Rope and Loop Falls in the heart of Paluma NP
WORDS SOFIA FORTUNATO
PHOTOS SAM PENGLASE
This post continues our adventure along the Mount Halifax track in the Paluma National Range Park.
Last time we visited this place, we went to Gorge Falls. We liked it so much that we decided to come back and explore the area more. We started our journey from Townsville at about 9 am and followed the Bruce Highway North towards Ingham. We turned off the Bruce Highway near Balgal beach (check here). We followed the same track we took last time to Gorge Falls. This led to our first discovery that the first place we thought was 'Gorge Falls' was just an un-named paradise, and the real Gorge Falls was a further five minutes along the path. As it turns out, the real Gorge Falls is another beautiful little swimming hole, and amazingly deep. After a snack and a swim we continued on to Rope falls.
Gorge falls to Rope falls (15 mins)
Elevation: 171 m
Continuing along the path after Gorge falls felt as we were suddenly transported into a fairy-tail adventure. You feel lost in nature and out of this world. The scenery becomes more tropical and the path more difficult, as you follow a granite bolder studded tropical stream. There are so many wonderful tropical trees, magic passages, and beauty along the creek. The trail is still well sign posted, so you just need to follow either the red or yellow signs posted on the trees. We passed a large fig tree that had a sort of magical passage among its roots. My daughters said it was the tree from the magic faraway tree book by Enid Blyton.
After 15 min walking you find an even more amazing and magical fall. Rope Falls. Why is it called Rope Falls? I am not 100 % sure, but assume it is because to continue on the track you must walk around the Falls and climb a rock wall, and there are ropes there to assist you. The Rope Falls pool is cold (we are in 'Winter' here) but refreshing. Its colour was emerald-blue (see below). It remind us of a glacier water. We jumped into the water and climbed out using the ropes (another use for the ropes). It was super fun!
Rope Falls to Loop Falls (50 min to 1 hr)
Elevation: 261 m
Later, we continued our journey to find the next place, Loop Falls. Again just follow the signs. This part of the track is called the Loop Track. Things got a bit more challenging for the little hobbits from now on. There is a steep climb up the hill and there is no flat sections of the track. The path is sign posted but a little more difficult to follow as well.
The track is basically just rocks all the way to the Loop Falls. I was a bit worried about the girls, but to my surprise they told us that this was the best walk they have ever done in their life. Perhaps they loved it because this trail feels as if you are walking inside a unknown forest that they have seen only in movies, like Jumanji, or Jurassic park. Where were the dinosaurs?
We arrived at Loop Falls and stay there for a while to enjoy Lunch. It was awesome. The pool has no fish but is heavily populated with giant freshwater prawns that 'clean' your feet.
The trip took us a long time. We started at 9:50 am and got back into the car around 5:00pm. Obviously, we did many stops. So make sure you have plenty of time to do the trip and enjoy the different rock pools.
Tips from the hobbits
Take the map of this trail inside the box at the entrance.
Remember to take it back
Bring long pants.
Spare clothes for your kids.
Plenty food and water.
There is no cell phone reception.
Mosquitos are not a problem in May.