Paluma Range National Park is the exact place to connect with the elements and form a deeper acquaintance with the natural world. Refreshing waterfalls, rainforest walking trails, and a birdwatchers paradise – Paluma has a lot to offer!
Paluma Range National Park is divided into two portions and serves as the southern entry to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, with both areas including a variety of leisure options. Jourama Falls, a beautiful waterfall surrounded by jungle, can be found in the northern part.
Mount Spec, covered in rainforest, rises nearly 1000 metres above the Big Crystal Creek floodplain to the south. Paluma Range National Parks Traditional Owners are the Nywaigi Aboriginal people. Discover the dry forest scenery and watch it dramatically change into wet rainforest flora and fauna as you drive up the Paluma Range. It is well-known for its luxuriant tropical rainforest, lake, walking trails, and breathtaking lookouts.
Big Crystal Creek
Big Crystal Creek is the most southernly Wet Tropics World Heritage National Park area. Swim in pristine crystal-clear waters in a variety of swimming holes. Discover Paradise Waterhole which is the largest area to swim, just a casual 200 metre walk from the day use area.
There are picnic tables and barbeques for the whole family to enjoy, as well as eco-friendly toilet facilities. Camp under the trees either in a tent, camper trailer, campervan, or motorhome. Listen to the wildlife in the vicinity while you relax and explore what Big Crystal Creek has to offer.
Rock Slides at Big Crystal Creek
An extra two kilometre drive past Paradise Waterhole at Big Crystal Creek, you will discover the Rockslides just a short 800 metre return walk alongside the dry forest.
Walk approximately 200 metres past a locked gate located at the car park, and you will come across a gravel walking track on the left-hand side of the road. Two hundred metres along the dirt path you will come across the beautiful rockslides with a range of waterholes and cascades for everyone to enjoy. Slide into the fresh cold waters and take in the breathtaking scenery. Relax in the wilderness while listening to the wildlife or family and friends playing in the pristine clean waterholes.
Little Crystal Creek
Famous for its heritage listed masonry stone arch bridge built in the 1930’s depression. Beautiful cascade waterfalls flow through the forest and under the bridge.
Swim in the fresh cold water rushing from the waterfall bouncing onto the boulders. There is plenty of space for the whole family to enjoy. Nature’s staircases take you up or down to the perfect place to splash around in. Travel up the Paluma Range (Mount Spec Road) to get to the glorious Little Crystal Creek, but please be aware that the road is narrow and windy in some places which makes it unsuitable for caravans or large motor homes. Check out both sides of the arch bridge as there are two large sections for you to swim around in, as well as small spaces for you to sit and soak up the serenity.
Discover the beauty and tranquillity of Jourama Falls as you walk through the fragrant woodlands and dense rainforest. Journey a short 3 kilometre return walk through the tropical woodland forest over the creek crossings and watch the crystal-clear water flow around the large rocks creating a stream and small waterholes to splash around in.
After your journey through the magnificent creek crossing, you can hike 600 metres up to the Jourama Falls lookout or continue walking over rocky paths to get to an amazing fresh water plunge pool with large shady trees keeping you cool.
Listen to the wildlife and spot a Ulysses butterfly fluttering through the forest. Camp under the stars in either a tent, camper trailer, caravan, or motorhome. Remember to purchase a camping permit before you get to Jourama Falls as there is minimal phone coverage or internet.
Take a refreshing dip in the larger swimming hole next to the camping area; a great place for the whole family to enjoy. The perfect spot for the birdwatchers with many unique birds to discover.
Only a 16 kilometre drive from the Paluma Village; discover Paluma Dam, also known as Lake Paluma.
The dam offers a range of activities for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a day visitor or camping, you won’t be disappointed. No motorised vessels are permitted at Paluma Dam so it is the perfect space for peace and quiet. Swim in the lovely fresh water or paddle around on a paddle board or maybe even a canoe.
Sit under the sheltered picnic tables and cook on the barbeque provided, then sit back and relax while you soak up the tranquillity of Paluma Dam. Camp a night or two, or more (booking is crucial). Ask the rangers for firewood and roast some marshmallows, or maybe even create s’mores or cook up a storm in a camp oven. Explore the lake and discover the wildlife that live in the waters.
Walk around the dam banks and observe the flora and fauna. Forage for wildlife that live on the banks, such as Australian Brushturkey (Scrub Turkey), goannas, snakes, and much more.
The quaint Paluma village is a tiny residential town that spends 3 months of the year covered in mist.
In fact, the traditional name for the area is Muman Gumburu which translates into Misty Mountain. It’s lush, green, in the heart of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and surrounded by National Parks.
Where to stay in
Paluma Range National Park area
Experience multiple types of accommodation options in the Paluma Range National Park area.
Whether it be camping, caravanning, B & B’s, or even just roughing it under the stars. Camp at Big Crystal Creek or the Paluma Dam, enjoy the scenery and take in everything nature has to offer. Bring your caravan or motorhome to Big Crystal Creek and set up your home away from home for a night or two, maybe even a few nights so you have all the time to explore the area. Stay within the Paluma village area at a B & B and get to know all the insider tips and tricks to the area by getting to know the locals.
Camping at Big Crystal Creek
Sleep out under the stars surrounded by tall Paperbarks, Gum trees, and Cocky Apple trees.
Pick any spot you wish as there are no allocated sites, you can either set up on dirt, grass, or sand – it’s up to you. Tow your caravan, camper trailer, drive your motorhome, or even go old-school in a tent or swag.
Stay a day or more to discover everything Big Crystal Creek has to offer.
Take a short walk from the camping area to the day use area to use the barbeque and have a lunch or picnic. Refresh yourself with a swim in Paradise Waterhole, with space for the whole family to enjoy. Bring floaties down to the area and paddle around in the cool water all afternoon long.
Fire rings are provided so bring along some firewood and marshmallows! Cook up an amazing Aussie dinner in the camp oven and then enjoy tasty gooey marshmallows for dessert. Flushing toilets and cold showers are available to all guests and are only a short distance from the camping area. Be sure to book online with Queensland National Parks or visit the Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre for a camping permit (Bookings are essential).
Camping at Lake Paluma
Travel through a range of different forests, beginning with dry forest, then as you travel up the Paluma Range you can see it transforming before your eyes into a lush rainforest.
Lake Paluma is located only 12 kilometres from the township of Paluma along a dirt road.
Please check road conditions as wet weather can damage the road. This area is not suitable for a big caravan or motorhome as the road is windy and tight in some places
Lake Paluma is the perfect place for a little getaway for a couple, family, or a group of friends.
Bookings are essential, as without a booking you are not guaranteed a camp site, and camping sites are limited so get in fast! Camp in a small caravan, camper trailer, tent, or swag.
Explore Lake Paluma in the day or night and discover the natural wonders that live within. Enjoy the lake by either swimming, going on a journey in a canoe or paddle boat, or maybe even a blow-up flamingo.
Enjoy a nice warm fire by requesting firewood from the rangers that are on site daily (payments taken by credit/debit card only), or you can supply your own untreated firewood (collection from Paluma is not permitted).
Paluma National Park
Paluma Range National Park has a wide range of walking and hiking tracks available for everyone with the difficulty ranging from easy to moderate.
The tracks range from 300 metres to 4 kilometres, so if it’s a short walk or a hike, the Paluma Range has you covered. On the Mount Spec section of the Paluma Range National Park there are five tracks available for you to explore and uncover the historical and natural wonders of the area.
Rockslides Walking Track
Two kilometres past Paradise Waterhole at Big Crystal Creek, discover the Rockslides just a short 800 metre return walk alongside the dry forest.
Walk approximately 200 metres past a locked gate located at the car park, and you will come across a gravel walking track on the left-hand side of the road.
Two hundred metres along the dirt path you will come across the beautiful rockslides with a range of waterholes and cascades for everyone to enjoy.
Birthday Creek Falls Walk
Explore through the rainforest all the way to the top of Birthday Creek and experience a cascade of falls.
The perfect walk for the birdwatchers, only a one kilometre return walk with a moderate difficulty. At the end of the track, enjoy a fresh dip in the waterhole, but be careful of the rocks as they can become slippery.
Follow the signs as you enter Paluma Village, turn east off Mount Spec Road onto Loop Road, and as you enter you will see a car park.
A 150 metre track leads you to the lookout with views of Halifax Bay and Palm Island Group. The lookout is wheelchair accessible and contains information boards with local history and facts.
Witts Lookout Track
Explore the jungle while learning about the native plants and creatures as the track begins 200 metres past McClellands Lookout.
Follow the wheelchair accessible bitumen route past the lookout to the start of the hike and end with amazing views of Halifax Bay and Palm Island Group. At the fork in the road, follow the right fork to Witts Lookout. The trail then climbs sharply for three kilometres through the open forest before finishing at the lookouts on two rocky summits.
Cloudy Creek Walk
Along the same route as the Witts Lookout track, but once you arrive at a fork junction, turn left as the track leads you along Cloudy Creek.
You will hike through waterfalls and sections that are steep, rocky or slippery. The track stretches for four kilometres and is a moderate grading so be prepared for many steps and walking through and over boulders.
Paluma Rainforest Walk
This is a relaxing short walk through the rainforest to discover strangler figs and king ferns.
The walk starts opposite the Paluma Town Hall and ends 200 metres west along Mount Spec Road. Learn about the history of how the old tin race was discovered, and how miners made stone pitched channels through the rainforest – creating a creek.
This hike takes you through a historical path which was once an old timber hauling or snig track, allowing you to see old loading ramps and old stumps.
The stroll begins on Whalley Crescent and ends on Lennox Crescent, both located off Mount Spec Road in Paluma Village. Wander through 1.1 kilometres of rainforest and historical artifacts.
Drive 40 kilometres south along the Bruce Highway and turn right at the northern turn-off onto Barrett Road. To reach Big Crystal Creek camping area, travel one kilometre along Barrett Road, before turning right into Spiegelhauer Road.
Big Crystal Creek camping area is five kilometres further along the road. To reach Little Crystal Creek, McClelland’s lookout and Paluma township, from the Spiegelhauer Road turn-off, drive a further two kilometres along Barrett Road. Turn right onto Mount Spec Road and drive six km to Little Crystal Creek.
Travel another 10 kilometres to reach the township of Paluma and access to McCellands Lookout as you enter the township.
Be sure to follow signage. Travel a further five kilometres past the township along Mount Spec Road, turn right on Lake Paluma Road, and travel seven kilometres along a dirt road to reach Birthday Creek Falls.
Drive further along Paluma Dam Road to discover Lake Paluma, but please remember to check road and weather conditions before driving along dirt road as many become undrivable and damaged.
To get to Jourama Falls, travel 91 km north of Townsville or 24 km south of Ingham, then turn off the Bruce Highway onto the 4.5 km, unsealed access road to Jourama Falls, Paluma Range National Park.
The access road is suitable for most conventional vehicles and caravans. Access may be restricted during the summer wet season when Waterview Creek rises and causeways are impassable.
Ensure that you drive according to the road conditions and to your vehicle’s capabilities.