The Dalrymple Gap Walking Track Cardwell Tours
We offer a drop off and pick up service for this walk! The cost of this transfer is $240.00 for 1-6 people. If you have more than 6 people, we can cater for larger groups, please contact us for more information!
Please note we will drop you off at the beginning of the walk, and pick you up at the end of the walk and bring you back to Cardwell. Please contact us for more information.
Dalrymple Gap walking track—10 kilometres one way (allow six hours) Grade: difficult
This track follows the route of a road built in the 1860s, that in turn roughly followed the route taken by Aboriginal people across the Cardwell Range. It meanders through open eucalypt forest and rainforest, and has numerous creek crossings. The cool, fresh rainforest air is a welcome relief after the steep climb up the Cardwell Range where huge strangler figs reach well above the forest.
Near the top of Dalrymple Gap, on the coastal side, is an historic brick-lined bridge. The bricks were brought from Scotland and the bridge has an interesting stone-pitched face. Drill holes and grooves in rocks along the edge of the track show where they were split to widen the track.
This track can be walked in either direction, and is best done as a one-way walk to allow time to enjoy the beauty of Dalrymple Creek and the historic features of the track.
You will need to arrange for a vehicle to meet you at the opposite end of the walk, or you can contact us regarding our drop off and pick up service.
The following notes are written from the northern end of the track. Reverse the notes if starting from the south.
Damper Creek to the stone-pitched bridge (two kilometres)
From the car park, cross the rocky bed of Damper Creek and climb the slope to the stone-pitched bridge. Notice the change from open, sunlit woodland to the denser closed rainforest. Look where the banks were excavated to widen the road. For your safety, and to avoid eroding the bridge earthworks, please remain on the main track.Stone-pitched bridge to palm grove (200 metres)
From the bridge, it is a five minute walk through rainforest to a gap in the range. As you walk down the steep slope, imagine how difficult it was for wagons to climb and descend. Further along the track you will see a grove of magnificent palms. There are four palm types—lawyer vine, Alexandra, solitaire and fan.
Palm grove to Dalrymple Creek grave (one kilometre)
Continue downhill and pass the old timber bridge with its huge logs and protruding bolts. These steep slopes were once a struggle for people and wagons going up and down the range. As you cross the clear, flowing waters of Dalrymple Creek, look to the left for a pile of stones, thought to be an old grave. Stories abound about its origin. Folklore has it that a mailman found some human bones in the creek in 1882 and buried them here.
Grave to final Dalrymple Creek crossing (five kilometres)
As you leave the grave, notice a large strangler fig on the bank to the right. The hollowed interior is all that remains of the original host tree. Remain on the track to avoid damaging the fig’s roots.
The track then crosses the creek several times. Here wagon creek-crossings, track excavations, bank cuttings, blasting drill holes and exotic fruit trees remain as evidence of past travellers. Notice the reduction in the height and density of the forest. A creek bank lined with flaky-barked, kanuka box trees (Tristaniopsis exiliflora) marks the last Dalrymple Creek crossing.
Dalrymple Creek crossing to carpark (two kilometres)
As you leave the rainforest-lined creek the track winds through dry eucalypt forest before reaching the carpark.Southern access short walk—2.2 kilometres return (allow one hour) Grade: easy
This walk starts at the southern end of the Dalrymple Gap walking track. The track winds through dry eucalyptus forest to the rainforest-lined Dalrymple Creek, before returning the same way.
Northern access short walk—4.4 kilometres return (allow 2.5 hours) Grade: moderate
This walk starts at the northern end of the Dalrymple Gap walking track. Take this steep track to the historic stone-pitched bridge near the top of Dalrymple Gap, before returning the same way.