I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane. I love bushwalking, kayaking, wildlife, history and travel.
Published July 5th 2017
Climbing up and down creeks
I hadn't done any rock hopping for many years. A lot of our walks involved rock hopping up creeks with lots of swims along the way when I was in the Townsville bushwalking club. I was really looking forward to my last rock hopping bushwalk up Alligator Creek south of Townsville. I had been working hard, studying and raising a child so I was really looking forward to getting out in the bush.
Unfortunately about ten minutes into that trip one of the women slipped on a wet rock she was hopping across, fell and broke her wrist. She had shoes that didn't have very good grip and it was her first trip with the club. After we stabilised her wrist and gave her some painkillers, I offered to go back with her to hospital so I missed out on my day out in nature.
I left Townsville and moved to Brisbane in 2003. So I was a bit nervous going on my first rock-hopping trip since that time. I signed up for a trip with the Brisbane bushwalking club to Cedar Creek and Love Creek Falls from the bottom, out near Samford.
Seventeen walkers met at 6.30am on a recent cold Sunday morning and headed off for the start of the walk on Cedar Creek Road. We arranged to split into two groups, a fast group and a slow group. I joined the slow group.
The first part of the walk up Cedar Creek was easy and very beautiful. I saw a kingfisher sitting quietly in the middle of the creek, but it took off as we approached. We passed by some local properties and reassured the property owners we would bring all our rubbish out with us. Local owners have problems with people littering the creek, but they did say bushwalkers like us were good. When we arrived at the Cedar Creek waterholes, there was graffiti on the rocks, which was awful to see in such a beautiful area.
We stopped for morning tea on a large flat area of rock and somehow I accidentally got into the fast group after we set off again. I had only met one of the other walkers previously so it took me awhile to realise I was walking with a different group. The walk got harder with lots of climbing up and over rocks, leaping across the creek on rocks and some crawling on hands and knees up through rock crevices holding onto roots. At the junction of Cedar Creek and Love Creek, we headed up Love Creek.
After a short rest I saw the slower group coming behind me, so I left the fast group and waited for my group. I'm glad I did because when we arrived at Love Creek falls, I saw the fast group on top of the waterfall. Our group decided to stay and have lunch by the waterfall. I had heard a woman had to be rescued by helicopter after falling five metres down Love creek falls in 2016, so I was happy to stay at the bottom. There was a track to the top of the falls on the right side. I might attempt that another day.
There were lots of good swimming holes, but it was too cold to swim. I didn't even take my thermal top off all day. It was be a great swimming spot in summer.
The way back was slower than the way up. Getting down the rocks was more difficult and the easiest and safest way was to go down on your bottom. I jumped down onto one rock, my feet slipped and I ended up on my knees. A few others slipped on rocks and got wet feet in the creek. This would be a very dangerous walk after or during rain with slippery wet rocks to negotiate.
We walked by the side of the creek where possible, but had to beware of Gympie stinging trees, stinging bushes wait awhile and lantana. I grabbed one bush and got stung on my fingers. I think it was some sort of stinging nettle. I must wear gloves or get some more stingose. I had some but it dried up. I do carry wart off to freeze ticks but we didn't get any ticks this trip.
There were a few different types of fungi and lichen on rotting logs by the creek, gorgeous swimming holes and cascades. A young man was playing a didgeridoo at the main Cedar Creek swimming hole, and the beautiful haunting music was perfect in that environment.
We met up with the fast group waiting at the cars. We then all went for coffee at the bakery in Samford before heading home. It was a great day, but I used muscles I hadn't used for a long time and was stiff for days after I got home. When I used to rock hop in North Queensland, I was a lot younger, fitter and more agile than I am now. I was also more confident leaping across rocks, but I'm sure I will get my confidence back. It is very important to have good boots with grip. I found my walking pole helped a lot too.