Following the road to Wallaman Falls

We have always seen the sign when we are in Ingham (usually for medical appointments we can’t have in our own town) Wallaman Falls 49km and thought maybe we should go have a look at it.  I love waterfalls, especially when they are in flow.  Somehow we never quite have the time.  But this time is different.

Where do you want to go?

Cryptically I answer, ‘there’s a sign,’ directed us to the sign and then our journey begins.

The road to Wallaman Falls begins as 30 km of roads past (and almost through) the cane fields punctuated by cattle wandering the roads.  If you like seeing cows up close that’s a highlight.   This is followed by 19 km of winding road which has just been newly repaired.  Road work signs are a little bit off putting and we did hope we weren’t going to go up all that winding road and find it closed before we reached the waterfall.

The trees overhang the road the more the journey progresses until you know you are going into the heart of nature.  Shadows dart on the road from these overhangs and they and trees that cast them are very tempting to take photographs of, although it is not safe to stop except in two or three designated look out areas on the way back (so don’t forget to plan for this on the way back down that windy road or you’ll go straight pass those spots.)

There are hook signs, and the suggested speed limits are for 40 to 20 km around certain bends.  This is a good road for a skilled driver to tackle not a learner.  One can only imagine the intrepid builders and repairers of the road.

Our kids, ranging from 9 to 15, keep doing the obligatory ‘are we there yet?’ ‘what is the time’ chant as we set out on our windy upward part of the journey.  Youngest becomes a little excited as the road thins and winds higher and higher.  Eldest skeptically says, ‘why would you drive into the middle of nowhere, what is the point’ and ‘well there’s a waterfall, ’ are not convincing to him at this stage.

Some of the 19km windy road is unsealed, but at the beginning and end of  the unsealed road, the road is bitumen.  We surmise, as a family, that this is because the mud at the end of the road is being kept from the car park by a nice clean road when people end their journey.

Arriving at our waterfall trip – the waterfall does not disappoint.  Gasps from even my eldest and we know we have a winner for a family day trip.  My eldest asks for my camera to take photographs of his own, whereas usually he tends to avoid the camera behind and in front of. We share the camera between me, hubby and my eldest.  I am a bit wary of the height, but then I am a bit sensitive to heights.   There are railings and it is perfectly safe as long as you stay on the path.

Curious young children do need supervision as it’s a long way to the bottom of that waterfall, but it is breathtaking and they will always remember seeing it.

‘Just imagine Niagra — if this is so great,’ says my newly enthused teenager son.  A few more visitors turn up whilst we are there, and like us feel it has been well worth the trip.  They live in Townsville and have never seen the falls before.

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We take a short walk to one of the look outs – to admire the areas around us.  A few more photographs and then it’s time to head out.  For practical parents there is a picnic area and toilets so definitely use them before heading off down that hill as you won’t be stopping until you are back in Ingham.

Returning down that long windy hill we stop twice more for views.  It is worth those stops and helpful the road engineers and designers have put these in with photography in mind.

When we refuel for our trip home we mention the trip to the falls to the petrol station owners.  ‘Only been there once, in all my time here, hate the road’ says one, and another says ‘we used to be able to swim up there, but they changed it all, occupational health and safety.’   They ask how our cyclone ravaged town has been going, and it turns into quite a chat.

We comment that we haven’t yet been to Dunk, ‘But we’ve been twice,’ they laugh.  It seems quite common that people go to more distant tourist sites than what is around the corner.  This is something to change I think.

I for one though am glad that we took the beaten road and headed up to the falls.  So are my kids, my eldest even comments ‘it was like something out of Lord of the Rings.’ There are no complaints on the way home; they even let me indulge in a sunset stop to take the sun setting over the cane as we left Ingham.  This has been a special family day.

(c) June Perkins

7 thoughts on “Following the road to Wallaman Falls

  1. I enjoyed this piece of writing June. You have really captured the flavour of a family outing in the bush in Oz

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  2. I got a little tense reading about the road but thoroughly enjoyed your outing. The falls are beautiful and your photos capture what seems to me like a perfect day. Thank you for letting go with you!

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  3. Thanks Vi for your comment inside the photo slide show (: it was indeed amazing scenery and something for an artist and writer to enjoy.

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  4. What a nice idea- “it’s the journey, not the destination that matters”. Especially now that I’m living in the inner suburbs, simply being in nature is a journey in itself. It feels like there’s a piece missing from your heart that is replaced when you renew your connection with nature.
    I wonder whether society’s general growing separateness from nature is contributing to some of its problems…

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  5. Even if the journey is full of cows and windy roads eh Sonia, cities can be interesting if you look for things like murals and spots that have a special quality to them – I used to love it when I noticed unusual things in cities, I’d have a field day with my camera now (:

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