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About Davies Creek and Dinden

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Getting there and getting around

Clohesy River Road. Photo: Julie Dutoit, NPRSR.

Clohesy River Road. Photo: Julie Dutoit, NPRSR.

Davies Creek and Dinden national parks are on the Atherton Tableland. From Cairns, travel towards Kuranda via the Kennedy Highway. After passing the Kuranda turn-off, travel a further 21 km before turning left on to Davies Creek Road. This gravel road is corrugated and unsuitable for caravans.

Maps:

Davies Creek National Park

Follow Davies Creek Road for 6.2 km to reach Lower Davies Creek camping area. Davies Creek Falls circuit track is 2 km beyond the camping area. For most of the year this section of road is accessible to conventional vehicles.

Dinden National Park

Upper Davies Creek camping area is on Davies Creek, 10 km along Davies Creek Road—3.8 km past Lower Davies Creek camping area. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended for access to the camping area.

Between camp sites 3 and 4 is the start of the Turtle Rock circuit trail. Continue driving along Davies Creek Road, past the camping area, to reach the start of the Kahlpahlim Rock (Lambs Head) trail.

Also within Dinden National Park, enjoy the scenic drive along Clohesy River Road and walk the Clohesy River fig tree boardwalk. Clohesy River Road is accessed from the Kennedy Highway (9 km north of the intersection with Davies Creek Road or 10 km south of Kuranda). Access is only by four-wheel-drive vehicles and the creek crossings may be impassable after rain. All vehicles must be road registered.

Roads within Davies Creek and Dinden national parks may be closed in the wet season (December to April) due to flooding or after heavy rain for maintenance. Visit the Bureau of Meteorology for updated weather reports.

Wheelchair accessibility

The toilets at the Lower Davies Creek camping area are wheelchair-accessible as is the Clohesy River fig tree boardwalk in Dinden National Park.

Park features

Davies Creek National Park provides habitat for the endangered northern bettong. Photo: NPRSR.

Davies Creek National Park provides habitat for the endangered northern bettong. Photo: NPRSR.

Davies Creek Falls, a magnificent waterfall cascading over huge granite boulders, and the impressive Clohesy River fig tree are major features of these national parks.

Dinden National Park straddles the Lamb Range—the string of mountains behind Cairns. Rainforest cloaks the wetter eastern side of the range where Lake Morris, the main water reservoir for Cairns, is situated. Eucalypt woodland occupies the drier rain-shadowed areas on the western slopes. Between these two contrasting vegetation types runs a strip of a rare forest type known as wet sclerophyll.

A number of birds, such as the eastern yellow robin, the white-cheeked honeyeater and white-naped honeyeater, are residents of the wet sclerophyll forest of these two national parks. Endangered northern bettongs are also found in Davies Creek National Park and parts of Dinden National Park. These rat-kangaroos, smaller than a rabbit, are found in very limited areas of North Queensland and these parks have their main population. Researchers recently discovered southern brown bandicoots in Davies Creek National Park—a long way from the nearest known population on Cape York Peninsula.

Camping and accommodation

Fireplaces and picnic tables at Davies Creek campground. Photo: Julie Dutoit, NPRSR.

Fireplaces and picnic tables at Davies Creek campground. Photo: Julie Dutoit, NPRSR.

Camping

Camping is available at Lower Davies Creek camping area in Davies Creek National Park and further along Davies Creek Road at Upper Davies Creek camping area in Dinden National Park. Both are e-permit camping areas and all sites must be booked in advance.

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Cairns, Mareeba, Kuranda and Atherton. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Valley views from the Davies Creek Falls circuit track. Courtesy of Julie Dutoit.

Valley views from the Davies Creek Falls circuit track. Courtesy of Julie Dutoit.

Davies Creek Falls. Courtesy of Julie Dutoit.

Davies Creek Falls. Courtesy of Julie Dutoit.

Clohesy River fig tree boardwalk. Photo: Julie Dutoit, NPRSR.

Clohesy River fig tree boardwalk. Photo: Julie Dutoit, NPRSR.

Walking

There is a range of walking tracks in Davies Creek and Dinden national parks from short and easy through to the difficult 12.3 km Kahlpahlim Rock circuit walk.

Maps:

Davies Creek National Park walks

Davies Creek Falls circuit track (Grade: easy)

Distance: 1.1km return

Time: 20 mins

Details: This circuit track begins in the car park, 2 km beyond Lower Davies Creek camping area. The marked trail leads to two lookouts. One provides a view back along the valley while the other overlooks Davies Creek Falls as it plunges 75 m into the valley below. Please enjoy the views from the lookouts but remain behind the barriers at all times—deaths have occurred at this site.

From the lookout, the track continues alongside a tranquil section of the creek lined with paperbark trees, pandanus and banksias. The track then leads to a sandy creek-side picnic and swimming area, where platypus may be seen, and returns to the car park up a slope dotted with grass trees.

Dinden National Park walks

Turtle Rock circuit trail (Grade: difficult)

Distance: 8 km return

Time: 3–4 hrs

Details: This is a difficult trail that should only be undertaken by fit and experienced walkers. It is best to start the walk early in the cool of the day. Never walk alone. Carry plenty of water and inform a reliable person of your plans.

This trail starts near the toilet block between camp sites 3 and 4 in Upper Davies Creek camping area. It travels through open eucalypt forest scattered with grass trees before climbing a ridge. The track becomes quite rough and steep with loose gravel in the final climb to the 936 m summit. At the summit there are impressive boulders and spectacular views in all directions. The trail continues over the summit and descends via a different ridge, reaching and crossing Davies Creek between camp sites 5 and 6. This section of the walk is marked by orange markers on trees. A short walk along Davies Creek Road takes you back to where you started.

Kahlpahlim Rock circuit (Kahlpahlim Rock and Ridge trails)

At around 1300 m above sea level, Kahlpahlim Rock is the highest point on the Lamb Range. The sheer size of the rock and the views over the Davies Creek catchment are impressive. Two steep but beautiful trails (Kahlpahlim Rock and Ridge trails) lead to the granite boulders of Kahlpahlim Rock. They converge near the top allowing hikers to walk the track as a circuit.

These trails are well marked with orange trail markers but are difficult and should only be undertaken by fit and experienced walkers. Start the walk early, to take advantage of the cooler temperatures and allow time to return. It is not advisable to start the walk when the top of the mountain is covered in cloud or after wet weather. The best time to visit is in the drier months between September and November.

Access to the trail heads is seasonal and four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended. Carry at least 2–3 L of drinking water per person—water is not available along the trails. Inform a reliable person of your plans.

Ridge trail (Grade: difficult)

Distance: 9.2km return

Time: 5 hrs 

Details: The Ridge trail starts 11 km along Davies Creek Road (1 km beyond the turn-off to Upper Davies Creek camping area camp sites 5 and 6). It travels through open forest featuring tall rose gum, turpentine and casuarina trees. This trail has a steep incline and passes through open, partly shady country. After 3.6 km take the left-hand trail at the junction and walk 1 km to the enormous granite boulders of Kahlpahlim Rock. For your safety do not venture past the boulders.

Kahlpahlim Rock trail (Grade: difficult)

Distance: 10.8km return

Time: 6 hrs

Details: The Kahlpahlim Rock trail starts 13.3 km along Davies Creek Road (2.3 km beyond the start of the Ridge trail). The trail ascends steeply along a former logging track before passing through rainforest, featuring magnificent blue kauri pine trees, and crossing two small creeks. Listen for calls of tooth-billed bowerbirds that loudly mimic the songs of other birds. After leaving the rainforest, the trail travels steeply through dry forest of casuarina and banksia trees before coming to a junction 4.4 km along the trail. Walk 1 km along the right-hand trail to reach the enormous granite boulders of Kahlpahlim Rock. For your safety do not venture past the boulders.

Kahlpahlim Rock circuit (Grade: difficult)

Distance: 12.3km return

Time: 6–7 hrs

Details: This track can be walked as a circuit starting at either trail head described above. A 2.3 km walk along Davies Creek Road returns to your vehicle. The Kahlpahlim Rock trail is quite steep but is shaded for much of the way. The Ridge trail offers a more manageable incline, but passes through open, less shady country.

Clohesy River fig tree boardwalk (Grade: easy)

Distance: 300m return

Time: 20 mins 

Details: This wheelchair-accessible boardwalk encircles the magnificent Clohsey River fig tree. Signs along the walk interpret the local rainforest environment.

This walk begins 9 km along Clohesy River Road via the Kennedy Highway (9 km north of the intersection with Davies Creek Road or 10 km south of Kuranda). Access is only possible by four-wheel-drive vehicles.

Guided tours and talks

Various commercial operators run tours to Davies Creek and Dinden national parks. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Driving

Explore the Shoteel Creek and Clohesy River valleys on a scenic drive along Clohesy River Road. This 33 km return drive is only suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles as it is an unsealed road with numerous river crossings. Explore the many clear flowing creeks, read about the history and geology of the area and visit the Clohesy River fig tree.

There is no access to Lake Morris or Cairns beyond the locked gates at the end of Clohesy River Road. Turn around in the signed clearing just before the gate as the road beyond is narrow with steep drop-offs.

There are two locked gates along Bridle Creek Road. Motorised vehicles (including trail bikes) are not allowed on this section of road.

Picnic and day-use areas

There is a picnic area 200 m before Lower Davies Creek camping area and another along the Davies Creek Falls circuit track, 2 km beyond Lower Davies Creek camping area. No facilities are provided and camping is not permitted in these areas.

Lower Davies Creek camping area also provides access to Davies Creek for day visitors. This shaded area beside the creek has picnic tables and wheelchair-accessible toilets. Day visitors should be considerate of campers and and not use the sites designated for camping

Mountain biking

Mountain bikes are allowed on Clohesy River, Bridle Creek and Davies Creek roads, but not on any of the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service walking tracks or boardwalks.

Permits are not required to ride mountain bikes along Clohesy River Road. To ride through to Lake Morris a permit from the Cairns Regional Council is required to pass the locked gate. Contact Cairns Water.

There are two locked gates along Bridle Creek Road. Mountain bikes may pass through these gates but motorised vehicles (including trail bikes) are not allowed on this section of road.

Viewing wildlife

Davies Creek and Dinden national parks offer excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. See a number of plant and animal species, many with significant conservation status. Enjoy the colourful and aromatic wildflower displays in spring.

  • See the description of these parks' natural environment for more details about their diverse flora and fauna.

Other things to do

Swim in Davies Creek or relax on the granite boulders worn smooth by thousands of years of flowing water.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit, make sure you pack:

  • a first-aid kit
  • a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • gas or fuel stove
  • firewood (firewood must not be collected from the national park)
  • drinking water or a water treatment system
  • food storage containers
  • rubbish bags
  • insect repellent.

Opening hours

Davies Creek and Dinden national parks are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The parks are occasionally closed during wet weather or for other management purposes.

Permits and fees

Water reserve permits

Locked gates at the eastern end of Clohesy River Road prevent vehicle access to the Cairns Regional Council water reserve. To access the water reserve by mountain bike or on foot, a permit from Cairns Water is required.

Camping permits

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Special permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Davies Creek or Dinden national parks.

Climate and weather

Davies Creek and Dinden national parks are pleasant year-round; however, the drier, cooler months of May to November are the best time to visit. Davies Creek has cool rock pools to swim in or camp beside. Remember heavy rainfall can occur at any time. After rain the roads can be boggy and swimming in the creek can be dangerous due to the higher flow of water.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at Mareeba, Atherton and Kuranda. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

  • Stay behind the barriers at the Davies Falls lookout at all times—deaths have occurred at this site.
  • Be careful at creek crossings—water levels in the creeks can change rapidly and without warning.
  • Take care when walking near the creek—creek beds and rock surfaces can be slippery.
  • Stay clear of cliff edges and steep rock faces—serious injury or death may result from a fall.
  • Never jump or dive into the water—the creeks are shallow and there may be submerged objects.
  • Carry plenty of drinking water.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
  • Be prepared for cool weather in winter and at the top of Kahlpahlim Rock.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Fires are only allowed at the camp sites in Upper Davies Creek camping area (Dinden National Park) in the fireplaces provided. Firewood must not be collected from the parks. Bring a fuel stove for cooking.
  • Leave domestic animals at home—they are prohibited in national parks. This is especially important for the conservation of the endangered northern bettongs.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided. Do not bury rubbish—take it with you when you leave.
  • Stay on marked walking trails—this reduces the risk of injury, prevents disturbance to native vegetation and reduces erosion.
  • Horses, trail bikes and mountain bikes are prohibited on walking trails.
  • Camping is not allowed along walking trails.

Water quality

  • Protect water quality by not wearing insect repellents or sunscreen when swimming.
  • Wash at least 50 m from creeks and swimming holes. Use gritty sand and a scourer instead of soap to clean dishes; scatter wash water so that it filters through the soil before returning to the stream.
  • Avoid allowing soaps, detergents, toothpaste and cosmetics to come into contact with water sources.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting the environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

In 1971, the Davies Creek area was recognised for its outstanding recreational values and gazetted as national park. The gazettal of nearby Dinden National Park followed in late 2005.

Davies Creek and Dinden national parks are managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to provide, to the greatest possible extent, for the permanent preservation of the area's natural condition and the protection of the areas cultural resources and values.

Most of Dinden National Park is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and is managed in collaboration with the Wet Tropics Management Authority.

Tourism information links

Cairns and Tropical North Visitor Information Centre
www.cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au
51 The Esplanade, Cairns Qld 4870
phone: (07) 4051 3588
email: info@ttnq.org.au

Kuranda Visitor Information Centre
www.kuranda.org
Centenary Park, Kuranda Qld 4881
phone: (07) 4093 9311
email: info@kuranda.org

Mareeba Heritage Museum and Tourist Information Centre
www.mareebaheritagecentre.com.au
345 Byrnes Street, Mareeba Qld 4880
phone: (07) 4092 5674
email: info@mareebaheritagecentre.com.au

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see www.queenslandholidays.com.au.

Further information

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Last updated
13 September 2013