Friday, 8 May 2015

Alligator Creek

Last weekend was the last weekend I had with my husband before he went off on a long course with work (he left this morning). He’ll be 2 or 3 days’ drive away for this course, so there’s no way for me to visit him while he’s away.

Adam had a bunch of stuff to get organised ready for his time away, so while we wanted to make the most of the weekend we also had to do something that didn’t take up the whole time. This meant staying local, and we are very fortunate here in North Queensland that there is plenty to see and do!

What we chose to do was make a visit to Alligator Creek, a little place within Bowling Green Bay National Park, and a mere 20 minute drive from where we live. According to the website, “Rugged mountains rise abruptly from the wetlands, saltpans and mangrove forests of the coastal plain. Alligator Creek descends in a series of cascades, deep pools and waterfalls.”

The Park is pretty big though, 57,900 hectares, and is divided into three sections, so of course we didn’t see all of these features. We didn’t even see the waterfalls, which are a fair walk away from the car park and are best tackled in slightly cooler weather. What we did see though, is the swimming hole near the car park and camping area at Alligator Creek.

The last time we came here, this area was chock full of people, and we just walked on by to go for a bit of a hike until we got too hot. On this occasion however, we had the place almost to ourselves!

We followed the path from the car park towards the water side.

This way soon turned into a boardwalk for safe and easy access, if you had a pushchair or mobility issue, or simply lots of stuff to carry!

We enjoyed the shade of the trees and plants, making it nice and (relatively) cool. I love these huge jungle-ferny plants – I must find out what they are actually called!

This is the swimming spot we were after – the sun was really bright, and I has bleached out the colour a bit in these photos. Those rocks were actually really orangey-yellow, very Australian!

These fish made me laugh, with their mouths sticking up out of the water :)

We set up on some nice, smooth rocks. We didn’t have much with us, just our towels and some water, so it was nice and simple :)

We admired the quiet and beauty of the spot for a while, the warmth of the sun being all the more enjoyable for knowing we could cool off in the water.

Then in we jumped!! The water was cool but not cold, and felt gently warm once you got used to it. It was pretty clear for fresh water, although it doesn’t stay that way as the water levels drop during the dry season, and therefore pools and becomes stagnant. I’m hoping we’ll get another chance to visit before the water goes bad though, as I’d love to explore some of the other pools heading upstream – it would be great to take your stuff in a drybag and see how far upstream you could get :)

We enjoyed our little area though, swimming with the fishes.

It’s funny, in the UK this would have been called ‘wild swimming’ – in fact I mentioned wild swimming in a previous post. You can buy books to recommend good wild swimming spots, and even join wild swimming clubs or communities. Apparently Australians find that all quite strange – heading to a ‘swimming hole’ for a cool off during hot weather is pretty common for lots of people, so they just call it ‘swimming’…

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