Bowling Green Bay National Park Townsville

Photo credit: © Qld Govt

Things to do

    A creek crossing along the Alligator Falls track. Photo: Jackie Chappell, Queensland Government.

    A creek crossing along the Alligator Falls track. Photo: Jackie Chappell, Queensland Government.

    Alligator Creek day-use area. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Alligator Creek day-use area. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    There are several options for camping in Bowling Green Bay National Park.

    There is one camping area with facilities, three camping areas with no facilities and opportunities for remote hiking and camping. All camping activities in the park require a permit and fees apply. Before setting up camp you will need to obtain a camping permit, which should be attached to your tent in a visible place. Rangers conduct regular patrols in all sections of the park. Please camp with minimum impact and take all rubbish with you when you leave.

    Other accommodation

    There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Townsville. For more information, see the tourism information links.

    Walking

    If you intend to embark on extensive hikes in remote areas remember to tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. Let them know your route and contact them on your return. Have a contingency plan if you fail to contact them by the agreed time. If you change your plans, inform them.

    Alligator Creek boardwalk (Mount Elliot)—200 m return (15 mins) Grade: easy

    A wheelchair-accessible boardwalk leads from the day-use area through riparian forest to the bank of Alligator Creek. Interpretive signs highlight some of the plants and animals in the area.

    Alligator Creek lookout (Mount Elliot)—1 km return (30 mins) Grade: easy

    Take your camera for a canopy-level view of the lower sections of Alligator Creek. Reach the lookout by walking 500 m directly from the car park along a sealed path, or use the steps from the swimming area.

    Cockatoo Creek track—3 km return (1.5 hrs) Grade: moderate

    Enjoy a walk through open woodland, climbing steadily to Cockatoo Creek. Lined with bottlebrush trees and filled with clear rockpools, this creek is ideal for a rest and a swim.

    Alligator Falls track (Mount Elliot)—17 km return (5–6 hrs) Grade: difficult

    The track to Alligator Falls starts from the southern end of the day-use area. The Alligator Creek lookout is located 500 m along the track (as described above). The track then continues on for another 2 km to Cockatoo Creek.

    From Cockatoo Creek the track meanders roughly parallel to the creek, following powerlines through open woodland forest to Hidden Valley. Across the creek the valley narrows, with Mount Elliot and Saddle Mountain framing the landscape. An open clearing features towering, old mango trees, one of the only reminders of the homestead that once stood there. After a further 2 km, the track arrives at a series of steps ascending through a rocky vine-thicket where some boulder-scrambling is required. The track then suddenly emerges at the falls. Access to and above the falls is not provided.

    On this track visitors must cross the creek on four occasions. These crossings vary in depth from ankle-deep to approximately waist-deep depending on the season and weather conditions.

    As the walk is long, visitors are advised to start walking in the morning to ensure a safe return during daylight hours. Carry water and wear sturdy footwear.

    Other extended bushwalking opportunities exist on Mount Elliot and Mount Cleveland for experienced walkers. See camping information for more details.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    At Alligator Creek, near the camping area, a spacious day-use area has picnic tables, a shelter shed, gas barbecues and toilets. The area caters for large groups. There is a smaller day-use area along the track to the lookout with a covered picnic table and a gas barbecue. Picnic tables are also located along the road leading to the camping area and main day-use area. Please remove your rubbish.

    Alligator Creek is a great place to visit but is also hazardous. Water levels can rise rapidly and care must be taken in and near the water because of slippery rocks and submerged objects. Heed all warning signs. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred here.

    Boating and fishing

    Marine waters adjacent to Bowling Green Bay National Park are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks—the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef—provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.

    Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

    Viewing wildlife

    Bowling Green Bay National Park offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. The diversity of landscape and vegetation supports a large and varied population of birds, including migrants such as the channel-billed cuckoo. Male scarlet honeyeaters make a colourful subject for keen photographers. Agile wallabies and allied rock-wallabies are common. At night, common brushtail possums can be spotted patrolling the area. If you are lucky you may even see a rufous bettong. Never feed any animals, including fish and turtles, as it can affect their health and alter the natural population balance. Ensure that your food is securely packed away out of animals' reach.

    Throughout much of the year the buzzing resonance of cicadas dominates the park. Their empty skins can be found on rough-barked trees.

    See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Bowling Green National Park's diverse wildlife.