Douglas track, Barron Gorge National Park - This track follows one of the first trails linking the Hodgkinson goldfields (west of Mareeba on the Atherton Tableland) with the port of Cairns. In 1876 Native Trooper Sub-inspector Douglas founded a track down through the Barron Gorge valley, mostly following one of the original Bama (local Aboriginal people) walking pads. Later named the Douglas track, it was upgraded for drays and used extensively until the railway line from Cairns to Myola was opened in 1887.... more
Climbing above the northern side of Stoney Creek valley, the track crosses through both rainforest and open woodland. Landmarks including Red Bluff and Glacier Rock provide excellent panoramic views. The 4.7 kilometres McDonalds track links the Douglas track to Wrights lookout. A variety of animals can be seen along the track, including musky rat-kangaroos, skinks, butterflies and birds such as the spotted catbird, black butcherbird, emerald dove, sulphur-crested cockatoo, spangled drongo and southern cassowary.
You need to be fit, experienced and well-prepared to undertake this walk. Tell a responsible person where you're going and when you expect to return. Carry plenty of drinking water.
Distance: 7.8 kilometres one way.
Time: allow 4-6 hours walking time.... less
This one-way track can be walked in either direction. Arrange a pick up at the other end, camp overnight (Speewah) or consider the shorter return option mentioned. There are numerous links to other walks in this area, and it helps if you take a map.
Beware of cassowaries and stinging tree leaves. For your safety, do not walk along or below the railway line.
Some walks may be closed during the wet season, between October and May. Visit between April and October when the weather and track conditions are at their best.
The Douglas track is not wheelchair accessible. The upper section of Barron Gorge National Park has wheelchair-accessible facilities. Barron Falls lookout and boardwalk pedestrian link are suitable for wheelchair access with assistance. The Skyrail Rainforest Cableway has wheelchair-accessible facilities.
How To Get There
The upper trail haead of the Douglas track is in the Speewah Conservation Park. From Cairns, travel north along the Captain Cook Highway, turn onto the Kennedy Highway, which winds up the coastal mountain range, and 6.5 kilometres past the turn-off to Kuranda, turn left into Speewah Road and follow the signs for 5.2 kilometres to conservation park.
The lower trail had of the Douglas track is accessed from Kamerunga. From Cairns, drive 15 kilometres along Cairns Western Arterial (Kamerunga Road) and turn left onto Stoney Creek Road. The Stoney Creek/Douglas track trail head is at the end (2.1 kilometres).
This region has a tropical climate, with generally hot and humid summers, and milder drier winters. Most rainfall occurs between January and March, monsoonal conditions bringing the possibility of thunderstorms and tropical cyclones. Summer maximum temperatures are around 33 degrees Celsius, while winter averages a more pleasant 26 degrees Celsius, but nights can be cool. Although you can visit the park all year round, the cooler, drier months of the year (from May to September) are the best times to visit.
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