Coming down off the Gillies Range Road from the Tablelands often leaves drivers feeling a bit fatigued. The Little Mulgrave River is a good stopping spot for a smoko break, right off the Gillies Road.
There are some BBQs which are unusable due to being used as rubbish bins at the time of writing this. No toilet facilities are available, and we did not see a rubbish bin anywhere which may explain the volumes of garbage left at this otherwise beautiful spot.
Little Mulgrave is also a favourite swimming spot for families with little ones. The river is quite shallow along the sandy banks. Toddlers will enjoy splashing around in the water and parents won't have to worry about slippery rocks as the bottom of the river is mostly sand.
As with all swimming spots in Far North Queensland, it is best to be cautious of crocodiles. The Little Mulgrave River is connected to the Mulgrave River and is not that far away from another popular swimming spot - Ross and Locke - which has crocodile warning signs up. Little Mulgrave however, is fairly shallow and has good visibility in both directions so it is easy to keep an eye out. Being alert is always smart.
Unfortunately, there is a drawback to what would otherwise be a perfect picnic, rest area, and swimming spot. There is a ridiculous amount of rubbish there, as if everyone thinks it is okay to dump all their trash out of their cars. The broken BBQs seem to be always stuffed with rubbish, and worse, there has been rubbish stuffed into trees and just left on the ground.
There are two shaded rest areas, one is off the highway, right next to the pub. This one is recommended if you are going there with little ones as the incline to the water is sandy and gradual.
The other side of the river can be accessed by turning off onto the Little Mulgrave Road, and then turning off again into the large shady picnic area. This area boasts many hollow trees and access to the water is a bit harder with tree roots along the banks.
Next time you travel the Gillies Range Road, take five at Little Mulgrave to splash your face. The running water of the river is always cold and refreshing, but please bring plastic bags with you. Picking up rubbish to take away with you is a way in which you can contribute back to the area and keep it lovely.