Goldfield trail, Wooroonooran National Park Tropical North Queensland

Lush rainforest, creek crossings, king ferns, and the Mulgrave River are features of the Goldfield trail. Photos: Queensland Government

Walking

    Boulder-strewn Mulgrave River. Photo: WTMA.

    Boulder-strewn Mulgrave River. Photo: WTMA.

    Walk features

    The Goldfield trail allows visitors to experience the beauty and diversity of Wooroonooran National Park. The trail links The Boulders Scenic Reserve and Goldsborough Valley day-use and camping area and travels through a lush tropical rainforest with refreshing creek crossings.

    Originally the trail was a rough track from the coast over a saddle in the Bellenden Ker Range. Prospectors created the track in the 1930s, eager to reach the north-west slopes of Bartle Frere in search of gold. Although the trail fell into disuse when the goldfield failed to live up to its promise, the trail was re-opened in 1986 as an international volunteer project and is now popular with visitors.

    The north-west half of the trail follows the banks of the East Mulgrave River along an old logging track, through stands of trees and sections of high grass.

    Read more about the nature, culture and history of the trail.

    Walking

    Goldfield trail (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 19 km one way

    Time: Allow about 7–9 hrs walking time

    Details: At The Boulders Scenic Reserve the trail starts beyond the children’s play area, near the toilets. Take the right-hand path at the Y junction and cross the wooden bridge. The trail follows Babinda Creek upstream and after 1 km enters Wooroonooran National Park. The trail leaves the main creek edge but continues along flat ground, crossing several smaller creeks. This section was partly logged before being declared Bellenden Ker National Park in 1921. The park name was changed to Wooroonooran National Park in 1994.

    After about 3 km the trail rejoins the creek and starts to climb steadily for the next kilometre or so. There are no grand views from this trail but about 4 km from the start the first of many glimpses of the high Bellenden Ker Range can be seen through the trees. At about 4.5 km there is a fairly large creek lined with king ferns. Walkers wanting to do a shorter 4–5 hr return walk should turn back here (see map).

    After crossing the creek the trail becomes slightly wetter with more king ferns. Red-bellied black snakes are reasonably common, sunning themselves in patches of sunlight. These are venomous snakes and should be avoided. At about 5.5 km the trail crosses another picturesque creek with mossy boulders and large king ferns. Take a break and listen for the calls of rainforest birds: the raucous screams of sulphur-crested cockatoos or the chatter of smaller bush birds like scrubwrens and thornbills. Look for Australian brush-turkeys turning over leaf litter on the forest floor.

    From this creek the trail climbs steeply but beyond 6 km it becomes undulating, with more views of Bellenden Ker Range. The ground is quite rough and care should be taken, especially after wet weather. After some fairly steep climbs and descents visitors may hear the roar of the East Mulgrave Falls, about 2 km away.

    After about 8 km the trail follows a ridge with valleys dropping away to the left. Some very steep descents eventually bring walkers to flatter ground and a series of creek crossings. Beyond the 9 km mark there is a wide creek crossing and the forest opens out. Follow the trail for a further 2 km to reach the causeway over the East Mulgrave River. Not far beyond this it joins the Mulgrave River.

    The clear, deep pools of the river are a refreshing sight. Although there are no facilities, camping is permitted but permits must be booked in advance. Please note that after heavy rain it may be impossible to wade across the East Mulgrave River causeway.

    From the causeway the trail follows a wide, former logging track along the banks of the Mulgrave River, crossing numerous creeks. Rainforest, with some picturesque strangler figs, arches over much of the trail with abundant native gingers at ground level. After 15 km the trail crosses an area of high grass with views of Kearneys Falls to the right. Another 4 km brings walkers to the Goldsborough Valley camping area and the end of the trail.

    The trail may also be walked in the other direction, starting from the Goldsborough Valley camping area and finishing at The Boulders Scenic Reserve.

    Read more about the nature, culture and history of the trail.