Alligator Creek Waterfall // Bowling Green Bay National Park (QLD)

Dan’s been out exploring tropical North Queensland. Pursuing the mysterious Alligator Creek Waterfall based on a scrap of anecdotal knowledge sounds a bit mental, but it’s pretty standard for one of our Explorers. He was rewarded with an immense cascade that he had all to himself.


Highlights

  • Massive climbable waterfall
  • Epic views of Bowling Green Bay National Park peaks
  • Secluded waterholes and cascades

The Lowdown

As a Southern Queenslander, winter is normally the best season to head into the bush and experience the true beauty of Australia. The humidity normally takes a plunge and hiking becomes a heck of a lot more comfortable.

But there is one thing you should know about exploring the tropical north – they only get 3 bloody days a year of what I would consider a winter. That doesn’t leave much time for really getting out, being somewhat comfortable and doing some bushbashing and exploring.

It was 12pm on a Friday, the sun was out, the mercury was pushing 30 degrees and I had just knocked off from work and was scratching my head for something that would fill in my afternoon. I remembered that a mate had recommended that I check out this creek in Bowling Green Bay National Park. A quick Google search of the area turned up what appeared to be a small waterfall and a ripper spot for an arvo dip. Alligator Creek Waterfall – here I come!

Once I arrived at Bowling Green Bay I was promptly reminded that I was about to explore a creek line near Townsville, you know, the perfect environment for spawning mosquitoes. To save my arms, legs and face from getting absolutely pumped by mozzies I decided it would be in my best interest to get on the trot for the 17km round trip to Alligator Creek waterfall.

After a 1.5 hour jog I arrived at the base of Alligator Falls and I was pleasantly surprised. You bloody ripper, this was no small waterfall; in fact it was HUGE one. Unlike the other waterfalls found among the northern national parks in the region, Alligator falls wasn’t your usual plunge waterfall, rather it had elements of a couple of waterfall types. It was tiered and cascaded from a high distance and I was rapt that I had it all to myself.

The view from the top of the waterfall made the run out completely worth it – worth the mozzie bites, worth the exhaustion and worth battling the humidity. I wondered how many people actually made the trip out each year given the humidity and heat that Townsville so often turned on.

Dan Parkes, Alligator Creek Waterfall, Bowling Green Bay National Park, top of waterfall, view, lookout

It was good to be on the receiving end of some solid local knowledge and have this amazing spot shared with me. For those not inclined to travel the distance to Alligator Creek Waterfall there are still plenty of other swimming areas along the way. Just take a squiz at Google Maps and you will see just how many sections of Alligator Creek will provide you with a good spot to cool off.

Side note: Despite the name – there are NO alligators found at Alligator Creek or Alligator Creek Waterfalls. This is Australia, we don’t have alligators here.

Dan Parkes, Google Maps, Alligator Creek Waterfall, Bowling Green Bay National Park

A bird’s eye view of the massive Alligator Creek Waterfall (as seen from Google Maps).

Essential Gear

  • Plenty of water
  • Mozzie spray
  • Swimmers

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Rock scrambling
  • Photography
  • Wild Swimming

Skill Level

Intermediate: This hike is relatively flat but given the humidity, hot weather conditions and the distance it takes to get there you should have an intermediate familiarity with hiking.

How To Get There

From Townsville, head 20mins south along the Bruce Highway and turn right onto Alligator Creek Road and follow all the way to the Alligator Creek carpark.

Distance/ Elevation

17km return from Alligator Creek Car Park. This walk involves following a powerline trail that has many watercourse crossings (all easily crossable).

Duration

The signs provided in the National Park suggest to expect a 6-7 hour round-trip.


 

Explore The Tropical North

Waterfalls and Rockslides // Big Crystal Creek (QLD)

Escape to Wallman Falls (QLD)

Waterfalls of Wooroonooran NP (QLD)

Hinchinbrook Island // Get Lost In Paradise (QLD)