Alligator Creek photo album

A collection of photos from our visit to Alligator Creek on Easter Saturday, as promised a few days ago in my post about the goanna.

alligator-creek-swimming-hole
Looking downstream from the lookout to the main swimming area

We parked at the picnic ground, followed the Alligator Creek Falls walking track as far as Cockatoo Creek, two kilometres upstream, and returned for a late lunch before a heavy shower of rain made us decide to return home rather than walk down for a swim.

The creek and park are at their best now. Recent rain has flushed out the creek and it is still running well without being too scary for swimmers, while the vegetation is green and lush. Butterflies were everywhere, skinks and bigger lizards were sunning themselves on the track and on the rocks beside the water, and flowers were abundant.

Lycaenid butterfly
One of the smallest butterflies we saw, a Tailed Cupid, Everes lacturnus
red dragonfly Diplacodes haematodes
Scarlet Percher, Diplacodes haematodes
nobbi lizard
Nobbi Dragon, Amphibolurus nobbi, on the track
alligator-creek-hibiscus
Low-growing native rosella

This red ‘hibiscus’ was identified as a Native Rosella (Abelmoschus moschatus ssp. tuberosus) by WQ folk when we saw it on a walk at Oak Valley; there’s a full description here on ANPSA. A taller white and pink hibiscus which was also quite common (old photo) was probably Hibiscus forsteri.

cycad
Cycad beside the track; the new foliage was surprisingly soft
alligator creek
White water a hundred metres upstream from the lookout
alligator-creek
At the junction of Cockatoo Creek and Alligator Creek

Hervey’s Range after rain

Hervey's Range waterfall
The waterfall on Hervey’s Range Road in early March

The Townsville region received quite a deluge between mid February and early March, after a dry start to what we hoped would be a good Wet. Green Path recently posted photos of the Town Common after rain, and here are some from Hervey’s Range to the West of the city.

The waterfall photo above is the first chronologically. It was taken by Steve Coleman about March 5 and shows the beautiful waterfall beside the road, halfway up the escarpment; his comment was that it hadn’t run this well for three years or more, and I can’t disagree. The others are my own, taken on a visit on March 13. By that time the waterfall was considerably reduced, although still beautiful:

Hervey's Range waterfall
The same waterfall ten days later

Hervey’s Range Road crosses Two Mile Creek a couple of miles from the crest of the range and I took a couple of photos just upstream from the bridge. The first shows it in a very typical state – a clear stream, almost narrow enough to step across, in a broad sandy bed lined by mature trees.

Hervey's Range
Two Mile Creek in mid March

My second photo, taken at the same time from a spot in the middle of the first, shows just how high the water had risen with recent rains. (Apologies for the image quality – I should have used my camera instead of my phone.) “Raging torrent” is a cliche, but I can think of no better description of what it must have been.

Hervey's Range
Two Mile Creek showing the late February flood height

People around Townsville have been quoting a couple of lines of poetry lately, and it’s not hard to see why:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges, 
Of droughts and flooding rains.

The Town Common after rain

I’m not going to claim credit for it, of course, but my post about rainwater tanks was followed almost immediately by the best rain Townsville has had for years, with totals like 250 to 600 mm over a week or so, depending on exactly where you looked. Ross Dam went from about 15% to over 80% – but I will say more about that in another post.

I visited the Town Common yesterday, very briefly, to see the difference the rain had made there. The road through the park to Freshwater Lagoon was closed at the gates near the Golf Club, so we walked in from the Pallarenda carpark and up to the Tegoora Rock lookout instead; it gave us better views but we were further from the birdlife.

town common flood
The view from Tegoora Rock towards the city (Castle Hill is on the left)
town common
Looking West towards the Bohle River along the inland face of Many Peaks Range

Clicking on my photos normally gets you a full-size version in a lightbox but because I’ve visited this vantage point so often I thought it would be fun to show the seasonal change, so in this case clicking will show the same scenes as they were in April 2015 after a failed Wet season.

We were lucky enough to spot a small group of brolgas from our lookout. This pair looked at first as though they were swimming across the lagoon, although I think they were actually wading, and after foraging in the swamp for a minute or two they treated us to a brief dance.

town common brolgas
Crossing the floodwaters
town common brolgas
The dance

I saw the brolgas’ famous dance display at much closer range a few years ago, near the entrance to the Common; photos are here.

Walking in the Paluma rainforest

Paluma Dam track
The walking track

A recent trip to Paluma Dam with the good people of Wildlife Queensland was enjoyable for the wildlife and just being in the rainforest but was far from strenuous. We walked across the dam wall and along a vehicular track to the west of the dam, took a side track to down to the dam shore, and returned the same way Continue reading “Walking in the Paluma rainforest”

Alligator Creek to Cockatoo Creek

Alligator Creek picnic and camping area is a deservedly popular spot within Bowling Green Bay National Park.

In spite of the park’s name, the camping ground is well inland, on the upper reaches of the creek among the rugged hills of the Mount Elliot range. We have visited it a number of times over the years (this  link will take you to a 2012 post about it) but hadn’t ventured far beyond the immediate vicinity until exploring the track to Cockatoo Creek yesterday.

The track parallels the southern bank of the creek up into the hills. The first stop is the Lookout, Continue reading “Alligator Creek to Cockatoo Creek”