Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:00

Paluma

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Paluma Range National Park is situated at the southern end of the World Heritage Wet Tropics. The village of Paluma is surrounded by the National Park and is ideally situated to explore the park and its unique bird life.Paluma Range National Park Map. There are various accommodation options available, along with BBQ and toilet facilities in the village.

Location

Paluma village is located about 60 kms north of Townsville on the Mt Spec road which traverses the spectacular Paluma range. The route takes you past Little Crystal Creek, a scenic spot with a beautiful waterfall and picnic area. The Mt Spec road which turns off the Bruce Highway just north of Rollingstone is steep, narrow and winding and not recommended for caravans.

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Lake Paluma

This man made lake that supplies water to Townsville is approximately 15 kms from Paluma down a dirt track that can be closed after heavy rain. In fact on our second attempt to photograph the Golden Bowerbird at Birthday Creek, our path was blocked due to a fallen tree across the track. There is an excellent camping ground with unpowered sites situated on the edge of the lake. The area is managed by Townsville Water, with the sites requiring prebooking and payment. Without moving too far from our camping spot I was able to photograph Grey-headed Robin, Bridled Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Scrubwren, Macleay's Honeyeater and Tooth-billed Bowerbird. Unfortunately like many areas on this trip our stay was cut short by unseasonably heavy rain.Map of the lake.

Birthday Creek walk.This short 500 metre walk down to the waterfall is one of the best spots to find Golden and Tooth-billed Bowerbirds, with active bowers present in the area. If ever you wanted to see why  the common name of the Tooth-billed Bowerbird is the "Stage Master", this is the place to see it with the unique stages created by the bowerbird easily seen. In fact there was an active bower adjacent to the car park. Access to the track is 6.8km down the Paluma Lake access road. Golden Bowerbird Image

Camping site Map

Walks Around Paluma

Paluma area walks with Maps

McClellands lookout-- 300 metres return. The signposted access is just east of Paluma village turn off Mount Spec Road. 

Witts Lookout-- 3 kms return. This track makes its way through the rainforest before entering open forest to the lookout. Access is 200 metres beyond the McClellands lookout.

Cloudy Creek Falls-- 6 kms return.  This track is the hardest of the tracks around Paluma because of the return grades. It drops down and follows a series of small waterfalls along Cloudy Creek. Access is the same as Witts lookout with the track bearing to the left.

Paluma rainforest walk—700 metres . This small circuit walk is a good introduction to the rainforest. The track starts opposite the Paluma town hall.

The "H" Track-- 1.1 km. This circuit track can be accessed from either the end of Lennox Cresent or the back of Whalley Crescent in Paluma village. We found this rainforest track to be an excellent quick walk with Chowchilla, Noisy Pitta and Tooth-billed Bowerbird easily located.

Photographic Considerations

I had read several articles on Paluma sourced fromBirding-Ausprior to our visit and was therefore looking foward to photographing some unique North Queensland and high alttitude birds. For once the the reality more than lived up to the expectations with a great variety of species seen. I would strongly suggest taking some of the walks around the village. Both the Chowchilla and Noisy Pitta were photographed in the village area. With the exception of the roadsides and lake edges, most images will be taken within darker areas of the rainforest with flash a necessity. The only drawback to our two visits were that on both occasions the stays were shortened due to the unseasonable wet weather. I guess that is what you would expect in the wet tropics.

During our walk around the village we noticed that theRainforest Innhad a feeder that was being visited by a number of honeyeater species. There are also several other locals who feed the birds, so keep a look out for opportunities.

Useful Web Sites

Townsville Water

Queensland National Parks - Paluma

Tyto Tony's Blog