Updated: Jan 21
Before you start
Trail name: Moongun trail (Quoll)
Level: Intermediate for children (see Difficulty 3)
Distance: 2.1 km (one way)
How to get there: Follow the Bruce Highway South of Townsville and on the way to Alligator Creek. Turn right at the new suburban area called Elliot Springs.
A new neighbourhood is developing south of Townsville. A neighbourhood called Elliot Springs nested in the vicinity of the hills of Wadda Mooli park. Inside this newly develop residential area, you'll find a wonderful trail and huge playground, real estate draw cards for people to buy into the area, but open to everyone.
On a rainy day in mid January, while coming back from a trip to Alligator Creek (see our post here), we stopped by Elliot Springs to explore the area and walked along the Moongun trail (Moongun is the local indigenous dialect for Quoll).
To get to the trail, after turning off into Elliot Springs, get to the playground which will be a short drive straight and then to your right. The walk starts across the road from the playground where the road ends. You will see the sign (pictured above) next to the gate where the trail starts. This trail is for trekking only, there are alternative trails for mountain biking in the same general area. This is great because you can walk with the kids without worrying about a bike shooting around the corner at any instant like at the Mt. Stuart trails. The trail is name after the native marsupial cat, the Quoll, which is found in Australia and a few other pacific areas close by.
A bit of Biology about Quolls
Quolls are marsupials native to Australia and New Guinea. Six species have been described distributed in different areas. I have never seen one in Townsville, maybe because they are nocturnal like possums or it is because they are not in this area. They are related to possums and kangaroos, but happily munch down meat in favour of vegetable matter.
They like sleeping in hollowed-out logs or in rocky dens. Adults are small, between 25 cm and 45 cm in length. They eat birds, lizards and insects.
The spotted tail Quoll was listed as an endangered species under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in 1999 and the northern Quoll in 2016. Their present threats are the toxic cane toads, loss of habitat due to urban development, they get eaten by introduced predators such as cats and foxes. So if you ever see one, fell super lucky because you have spotted an amazing and unique animal.
The trail follows the hill and parallels with the Bruce Highway. It has a few steep sections, a fair few steps and some rough terrain that could be tricky for children. But the grass was lush and the landscape painted with greens and browns due to recent rains. I guess the usual colour for that time of the year, the wet season in the tropics.
The girls enjoyed the walk. There was so much to see and explore. We did the walk during January (before the floods). The grass and trees were all super, super green.
The trail goes parallel to the Bruce Highway and takes you back towards Townsville. The view was fantastic. At the front we could see the guardian of Townsville, Castle Hill and to the back, the hills of beautiful Bowling Green Bay National Park. It was a challenging trail for the girls but they coped very well. Perhaps, the weather conditions helped. The sky was cloudy and it rained from time to time on the way up.
There was a lot of tall grass on each side of the trail in many places. We stopped so many times during this trip because there was so much to see. We encountered many butterflies, grasshoppers, caterpillars and spiders. There was so much to spot in this trail that it was hard to stay walking.
After reaching the top, after one hour or so, we stopped to contemplate the view from above with Townsville, Castle Hill, the beach and the ocean on the horizon. More rain poured down and our walk back was muddy, with the thick clay sticking to our shoes.
The mud had to be cleaned off at rock "cleaning stations'. It made our shoes so heavy that we couldn't walk.
But we finally arrived, as we always do because there is always an end to a trail. And when the girls saw the playground from the trail they ran fast down the hill. We opened the gate with a satisfying feeling of accomplishing another trail successfully with the girls.
Now let me tell you about the playground!
You must take your kids to this playground because it is amazing! It is fun and diverse with games and entertainment for everyone and it is a great place for little ones to start developing their motor skills. I don't know who the designer was but I give that person five stars for playground design. It has a huge slide, musical instruments for them to explore, and it is super safe so it takes the worry out of continuously watching over your kids. The down side of the playground, they didn't plan the shading that well, it needs a bit of improvement, especially if you are visiting closer to midday.
In front of the playground, there is an area with a driving circuit for children with a road. Ideal for them to practice on their bicycles and learn about traffic signs.
A lot to explore and see on this trail
Butterflies were the most common animals but we also found a very interesting looking grasshopper on the trail. Obviously we didn't see a Quoll, and I wonder if they actually live around the area.
Thanks for reading! and please share. We make this post with love so other parents can enjoy.