The Bloomfield River is one of striking beauty. Numerous rainforest creeks, including the mighty Roaring Meg Creek merge in the hills and cascade over the rock formation to form at the base of the beautiful Bloomfield River. This system is so named after Lt Blomfield of the 5th Regiment by Phillip Parker King whilst charting the inside passage of the Great Barrier Reef in 1817-18. Today, depending on the season, you might find it a raging torrent carrying monsoonal rainfall down from the mountains and out to sea, or a peaceful river that rises and falls with the turning tides.
The river has special significance to the original peoples of this area, the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, who still use the area for hunting, fishing and collecting. It passes over an old crossing and then under the new bridge at the local Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal, which means ‘many falls’. Within the river is an island, which in the early 1900s was used as home base in the dry season for locals and others working on the boats in the pearling and trochus shell industries. Further downstream, Granite Creek runs in to increase the flow, adding more seeds and other debris from the rainforest.
The river then rounds the bend at the ‘horse crossing’, so named for the shallow rock ford that spans almost its complete width. This is where horses and people used to cross over before the causeway and then the bridge was built. It’s also been ‘home’ for several large crocodiles over the years. From here, the river continues along beside the gabion baskets which retain the road. It’s then met by another feeder creek, Woobada Creek, which is also an anchorage for one of the local fishermen who has lived in this area for many years. This same creek crosses the coast road on the way to Cape Tribulation. Further downstream, there’s a timber vessel that has ridden out many floods and the river forks to form another island, mostly of mangroves. After which it comes to the old sawmill site, where the private wharf remnants are still intact.
The concrete boat ramp is next, which is used by locals and visitors alike as a launching facility when boating (all tide access). There is mobile phone coverage here and it’s common to see travelers stopping to check messages or making a quick call. Downstream of the ramp is the old wharf, now owned by the Bloomfield Lodge. There’s a small public landing facility where in the late 1800s they loaded sugar onto sailing vessels heading south to Brisbane. This area is used by locals from the south side to access by boat the shop and cafe located in the township of Ayton, where you can buy almost anything you require, as well as a tasty meal. Further downstream the river comes to its ‘mouth’ where a series of sand bars block the entrance to deep drafted vessels. Even shallow draft vessels require local knowledge and a degree of care to pass safely out into the waters of the bay.
© Bloomfield Escape 2023