Davies Creek has its own national park and there are plenty of places to test the cool waters in this granite gorge. There are lots of small rock pools for kids and big boulders to climb over or just rest on top of in this scenic hot spot. If you are feeling energetic, a scramble over some of the big rocks will take you to deeper swimming holes. Rock hop and swim your way to some pretty falls. There are several campsites (Campsite 2 is right next to a pool) and though the 6km road is gravel it’s doable for all vehicles in the dry. A perfect place for a picnic, or camp and enjoy the beautiful bush walks.
*Davies Creek National Park is about 28km from Kuranda and 18kms from Mareeba off the Kennedy Highway.
The perfect answer to one of those “are we there yet” drives, Emerald Creek tumbles over a series of cascades for a perfect day swimming and enjoying fresh flowing water and placid shallow pools. Just outside Mareeba, Emerald Creek rushes out of the Lamb Range to provide a cool counterpoint to the surrounding open eucalypt forest. The Emerald Creek Falls walking track takes you alongside the stream with plenty of boulders to perch on and sandy beaches to enjoy. Walk the 1km track and you will be rewarded with a pretty cool spot at the base of Emerald Creek Falls.
*Emerald Creek is off Tinaroo Creek Rd, 3km out of Mareeba on the Kennedy Highway. Take Tinaroo Creek Road for 3km and turn left into Cobra Rd; it’s another 8km along, with the last 6km unsealed.
Kauri Creek is located near Lake Tinaroo and there’s a walk that gives you a chance to dangle your feet in this gorgeous forest stream. It can be accessed off the Kauri Creek Rainforest Walk in Danbulla National Park. Start at the daily use area and the first part of the walk wind besides the sandy bottomed Kauri Creek. Don’t go any further – it gets tougher. Sit and while away a few hours here.
*Kauri Creek is in Danbulla National Park and State Forest and can be accessed from either Kairi and Tolga to the west, or the Gillies Range and Boar Pocket Road to the east.
In the far west of the Atherton Tablelands is O’Brien’s Creek, a pretty spot for dangling your toes in with a sideline of fossicking. Good for a dip, especially after some rain. Have a look for topaz and aquamarine while you are enjoying the cool water – the area attracts gem hunters from all over Australia and around the world. It’s near Mount Surprise.