Ravenshoe, Yungaburra and Malanda

Leaving Undara Lava Tubes we drove towards the Atherton Tablelands through flat, dry country generously sprinkled with volcanic cones (we counted nine from the car at one point). The change between Mount Garnet and Ravenshoe was dramatic: hills! and rain! and big trees!


Ravenshoe prides itself on being the highest town in Queensland and one of its pubs, naturally, claims the title of Queensland’s highest hotel.

ravenshoe hotel
Australia’s highest pub, built 1927 and hardly changed since

Other than that, it’s a pretty but undistinguished little town living on its timber-getting past and its farming-and-tourism present.

Windy Hill Wind Farm

Just outside Ravenshoe is Queensland’s second-ever wind farm, on a site appropriately (look at the trees) called Windy Hill. Its vital statistics are weirdly full of twenties: 20 years old this year, costing $20 million to build, and comprising 20 windmills. The output capacity is 12 MW, however, not 20.

windy hill
Some of Windy Hill’s twenty towers

That’s okay, but it’s now a small installation. Wikipedia : wind power in Australia informs us that at the end of 2019 there were 101 wind farms in Australia, totalling 6,279 MW, and the largest has a capacity of 453 MW, i.e., nearly 40 times Windy Hill’s output. 

Mount Hypipamee

The oddly-named Mount Hypipamee was just off our route from Ravenshoe to Atherton. It’s in a National Park and the official site introduces it concisely:

Located high on the southern Evelyn Tableland, in the Hugh Nelson Range, this park is centred around a diatreme or volcanic pipe, thought to have been created by a massive gas explosion.

A platform at the end of a 400m walking track through the rainforest provides an uninterrupted view of the remaining crater. The crater is almost 70m across with sheer granite walls (the surface rock through which the gas exploded). Fifty-eight metres below the rim is a lake over 70m deep, covered with a green layer of native waterweed. …

… this is the only example of [a diatreme] in North Queensland.

Mount Hypipamee volcanic vent
Mount Hypipamee’s unique feature

What we’re looking at is the chimney with a duckweed-covered pond at the bottom. It is a spectacular formation but it is almost impossible to photograph in such a way as to make the image comprehensible.

The crater is a short walk from the carpark. A slightly longer return route loops along the upper Barron River to give views of a series of cascades collectively called “Dinner Falls”, much smaller than the well known Barron Falls near Kuranda but very beautiful.

The middle section of Dinner Falls on the upper Barron River

Malanda Falls

We stopped off at Malanda Falls on our way back towards Ingham and Townsville.

Malanda Falls and pool
Malanda Falls and pool

For better and for worse, the area is no longer in its natural state. The pool below the falls has been landscaped, enclosed and deepened in 1950s style with a concrete wall and terraces to make a swimming pool and picnic area, and the road bridge crosses the river just above the falls. There’s a picnic shelter close to the road, too. It’s not particularly attractive but I photographed it anyway for its flood height record.

The 1967 flood level would put the road and the bridge about two metres under water

Besides rain, hills and tall trees the Atherton Tablelands have another difference from the savannah country: there’s a lot to see in a very small area.

We will have to return soon with enough time in hand to watch platypuses in the creek at Yungaburra, indulge ourselves the chocolate palace and Mungalli Creek Dairy, work off the consequences paddling Lakes Eacham and Barrine, and go birdwatching at Hasties Swamp National Park. So much to do, so much to enjoy!

Cardwell Lookout and Attie Creek

On the short trip which included Jourama Falls and the Dalrymple Track I seized my opportunity to visit the Cardwell Lookout and nearby Attie Creek for the first time.

The Lookout is a few kilometres out of town on a good, mostly-gravel road which leads through pine plantations before winding uphill to a parking area and a lookout with very good views to the North over Cardwell and Rockingham Bay towards Mission Beach and Dunk Island. A walking track leads further uphill from this point for even better views to the North and panoramic views across the channel to Hinchinbrook Island. The extra walk is worth the effort but I have to say it was also more effort than I had expected: it’s only a few hundred metres but it’s quite steep.

view over Cardwell towards Mission Beach
Looking over Cardwell towards Mission Beach

Continue reading “Cardwell Lookout and Attie 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 Continue reading “Hervey’s Range after rain”

Wallaman Falls after rain

Wallaman Falls flowing well after rain

My third visit to Wallaman Falls was a day trip with Wildlife Queensland. A full report will appear on their blog in due course but I thought I might quickly share this photo and mention my previous posts – from almost exactly one year ago and two years ago, as it happens. (This is a good time of year for camping and bushwalking, since everything is still quite green after the Wet but the weather is reliably fine and not too hot.)

I have added the spider and insect photos from this trip to my existing Wallaman Falls album on flickr.

Jourama Falls

Jourama Falls
Jourama Falls

Jourama is typical of the waterfalls which tumble off the edge of the Great Dividing Range between Townsville and Cairns. I have posted about Wallaman (very recently), Murray and Behana, and I have known and liked Jourama Falls for a very long time so I was surprised to find, when I checked, that I hadn’t already posted about them too.

The Jourama Falls section of the Paluma Range National Park (park information) is tucked into the northern end of the park (map), about an hour north of Townsville and only a few kilometres off the highway. The access road takes you to a peaceful swimming hole and picnic ground, then past a camping ground with the usual National Parks facilities to a carpark at the beginning of a walking track which winds along beside the rocky creek and up beside the waterfall itself. It’s all easy and pleasant, if not nearly as spectacular as Wallaman. In many ways it’s more comparable to Paradise Pool nearby: close to town and family-friendly.

I called in there for a break on my way back from Wallaman a couple of weeks ago and walked up to the lookout at the top of the track. My first photo is taken from there; the track doesn’t go as far as the top of the falls on the skyline.