Who doesn’t like a good slippery slide. Come on, if you have ever been to a real Australia Day BBQ (that’s a barbie for all you international readers out there) someone, somewhere has pulled out a sheet of black builders plastic, grabbed a bottle of fairy liquid, a garden hose and a camera and some hours later, you all emerge from the suddy, muddy party covered in bruises but with a huge grin on your face.
Well, if you are in North Queensland (QLD) and there is a shortage of builders plastic and you are too environmentally conscious to pour washing up liquid all over your lawn, Crystal Creek at Paluma in QLD is another option.
I was about 10 when I first visited Crystal Creek. My mum still has photos of me in my 1 piece Speedos (all the rage back in the early 90’s I’m afraid) sliding down the natural rock water slides, an expression of sheer excitement on my face as I wore the bum out of my favourite cossies (that’s swimming costume, togs, swimmers for the international readers).
As an adult studying at university in Townsville, we would escape to Crystal Creek when the mercury rose to above 40 and seek solitude in the cooler mountain canopies and ice cold water of the falls. I stopped sliding down the rocks on by bum into the pools below. Instead, my friends and I adopted the bomb dive (Is there an international equivalent? You know, the one where you stand on the edge of a rock face and jump whilst tucking your legs up beneath you until you resemble a sphere and plummet into the water below).
Crystal Creek is best visited in the wet season (November through to April) when the water flowing down the falls and into the naturally formed pools is fresh and clear. If you go in the dry season, the water falls can be non-existent and the water in the pools rather stagnant.
Situated 60 minutes north of Townsville, the drive to Crystal Creek is just stunning. The drive takes you through the winding range where you can get spectacular views of the rainforest and natural waterfalls that surround the roads. There are picnic spots and BBQs dotted along the roads also. Once you get to the top of the mountain, you will find tea houses (think fresh scones with clotted cream and home made jam served with fresh tea), craft shops, picnic tables and of course, the natural water park that is Crystal Creek.
Pack a book, a picnic blanket and a second pair of cossies (just in case you enjoy the rock slides a little too much) and of course, your camera. This is one destination you will want to show your grandkids.