Winter Camping: Davis Creek National Park and Dinden National Park

Living in Far North Queensland is a tropical paradise. With endless camping sites from beach front camping grounds over-looking Great Barrier Reef to the outback west, there is plenty of places for anyone to go out and enjoy the great outdoors. After living almost 30 years in this northern tropical paradise part of Australia, for the first-time, I decided to go on an over-night winter camping trip at Davis Creek and Dinden National Park. This place is about 23 kilometres east of Mareeba township and just 53 kilometres northwest of Cairns.

Map of Davis Creek and Dinden National Park

It was a glorious cool winter day with beautiful blue sky with a few wispy clouds. It was slightly warm and I felt that the day was beckoning me to get out and enjoy it. I packed my car with my camping gears and headed for Davis Creek camp-site taking Kuranda range route. Depending on where I go, I prefer to go during winter season camping which means fewer people or hardly anyone at the campsites.

Taking Kuranda range road as my shortest route to where my camping ground was but at the same time, it is a windy and very busy road. This road is increasingly very popular among self-drive tourists, tour buses and locals. Many locals who live in Kuranda area take a 30 minute drive down to Cairns and Smithfield to do their major grocery shopping. As I drive up this steep ascent from the bottom of Smithfield suburb, the mountain road starts to twists and curves as you drive through the thick jungle of World Heritage forest. About half-way drive along the way up the range, I came to Henry Ross lookout where I could see the breathtaking panorama view of the sugar cane fields, coast line and the city of Cairns. On a very clear day, Green island and Fitzroy island can be visible from the lookout. 

Henry Ross Lookout, Kuranda Range

After enjoying this impressive view, I continued my road trip to Davis Creek campsite about 30 minutes from Kuranda township turn-off, crossing the bridge over the Barron River and passing through small roadside cafes, houses and mango farms. It is a lovely drive. 

It was just before midday, when I turned into Davis Creek road junction. The next 16 kilometre drive from the Kennedy Highway turn-off to Davis creek camp-site was nothing like a smooth drive. It is a corrugated dirt road and the rattling of everything inside the car became my only sound of music.

I finally arrived at the base of the Davis creek. It is the main recreational area which is a very popular place for families and just metres away from the cascading water pools. I continued, driving further up the steep dirt road and not far from my campsite was Davis Creek waterfalls. It has an amazing waterfall cascading over the huge granite boulders and the impressive Clohesy River fig tree are major features of these national park. The view from the top is absolutely amazing.

After absorbing this majestic views of the pristine woodland area and waterfall, I had a short rough ride to my camp-site where I erected my tent just a feet away from the crystal clear creek. Though, it was very cold, I couldn’t resist the temptation but I was glad I only had it do it once. 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 to enjoy and appreciate the cold winter camp as I witnessed the sun disappearing among the tree tops. What a night, what a thrill to experience this peacefulness in the middle of now-where was an absolute blessing to me.

Davis Creek and Dinden camping area is so blessed with hundreds of walking trails grading from easy walks to more strenuous walking tracks for visitors, campers and hikers 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. After doing couple of easy walking trails that lead to pristine cold water-holes, I not only like the place but I just totally fell in love with hiking and the great outdoor. For me, the best of all is relaxing and having a swim at cool clear waters of the creek before taking a long-way journey home. In seeing and experiencing this hidden pristine area with unspoilt camp-sites and trails, I can see why few come to enjoy, refuel, unwind, meditate and find peace in this peaceful and quite environment.

From personal perspective: Taking time to explore some of the places that you haven’t seen and visited within your backyard, it is always a great way to start your journey. I always heard of places but taking time to be part of that surrounding environment gives you a totally different perspective – We appreciate the place more.

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