Our run North had an objective: Hinchinbrook Island. This very large lush tropical island is not inhabited. In the shadow of Mount Bartle Frere, 1622 meters, the highest mountain in Queensland, Hinchinbrook summit reaches 1121 meters and call for a close resemblance with Jurassic park’s Island. On the eastern side, a network of mangroves host all sort of reptiles and on the western sides, large sandy bays are welcoming to boats. One in particular is famous for the special treat reserved to yachties : Zoe bay and its track to a magical waterfall.
So we anchored close to the beach and the large creek that comes out of the mangroves, on the north . The beach curves around for about 2 kilometers and is fringed by coconut trees. It’s a wide flat beach that uncovers 400 meters at low tide. I was keeping a fair way from the water edge. I am very “ croc wise” even “croc chicken” as some would say. I am terrified at the idea of one of those lunging reptiles to get hold on me. Anyway, we arrived at the other side of the beach (south) where a little creek flows. Here the tracks start to the waterhole and waterfall dominating it. A nice couple of kilometers within the jungle and also some bare bush, consequence of the last cyclone. We saluted a couple coming back that ensured us that there was still plenty of water.
When we arrived at the waterhole, a family of five was just leaving. This left us alone and in privacy with one of the better swim I enjoyed in North Queensland. Crystal clear fresh water inhabited by rainbow perches. We also spotted an eel and a fresh water turtle. We swam around and basked under the waterfall for a while before climbing up through the track all the way to the top. From there, you could see Inara and Zoe bay. There was a succession of little pools but the water wasn’t flowing much as there had been no rain for a while. I noticed the biggest pool had a perfect feature to make a water slide, if only there was more water…..
So I started building a dam to raise the level of the main pool while Ben was laboring in diverting the flow in other pools upstream to create more flow in the main one. In less than 15 minutes of work, our main pool had risen by 20 cm and water was flowing steadily into the water slide. Let’s the fun begin!!! It was quite good with a landing that required a bit of bum cheek but it worked well. We both enjoyed it, Ben trying it only once. It’s not very good for his back issue, for sure.
After that and a few languid pictures in those enchanted pools, we rinsed ourselves under our own private waterfall, shower style, which our damming work had created. Endless fun, you say?
Anyway, we went back down to the waterhole and striped our clothes for the third time. This time we played with the bungee rope tied up to a tree. A quick drop of 2 and a half meters swinging back and forth and splash into the water! How many kids and adults have played in this fashion for so many thousand years? It’s hard to say, but the feeling is clearly there that people have been living near that sacred fresh water.
We finally decided that we had enough and walked back. On our way back we met the next group of tourists. All this time we were up there (a few hours), there had been NO ONE! We had the complete site for ourselves and as we said hello to this next batch of swimmers, it was as if a curtain had just been lifted, a veil which protected us from the outside world. If anything at all, this was really pure magical moments.