The Dalrymple Track

fan leaf
Looking up to a Fan Palm

The Dalrymple Gap Walking Track is the last remnant of a pioneering road from Cardwell over the ranges to the Valley of Lagoons, one of the earliest pastoral properties in the region. In turn, that road followed a far older walking track, one used by the Warrgamay people for generations.

In its present state, the Track begins one kilometre off the Bruce Highway, at the end of a gravel access road which turns off immediately before the Damper Creek bridge 13km South of Cardwell. The track follows Damper Creek upstream (crossing it repeatedly) through rainforest to Dalrymple’s Gap, a low point on the crest of the range, and soon meets Dalrymple Creek and follows it downstream (again with many crossings) to the parking area 36km North of Ingham. The whole length of the walk is within the Abergowrie section of Girringun National Park and the National Parks site hosts a page about it with some useful maps – although I have to say that their Track map doesn’t provide much detail.

walking track
Halfway up the range from the coastal end of the Dalrymple Track

I walked the inland (i.e. Southern, though it’s sometimes called ‘Western’) end of the Track with a Wildlife Queensland group and our leader has written it up so well that I’m not going to try to compete: just read her report. After camping at Broadwater for a couple of nights I decided to take a look at the Northern end of the Track before heading home.

stony creek bed
Damper Creek in the Dry season, late September

We normally expect the coastal side of the range to be wetter than the inland side, but that wasn’t the case this time. Damper Creek wasn’t running at all, and the forest floor was dry and grey although the trees were still green.

Walking was very easy – a somewhat steeper climb than at the other end but still not too strenuous. I didn’t go all the way to the top but some day I will join up the two ends by walking the whole Track.

The Track is 10km long and walkers are supposed to allow 6 hours for it, so it is too long to walk both ways in a day. Camping is not permitted at either end of the walk or anywhere along the track, so doing the whole walk is logistically tricky; organising two groups, one starting from either end and swapping car keys when they meet, is one solution.

brown-orange butterfly
A Bush-brown, one of the common butterflies on the track

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