Waterfalls are always a sight to behold. Huge, powerful, and rushing, it’s one of nature’s most humbling formations. Majestic as they all are, Mitchell Falls in Mitchell River National Park takes the cake as the most idyllic. Spectacular does not begin to describe the view from the top of the falls –it’s just something that will make you stop and just stare. And the photos of the falls taken from the official photo look out? Well, it’s the stuff nature magazine covers are made of.
The brave ones take on the treacherous trail to get to the top of the falls and their courage is rewarded with a few memorable side trips that the folks who took the helicopter up missed.
The trail up to Mitchell Falls begins at the camping ground. Without getting too far, you will be greeted by the lovely Mertens Creek. While you might not feel like taking a dip so soon into your hike, you would want to take note of this place because we are quite sure that you will want to come back to it later at the end of the day.
After a 15-minute walk or so, you will meet your first waterfall of the day –the Mertens Falls. It’s such a peaceful spot that one can’t resist but take an hour to just soak up its beauty… and to soak up in the natural spas and pools in the area! To get to these pools, you have to walk across the top of the Mertens Falls. After cooling down, you might want to explore under the falls where a curious little attraction awaits –a cave. Its walls are covered with what’s known as Bradshaw paintings which is Aboriginal art first discovered in 1838 by Sir George Grey, then again in 1891 by Joseph Bradshaw.
After crossing the falls, you get to Merten Gorge which features the second waterfall of the day. It’s notably larger than the first falls but still nothing compared to your destination which comes right after you cross the rocky top of the gorge –Mitchell Falls.
Don’t feel like doing a huge hike?
The entire hike going up could take around 3 hours to complete. If you feel like you or one of your party is unable to complete the climb, you can take the helicopter up to the falls. You will miss all the side attractions along the way but the view from the helicopter is great too. A lot of people climb by foot and take the helicopter coming down to get the best of both worlds.
Where to camp
The camp closest to the falls is the Mitchell Falls Camping Area. It’s on the Mitchell Plateau and is quite spacious. There are toilets but no showers, and you get your water from Mertens Creek. Also, the campground is separated into two –a generator area and a quiet area. There’s a fee of $6.50 per night.
Camping at the Mitchell Plateau is self-sufficient. Get all your goods, other needs, and motor repairs done at Drysdale Homestead.
Wood for fire is available just before you enter the camping grounds. Take note that you can’t get firewood just from anywhere. It has to be at the exact place where marked by the care takers of the park.
Fuel stove for cooking are allowed on the campgrounds.
Collect water for drinking upstream of the creek while you can bathe (no soap please!) and swim downstream.
Top Image Source: Robyn Jay – flickr.com