The Wheel of Fire at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A colossal gentle giant at Finch Hatton, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A colossal gentle giant at Finch Hatton, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

On my way to Finch Hatton Gorge, I passed this gentle giant. I couldn’t believe the size of this bull, I would estimate his weight close to a ton. There is no doubt, that this big ball bull had reproductive purposes only.

Big and lonely at Finch Hatton, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Big and lonely at Finch Hatton, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

He seemed a bit lonely in his paddock though, as he came over to introduce himself.

My name is Big Ben! Finch Hatton, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

My name is Big Ben! Finch Hatton, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Like most giants, this one was as gentle as a fluffy teddy bear, as I stroke his huge head. What a cutie. 

Finch Hatton gorge was added to Eungalla National Park in the 1990s and lies in the valley below.

Finch Hatton Creek cascading down the gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Finch Hatton Creek cascading down the gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Finch Hatton Creek cascades from the highlands in spectacular fashion and attracts national and international visitors all year round. Locals use the cooling waters for a refreshing dip in the summer months for decades.

A reminder of stupidity at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A reminder of stupidity at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Some overestimated their own abilities or been simply stupid and paid the ultimate price. What I found eluding, was that this sign was particularly dedicated to (Australian) men in their prime time of strength and possibly, the prime time of stupidity too. 

A typical scene along Finch Hatton Creek at Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A typical scene along Finch Hatton Creek at Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Getting to the National Park entrance, Finch Hatton Creek needs to be crossed several times. An early glimpse of the greenish, yet clear waters to come. Flanked by ferns, tall grasses, and subtropical trees, I couldn’t wait to start my walk.

Destructive signs at Finch Hatton Creek, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Destructive signs at Finch Hatton Creek, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Huge boulders scattered alongside this creek are showing the strength and brute force flood waters can have in the rainy season. Flash floods cut off these communities from the outside of the world for days.

A calm flow at Finch Hatton Creek, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A calm flow at Finch Hatton Creek, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

There was no risk of any of this  happenening today, as troopy easily cruised through Finch Hatton Creek.

Start of the trail at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Start of the trail at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

The hiking trail leading up the upper cascades is called ‘wheel of fire’. An intriguing name and I was eager to find out its origins. My imagination ran wild once more. Maybe the rocks are blood red and reflect like fire on incoming sun rays. Or the clear waters themselves appear like a ring of fire? I couldn’t wait to find out, even though on this misty day, chances of sunlight are very slim.

Tricky photography conditions at times at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Tricky photography conditions at times at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

In fact, photography was quite difficult in foggy conditions and patches of rain sprinkled my lens. Wet and muddy trail conditions called for extra caution, these rocks are extremely slippery. 

Lush foliage at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Lush foliage at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Passing through a dense green forest, it was clear to see, why this section was added to Eungalla National Park. Tall and smaller ferns flanked Finch Hatton Creek spectacularly, adding to the already green surroundings. Some of these ferns are only found here and nowhere else in Australia.

Araluen Falls at Finch Hatton Go, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Araluen Falls at Finch Hatton Go, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A short detour trails to ‘Araluen Falls’, a welcoming picnic spot. A deep swimming hole was created by the sheer force of running water, cascading from a 4-meter drop.

Pool overflow at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Pool overflow at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

The overflow gently continued further downhill, passing huge boulders and washed up tree trunks. Another reminder that this is not the place to be in rushing waters. The smoothness of these rocks indicates, that they have been washed for quite some time.

Rich in depth and colour at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Rich in depth and colour at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

From a photographer‘s point of view, these low light conditions are ideal for long exposure shots. Photography is all about light as we all know.

Longer exposure for dreamy effect at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Longer exposure for dreamy effect at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

The less light there is available, the longer I can increase the shutter speed to create the dreamy running water effect, as well as picking up all colours, even from darker sections. And that’s what I did.

50 shades of green fern at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

50 shades of green fern at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

This works well on still life like ferns as well, as long as they are not moving.

I cross the bridge when I find it, at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

I cross the bridge when I find it, at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Walking on towards the ‘wheel of fire’, I arrived at the most difficult part of this track, ‘Callistemon Crossing’. As the name suggests, this is where the trail continues on the other side of the creek. Mh, there are plenty of big boulders to hop from and to, but in these slippery conditions, it simply wasn’t an option. A slim, but long tree stump was placed in the deepest part of the creek, yet slippery and wet as well.

I could take my shoes off and wade through cold waters on slippery rocks, but that wasn’t my ideal option either.  Mh, what would MacGyver do in a situation like this, I wondered. The solution was quite simple though. I returned to the forest and found a long, but sturdy stick to support my balance, whilst crossing the slippery lumber. Think harder, trail smarter! It works every time. I left the stick on the other side for the use on my return.

Roaring sounds throughout Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Roaring sounds throughout Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

The roaring sound of cascading waters echoed along the gorge and throughout the forest, I couldn’t wait to see the ‘wheel of fire’, this would be spectacular. I decided to backtrack my photography, as I did at the ‘Coomera Falls Track’. Lighting conditions were far from ideal as I arrived at the top of the gorge.

The wheel without fire at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

The wheel without fire at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A huge washed out pool created the wheel, but there was no fire to be seen. Informing myself on the information board, I found out the following.

Misleading name at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Misleading name at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Ha ha, I had a wee chuckle to myself. This makes perfect sense now. However, I arrived at the wrong time of year. Nevertheless, it is a fantastic and challenging track, particularly in wet conditions.

Dark and rainy Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Dark and rainy Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

I followed this gorgeous track downhill stream, just the way I came. Incoming clouds and rain made photography difficult, not only because of slippery conditions. 

Twin Falls at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Twin Falls at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

I did manage to snap a few quick shots from the edge of the gorge. I will just have to return here in ‘firing’ conditions again, good enough excuse for me.

Stick to it at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Stick to it at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

‘Callistemon Crossing was easily managed, as I handed my stick to a young couple. They looked a bit dumb founded on the other side of the creek. I wonder what they would have done otherwise. 

Falls below the Finch Hatton Creek Crossing, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Falls below the Finch Hatton Creek Crossing, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

A larger exposed rock area was just below ‘Callistemon Crossing’ is an ideal place to stop and smell the forest and its sounds.

Creek blockade at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Creek blockade at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Numerous cascades dotted the granite terrain, odd trees seem to withstand torrent forces and have enough stronghold on sheer rock.

Shower Curtain Falls at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Shower Curtain Falls at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

The waters cascaded on to a wider area, acting like a curtain. This was more obvious in longer exposure throughout the camera.

Colourful boulders at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Colourful boulders at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Huge boulders, covered in white fungi and green moss, seem to fit in perfectly in this picturesque scene.

Colourful dreamy at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Colourful dreamy at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Lighting conditions were ideal as it gave just enough light for long exposure shots, capturing the depth of light and structures.

Divided Finch Hatton Creek at Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Divided Finch Hatton Creek at Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Slowly and carefully making my way further down, narrow sidearms formed along this steeper section.

Nature’s marvel at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Nature’s marvel at Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Yet, boulders and trees seem to flank harmoniously. Often I sit and wonder on how Mother Nature comes up with this perfectionist beauty and elegance.

Chess Rocks? Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Chess Rocks? Finch Hatton Gorge, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

I also wondered on why the exposed rocks on this side of the creek have a light appearance, whilst across the creek, they are much, much darker. 

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It was getting late and I was looking forward to a nice hot cup of coffee at my home on wheels.

Finch Hatton Creek in black and white, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

Finch Hatton Creek in black and white, Eungalla National Park, Queensland, Australia

No doubt, I will revisit Eungalla National Park again some day. Surely, there are more mythical stories to be seen, which work in mysterious ways. 

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