September 23, 2017
Here on campus, there is a group called the Globe Trotters. I never paid much attention to it when I first heard about it because I immediately associated it with the Harlem Globe Trotters trick-basketball team. But, that was silly of me. It turns out the that Globe Trotters at JCU are a group of students that host little social events and day trips for students. When I heard that they were organizing at trip to Crystal Creek for only $10, I signed up immediately.
Being only an hour drive from Townsville, Crystal Creek is a popular place to visit for a day trip. But, without a car, even a simple day trip becomes a challenge to make happen for many international students. My friends and I were so happy when we found out that the Globe Trotters had planned this event. All we had to do was attend and have a blast, and that is exactly what we did.
There were about 30 students who came in total. We left campus at 10am and enjoyed chatting with other international students during the drive. Even though I have been to Paluma, the area where Crystal Creek is located, multiple times before for various bush walks and field trips, I had yet to actually see Crystal Creek. Once we arrived, it totally lived up to its name and I realized that any time a swimming place has the name “crystal” in it, I should bring my snorkel along. After spending an hour or so swimming, we began to feel that the water here is a bit colder than it is at the beach. So, we found a shady place on the shore to enjoy the view and warm up before the lunchtime barbeque. The barbeque was a simple sausage sizzle. But, don’t underestimate the simplicity. Even though it was still cheap food, it was not dorm food. Therefore, it was considered something special.
After lunch, we headed up the creek to where we had the most fun. Crystal Creek is really known for its natural water slides. I have seen photos of these before, and even read about them. But I had no idea that I would get to experience them here in AU. Before I tried them out, I watched two friends jump off the edge of some super high rocks into the deep pool below. They were much braver than me. I myself was timid enough just about the idea of sliding down the creek. As I made a face that clearly said “brace for impact” my friends laughed at me as I slid down for the first time. But, I didn’t scream, so that was good. And even better, I was smiling and laughing by the time I splashed into the crystal clear pool that had some decent sized fish in it. It was so much fun!
After sliding a few more times, one of my friends who had been here before told the rest of us that the slides are even better up the creek a bit further. So, off we went feeling like little kids at an amusement park. Up at the other slides, there was no one else around. We followed each other around in a circle, one after the other sliding from pool to pool and laughing endlessly. I didn’t bring my phone up here, fearing another incident like what happened at Tully George, so I don’t have a photo of the slide at this spot, but I will do my best to describe it.
Imagine walking across smooth rocks so hot you feel like every step makes the soles of your feet melt. Then, you crouch down and carefully scoot into the refreshing water that is rushing down stream. But, as you sigh with relief on how much better your feet feel, you realize that the algae slime is so slick that you are already being pushed down stream. There’s a huge splash as you slide into the first pool. With a bit of a scoot, you get over the hump and slide splashing and laughing into the next pool, shaped perfectly like a bath tub. You wouldn’t mind to sit here a while, but your friends are sliding towards you so you scoot forward one more time and splash into the last pool before jumping up, scurrying up the smooth, hot rocks again, and hopping back into the creek to rinse and repeat. We were truly laughing so much, with such child-like joy, that all of this fun felt good for the soul. Everyone needs to belly-laugh now and then, and today was full of exactly that.
After laughing and splashing the afternoon away, everyone gathered to load up into the vans. Right as we were loading up, we spotted this awesome Lace Monitor Lizard sneaking through some leaves, which has also been something that I have wanted to see in Australia. This one was around a meter and a half long. Monitors are the only lizards that have a forked tongue and Lace Monitors actually spend a lot of their time off the ground, in the safety of trees. As we headed back towards Townsville, we enjoyed a sweet treat at Frosty Mango. This is somewhere that I have been before with the bushwalking club, and was very happy to go to again. I got pineapple gelato, Annabell and Sara had coconut and chocolate, and Uli had banana and dark chocolate. We sampled each other’s and thought that they were all really tasty. I am so thankful that I was able to experience a super fun day at this beautiful natural play ground with my friends. Huge thanks to the JCU Globe Trotters for planning this event to help those of us without cars, or local friends with cars, visit Crystal Creek.