Litchfield National Park – Buley Rockhole, Florence Falls, the Lost City and Tolmer Falls

Sunday, Aug 16, 2009 at 00:00


Buley Rockhole was described by another camper as being like water flowing down through a series of champagne glasses.

Buley Rockhole on the Florence Creek are very popular and with a small car park, we started early in the day. A pretty series of cascades and pools tumble down and continue over some distance. Although the morning air was still cool, I swam in the largest and top most of the pools, which was quite deep. There was such a force of water entering the pool from beyond a fence that I was unable to stay in the foaming bubbles below it due to the flow of the water. We walked some way as the cascades continued on down the creek, lessening in size further downstream. There is a small campground on site with minimal amenities.

For those taking the three kilometre walk between Florence Creek and Buley Rockhole, it is recommended to start at the Florence Creek end due to lack of parking space at Buley Rockhole. This walk is linked to the 39 kilometre Tabletop walk trail.

We took the easy way and drove to Florence Falls. There are two campgrounds for Florence Falls; with one specifying suitable for four wheel drive only with minimal facilities and close to Florence Creek, with other suitable for two wheel drive access and cold showers provided. There is also a small campground at Buley Rockhole with minimal amenities.

The viewing platform looking down onto the dual streams of Florence Falls was crowded as the tour coaches had just arrived. A series of 160 steps goes down to the plunge pool where the two streams tumble into the green plunge pool.

We returned via the one kilometre Shady Creek walk which is an easy pathway along the creek line, through at first monsoon forest, then through open woodland as we headed away from the creek and back to the car park.

A slow and winding 10.5 kilometre four wheel drive track brought us to the eroded sandstone pillars known as the Lost City. This drive takes around half an hour one way, if you don’t meet too many oncoming vehicles as this means pulling off the narrow track. We were less than a kilometre away from Blyth Homestead by direct line, and an access track once linking the two features has been completely closed; however due to the terrain, this was not a direct route.

This dry area was a great contrast to the waterfalls, creeks and forests. Some pillars looked like giant Easter Island statues. We spend a while walking around these towing formations and found it well and truly justified the slow drive in.

Easily accessible and close to the main road through the park is Tabletop Swamp. It was a surprise to see this swamp at the top of a plateau. It is a small depression filled with reeds and surrounded by paperbark trees. It is a haven for birds, and a number of reptiles can be found. Although the swamp has been known to dry up, there was still water for our visit.

Tolmer Falls is a little further south west of the swamp, and a wheel chair accessible path goes to a viewing platform overlooking the deep drop at Tolmer Falls. There was not a lot of water coming over, but it is a steep drop down. Above the falls, the creek comes through a large arch. Rare bats breed in caverns in the cliff face under the falls. To protect their environment, there is no access permitted below the falls.

A 1.5 kilometres continuing walk passes the creek at the top of the falls where swimming is not permitted due to safety issues, with the exception of tour groups with permitted tour operators. This trail continues on through dry woodlands in which the pale leafed cycad, Cycas Calcicola, was again prevalent.

This concluded our three days touring Litchfield National Park. Most places are easy access for all vehicles, and it is well worth the trip.

Read more detail about this trip and see all the photos in our 2009 Travelogues

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