Tracks & Trails

Finch Hatton Gorge
Tracks & Trails | bushwalking | hiking | waterfalls | Mackay and Whitsunday | Queensland

Finch Hatton Gorge

Eungella National Park

by Susie Baber  |  6 September 2022

Eungella National Park sits high above the surrounding plains and is one of Queensland’s most ecologically diverse parks. It is one of the best places in Qld to see platypus and is also home to the beautiful Finch Hatton Gorge.

Access to Finch Hatton Gorge can be a challenge at times. The Gorge Road is unsealed for about 3km, but during the dry season a 2WD car should get you there without any problems. If there has been a lot of rain and you don’t have a 4WD you might have some problems with the creek crossings along the way.

The road ends abruptly with a small carpark and picnic area. I am glad we didn’t bring the van with us as turning around would have been quite a task. From here there are two stunning waterfall swimming areas that you can enjoy. Both walks start along the same track.

Araluen Cascades

2.8km return | Moderate

Setting off along the track there are toilets on your left – these are the only ones you will see so make use of them if you need to. The track is well formed and easy to follow, weaving through sub-tropical rainforest and huge volcanic boulders. A steady but not steep climb for about 1km before you get to a T-junction, turning left will take you down to Araluen Cascades where you can sun yourself on the rocks and swim to cool off. This water hole is the easier of the two to access and therefor more popular. If you are after something even more impressive take the turn to the right and head up to the Wheel of fire.

Wheel of Fire

4.2km return | Moderate/Difficult

Wheel of Fire Falls are not an ominous as the name implies and are actually named for one of Australia’s most beautiful rainforest trees, the Wheel of Fire tree, which has striking red wheel shaped flowers.

The first kilometre of this walk follows the same trail as Araluen Cascades, but when you get to the T-junction turn right instead of left. The track is well defined and easy to follow, although a little narrower than it has been up to now. The biggest challenge is Callistemon Crossing. The creek is fast flowing and the depth can vary depending on weather conditions. When we visited there were enough exposed rocks for us to perform a careful balancing act as we leapt from rock to rock, but you wouldn’t want to have the water rise to much or you could be stuck on the other side. Other walkers weren’t able to manage the crossing and had to turn back. (Thank goodness for all the creek crossing practise we had at Canarvon Gorge)

From here the track climbs steadily up the gorge following Finch Hatton Creek. There are a series of cascades as you go upstream, flowing smoothly from one to the next. The track is steep in places with dirt, mud, lots of stone steps and a few patches of boardwalk, but the difficulty of the walk is overshadowed by the beauty of the gorge.

At the end of the walking track is a fabulous emerald green swimming hole surrounded by water worn boulders and lush rainforest. There are also many warning signs about the danger of changing water conditions and climbing on slippery rocks.

Although you can hear it you, can’t actually see the Wheel of Fire waterfall from the end of the walking track. It is tucked away around a corner and without a drone it is a little hard to get a look at. Only by climbing on some very slippery rocks (not advised) or taking a dip in the refreshingly cool water can you get a glimpse of the spectacular fall zigzagging down the rock face.

Walking to both swimming holes is about 5km and is one of the most beautiful walks we did on our Queensland trip. If I had known more about this spectacular gorge I would have taken my swimmers, towel and a picnic lunch so I could spend more time.

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