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Thread: To The Kimberley Pt 5 (Darwin To W.A.)

  1. #1
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    Jan 2015
    Northern Suburbs Melbourne

    To The Kimberley Pt 5 (Darwin To W.A.)

    I wasn't going to post any more of my reports here, I have posted them all on another forum (there are eleven in this series) but a couple of recent replies and it is nearly Xmas, I thought I would give it another go.

    Our first destination after leaving Darwin was the Buley Rock Holes located in Litchfield National Park. We had all been there before but were keen to get back into the various rock holes and experience how good it was all again.

    We called into Wangi Falls which is probably the most popular spot in the whole park, we only stayed long enough for a swim out to the Falls themselves and then we were off to another spot that is not often visited.

    Iíd planned even before I left Melbourne to show the girls some remote locations within the park, places they hadnít been to before. These places are far less touristy and at this time of the year we had them basically to ourselves.

    Our first stop was at the ruins of Blyth Homestead, Harry Sargent and his wife Alma with their 11 children arrived in Darwin from QLD in 1923. Harry worked in the area and eventually bought Stapleton Station, he also acquired a ďHomesteadĒ on a neighbouring property which
    he and his children dismantled, they then transported it over a mountain range and plateau to itís current site using a cart pulled by a team of 32 horses and then rebuilt it.

    Over a period of 10 years Harry and his family developed the Station into a nearly 3,000 square kilometre property, living there for over 40 years. The large family were kept busy each day with heaps to do, but no TV! or power meant another 3 kids were added to the family making 14 in total (far out!!!)

    This is also termite country, they grow em big out here!!

    Our next stop was at Tjaynera Falls (known as TJ Falls) we had the whole place to ourselves, absolutely stunning. A scene along the walking track to the falls and then the falls and plunge pool.

    So hard to leave that but we still had more to see and those who know me would realise that I always cram as much into each day (and life) as I can.
    Driving to the next waterhole/falls we crossed some recently burnt grasslands which seemed to accentuate these ďMagnetic Termite MoundsĒ

    They are commonly called ďMagneticĒ as their orientation is nearly exactly north south, this species of termite (only found in the north of Oz) constructs it that way to minimise the suns impact on the colony inside, a large mound can house up to a million Termites!

    Our final destination in the Park was Surprise Creek Falls, when we arrived at this pool at the bottom of the falls, Jen was straight in.

    Before she got too wet I informed her that we hadnít reached our destination yet, and then pointed to the cliffs in the distance and said the top of that was where we were going.

    Thatís the surprise with this place, some fantastic plunge pools which you can swim or dive into. When we arrived at the first one we found we werenít the only ones there. This Water Monitor seemed to take umbrage at our taking over his private waterhole!!

    And then a bit further on this.

    When Kristie joined us for this leg of the trip, she made me promise that Iíd protect her from any crocs and to especially make sure she wasnít going to swim anywhere they might be. I was proud of her for she overcame those fears quite easily, as shown here.

    The only couple we came across in this remote section of Litchfield was here beside this out of the way waterhole, with them was a toddler (hence the blow up croc!) I couldnít resist the photo opportunity Ha!!!

    Once out of the Park we took the bitumen to Adelaide River, where we were to stay that night. Along the road we passed this Billabong that belied the dry nature of the country all around us.

    The next day we headed south down the Stuart Highway, our first stop was at Edith Falls.

    Together we swam out across the plunge pool to experience the falls close up. The previous wet season was one of the wettest on record, Darwin recorded over 2 metres of rain during it, so knowing that it wasnít surprising that most of the waterfalls we went to were all still working at quite a rate. In past years most of them would have stopped by now or would have only been a trickle at most.

    With the weather being quite warm (bloody hot!) we next stopped at the Katherine Hot Springs. On all our previous visits we had never swam in what is known as the top pool so on this occasion we rectified that.

    Looking down on that pool from the elevated board walk/platform.

    The girls were in seventh heaven, only days earlier Kristie was in Melbourne and now swimming here, she was so happy she was doing handstands!! Jen spent more time underwater than above and finally the girls, showing the access ladder and platform behind them.

    We then swam/drifted down the narrow creek to the lower pools.

    Our final destination that day was the Mataranka Cabin and Camping Park, we chose that for itís close proximity to Bitter Springs, we could do the Springs to our hearts content that afternoon/evening and then do it again in the morning before the next leg of our trip.

    Very rarely do you see the car park at the Springs as busy as this!! again we timed it well.

    We couldnít wait to again immerse ourselves in the glorious magnificent waters of one of our favourite places in Oz.

    This next pic was taken standing on the bank of the spring, how clear is that water!!!!

    No matter how nice that all looks, it doesnít compare to actually being in it and drifting downstream.

    Kristie swimming towards me, then Jen and then me, all having an absolute ball, whoo hoo!!!!

    The next night we stayed at Timber Creek, itís not a big place but it did have a museum located at the historic Police Station Precinct, the station itself was built in 1908.

    There were many interesting items around it, just as well as the museum itself was closed. We found out later that it is only open a couple of hours a day during the peak tourism period which certainly wasnít when we were there.

    The Policemanís Quarters built around 1930 and a work shop shed a short distance from it.

    Out the back were a couple of graves.

    Apparently Bruton was a carpenter (amongst other things), he was employed to help build the Policemans House but died of Malaria before doing it.

    There was one thing that I saw that at first fascinated me, and then as I thought more of it, it made me feel uneasy even saddened me.

    What suffering would have been inflicted on those who were incarcerated in it, and the more I thought of past atrocities I couldnít get out of my mind Aboriginals being kept in it. It still gives me the creeps, Iím sure way back it wouldnít have been positioned under a tree, most likely out in the full sun!!

    There was still bit of time left in the day so we drove out to the Victoria River to see if we could spot a Croc! this is the Policemans Point look out, no crocs but a nice vista.

    The last couple of nights we had tented it, stinking hot at this time of year so to break things up a bit, we stayed in an air conditioned cabin in Timber Creek, this we had booked before we left Melbourne, so nice!!

    The next day our destination was El Questro Station in WA, a bit to see before we got there. It wasnít long before we arrived at our first stop which was an historical site near the banks of the Victoria River.

    In 1855 the explorer Augustus Gregory sailed from Moreton Bay in Queensland around the coast and up the Victoria River. He got caught in a strong current that forced his boat onto some rocks and holed it at what became the site of Timber Creek. It is thought he named the spot Timber Creek after he found some timber to repair his boat.

    On July 2, 1856 Gregory left an inscription on this boab, indicating where he left a letter in case the expedition team should get lost, they didnít and arrived back in Brisbane 6 months later, an amazing feat way back then.

    Heading further west we thought it was time for another swim so we took the turn off to Lake Argyle, just over the border in WA. It really is beautiful country as these next few pics taken along the road to the lake show.

    Lake Argyle (Ord River Dam) was built in 1971 it is the largest man made dam/lake in Australia, at full capacity (which is when it over flows) it is 70 times larger than Sydney Harbour and itís surface area expands to nearly 2000 sq kilometres.

    The Dam wall and then the harbour where the tour boats depart from.

    This is the Ord River just below the dam wall and then looking further downstream to a rugged gorge and range that it winds itís way through.

    Now all thats scenic and pretty spectacular but the main reason we had revisited this area was to take Kristie to the Lake Argyle Resort/Caravan Park, why you say? Well hereís a couple of pics from the park showing you the view from it.

    But the real reason was this.

    I reckon thatís the best positioned pool in Australia, an absolutely wow wee fantastic sensational spot.

    On the way back to the main highway we stopped at the Dams overflow, such a contrast to when I was last there which was at the end of the wet season (or start of the dry) a few years back.

    And what it was like when I was last there.

    A couple of Boabs along the Lake Argyle road before we reached the main highway.

    From there it was a brief stop at Kununurra and then the obligatory drive across the Ord River at Ivanhoe Crossing, click on the next pic to see a short clip of us doing that.

    We then drove into El Questro Station where we spent the next three nights.

    That and more will be shown in the next report.

    Col and Jen.
    Life is not a destination but a journey, make the most of it and remember, the worst day above ground is a whole lot better than the best one under it.

  2. #2
    Forum Enthusiast robmacca's Avatar
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    Jun 2012
    Brisbane, Qld. Australia
    Another great report Col.....

    If only I could manage to get the time off to do these sort of long trips

    unfortunately, I will have to wait for retirement.....

    Family Touring - 150's GXL D4D Prado....
    Recent Purchase : '96 Landrover Discovery TDi (A).....Work & Play.... maybe
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    See My Exploring Trips here: My Exploring/Touring Trips
    Playing : The "Toy" Suzuki Vitara - Now retired

  3. #3
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    Jun 2013
    central west, nsw
    Thanks for another great report Col, your time to do these posts are much appreciated. A lot of your destinations are being noted in the ‘ little black book’ for the time when we have the time to do larger trips like these instead of the daily grind that we endure.


  4. #4
    Administrator pacs's Avatar
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    Apr 2012
    Bendigo Victoria
    Thanks again Col for sharing your journeys with us simply fantastic I along with others really enjoy the read and the photos thanks again
    Fishing for a good time starts with dropping in a line

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  5. #5
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    Apr 2016
    Tamworth NSW
    Awesome photo's, great report, love those swimming holes.

  6. #6
    Senior Member 2Lost's Avatar
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    Oct 2012
    Well done again Col, you certainly put a lot of effort into your trip reports. Top effort.

    MATARANKA, there is another pool not clear water as the others. You throw in some bits of bread and the water seems to boil with CATFISH jumping. Kind of freaked my young children at the time while we were in the water.

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