About half way between Cardwell and Tully lies the turn-off to the magnificent Murray Falls in the Girramay National Park. The partly sealed, partly unsealed (but well-maintained) road takes you around 20 kilometres through lush farming areas to the forests of the national park where you will find year-round picturesque views, safe swimming holes, walking tracks, toilets, barbeques, picnic and campsites and of course the falls themselves.
One hot day in late September we arrived at this beautiful location – intending to spend just an hour or so having a lunch before proceeding up the highway to Tully. As you arrive at the falls area, the left hand road takes you to the swimming and picnicing spots and the top right-hand takes you to the campsites. We pulled into the carpark – only one other vehicle here – a group of locals who were just leaving after having a swim. We had the entire place to ourselves.Nice!
Dean and our friend Allen who was visiting with us scouted a place for the barbeque while the boys and I checked out the creek. Wood fireplaces are supplied along with picnic tables close to the river, but having our trusty gas cartridge barbeque, they decided on something a little closer to the action.
The river is full of massive volcanic boulders in various shades of brown and black and polished in places to a smooth almost glassy finish by eons of water rushing down this magnificent valley. Deep and shallow swimming holes dot this part of the course – it must be an awesome sight during flood.
It didn’t take the boys long to work out first-hand that even on the hottest of days, the water pouring off the mountains is cold and refreshing. Carter and Kade soon realised the rocks were super-slippery – making for perfect water-slides. Fun!
First they tried just sliding down the rocks actually in the water – good fun. But, then they discovered that if you add a little water to the polished boulders, they become one big slippery slide ……..
Add water, and a plastic plate out of the picnic set to diminish the friction on your pants – Super fun!
All too soon, the day got late. With the sun starting to dip behind the mountains, we realised we had not even got to the falls yet. With much ‘encouragement’ (and some bribery), we managed to extract the boys from the water and packed our gear in the car. The falls walk is located at the far end of the shady campgrounds. Although it was school holidays, there were only a few overnight campers enjoying this fantastic spot.
A short boardwalk takes you to the base of the falls. Even though it was the dry season, plenty of water was cascading over them. There is another track which takes you to the top of the falls for a view over the river valley – something we had no time to do today.
Once again the magnificent boulders greet you. Painted various colours of pink, brown and black. Thrown out by some massive volcano millions of years ago, polished and architecturally placed by nature. Begging to have their photo taken.
The falls themselves are one massive solid rock – formed by the lava flow from that ancient volcano. The boulders are the broken-off remnants, cut loose by earth movement and flood, burnished by water over the millennia. Just the kind of place to remind us humans of our insignificance and transience on this magnificent planet of ours.
To get to Murray Falls – turn off south of Tully at Murrigal or if travelling north from Cardwell at Bilyana. Both turnoffs are well signposted. Click Here for map. The shady, well laid out campsite has plenty of room for tents, caravans and motorhomes. Click here for campsite map. Bookings can be made through the National Parks website – Click here for link. Well worth a day trip or a few nights camping. Yet another place we had to drag ourselves away from.