Location: Rollingstone, approx 50km north of Townsville.
Distance of walk: 10km return, one day. Allow 10 to 12 hours to complete.
Please note that this is a very steep unmarked walk and should only be tackled by experienced walkers with all the appropriate safety gear.
Highlights and main features of the walk: Mt Halifax is a dominant mountain located at Rollingstone — it’s the highest peak (1,063m) on the mainland north of Townsville until the Tully area. This is the mountain you can see from Bruce Highway behind the pineapple farms. It can be seen from Castle Hill and other vantage points. The only higher mainland peaks around Townsville are to the south on the Mount Elliot Range.
A marked trail was built by some Vietnam veterans in the 2000’s from Paces Road to the summit.
Much of the bushwalk at lower altitudes is in, or alongside, a rocky and boulder-strewn jungle creek. Along the way there are some small gorges, waterfalls and cascades. Note: At present (October 2015) there is no flowing water in the creek.
There are diverse vegetation variations along the walk as the altitude changes; from woodland to rainforest, then she-oak and grass trees, to bottlebrush on exposed ridges, and then rainforest at the top. As the track ascends you climb narrow rocky ridgelines to reach the rainforest near the summit.
Most challenging aspect? It’s steep, very steep. It’s a hard, but rewarding, bushwalk on a rough marked trail. Some sections have a loose surface with ropes in place to assist you clamber up or down very steep sections of the trail.
Most rewarding aspect? The challenge of conquering this high and dominant summit. And the great views from all directions. Also knowing that very few others know about it, let alone achieve it. There’s a huge variety of the walk environment, and it’s fantastic being able to enjoy and experience this special environment.
Best time of year to go? The drier months of the year are best. Otherwise there will be wet slippery rocks to deal with. After heavy rain the creeks may not be passable.
What to bring? You need to be self-sufficient in remote area rugged terrain hiking for the day. Ensure you have a map, compass, GPS, and safety communications devices. Carry adequate water for the whole day. You need to carry first aid kit, PLB (EPIRB), and be self-sufficient.
If the summit is clouded in it can be wet and cold up top, even in summer, so take a raincoat and jumper.
Depending on time of year, water resupply may be unreliable — you may need to carry water for the day. At Camp 1 (510m altitude) there is a water point (Bridal Fall) — there may be water there (October 2015 there was a small trickle down the rockface).
Anything else to know? Start early — we suggest 6am. Allow five to six hours to reach the summit. Ensure you have time to return to the finish point in daylight. If you have not reached the summit by midday, turn around and descend to finish.
There is a sign-in logbook at the start of the walk. There should be detailed mud maps in the box — please ensure you return the mud map at end of walk.
Upper parts of the route have mobile phone reception.
The marked trail is a privately developed and maintained trail. It’s rough, and not of national park standard.
The route is well marked. Ensure that trail markers are always visible before moving to next marker. The trail is rough and in some places difficult to discern without the markers – so ensure you are always in sight of markers (metal orange/yellow).
Before Rollingstone bridge, turn left onto Pace’s Road, drive until you reach the log book sign-in point for the start, then park cars on the roadside before the gate. Vehicles are not to proceed through Paces gate as it’s private property.
Paces gate to Gorge Falls (elevation 171 metres) – 1.4 km, 30 minutes, cross country easy walking.
Gorge Falls to Rope Falls (elevation 174 metres) – 10 minutes. Clamber up right side rock face, rope is in place to assist.
Rope Falls to Flat Rock (elevation 360 metres), via Loop Falls side trip (elevation 261 metres) — This section is an undulating hike on a loop track to the left of a creek that avoids the creek. Steep climb (with a side trip to Loop Falls about half way), then descend to Flat Rock. Allow 1.5 to 2 hours from start to Flat Rock.
The ascent really commences now.
Flat Rock to Camp 1 (altitude 510 metres) — A very steep section, allow 30-40 minutes. Rock hop up the creek, then leave the creek left side onto the ridgeline, and up the ‘rock slide’ — a steep scree slope with loose rocks. There’s a rope in place to assist. Above the rock slide, on track with loose dirt surface, there are more ropes in place to assist. At Camp 1, a side track to the right for 125m leads to Bridal Falls. This is the last water point on the ascent.
Camp 1 to Camp 2 (altitude 639 metres) — More very steep climbing, allow 30-40 minutes, at one point 87% gradient.
Camp 2 to Camp 3 (altitude 743 metres) — More very steep climbing, allow 30-40 minutes.
Camp 3 to Echo Hill (altitude 894 metres) — Steep climbing, onto the rocky ridgeline, she-oak and grass tree country, getting great views of the landscape around and below.
Echo Hill to False Crest (altitude 1015 metres) — More along the ridgeline, and then into rainforest and the False Crest. Great views along the ridge.
False Crest to Mt Halifax (altitude 1063 metres) — A 15-minute walk through rainforest , down a gully then back up, over moist rainforest ground, to reach the summit. Lunch at Camp 4.
Allow two hours from Camp 3 to Mt Halifax summit.
Return same route.
Townsville Bushwalking Club organises bushwalks every two weeks, except for the hottest part of the year. Many of the walks are within an hour’s drive of Townsville. One-day walks are held on Sundays and there are some multi-day walks on the calendar.
The minimal level of fitness required is to be able to walk up the Goat Track of Castle Hill with ease.
The destination is decided at the pre-walk meeting the week of the walk, with weather and other conditions taken into consideration.