my little camera, but here are a few pics; lots of time to find and appreciate the smaller life on the track
I look forward to returning with my bigger camera to capture the waterfalls we passed to Big Pool. Many thanks to Michael for the work, for the company, for regaling me with tales, ensuring the fireflies put on a light show each night and organising the hike. (Please note: access to Ollera Creek is via private property and permission is required.)