Herbert River Gorge Walk

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Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby Pammie7 » Wed 25 Feb, 2015 11:15 am

Can anyone tell me if they have walked from Wallaman falls to Blencoe falls on the Herbert River?We are interested in doing this walk but have not been able to find much info except what is on the Qld National Parks web site.Would like to hear from someone who has done this walk as there are quite a few unknowns,not least of which is the crocodile situation!
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby Skid » Fri 27 Feb, 2015 12:35 pm

I haven't done the full walk (just some bits at the south end). From what we could see the exact location of the river crossing at Yamanie Junction was not clear. We came across a couple of walkers who had wandered off trail and spent two days scrubb bashing to get back to the river where we found them.
For a long time the road was closed (making it a very long car shuffle or chopper trip to do the walk one way). The road is now open.

There are big lizards in the Herbert, that doesn't mean you can't do the walk without being eaten, but I wouldn't be swimming in deep pools or anywhere that looks like a nice ambush location for a croc. When I was there in the lower sections there were plenty of parts that had wide, shallow, clear, fast flowing water to cool off in.

I've considered doing this walk and it is still on the list (just not at the top yet). There is a guy in Cardwell I met who is open to doing the drop off (for a fee) if you want to avoid a car shuffle. PM me if you want his details.

Cheers
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby melpryde » Sun 26 Apr, 2015 5:40 pm

Hi,

Before I go on I would just like to say that this walk is INCREDIBLE. I went there thinking of it as a 'tick off the list' walk and wasn't that excited about it, pictured it being fairly barren dry country and just wasn't that inspired. But I was very wrong, this is a walk that I would be happy to do again and again, it's so remote and so picturesque and also quite a challenge. And Blencoe Falls is HUGE!

I did this walk last year over 4 days, and like you Pammie7 I found it very difficult to find any info on this walk online, which was both frustrating and also added to the adventure. We started at Blencoe Falls, and rather than walk to Wallaman falls we exited the walk at the Henrietta gate near Abergowrie (you can see it marked on the map) as we didn't have enough days to do the fall walk to Wallaman. I'm planning on doing it again next month, and doing Blencoe through to Wallaman, which is what brought me to this website, again looking for info! So thought I'd post here in case it's helpful for anyone.

This walk is logistically difficult due to the car shuffle required; however, the Kirrama Range Rd has just been opened, meaning it is MUCH easier to get to Blencoe Falls by car from either Cairns or Townsville. I'm from Cairns, and we got dropped at Blencoe Falls by a friend, and then got the Ingham travel bus to pick us up at Henrietta gate and bring us back to Ingham (from Ingham it is easy to get the greyhound bus to either Cairns or Townsville).

Some deets about the walk:

Day 1: From Blencoe, you track through some open dry country for a few kilometres, some on small tracks and some on a service road. You reach a lovely lookout point looking down the Herbert to where you will be walking. From there, it's a STEEP, gravelly, somewhat slippery descent on a marked trail to the bottom and our first campsite on the mouth of a small creek that runs into the Herbert, a beautiful camping site with a very impressive vista. Upstream are some rapids that had some great little swimming spots and a wealth of sooty grunter (make sure you bring some fishing gear - you can catch your dinner every night!!).
Day 2 and 3 we followed the river - there's no specific marked trail, you just rock hop up the river and follow the numerous cow tracks. Every now and then you'll have to cross the river, as one side will always be easier to walk on than the other. You sort of just need to look at the terrain and figure this out as you go - we definitely got it wrong at times and found ourselves trekking through horrible boulder fields or scratchy prickle forests for far too long!! When crossing the river, make sure you cross in rapids, where it's shallow and safe. At the end of Day 2 we just found a random nice spot on the river to camp (there's plenty of great spots). Day 3 we made it to Yamanie Creek, and you can camp in quite a few spots near the creek entrance.
Yamanie Creek/Falls: Make sure you do this detour to Yamanie Falls. It's about an hour one-way rockhopping up the creek - the boulders get bigger and more and more spectacular as you walk till eventually they're as big as small houses and the falls are stunning and it's a great swimming spot.
Day 4: Walked up river until we got to a place known to the locals as 'lemon tree'. The morning of day 4 we traversed through some VERY dense rainforest (literally had to hack our way through. It was hectic) and also there is a section where you have the river on the right, and just through the trees to the left there's a large waterhole which would both be awesome for birding and is also apparently a regular hangout for a very large crocodile judging by the size of the tracks we saw leading from the river through the trees to the waterhole! Keep an eye out for the tracks, it's pretty cool to see. From lemon tree, there is a road you can take to walk the remaining few kilometres to Henrietta gate. We decided to keep walking up river rather than take the road, but it gets quite difficult and the tracks are VERY overgrown.. perhaps still remaining damage from cyclone Yasi? We eventually found a spot where the road joined up again with the river and we hopped on the road for the last couple km's. When you reach the river you need to cross - the road crosses here so it's quite shallow although quite wide. You can camp here, or continue on the road roughly 1km from the river to Henrietta gate.

As I mentioned I've not done the section from Yamanie to Wallaman, but I intend to do that next time. I'm going to allow 6 days total including car shuffles and driving time.

Some tips:

- there are scrub bulls around the place, keep an eye out and keep some distance. We saw a few and had no trouble, generally they would move away as we approached, but you'd hate to stir one up.
- YES the river is full of crocodiles!!! We saw croc slides on most of the waterholes on the river, some big, some small, but it's a fair bet there's a croc living in most waterholes you see even if you don't see them. They will hear you coming and disappear before you arrive unless you can be very stealthy. As much as you may want to swim, don't go swimming in a waterhole. However, we swam frequently in shallow areas of rapids between waterholes - no problems! Also don't be going and washing your dishes down by the river's edge of an evening :) but DO get your torch out and do some croc spotting at night. Nothing creepier than a set of red eyes watching you watching them watching you...
- Bring a fishing rod.
- There's obviously plenty of water for drinking, but there's cattle around, so I reckon a water filter is a good idea.
- It's pretty remote and not without hazards so would definitely recommend an epirb/sat phone.

That's all, would love to hear from anyone else who's done the walk!

Cheers,

Mel
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby bauplenut » Tue 28 Apr, 2015 10:39 pm

We did it as a five dayer last September. Fly in by helicopter to junction of Blencoe Ck and Herbert River, hike downstream to Yamanie gate pick up.

We flew in with helicopter charter company in Ingham. Well worth it, great scenic flight up the river.

We saw several crocs, including one at our camp site pool. So be croc aware. They are salties, and big.

Very good fishing along the way, even for a hopeless fisherman like myself.

The suggested river crossing points on the NP map, need low river levels to be feasible and safe from crocs. We found river level bit high at some suggested crossing points. We stayed on left side downstream until Blanket Creek, then crossed at the Rapids there. Before they we got blocked by cliff on river and had to go over the bluff. From Blanket Creek to start of Big W we walked on right side heading downstream. Then crossed back to left side until Yamanie creek and falls. Stayed left side until Rapids above Orange Tree, cross top of those Rapids, then find the old road and follow that until the final river crossing near Yamanie Gate.
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby bauplenut » Tue 28 Apr, 2015 10:51 pm

You can also hike in the most scenic gorge part by going down into the gorge from western side of Blencoe Falls, near the lookout. Very steep but ok. No marked trail. Kayakers take thier kayaks down that way. The gorge section from Blencoe creek to Blanket creek is the most scenic part of the hike the way we did it - the NP trail route misses this. Also well worth doing an hour of two going up Blencoe creek to near base of the lower falls - awesome.

From Blanket Creek to Big W the valley flattens out and is less interesting. Big W the valley narrows to gorge like, after Yamanie creek flattens out again.
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby melpryde » Sun 10 May, 2015 9:56 am

Bauplenut, I was also on the Herbert in September. There were a few more people around then I'd thought there might be! I thought the water levels were pretty good, and river crossings much less dicey than I'd imagined they might be. I'm planning on heading back out week after next, am thinking water levels should be much the same after the dismal excuse for a wet season we just had.

I have heard of people heading down into the gorge from Blencoe Falls near the lookout - is it evident where the best spot is to start out from the top, or can you give any pointers? I wouldn't mind doing it this way, sounds much more picturesque than the standard track on day 1. We are planning on doing the car shuffle via the Kirrama Range Rd, but I wonder, was it very pricey to get helicoptered in? Might make some enquiries about that this week also.

Cheers.
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby bauplenut » Wed 03 Jun, 2015 10:10 pm

Helicopter from Ingham was about $420 per passenger.

From lookout, you can see down to the junction of Blencoe and the Herbert - just follow a ridge down.
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Re: Herbert River Gorge Walk

Postby nq111 » Thu 04 Jun, 2015 7:31 pm

I headed down into Blencoe Gorge from the lookout for the first time a few weeks ago.

Bauplenut is spot on - on the way day I went via one of the ridges closer to the lookout (the first attempt on what looked like a bit of a pad ended at small cliffs so I turned back) and parts of the trip down were pretty steep and loose.

Coming back up I came up one of the last ridges towards the junction with the Herbert and it was much better. Head down by going out and down the ridge towards the junction like Bauplenut suggested.

The gorge is a lovely spot - I camped down in there and it was magic - clean, cool, no mozzies or sandflies, the sound of the gently running creek ... But I didn't see anywhere you could camp comfortably with a tent for all the large rocks (there may be somewhere) - best take a hammock if you have one.

I will have to get back and walk down in the Herbert River Gorge proper some day. A week to walk from there to Wallaman Falls sounds like a great trip too when the river and tracks are up to it.
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