Dalrymple Gap walking track
- Journey type
- 10km one way A path where the start point is different to the finish point
- Time suggested
- Allow 6hrs
- Difficult (walk)
- Conventional vehicle
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.
- Read more about the nature, culture and history of the track.
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 (2km)
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 (200m)
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 (1km)
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 (5km)
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 (2km)
As you leave the rainforest-lined creek the track winds through dry eucalypt forest before reaching the carpark.
Getting there and getting around
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.
Before you visit
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.