Nestling on the edge of the Great Dividing Range, Crows Nest National Park is a vast expanse of eucalypt forest filled with gorges enclosed by granite cliffs, boulder-strewn streams that become plunging waterfalls, and a wide variety of wildlife, which I heard but never saw. It’s an attractive place to hike, and there are about 5km of walking trails, but the thing that really got my attention was a name: the Valley of Diamonds.
The trail to the viewing platform over the Valley of Diamonds took me along a river and past several pools. The water wasn’t running and it seemed a lot drier here than it had been in Girraween National Park, perhaps because Crows Nest is on the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range, while Girraween is on the western side. This at least made it easier to do some boulder scrambling along the river.
I passed families hanging out at Bottlebrush Pool and found my way to the viewing platform over the dramatic Crows Nest Falls. At least, they would have been dramatic if there’d been any water tumbling over them into the green pool below. There is a manmade viewing platform here, next to it is a tragic warning sign with a picture of a young man who fell and died here.
A couple of kilometres further on I came to the Valley of Diamonds. The lookout point offers sweeping vistas over the gorge below, which seems to stretch on for ever. The Valley of Diamonds got its name not from the vast diamond deposits that lie in the valley but, rather disappointingly, because when the sun bounces off the granite cliffs they glint like diamonds.
One of the highlights of the park are the brush-tailed rock-wallabies that live here, I was really hoping to see one. The best advice seemed to be to pick a spot, stay still and hope the wildlife would appear. On my way out of the park, I stood silently at the viewing point overlooking Crows Nest Falls, and waited patiently to spot movement amongst the rocks. I waited, and then waited some more. It wasn’t to be.
Apart from some noisy birds in the trees, all other animals were being elusive. I suspect there were too many people in the park for animals to venture into the open. It’s a popular place for local people, and I met several families with young children enjoying a day out. At Bottlebrush Pool people were even swimming, which definitely reduces the chances of seeing one of the platypus that feed on crustaceans in these waters.