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.
Undara is very similar to Cobbold Gorge (last post but one) in that it is a privately-owned tourist operation showcasing a spectacular geological formation in the middle of what was once a cattle station in the Gulf country. We had two nights at each and would have been happy with longer.
It’s over a week since the last post on Green Path and the reason this time is that we were celebrating the end of lockdown with a trip to Western Queensland and the Atherton Tablelands. Our route was Greenvale – The Lynd – Einasleigh – Forsayth – Cobbold Gorge – Georgetown – Undara Lava Tubes – Mount Garnet – Ravenshoe – Yungaburra – Millaa Millaa, and home via Innisfail after a total distance of about 1350 km over six days.
Tully Gorge had been a blank spot on my mental map for far too long before I decided to visit it last month. All I knew – all that most people know – is that it attracts lots of (mostly young) tourists for white-water rafting. But I’ve been collecting waterfalls along the coast (e.g. Wallaman, Blencoe, Jourama, Behana and Murray) for some time and I had heard of the Tully Falls. And any gorge is worth a look – and I needed a break from the city.
A closer look at the map showed me that the Falls and the Gorge had to be two separate trips, since the Falls are only accessible from Ravenshoe and the Gorge is accessible only from the coast: the two roads both dead-end, one at the top of the falls and the other a couple of kilometres downstream from their foot. The possibility of including the Dalrymple Track in the trip made me opt for the Gorge this time; Jourama and Cardwell were entirely incidental.
So … drive to Tully and turn left, through the town and farmlands (sugar, cattle, and lots of bananas) before entering National Park (actually parks, plural: Koombooloomba NP on the western side of the road, Tully Gorge NP on the eastern side). From here on, the road follows the river quite closely, and I paused for a photo.
Four years ago I walked the inland end of the Dalrymple Track (see Wikipedia for its history) with Wildlife Queensland folk, then took a quick look at the coastal end by myself. As I said in a blog post at the time, I always hoped to complete the rest of the walk eventually, and last week I almost made good on that plan, walking from the coastal end to its highest point a couple of hundred metres past the old Stone Bridge.