“Wow, it’s really is amazing,” remarked the Danish tourists upon first glimpsing Wallaman Falls, as the torrent plunged 268 metres off the escarpment into the pools below.
“They certainly are”
“Are you going to walk down to the pool?”
“Sure.” The tiny dots swimming in the pool at the bottom of the falls looked far more relaxed than I felt standing in full sun at the lookout point.
A sign at the start of Djyinda walk advises hikers that…
“People have died here”
This is no empty threat.
It is steep, it is slippery and even though it is well maintained, it’s still bordered on both sides by stinging plants and dangerous Australian animals which lurk in the thick undergrowth of this tropical wetland environment.
The final stretch of the walk is also slightly treacherous as it takes the hiker over jagged, slippery rocks to the edge of the pool. The walk is well worth the effort though, as the water is deliciously refreshing and demands a swim, a splash and a frolic.
The water remains cool despite the intense heat of the day because the pool reaches a maximum depth of about 20 metres and is surrounded on most sides by sheer, high cliffs which shield the pool from the sun at various times of the day.
It is blissful to frolic in the pool. Swimming under the falls and watching, and feeling, the drops rain down upon you is magical. Better still, it provides many of the visiting backpackers with their weekly shower.
After a swim, one can sun bake, relax in the shade or explore the rocks searching for wildlife.
At some point, though, the path to the lookout must be ascended. This is a tiring walk, due partly to the steepness but primarily the heat. While sweating and panting up the hill, it’s easy to start wishing for another pool at the top of the climb.
Alas, there is another swimming spot at the top of the escarpment. A short walk from the camping area and day use area takes visitors to a beautiful rock pool with a little sandy beach. Backpackers can wash twice in one day!
The rock pool is a great way to refresh before hopping back in the car for steep, narrow, winding drive to Ingham and beyond.
Wallaman Falls is probably best visited late in the afternoon, when the walk down provokes a solid sweat, which can be easily relieved with a swim in the rock pool, and the walk up can be completed once some of the heat of the day has disappeared. The region itself is probably best visited at the end of the wet season, when the rainforest is green and lush, but the worst of the humidity, storms and insects have departed. What’s more, it makes sense that more water would be rushing over the falls after prolonged heavy rain, making for an even more spectacular sight – and an even better shower.