Hidden gem!

Hidden gem!
Blackdown Tableland National Park, Australia

Blackdown Tableland National Park, Australia

Well had a couple of days off after night shifts so checked out good ole google maps and decided on my destination for a night. Blackdown National Park approx. 2.5 hrs from Baralaba.
Packed my chilly bin with a few sausies and nibbles, borrowed some squab cushions for bedding, chucked in my sleeping bag and off I went.
On the way I detoured through a nearby aboriginal community called Woorabinda for a look see, a lot tidier than Aurukun and a larger population of approx. 2000 I believe, however a lower socioeconomic status is still plain to see.
After Woorabinda it started to drizzle then I found myself in real rain – the first and only time it’s rained out here since I’ve been here.
Despite this, I thought I may as well continue for a look and hope for a sunny day to follow.

I arrived at Blackdown after dodging the cattle on the road and winding my way up 890m of the range rise, the gentle rain actually made the sights quite spectacular with a multitude of greens highlighted by the moisture (not something you see much of in Central Queensland). This N P has plenty of the usual flora but also loads of ferns and palms to brighten things up.

So I arrived at the first lookout which, due to the rain didn’t allow me to appreciate it as much as day 2, contacted the National Park number (as this was one of the only places with reception) and booked my campsite over the phone for a piddly $5 (Saweet) then checked out the track closures. Fortunately only one track was closed and according to the word closed being scribbled out next to the 4×4 track, I assumed this was reopened (Never assume!).

I carried along a red dirt track for 8k to reach the campground and check out my spot, tidy area with each campsite having its own campfire and nearby some shared composting toilets. There were two other sets of campers so at least I would have some sort of company for the night.
After this I carried on for another 8ks to find the start of the waterfall track, still too wet for hiking, so why not try the 4×4 track I thought…

After checking out the map I estimated 40mins to drive the loop track, so plenty of time to cook my sausies and set up my bed before dark.. (Wrong!)

Although the track was pretty basic for the most part, mainly sand with the odd lump n bump and a tree or two to dodge, after 1 hr of sightseeing through mainly flat land I was confronted with a 3m climb of limestone rock and dirt. Hmmm.
A couple of attempts and a bit of skidding and we made it to the top (we = me and Rizzo the Rav) to find simple flat track again. Sweet that was exciting.

Another 15 mins on and I’m getting a bit over it when next thing the track decides it’s time to drop those 3m, not too steep but more rock and track gutted from rain. Easy for a real 4×4 but a low Rav with a tow ball even lower, not so great.

Well after not wanting to drive all the way back, taking a breath and slowly creeping down, scraping the ass a bit, we made it almost to the bottom. Then I had a brilliant idea of capturing the moment on camera, so pulled up the handbrake and slowly climbed out to take a snap of Rizzo in her precarious position. However wet track + handbrake + removal of body weight = vehicle slipping down the hill!!

Luckily she only slid for 1m and stopped, Holy Smokes!!
So after a stern chat to myself about not doing silly manoeuvers like that on my own in the middle of nowhere, I carried on for another 10mins, got back on the main dirt road and made it just in time to the first lookout to cook tea on the gas barby, have a chat to Ma n Pa on skype then get back to campground before dark. Ahhh.

Unfortunately, whether it was due to my previous night shifts or me realising I was camping alone for the first time in my life, I didn’t get much sleep. My bed was rather comfortable though so I just mulled things over all night. After 3 or 4 hrs of sleep I decided to get up and hike the nearby track to watch the sunrise. So just in-case I fell off a cliff I left a wee note with the direction I had headed and the time I had left, however I later considered this would also be the perfect opportunity for someone to steal my car.. Thankfully neither scenarios played out.

I carried on to hike two more tracks that morning and the scenery really was worth it!! The tracks are beautifully maintained and the views are amazing.
I will stop babbling on now and let you check out the pics and decide for yourselves..

Definitely recommend checking out this spot if passing through.

I then headed on to Emerald for late lunch and my weekly shop, then it was a 3 hour drive back to Baralaba. Another exciting adventure complete. =)

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