Travelling around Australia in a motorhome. A story of our travels starting from NSW then through Queensland, across to Northern Territory and Western Australia, then to South Australia, Victoria and finally across the seas to Tasmania. We have enjoyed everywhere we have visited and look forward to setting off again in our motorhome.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Karijini NP 12 – 14 October 2006

Up early for us and gone about 8.00am - though our new travelling companions (Alamo and Moema) are used to getting up at 3.30am and setting off at 5.00am. The scenery became more hilly and pretty as we got closer to the NP. We also started to see quite a few varieties of pink wild flowers. The country is like a soft water colour painting and the spinifex softly touching the edges of all the colour patches and the hills and mountains are yielding greens, mauves, yellows and oranges. At sunset it is even softer. It is perhaps the prettiest landscape of the hot arid lands. One information board wrote that it was like a multicoloured carpet laid on the ground. The diversity of plants is amazing and this is reciprocated at night, with a fruit salad of insects getting in to the kitchen sink where we stunned by the number of different creepy-crawlies - hardly two of anything the same and so many sizes. Dingoes are also around and it was wonderful to hear their wild howls chorusing in the night. Whilst sitting out in the evening we saw a very large one move quickly behind the car a few times. We have been warned that they take your shoes or anything left outside!
Next morning, we climbed down 200m of rocky stairs to get to Fortescue Falls and a beautiful pool below it. It was a magic moment of course and so rewarding. Another 10 mins along the gorge was a big pool shaded by paperbarks and masses of ferns. The water was an unusual blue/green and lots of little fish dashing about. Couldn’t resist another dip and in Heather went. Felt a little soft nip and decided that might be enough. Whilst climbing out another unexpected nip to the arch of the foot sent the knee upward at 100kms and hit the wooden platform, resulting in a bruise of significance for a week!
On Friday we drove to the other side of the park to see more of the really spectacular gorges. We enjoyed Three Way Gorge lookout, Weano Gorge where we had a lovely swim, Joffre Falls, which was an incredible deep, narrow, straight-sided gorge. A Celtic cross stood by this amazing lookout commemorating the recovery of an SES volunteer who was swept to his death in a flash flood whilst rescuing a tourist in 2004. It was a scary place just to look down into with no way out. The car has proven to be a fabulous way of getting into these special places.
On Saturday hiked down to Circular Pool, at the end of Dales Gorge. The pool was at the bottom of a 200m drop and necessitated clambering over enormous blocks of ironstone. When we finally got there, we saw soaring cliffs reaching up to a diminutive lookout. The water was cold but did not put us off and we enjoyed splashing around the pool and playing under the waterfalls. It was very special and yet another “shampoo add” came to mind. The water spilling out of the rocks near the bottom created a platform of ferns and a natural shower. The greatest surprise was the pleasantly warm temperature of the water. Everyone was having a ball, as the pool was shared with a small bus load of European backpackers who were really letting their hair down jumping off the ledges. We leapt in where the kids had been jumping and it was Heather’s first big jump since her miss-spent youth. Certainly cleared her sinuses unexpectedly.
Rather than climb up the very steep rock face, we opted to walk along the gorge to the Fortescue Falls knowing the walk up there to be half the steepness and height and we would have a final swim at the end. This turned out to be a terrific decision and we had a lovely shady walk along the creek with dragonflies of many colours (red, green, aqua, blue and a few plain ones thrown in), surprisingly few birds and heaps of lizards. The highlight was a mysterious loud rustling of leaves that did not stop. When approached we found a huge, rusty brown (iron ore coloured) goanna taking his time to walk by. We watched for a few minutes until he made a lightning bolt strike on a lizard and came back near us to swallow it by slow gulps and holding his head up high. It was really fantastic. We saw the most beautiful blue rocks we had ever seen in the gorge and after close examination of the growth of blue on the edge realised it was blue asbestos! It was no surprise as the notorious Wittenoom Asbestos mine is about 50k away – now abandoned as far as we know.
Enjoyed the company of a couple (Robyn and John) we have met a few times who are currently following the same path as us, on a similar time frame. I tell them they are our only friends when they turn up. It is nice to see a familiar face occasionally and have a bit of a laugh.


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