One discovery that I have made in the last few years as I have started exploring more of Australia is that apparently we are very unoriginal when it comes to naming things, particularly rivers and creeks. I can’t count the number of times that I have driven past a creek with a sign declaring its name as ‘Mosquito Creek’ or ‘Shady River’ – creative right? People just name it the first thing they see – ‘Rocky Creek’ or ‘Sandy River’.
One such creek name that I have seen over and over is ‘Stony Creek’. There is one in Cairns that I have visited multiple times and then as I was driving from Cairns to Sydney in January, we visited another one near Yeppoon in Queensland. We were looking for somewhere that we could stop for a swim and after some online research we discovered Stony Creek in the Byfield National Park. It was a bit of a drive to get there and we were very grateful for the directions provided online by people that had been there before us. It was very helpful knowing when to turn off the main road and to expect bumpy driving on a dirt road. They were doing road works on the dirt road as we arrived and at one point we weren’t even sure if we would be able to reach the creek. But we got through and it wasn’t long before we arrived.
There were plenty of people in the camping area and many others just enjoying the creek for the day. Instead of staying at the creek area next to the parking lot (which was bigger and probably deeper than many of the accessible swimming spots), we decided to walk along the Venusta Circuit, which is a short 1km walk along the creek. There are various swimming spots along the way that are smaller than the main one, but they are also much quieter, or at least that was our experience. We kept walking to the end of the track and went for a dip in the creek there – the water was actually much warmer than I was expecting and it was a very beautiful in the late afternoon light. We didn’t encounter anyone the whole time from the start of the walk to when we returned – we had the whole place to ourselves! We enjoyed swimming for a while and then made our way back to the car to continue driving.
I would love to go back and spend some time camping there, it is such a beautiful area that is far enough from civilisation that it feels like a retreat. It would be a great place for a weekend away, where you can just unplug and enjoy a bit of a break. But even if you don’t have a full weekend, it is well worth a visit even just for an afternoon.