Paluma Rainforest Village
Village in the Clouds
The Mt Spec section of the Paluma Range National Park is the southern gateway to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The area was first settled by tin miners 130 years ago, but the scenic beauty that ensured its national park status remains unspoilt. Today, Paluma Range National Park and the mountaintop village of Paluma are popular retreats, unaffected by overdevelopment.
About 60 kilometres north of Townsville (40km south of Ingham), the historic Mt Spec Tourist Road leaves the Bruce Highway and turns inland towards the beautiful mountains of the Paluma Range. This scenic road was built mostly by hand during the 1930s Great Depression and is an enduring monument to human achievement.
Along the winding mountain road (not recommended for caravans) can be seen examples of the original stonework and ingenuity, the most striking of which is the popular and photogenic masonry arch bridge over Little Crystal Creek gorge. The stone bridge was built in 1932-33 and was the first of its kind in Queensland. Icy cold crystal clear water rushes down the gorge beneath the arch. The deep pools, huge granite boulders and lush rainforest vegetation make Little Crystal Creek the best swimming hole in Townsville-Thuringowa and a popular stopover on the drive up to the village of Paluma.
Picnic, BBQ and toilet facilities are available both at Little Crystal Creek and in Paluma. Walking tracks, some providing stunning coastal views, wind through the rainforest surrounding Paluma. Camping is available at Lake Paluma west of the village, while self-contained cottages, motel and B & B accommodation is available in the village itself.
As you drive west from Paluma, you will notice magnificent stands of eucalypts gradually replacing the rainforest. The ecotone shares a boundary with the national park and contains habitat types and species of animals that are now considered uncommon. Following the purchase of adjacent pastoral properties 'Mt Zero' and 'Taravale' Stations by the private conservation organisation, Australian Wildlife Conservancy, these species are now better protected.
As the elevation drops down into Hidden Valley, the climate becomes warmer and much drier, with the vegetation changing yet again into that traditionally regarded as the Australian 'bush'. On the way to Hidden Valley, the road surface changes to formed gravel. The road into Lake Paluma is also formed gravel.
For information on road conditions, contact Paluma Rainforest Cottages on 4770 8520. For information on the road into Lake Paluma, contact NQ Water on 47708526 or 4770 8510.