The township of Dalrymple is found on the western bank of Burdekin River. Built in 1864 it was the first inland settlement in Northern Australia. The discovery of gold in the Cape River and the Gilbert River.
Dalrymple was turned into a thriving town with 5 hotels and many other buisness’s. In 1870 large floods destroyed the town. A further blow was the discovery of gold in Charter Towers and Ravenswood. Only Gravesites, fences, pavements and old mine sites remain as a legacy of the time.
Dalrymple Gap and Track take their names from George Elphinstone Dalrymple, who, with George and Walter Scott, was a joint owner of the Valley of Lagoons grazing property some 70km inland. In the early 1860s, Bowen, as the closest seaport, was considered to be too far away and so in 1864 this group of pastoralists established Cardwell as their new seaport. A road to link this new settlement to Valley of Lagoons was constructed following an old Aboriginal foot track. This is the Dalrymple Gap Track.
The track is some 8 kilometres end to end and takes about 4 hours to walk one way. On the Cardwell side, the stone bridge is 2 kilometres from the car park and can be reached in 1 1/4 hours. You may like to use this as a shortened return walk. This portion of the track climbs constantly and is quite steep in parts. It is at these points you should pause, to rest and to ponder the bullocks with their average wagonload of two tonnes.
After passing the bridge and crossing the ridge line, the southern descent is very steep for one kilometre to the first crossing of Dalrymple creek. For the rest of its length, to the Broadwater State Forest, the descent is quite gentle along the Dalrymple creek valley.
The forests on either side of the range are quite different. The Cardwell, or ocean side, comprises largely open eucalypt forest with rainforest strips in the creek lines. This forest is the result of exposure to salt loaded sea winds blowing onto these slopes. There is a drying effect, which this rainforest doesn't like and we find the rainforest tucked away in sheltered gullies. After passing the ridge top you will be plunged into really striking rainforest, totally wind protected and well watered. This forest will continue until about 1 kilometre form the southern end where eucalypt forest will again become interspersed with the rainforest. The last half kilometre of trail is through open eucalypt forest.
A memorial to the courage and tenacity of the men who pioneered the northern wilderness. The track follows the section of the original road which traversed the Cardwell Range. The walk is 10 kilometre long and a permit must be obtained from the Department of Forestry before commencing the walk.