- Getting there and getting around
- Park features
- Camping and accommodation
- Things to do
- Things to know before you go
- Staying safe
- Looking after the park
- Park management
- Tourism information links
- Further information
The Dalrymple Gap walking track can be accessed by conventional vehicle from both the northern and southern sides of the Cardwell Range.
Turn west off the Bruce Highway at the Dalrymple Gap walking track sign, 13 kilometres south of Cardwell near Damper Creek crossing. From here it is one kilometre on an unsealed road to the carpark.
The southern end of the track can be accessed via two routes from Ingham.
Travel nine kilometres west of Ingham to Trebonne, along Abergowrie Road. Continue on this road for another 18 kilometres before turning right into Elphinstone Pocket Road. After four kilometres turn left at the sign for Broadwater, Abergowrie State Forest.
Alternatively, travel two kilometres north of Ingham and turn left off the Bruce Highway at Hawkins Creek Road (just north of the Herbert River). Travel 26 kilometres along Hawkins Creek Road. Turn right at the sign for Broadwater, Abergowrie State Forest.
These routes converge just outside the state forest boundary. Travel for one kilometre before turning right where signposted for the Dalrymple Gap walking track. The carpark is a further four kilometres. The last five kilometres of road is unsealed, but can be accessed using a conventional vehicle.
Logging trucks use the access roads to Broadwater and the southern end of the Dalrymple Gap walking track. To reduce the risk of collision, a three kilometre section of the road between the Dalrymple Gap walking track and Broadwater has been designated for one-way traffic (east to west) only. Please use caution when travelling in this area and obey all signs. Sudden flooding during the wet season (December to April), or during or after times of heavy rain, can close access roads and the walking track. Contact the RACQ to enquire about local road conditions. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
The Dalrymple Gap walking track is not wheelchair accessible.
The Dalrymple Gap walking track allows visitors to experience some of the beauty and diversity of Girringun National Park. This track follows the route of a road built in the 1860s, that in turn roughly followed the route taken by Aboriginal people across the Cardwell Range. It meanders through open eucalypt forest and rainforest, and has numerous creek crossings. The cool, fresh rainforest air is a welcome relief after the steep climb up the Cardwell Range where huge strangler figs reach well above the forest.
Near the top of Dalrymple Gap, on the coastal side, is an historic brick-lined bridge. The bricks were brought from Scotland and the bridge has an interesting stone-pitched face. Drill holes and grooves in rocks along the edge of the track show where they were split to widen the track.
This track can be walked in either direction, and is best done as a one-way walk to allow time to enjoy the beauty of Dalrymple Creek and the historic features of the track.
- Read more about the nature, culture and history of the track.
Camping is not permitted along the Dalrymple Gap walking track. The nearest camping area is at Broadwater, Abergowrie State Forest, approximately 19 kilometres from the southern access point.
A range of accommodation, including hotels, campgrounds and caravan parks, can be found at Cardwell and Ingham. For more information see the tourism information links below.
Dalrymple Gap walking track. Photo: Queensland Government
A range of walking options are available on the Dalrymple Gap walking track. Day walks can be completed by arranging for a vehicle to meet you at the other end. Short walks, that return you to your car, are available at either end of the track. See the track notes for a more detailed description of the walk.
Dalrymple Gap walking track—10 kilometres one way (allow six hours) Grade: difficult
Follow the route of a road built in the 1860s, that in turn roughly followed the track taken by Aboriginal people across the Cardwell Range. The track can be walked in either direction, and is best done as a one-way walk to allow time to enjoy the beauty of Dalrymple Creek and the historic features of the track. You will need to arrange for a vehicle to meet you at the opposite end of the walk. Most walkers find it easier to start the walk from the south as it is a more gradual climb from this direction to the top of Dalrymple Gap.
The following notes are written from the northern end of the track. Reverse the notes if starting from the south.
Damper Creek to the stone-pitched bridge (two kilometres)
From the carpark, cross the rocky bed of Damper Creek and climb the slope to the stone-pitched bridge. Notice the change from open, sunlit woodland to the denser closed rainforest. Look where the banks were excavated to widen the road. For your safety, and to avoid eroding the bridge earthworks, please remain on the main track.
Stone-pitched bridge to palm grove (200 metres)
From the bridge, it is a five minute walk through rainforest to a gap in the range. As you walk down the steep slope, imagine how difficult it was for wagons to climb and descend. Further along the track you will see a grove of magnificent palms. There are four palm types—lawyer vine, Alexandra, solitaire and fan.
Palm grove to Dalrymple Creek grave (one kilometre)
Continue downhill and pass the old timber bridge with its huge logs and protruding bolts. These steep slopes were once a struggle for people and wagons going up and down the range. As you cross the clear, flowing waters of Dalrymple Creek, look to the left for a pile of stones, thought to be an old grave. Stories abound about its origin. Folklore has it that a mailman found some human bones in the creek in 1882 and buried them here.
Grave to final Dalrymple Creek crossing (five kilometres)
As you leave the grave, notice a large strangler fig on the bank to the right. The hollowed interior is all that remains of the original host tree. Remain on the track to avoid damaging the fig’s roots.
The track then crosses the creek several times. Here wagon creek-crossings, track excavations, bank cuttings, blasting drill holes and exotic fruit trees remain as evidence of past travellers. Notice the reduction in the height and density of the forest. A creek bank lined with flaky-barked, kanuka box trees (Tristaniopsis exiliflora) marks the last Dalrymple Creek crossing.
Dalrymple Creek crossing to carpark (two kilometres)
As you leave the rainforest-lined creek the track winds through dry eucalypt forest before reaching the carpark.
This walk starts at the southern end of the Dalrymple Gap walking track. The track winds through dry eucalyptus forest to the rainforest-lined Dalrymple Creek, before returning the same way.
Northern access short walk—4.4 kilometres return (allow 2.5 hours) Grade: moderate
This walk starts at the northern end of the Dalrymple Gap walking track. Take this steep track to the historic stone-pitched bridge near the top of Dalrymple Gap, before returning the same way.
- Read more about the nature, culture and history of the track.
The walking track meanders through a range of different vegetation types, all of which provide home for a range of animals. Residents include the coppery brushtail possum, Macleay's honeyeater, amethystine python, green ringtail possum and southern cassowary.
- See the description of the park's natural environment for more information.
Essentials to bring
No facilities are provided along the Dalrymple Gap walking track. Walkers must be completely self-sufficient. Remember to pack:
- a first-aid kit
- drinking water
- a sealable container for rubbish
- a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
- a trowel to bury all toilet waste.
The Dalrymple Gap walking track, Girringun National Park is generally accessible from May to October. During the wet season (December to April) the road into the park may be inaccessible. Contact the RACQ to enquire about local road conditions.
For your safety, walk in daylight hours only.
Permits and fees
Domestic animals are not permitted in Girringun National Park.
Climate and weather
Daytime temperatures and humidity can be high at any time of the year and nights can be very cool. Please carry suitable clothing to accommodate all extremes. July to October is generally the driest period and the best time to visit, but heavy rain can fall at any time. During times of heavy rainfall, especially in the wet season (December to April), access may become difficult to impossible. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at Ingham and Cardwell. For more information see the tourism information links below.
Walkers must be responsible for their own safety. Consider your ability and the track conditions carefully before setting out.
- This track is for fit and experienced walkers only.
- Carry adequate drinking water. Treat water collected from creeks.
- Dalrymple Creek floods after heavy rain. Never attempt to cross flooded creeks.
- Take care crossing riverbeds—the rocks can be slippery.
- Sunlight can fade quickly in a rainforest. Start early enough to complete the walk before dusk.
- Avoid stinging trees. These plants are found at rainforest edges and alongside the tracks. They grow to four metres high and have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Do not touch these plants as it will almost certainly result in a very painful sting. If stung, and symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
- Leeches are common along the track. Wear protective clothing and insect repellent for protection against stings, scratches and insect bites.
- Cassowaries live in some areas. Never approach or feed these animals and remember to be Cass-o-wary!
- Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
- Detour around snakes. Never provoke them.
- Inform someone of your itinerary including starting and finishing times.
- Stay on the walking track at all times.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Parks and forests protect Queensland's wonderful natural diversity and scenery. Help keep these places special by following these guidelines.
- Do not interfere with cultural sites.
- Domestic animals are not permitted in the national park—they disturb native wildlife.
- Never chase, scare or feed animals.
- Do not feed wildlife, including birds and fish—it is harmful to their health.
- Rubbish bins are not provided. Do not bury rubbish—take it with you when you leave. This includes cigarette butts, which do not decompose.
- Toilets are not provided. To guard against pollution and disease, bury human waste and toilet paper at least 15 centimetres deep and 100 metres from the carpark, walking tracks and any water bodies.
- Always stay on the walking track. Do not cut corners or create new tracks.
Remember that this is a national park—everything is protected.
See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.
The Dalrymple Gap walking track forms part of Girringun National Park, which was first gazetted as Lumholtz National Park in 1992. It was renamed Girringun National Park in 2005.
Girringun National Park is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, in collaboration with the Wet Tropics Management Authority, to conserve the areas natural, cultural and historic values.
A partnership between QPWS and the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, managed by Great Green Way Tourism Incorporated.
For information on road conditions contact:
RACQ (The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland)
ph 1300 130 595 for 24-hour road reports
For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.