There’s a few places in Queensland that have huge reputations, and Crystal Creek is one of them. We’d been told by a number of people that we had to visit and check them out, so we did.
We’ve found having a high expectation of places isn’t always good, as they don’t always deliver, but we found that Crystal Creek was a pretty neat spot.
Where is Crystal Creek?
You’ll find this beautiful part of the world just north of Townsville. It’s just under an hours drive, and not too far away from the beautiful Jourama Falls too.
Do you need a 4WD to get here?
No, the road in is entirely bitumen, and suitable for all types of vehicles. Even the narrow drive to the Rock Slides is suitable for 2WD vehicles, but you need to watch the pot holes like a hawk, and carefully go past anyone going the other direction, as its only single lane, and in pretty average condition.
What are the attractions?
Little Crystal Creek
If you’re at the Crystal Creek Campground, a 15 minute drive along the base of the hills, before taking a windy, steep bitumen road up to Paluma will take you to Little Crystal Creek. There’s a car park on your left as you come up, with toilets, picnic tables and a walk to the creek itself.
This creek runs under a beautiful old bridge, and can be accessed from either side. There’s some great photo opportunities, as well as a number of pools where you can swim. If you cross the creek on the upper level, you can walk up to the small waterfall, which is quite pretty too.
Right next to the Big Crystal Creek Camping area is Paradise Pool. This can be accessed either by walking across the camp site, or you can park in the day use area for the pool and walk in.
It’s a tiny walk that comes out on top of a beautiful, big rock with views of a pool that is aptly named. Swimming here is beautiful, clear and has a heap of fish and turtles that you can enjoy, so bring some goggles.
A lot of people spend many hours here, and its got a nice picnic area and BBQ’s that you can use, so make use of it.
Crystal Creek Rock Slides
A 5 minute drive beyond the Big Crystal Creek Campground on a very ordinary, single lane road is a car park which is used to access the Crystal Creek Rock Slides. Park your car, grab what you need, and walk through the gate, and down the hill, where you’ll see the creek.
That’s just a teaser though, as you have to walk back up the hill, and take a left where the signs are, and you’ll follow the bitumen walking path.
This takes you to two options; stairs where some steep slippery slides are, a small waterfall and a couple of pools to swim in, or you can keep going to get to more pools, and more slides.
We did them all, and thought that the slides at the top were best, in terms of length, smoothness and chances of hurting yourself. Our 6 year old loved them, and even Sarah had a crack, which is unusual with her bad back.
The water here is cool, but its beautiful and a whole heap of fun; there’s not too many places where the rocks are smooth enough for you to slide down on.
WARNING – Its MEGA slippery. I don’t say this lightly. If you come in and step on any of the wet rock without serious care, you’re going to end up on your backside, and slipping down a steep rock.
The potential for injury here is high, and even with due care we saw a few people slip over. It is beyond slippery, so take care!
Camping at Crystal Creek
If you want to soak the area up for a bit longer, you can book a camp site at Big Crystal Creek Campground. This is a decent sized area, but the sites are not labelled and its first come first served, and gets tight.
Inevitably, people have different sized rigs and we saw a few bigger vans come in and leave, as they couldn’t find somewhere suitable. If you want a site, get here early and claim it, as you’ll end up with small camping setups taking up bigger sites, and its hard to fit everyone in.
This is a pretty nice campground, with flushing toilets, cold showers, and its walking distance to Paradise pool.
What’s it really like?
We spent two nights camped at Big Crystal Creek Campground, and visited the rock slides numerous times, and went to Paradise Pool and Little Crystal Creek. They’re all well and truly worth a look, and our kids had a ball here.
It would have been nice to get some warmer weather so the swimming was a bit more inviting, but these are beautiful, easy to access locations that really do deserve the reputation that they have.