Updated: Jan 24
Finch Hatton! Oh how much we like Finch Hatton with is river, and walks in the rainforest and the most amazing waterfalls with clean and crystal water. We have visited Finch Hatton twice. In 2018 and this year in January 2019 as part of an adventure exploring Central Queensland and the areas affected after the bushfire in November 2018. From all the areas we visited the forest around Finch Hatton forest survived the fire, actually it was not affected by the fire at all, and the forest is a green as it can be which make us feel very happy.
The valley town of Finch Hatton is located 57 km west of Mackay. It is a rural town with a large emphasis on sugarcane farming, but it is also a tourist spot because it is well located on the way to Eungella National Park.
We stayed for two nights at the Platypus Bushcamp, which is located on the road going to Finch Hatton Gorge. This camping area offered a campground for tents, and also simple bungalow like huts with secluded river views. The owner of the property is a product of the 60's, you will see what I mean when you get there.
The place is set up in a rustic/country way. There is shower and toilet facilities, but don't expect anything fancy in this place. The showers were outdoors, it had a door in one side but on the other side was open to the rainforest. The toilets had local wildlife including spiders and frogs.
The place has a large water hole (Australian slang for a place in a river which is deep enough for swimming), and next to the camp kitchen an area of rapids to sit and cool down in (and drink a beverage or two), and these areas are exclusive for the guests. A small walk will take you to the platypus viewing waterhole, with a no swimming and be quiet rule, so as to maximise the chance of seeing one of these elusive creatures. It was a fun experience to stay there and to be surrounded by nature.
Just up the road from the campsite is the Finch Hatton Gorge, were we did two of the walks. During these walks we observed the wonderful tropical rainforest interspaced with granite volcanic boulders, and its wildlife (including a snake!). At the start of the walk is the picnic area, from where you can choose from the two walks (both walks start off on the same trail, then divides).
Walk 1 Araluen waterfalls:
It only takes 1.6 km to get there from the picnic area. An easy walk, it doesn't take too long to get there (<30 min).
The walk is through a beautiful forest with a tall tree canopy, and huge boulders on the side of the track. The best way to enjoy this walk is early in the morning as the place gets very crowded during peak season and on the weekends.
Araluen falls is a popular destination for both locals and tourist. We saw a lot of people on this walk without proper shoes (thongs), but i wouldn't recommend that at all. The walk ends at river and the Aurelan falls. Jump in the water, it is a great swimming spot for everyone.
Walk 2: The wheel of fire.
Further ahead and turning to the other way, there is a walk to the wheel of fire, it takes 3km from the picnic area. This walk is challenging for little ones so we recommend to start early in the morning and before you visit Arulen falls, that way you will beat the heat. It has many steep steps, a river crossing over granite boulders, and in sections is through less dense forest where the intense heat from the sun starts to sap your energy.
Why is it call the wheel of fire? The name comes after a flower native to this region. The flowers bloom during summer times.
This place is also very popular, there was a lot of people swimming when we went in 2018 and no much space to set and leave you things on the side. We we went in 2019, we decide to start our walk by 8:00am and when we arrived at the waterfalls, there was no one in there, so we had the place only for us.This place was not that safe for children so keep an eye on then as the swimming hole is very deep, stay close to them.
Thanks for reading!
Miss Sophie F
Photos: Sam Penglase and Me