Davis Creek Campground – Davies Creek National Park
Camping at Davis Creek gave me a feeling of an outback camping experience. This location has offered nature experience, sleeping with the forest on my doorstep and waking up to the dawn chorus of birdsong.
Davies Creek in Brief
Davies Creek Campground located in Atherton Tablelands is in Davies Creek National Park. It lies between Cairns city and Mareeba township and it is only just 53 kilometres of drive north-west of Cairns. Upper Davies Creek Campground is a small, relatively semi-remote campground, containting only eight campsites. The campsites are situated in open eucalypt woodland forest. Upper Davies Creek Campground provides access to many recreational activities including hiking, mountain biking, swimming and bush walking. Each campsite at Upper Davies Campground includes a fire ring and access to bathrooms but for showers, take a dip in the river. It certainly brings you back to almost to a real outback camping experience right on the doorstep of Cairns.
Living in this tropical paradise of Far North Queensland, we are blessed to go and enjoy the great outdoors without daunting long drives. With endless camping sites from rainforest to outback campgrounds within hours of driving makes Far North Queensland one of the easily accessible camping regions. Davies Creek Campground just a short drive away from Cairns has campsites right next to the creek, seclude, quiet, waterfalls cascading over granite boulders and picturesque with its granite outcrops made it more enticing for me to go camping there. Knowning that Davies Creek Falls and open eucalpty woodland makes it a very popular among day visitors for picnic, swimming and hiking. The locals living in the surrounding areas, Cairns residents and travelers are glued to this location.
After having my eventful camping trip to Lake Tinaroo for more than 15 years, I felt the urge to go camping again without daunting long drives, Davies Creek campgrounds came into mind. With only just 53 kilometres of drive north-west from Cairns, camping trip to Davies Creek campgrounds located in Davies Creek and Dinden National Park better suited me for a 2-night getaway from the city. Davies Creek known for outstanding landscape of the Lamb mountain range with river-view, maintained campsites that provide a million dollar view made it worthwhile to visit. Easy access to swimming holes, hiking and camping areas was an ideal way to pass the day. Swimming in this water was refreshing as the water tends to be cold.
With only just 53 kilometres of well maintained bitumen road with no strenuous drive, hitting the open road early part of the day was not an option. It was a glorious day, ending of winter months with beautiful sky with a few wispy clouds and slightly warm, I felt that the day was beckoning me to get out and enjoy it. Packing my car with camping great, I headed for Davies Creek campgrounds taking the Kuranda range route and the quickest way. Kuranda road is increasingly very popular among self-drive tourists, tour buses and locals who call it home as it is only 30 minutes drive down to Cairns. This road is windy as I drove up this steep ascent from the bottom of Smithfield suburb. The road starts to twist and curve as I drove through the think jungle of World Heritate forest. Half-way up the range, I stop-over at Henry Ross lookout, the view waiting for me was the breathtaking panorama view of the sugarcane fields, coastline and the reef. Unfortunately, it was not clear enough to see Green Island and Fitzroy Island from the lookout.
I continued my road trip crossing the Barron River bridge and passing Kuranda township turn-off and through small roadside cafes, houses and mango farms. From Kuranda turn-off, the windy road ends and begins the straight bitumen road as I had a smooth drive along without any twist and bending corners.
It was just before midday, when I turned left at the Davies Creek sign and headed down the narrow 16 kilometre, unsealed dirt Davies Creek Road till I reached the Lower Davies Creek and picnic area. Lower Davies Creek camping area is nestled among granite boulders in open woodland beside the crystal clear waters of Davies Creek. The drive was nothing like a smooth drive, driving along corrugated dirt road and the rattling of everything inside the car became my only sound of music. The Lower Davies Creek area is a very popular spot for day visitors and short-term campers. Just metres away from the cascading water pools are picnic tables and campsites.
I drove further up the steep dirt road till I reached the sign – Davies Creek Falls, not far from the lower camping area. Out of the car, I walked along the gravel path that lead to the lookout and the view was surpringly very rewarding. The huge rock platform allowed me to see straight down to the Falls and to the rockpool below. The view from the top was absolutely breathtaking. Here I get to see the views down the creek and across Mareeba and the Tablelands in the distance.
The amazing waterfall cascading over the huge granite boulders and the impressive Clohesy River fig tree are major features of these national park.
Beyond this majestic view of the waterfall, the road was suitable for 4WD vehicles. The gravel road has corrugations and narrow turning points making it unaccessible for caravans and motorhomes. Taking this rough ride to the campsite along a stretch of Davies Creek in tall open forest where I erected my tent, just a feet away from the crystal clear creek. Before having my late lunch, I had a dip in the creek which was very cold. I couldn’t resist the temptation but I was glad I only had it do it once. By then, it was late mid-afternoon when I sat down for my late lunch before gathering some firewood for the camp-fire that night. With that cool winter evening, I decided to cook up one of my favourite signature dish – “lamb stew” for dinner. While enjoying the stew during the cold winter camp as I witnessed the sun disappearing among the tree tops. What a night, what a thrill to experience this peaceful atmosphere in the middle of nowhere. It was an absolute comfort blessing to me.
Davis Creek camping area is home to many bushwalking trails ranging from easy short return walks to more strenuous walking tracks that welcomes all visitors to enjoy. Some of this walking trails are only accessed by 4-wheel drive vehicles only and on many occasions, you will not encounter any soul in the area. My intention of camping and escaping the city was to enjoy this tranquil natural attraction including relaxing under the canopying trees and enjoying the knee-high sun-warmed water, while having a drink or two. On day one, after doing couple of easy walking trails that lead to pristine cold water-holes, I just totally fell in love with the place. The best part of camping in this area was relaxing and swimming in the clear crystal water. I can see why campers come to enjoy, refuel, unwind, meditate and find peace in this peaceful and secluded quite environment.
Davies Creek campground offers a little more privacy with campsites that have far more separation between you and your neighbours. In addition, Davies Creek Campground is a little fairly remote, which gives you a better outback camping experience. However, you have to be aware that, in an event of any serious problem occuring, you cannot be contactable. This campground does not have many of the amenities you would expect for a large campground. There is no showers, running tap water, visitors centre or camp store, except bathrooms. Like most camping sites in the region, leave nothing, except your footprints and take nothing, except your rubbish and photographs. These limited campsites can be booked out during school holidays, weekends (especially summer months) and public holidays and reservations with Queensland Park Services is often recommended.
One of my greatest joy for that perfect city escape and is so rare in this modern world – SILENCE. It was so quiet in my ears. There was no mechanical sound, no mobile phones, TV or cars. No bustling people striving for consumer toys or hustle of city life. I was so lucky to have this opportunity to leave the city for a day or two. However, my camping trip at Upper Davies Creek has to come to an end and I slowly made my journey back home to be tolerant to normal way of life. But I have to say, Davies Creek Falls camping is a must on the list of things to do in Far North Queensland.
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