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22 January, 2021

Jumpers warned it’s not worth the risk

There can be no better place, on a hot holiday weekend in the Mackay region, than heading for the hills for respite from the heat and a swim in the cool rock pools of the Finch Hatton Gorge.

Danger Sign
The signs at Finch Hatton Gorge say it all: “Climbing, jumping and diving from rocks in this area is dangerous”. Just prominent are signs ensuring emergency vehicles always have close access to the popular cascades and rockpools.

But beware!

There have been five deaths from rock jumping and diving in this gorgeous area in the past 40 years, plus many more injuries and near misses. There were plenty of near misses at the gorge last weekend.

In fact, despite large, prominently placed signs advising visitors to the gorge not to climb on the slippery rocks and jump into the water, there were parents assisting and even encouraging their youngsters to do just that.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment and Science, managers of the Eungella National Park, said the safety message was a high priority and with good reason.

“The Finch Hatton Gorge section of the national park has many dangerous cascades. While the cascades look inviting to explore and climb, people need to be aware of the dangers that exist,” the department spokesperson said.  

Jumping and diving off the rocks

“People have lost their lives jumping or falling off the rocks and there have also been numerous serious injuries, even though there are heavy penalties for those caught flouting the law.

“Drowning is the greatest threat to people who have injured their spines through accidents in and around the cascades and water.

"Take notice of the signs and remember, there is no cure for spinal cord injury, it’s with you for life,” is the chilling message on the website.

But it is a beautiful area, especially at the moment with a good quantity of water flowing over the rocks and cascades.

But beware, that a reasonable amount of water is still running across the floodways along Gorge Road and domestic animals are not permitted in Eungella National Park.

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