Today I want to tell you about a favourite place of mine to visit. Emerald Creek is about a 30-minute drive from Mareeba in Far North Queensland. It is probably one of the places that my family have revisited the most since moving up there.
Even getting to the carpark is an adventure involving red dirt roads and lots of bumps and hills. (I wouldn’t try to tackle it with a caravan or trailer, but most cars should be able to get there without too much difficulty, although lots of rain may make it a bit difficult.) The carpark is right next to the river and you can stop there and enjoy the water, but we tend to prefer to go toward the top of the falls. There is a walk that goes to a lookout at the top of the falls that is about 15 – 20 minutes to the top. There are a few flights of stairs, but nothing too difficult. The view from the lookout at the top is lovely, but my favourite place to swim (and the go-to place for many locals and tourists) is at the foot of the falls.
Since we first visited almost 10 years ago the track to the base of the falls has become even more popular. What I first remember as a small path that was mostly used by locals to reach the falls has become more and more travelled over the years, to the point that a few footbridges have been added in areas to make it safer and more accessible. From the carpark you follow the track about two-thirds of the way and then you turn off to the left. If you are looking out for it you should be able to see signs that indicate the path, along with arrows painted on the rock to confirm that you are going the right way. It is a probably a 5-minute walk once you turn off the main track to actually get to the base of the falls.
As I mentioned, there have been a few footbridges installed once you reach the rocks because it can get quite slippery. If you decide to tackle this adventure, I would advise you to be very careful with your foot placement, particularly if it is raining as it is very easy to lose your footing. But it is well-worth the trek.
The waterfall descends into a large pool that is great for swimming. There is a nice mixture of shallow and deep water, with a few rocks in the middle of the pool to sit on. There is even a rope swing and you can go swim (or scramble) behind the waterfall. For those that don’t want to swim there are plenty of rocks to stretch out on and enjoy the sun, or for those like myself that enjoy rock scrambling, there is plenty to explore.
One of the things that I love about Far North Queensland is that you can swim year-round! Even though the water in winter can be quite chilly, I still enjoy a refreshing dip occasionally. Of course, it may be too cold for some people, but even for those that don’t want to swim it is still such a beautiful area to walk in and there is plenty to see!