Another reason why we love couchsurfing so much? Besides meeting new people, we get new ideas for travel. Our newest couchsurfing guest was up for a camping trip so we decided to explore more of Far North Queensland besides just living in Cairns. Road tripping, we impulsively decided to stop at Granite Gorge Nature Park to see some rock wallabies up close.
Rock wallabies LOVE living in areas with gigantic boulders. They need quick hideaways to escape from predators and they live in large numbers, wild, at Granite Gorge. The folks here have taken to feeding them pellets, which we were not 100% sure were good for them, but hey-when in Rome….
Volcanic activity has created these enormous boulders that stretch out for at least a mile in all directions. Some boulders look like shapes of animals. We were given a map and it seemed easy enough to follow one of the trails and do a loop around the park.
You can’t really get lost with a map right? Wrong! I’m taking pictures of this:
And instead of reading the map and leading the way, Mike was doing lots of this:
And somehow, some of the boulders were not so easy to climb across. Maybe because we were not going the right way, but I admit I turned into a bit of a chicken and Mike had to coax me across each and every one.
We had split up from our friend Katie and we had no cell phone service. With no one else around, we kept going in the general direction of where we knew the path had to go, without really knowing if were were going the right way. There were no rock wallabies in sight to show us the way. There are white markings along most of the boulders but I can see how not paying attention could have you end up a bit spastic and going in circles. Some of the white markings really had us confused.
Finally stumbling back into cell phone coverage area, we got a call from Katie asking what was taking us so long. We’d been beaten back! About half an hour later we climbed over the last ridge and were back among these guys:
Lesson learned? If you take one of the hikes along the Gorge, make sure you keep a rock wallaby close by in case you get lost. You might be able to bribe them with food to show you the way back!
The Granite Gorge Nature Park is easily a day trip away from Cairns. Just 12k west of Mareeba, its easy to find and the wallabies are fun and photogenic. The walking trail was challenging, the scenery was other worldly. Something different as is the case with the the many diverse areas in Australia.
There is a $7.50 adult entrance fee which goes to keeping the park clean. Check their website for more rates and directions. You can also rent a cabin here, or pitch your tent in the camping area. Granite Creek is nice for swimming so bring a swimsuit and a towel. We were there just before summer so the creek was still a bit cold for us. (Chickens!)
Note: We were given free wallaby food but if you did not want to purchase some, you could bring some rolled oats to feed the wallabies. All opinions expressed are our own.