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North Johnstone river trail

Updated: Aug 29, 2019


Level: Advanced

Distance: 5.5km (return to and from the river)

Early in the morning, after breakfast and a cup of tea, we got ready for our next adventure. I had an urge to leave the camp site as the noise of cars and trucks passing along the highway made it difficult for me to sleep at night. Unfortunately, the Henrietta camping site is right next to the Palmerston highway, which is not the best if you don't want to wake up to trucks that sound like they are about to run you over.


In light of this, we packed our tent and gear as quickly as possible. We were moving to the northern part of the Tablelands, to our next camping spot. But before leaving the area around Henrietta Creek, we explored the trail to Johnstone river at Wooroonooran National Park.

The morning was beautiful. Finally the sun re-appeared after several days of cloudy mist (hence the name of the area, Misty Mountains) and rain. We stopped the car next to the North Johnstone River lookout. The lookout was a window in the scenery with a frame of green leaves on the side. The lookout allowed us to have a snapshot of the river.

Right next to the lookout is the trail to Crawfords lookout and if you are adventurous, to the river. I noticed the four little legs of my girls heading quickly towards the stairs, down to the path. I ran after them and waited for Daddy hobbit. Daddy hobbit was still over the car getting the usual stuff, backpack, tripod, camera and snacks and water.

We walked a few steps in, and again, we were immediately submerged in the rainforest...

The tall trees guarded the muddy trail, still wet from the last two days of rainfall. If trees could speak to humans, I wonder what they could tell us. I wonder how many people they have seen passing by this same path. Green, yellow and brown leaves decorated the ground.

The first stop was Crawfords lookout. It was a perfect spot for morning tea and a snapshot of the panoramic views. From here you get to see mountains, trees and a picturesque horseshoe bend in the North Johnstone River.


After half an hour, we continued out journey down, to meet the river. The path has metal staircases in places, huge fig trees, and in places is quite steep and rocky. This contrasts with the trail to the lookout, which was quite flat and easy to navigate. It took us more than half and hour to reach the bottom. I am not sure about the time. I don't like checking the time when I walk on a trail. It felt somehow a bit long, perhaps because I really wanted to get there. The vegetation was dense all the way down, then we finally found a sign telling us we had arrived.



Daddy hobbit helped Laila crossing the river. She made little steps on the stones. Alessa was already far ahead of us. She found a nice spot on a flat rock. The girls quickly stripped down to their undies (underwear). Alessa found a nice river pool where the water was flowing quietly. She put her feet in "It's cold" she said. The temperature of the water did not stop her. She kept making little steps into the water. Laila also bounced in and out with her feet from one river pool to the next. Daddy Hobbit also went in.


I sat on a rock, took some photos and videos, contemplated the surroundings, and watched my joyful family in the water. This area was unique and a great way to reconnect with nature. I grabbed my pencil and pocket notebook and let nature inspire my writing again.

Johnstone river is one of the largest and widest in Queensland. The river flows between mountains and eventually ends up at Innisfail on the coast before making its way into the ocean. In this section of the river, it is studded with grey and brown boulders, many of which are volcanic in origin. Would I be able to sit i the same spot during the wet season? How much water flows through it in the wet? I wondered while sitting in my spot.


It was time to head back. We took the same trail. Ascending slowly, we made it all the way to the top at the Highway and back to our car. I sat on the car seat and felt recharged with energy. We completed another trail in this beautiful land of North Queensland.


#river #trail #fairytrail #figtree

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