Blackdown Tableland is a bit of a hidden treasure I reckon and no doubt Gudda Gumoo or Rainbow Waters is the jewel in the crown. Today though the small car park at the end of the road across Blackdown Tableland was fairly busy so I was pretty sure that we wouldn't have the falls to ourselves when we got there. As I've mentioned before the park access road from the Capricorn Highway is now sealed so that only left twenty minutes or so of dirt across the top of the tablelands before we arrived at the dusty car park and while the car park was predominantly full of 4wd's there were a couple of cars that had braved the dirt.
|The track was topped with these bits of round gravel....and the odd lizard.|
Leaving the ute the walking track immediately starts its meandering descent down to Gudda Gumoo. While the walking was very easy and the track very good we still had to be a little careful as the ground here consists of ball bearing gravel of a kind that would be very familiar to any Western Australian walkers. The route drops down a shallow valley through typical Australian dry open forest before arriving at the edge of an escarpment, once on the cliff line the route stays very close to the edge before it makes its final descent down to Gudda Gumoo. There are some nice views along here from a few informal lookouts and at least one creek line that deserves further exploration as it makes it's way towards the edge of the escarpment. With the Queensland summer weather fairly warm though I was looking for a spot to swim, and as the first creek wasn't flowing I was keen to head down to the main waterfall that is Rainbow Waters.
After passing the official lookout our route came to a plethora of warning signs advising that the route from here required negotiating hundreds of steps. Sam decided to wait here and enjoy the view while I headed steeply down off the escarpment, passing a big sandstone overhang before arriving at a wide gorge. At the head of the gorge I could see a waterfall cascading down the red rock face, rock hopping my way a little closer I could see the water was falling into a large plunge pool which would of been perfect for a cooling dip, well it would of been except for the fact that I'd found all the occupants of the vehicles that were back in the car park. So after trying to get a photo of the waterfall without any of the other punters in it I decided to explore down stream a little to see what the gorge had to offer.
The good news (for me) was that once I left the main pool I also left behind the other punters and at the same time I had numerous small cascades and pools to explore. After dropping down a few hundred metres I found the spot I was looking for, stashing my clothes in the shade I waded into a beautiful pool that was complete with its own little waterfall cascading into it, the gently slopping red slab of rock making entry and exit a very civilized affair, something that is handy for an extra large Feral walker! It has to be one of the best feelings in life I reckon - submerging myself into beautiful clear and cool fresh water on a hot walk in the middle of an Australian summer. After savoring the cool water for awhile I climbed out and while I waited for my wet frame to drip dry a little, I explored a little bit further downstream. The creek falls away over a series of ledges before one final plunge sees it disappearing into a dark abyss in the depths of the gorge, with no obvious way way to drop down I decided that this was as far as I could go today. All that was left now was to pull on some clothes and climb back up to Sam who was patiently waiting for me in the shade on top of the escarpment. Climbing back up to the ute the one negative of this stroll became apparent and that was that by the time we got back up to the car park in the heat we really could of used another swim to cool down, oh well.
|This pool will do me!|
We walked 4.7 kilometres and climbed 164 metres on this easy stroll. It looks like this is the most popular walk up at Blackdown Tableland National Park, having said that with this being a fairly remote park it wasn't really over run with punters, there was probably around ten other vehicles in the dusty car park and this was in the middle of our summer holiday period. I wish Sam had of dropped down into the gorge with me as all the warning signs were probably a little bit of over kill in my opinion, sure there are a lot of steps but if you take your time it was pretty easy really. This is a well defined walk, apart from the steps the only thing to be a little bit aware of is the ball bearing gravel, it can make even the gentlest slope slippery. With no published walking notes for the park I used the basic information on the Qld Parks site.
|One more shot of my beautiful swimming hole - I've had worse!|