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Paluma Ultra

Paluma Ultra

October 26, 2024 5:00 am - 5:00 pm Paluma $129
Paluma Ultra

Awaken your sense of adventure

The Paluma Ultra is a 52km ultramarathon trail run race, that will challenge your physical and mental abilities as well as awaken your sense of adventure and indulge your inner child as you traverse a fun, technical and diverse course.

Having spent countless amount of hours and days in the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics region of Paluma Range National Park it has instilled an immense appreciation for the beauty of this place. One of our other events, the Paluma Village Trail Run has been around for over 10 years and we thought it is time to share even more parts of this special place with the avid trail runners.

The 52km Ultra Trail Run course takes you through pristine wet tropics rainforest, past waterfalls and through refreshing creek crossings. It then descents into dry eucalypt forest and cattle country and wide open spaces before climbing back into the dense rainforest parts of Paluma.

This time of the year, Paluma Range is a great escape from the heat in Townsville. Situated at almost 1000m, the Paluma Range is cooler than the coastal region and it makes for great trail running conditions in October.

We acknowledge the Nywaigi people as the Traditional Owners of this land. We pay our respects to their cultures, their ancestors and their Elders, past and present – and all future generations.

For more information on Paluma, please visit the National Parks website or the Paluma Info website.

Event Date:

Saturday, 26th October 2024 | Sign in starts at 5am | Race starts at 6am

Event Location:

Start location: Gumburu Environmental Education Centre, 1 Short Street, Paluma 4816

Finish location: Paluma Village Green, 65 Mount Spec Road, Paluma 4816

Entry Fee:

$129 General Entry | $149 Late Entry (starts 5th October)

Minimum age is 18 years as of event date.

What’s included:
  • Race entry
  • Race number with timing chip
  • Professional event timing services
  • Paluma Ultra necksock
  • Aid Stations
  • Drop bag service
  • Medical Support Services
  • Post race refreshments and BBQ
  • Awards and Prizes for the Top 3 male and female runners
  • Finisher Certificate
  • Professional event photography (high resolution images available for download after the event at no extra cost)
  • 50% discount on the Paluma Village Trail Run entry on Sunday morning
  • The best Ultra Trail Race you will ever run
Additional options:
  • Accommodation at Gumburu Environmental Education Centre: Friday Night (Check in at 4pm): $55pp | Saturday Night: $55pp (shared accommodation)
  • Friday Carb Dinner: $25pp (Beef Lasagne, Fried Rice, Salad buffet, Garlic Bread & Desert) *dietary requirements can be catered for
  • Saturday Breakfast: $15pp (Continental Breakfast – selection of cereals, toast & condiments, fresh fruit and yoghurt) *dietary requirements can be catered for
  • Saturday Dinner: $25pp (Chicken Casserole with Rice and steamed Vegetables & Desert) *dietary requirements can be catered for

If you are flying to Townsville and would like to hire a car, we recommend contacting NQ Adventure Rentals. Mention the Paluma Ultra to them to receive a discount on your car hire or contact us for a code to use when booking online.

Taking the Paluma Village Trail run to the next level, we have added a 52km ultramarathon trail run event to our repertoire.

The Paluma Ultra is one of the only ultra events that does not have a single bit of bitumen, well actually it does, but only 492 meters. The other 51.5 kilometres consist of a great variety of single trail, dirt road and old logging trails.

The Paluma Ultra course began a long time ago. First the tin miners followed their way up the creeks chasing the mother load of tin found in the Mt Spec area, then it was the loggers chasing the cabinet timbers found in the rainforest. After these industries moved on, the ancient rainforest worked hard to reclaim the area and any relics left behind by the tin mining and logging days.

And so it remained until less than 40 years ago when a local legend called Wilfred and his mate Thorsten purchased a homestead lease on a block of land hidden deep in the heart of the Paluma rainforest.

On 16 October 1988 Wilfred and his wife Dianne where clearing the land to build what is now known as the DCK Shelter and Dianne went for a walk to check the boundaries of the block. Unfortunately, she never returned. Local authorities and volunteers immediately began the biggest land search in Queensland history at the time but no trace of Dianne was ever found. Since Dianne’s disappearance, Wilfred and his friends have worked tirelessly mapping the area, clearing the old tin mining and logging trails and building the DCK Shelter, which acts as an emergency shelter for lost or injured bushwalkers.

Today, thanks to their hard work, the network encompasses over 100 kilometres of trails, telling the history of the area and showcasing the magnificent natural landscape.

The 52 kilometre course can be broken down into eight slightly more bite-sized sections:

Section 1 – Escaping Civilisation

  • With only the tiniest bit of bitumen, the course takes runners out onto the dreamy trails of Paluma village, across Cloudy Creek and out towards Ethel Creek Falls.

Section 2 – Rainforest Run

  • From Ethel Creek Falls, runners will follow technical single trail deep into World Heritage listed wet tropical rainforest and across the stunning Big Crystal Creek.

Section 3 – Wilfred’s World

  • This is Wilfred’s world, and we get to run in it. Runners will follow a maze of old tin mining trails complete with technical creek crossings, slippery downs and pinchy climbs. Don’t forget to check out the famous DCK Shelter on your way past.

Section 4 – Mt Spec Spectacle

  • Once a busy hive for industrious tin miners, Mt Spectacle is the highest peak in the Paluma range. It’s a challenging climb but, once they reach the top, runners will finally get some reprieve as they descend towards their first aid station.

Section 5 – Benham’s Track

  • A treat for any ‘roady runners’ in the field, runners will get to stretch their legs out along 4WD track. This is the turning point of the course where runners transition from “running away” to “running towards” home.

Section 6 – Hidden Valley Wonderland

  • Runners will begin to climb back up the Paluma range through dry and rocky tall timbre country.

Section 7 – Forgotten Falls

  • A view and descent that is unlikely to be forgotten as runners leave the dry country behind and are immersed back into the rainforest.

Section 8 – The Local Loop

  • With the dulcet tones of the finish line calling, runners will weave their way back through the picturesque trails of the Paluma Village and towards civilisation.

To download the GPX file for the course and explore the map and elevation profile in more detail, visit the Plotaroute website HERE.



Elevation Profile

A trail run race like no other! The Paluma Ultra has it all- technical, fast, flowy and challenging single trail with minimal boring bitumen.

We also offer additional services to help with logistics, such as bus transfer to & from Paluma (departing Townsville), shared accommodation in Paluma on Friday and Saturday night, Carb Dinner on Friday night and Buffet Dinner on Saturday as well as Breakfast on Saturday morning. All extras can be added to your online registration when entering the race.

Mandatory Equipment

All runners must carry the mandatory equipment listed below. It is a requirement that all runners are fully self sufficient for the entire duration of the race. Please take into consideration the type of terrain the course traverses and that technical single trail will take you significantly longer than running on open roads.

  • Hydration vest or similar
  • Adequate water and nutrition
  • 2x compression bandage
  • 1x emergency blanket
  • 1x whistle
  • 1x headlight (fully charged and/or carry spare batteries)
  • 1x mobile phone (fully charged and waterproofed. Navigation app and course gpx file must be downloaded (this will be checked at sign in). Please save the Race Directors number in your phone 0421 484 211)
  • 1x set of paper copy maps (these will be handed out at sign in)
  • 1x good quality rain jacket (in adverse weather conditions only- this will be advised prior to race start)

Aid Stations & Bag Drops

There are two aid stations along the course. Aid Station 1 is located at the end of the Paluma Dam Loop at the 20km mark and Aid Station 2 is located at the Chicks Road turnoff towards Forgotten Falls, at the 38km mark. Both Aid Stations are manned with volunteers and are stocked with the following:

  • First Aid
  • Hydration – water and electrolytes
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Lollies
  • Mini chocolate bars
  • Small Coke bottles
  • Small bags of salted chips

Both Aid Stations are also the Bag Drop locations. If runners wish to have a bag taken out to one or both of the Aid Stations, please drop the bag off at Race HQ by 5.50am. Bags must be labelled with your name and it is the runners responsibility to ensure it is dropped at the correct bag drop location. There are two labelled tubs, one for each Aid Station. An additional tub will be available for the Finish Line bag drop.

Cut off Times

There are two cut off points in the race. The first point is at Aid Station 1 at the end of the Dam Loop, at the 20km mark. Time: 10:30am. With a 6am start, this allows 4hr 30min for 20km (13.5min/km). Expect technical and undulating terrain.

The second cut off point is on Chicks Road at the turnoff to Forgotten Falls, which is the 38km mark. Time: 13:30pm. The trails are wider and less technical.

Finish Line cut off is 5pm. This allows for 11 hours total running time for 52km and an average of 12.7min/km.


A Quick History Lesson

The Paluma and Mt Spec area is the most southern part of the World Heritage Wet Tropics that spans along 450km of rugged Tropical North Queensland coastline between Cooktown and Townsville, the Area is home to ancient remnants of the Gondwanan forest that once covered the Australian continent. It is listed as the second most irreplaceable natural World Heritage site on earth by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Paluma Range and the township of Paluma are named after a Queensland colonial government survey ship that worked along the North Queensland coast in the 1880s and 1890s—the HMSPaluma.


Tin Mining
  • The township of Paluma—once known as Cloudy Clearing—developed after tin was discovered in the area in 1875. Tin mining peaked in 1905 but soon declined due to poor access, high transport costs and low tin prices. Remnants of the era can be seen along the Paluma Ultra course. McClellands lookout commemorates the overseer who, as part of an employment scheme during the depression of the 1930s, built Paluma Road and the bridge across Little Crystal Creek. The stone bridge is an enduring tribute to the stone masonry of those times.
  • Rich in cabinet timbers, part of what is now Paluma Range National Park was logged during the early 1930s to mid 1970s. Hardwoods and softwoods were taken from the rainforest and surrounding eucalypt forests. Most timber harvesting stopped with the formation of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988.
  • At nearly 1000m and with its excellent views of Halifax Bay, the township of Paluma was chosen by the United States Army as a Radar Station in World War II. The antenna for the radar was located near McClellands lookout. The radar station detected enemy planes in July 1942, successfully warning Townsville of the approaching air raid. In 1943 the Royal Australian Air Force took control of the operation of the radar station before it closed in early 1945.

The Paluma Ultra takes you on a journey in time from ancient rainforest landmarks through tin mining years, logging days and military times. It takes you on an adventure, it takes you to places you have never been before. The course starts and finishes in the township of Paluma located 90 minutes north of Townsville.

Rules & Regulations: In order for the event to run as smoothly as possible we need all participants to cooperate and stick to our rules and regulations, please read through the points below:

  • No rego, No run! – We do not offer registration on the day and most our events sell out in advance. Please check with us before coming to the event unregistered.
  • Visible BIB number – Please make sure your bib number is clearly visible (front of shirt) when crossing the finish line, this ensures the correct detection of your timing chip by the electronic timing system. The bib can not be covered by clothes or bags, this might cause the timing chip to not be picked up by the antenna at the finish line.
  • No shortcuts – please stick to the marked track, for safety and fairness reasons. All courses are clearly marked and we have marshals out on the course.
  • Fitness level – please choose the right distance according to your fitness level! Many of our courses are a bit more technical and running on trail will take you approximately twice as long as running the same distance on road. Our trail run events are not designed to be walked, especially not the longer distances. If you have any questions in regards to choosing the right distance according to your ability, please feel free to contact us. The event officials reserve the right to short course or pull competitors out of the race if they are concerned for their well-being.
  • Obey traffic regulations unless otherwise instructed by an event official
  • Treat other competitors, officials, volunteers and spectators with respect and courtesy
  • Dress Code – please wear appropriate clothing, including pants, shirts and suitable running shoes

Trail Run Etiquette:

  • Be mindful that the trails are open for other users outside of the race, including runners and walkers
  • Do not leave any rubbish behind. What you bring in you must take out
  • Keep left and give way to runners passing from behind
  • Don’t approach any wildlife you may come across on the trails
  • We ask you to NOT wear headphones, so you can hear other trail users around and hear the trail marshals instructions
  • Stop and give assistance to other runners if needed. If another competitor falls and injures themselves, it is not an opportunity to pass them. Give assistance and ensure they are ok. Time considerations will always be given to the ones who stop and assist injured runners.

The Fine Print – Online Waiver – When registering online, you agree to the Terms & Conditions.

Change, Cancellation and Refund Policy

Participant no longer able to attend/participate

  1. Registered Participants who are no longer able to attend or participate in their registered event may:
    • Request a refund as outlined and in accordance with clauses 2 and 3;
    • Request a transfer of their registration to another event as outlined and in accordance with clauses 4 to 6; or
    • Request that their registration be transferred to another athlete as outlined and in accordance with clauses 7 to 9.
  2. Participants may request a refund by emailing ‘’ no less than 14 days prior to the event. No refund requests will be considered or refunds issued after this date.
  3. Refunds made in accordance with clause 2 are subject to a $20 transaction fee per registration being refunded.
  4. Participants may request to transfer their registration to the following year by emailing ‘’ no less than 7 days prior to the event. No transfer requests will be considered or transfers issued after this date.
  5. Event registrations can only be transferred once. If the registered participant is unable to attend their nominated subsequent event, the entry fee will be forfeited.
  6. Transfers made in accordance with clauses 4 and 5 are subject to a $10 administration fee per registration that is payable at the time of transfer.
  7. Participants may request to transfer their registration to another athlete by emailing ‘’ no less than 7 days prior to the event. No athlete transfer requests will be considered or athlete transfers issued after this date.
  8. Written requests for an athlete transfer must include the full name of the athlete being nominated in the registered participant’s place as well as their mobile number, email address, gender, date of birth and emergency contact information.
  9. Athlete transfers made in accordance with clauses 7 and 8 are subject to a $10 administration fee per registration that is payable at the time of transfer.

Event Changes/Cancellation

  1. Outer Limits reserves the right to alter the course without notice, reschedule and/or cancel the event in consultation with emergency services, government agencies and event stakeholders.
  2. Should the event need to be rescheduled, all registrations will be automatically transferred to the new date.
  3. Registered participants unable to attend the new date must notify Outer Limits by emailing ‘’. Registered participants will then have the option to have their registration refunded (as outlined and in accordance with clauses 2 and 3), registration transferred (as outlined and in accordance with clauses 4 to 6) or nominate another athlete to take over their registration (as outlined and in accordance with clauses 7 to 9).
  4. In the unlikely circumstance that the event has to be cancelled and is unable to be rescheduled, all registered participants will receive a credit towards a future event. The credit will be valid for 12 months.
  5. Refunds are not available where the event is unable to be rescheduled.

If you are not quite up for a 52km run just yet but still would like to be involved, why not sign up to volunteer at the Paluma Ultra.

Please use the below form to express your interest and we will be in touch closer to the event.

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