We left for a long weekend with Darryl & I in our Hilux, and John, Glynn, and Stan in John's fully packed ute, from Gracemere at 9:30am. Just after the Dululu Crossroads, John went to overtake a semi on a straight section, but as he was on the righ 2 big roos started across the road from the left in front of the truck. Luckily one turned back, and we are not sure what happened to the other, but at least John was ok. We also saw emus and an echidna on the way.
We have a smaller fuel tank than John and so fuelled up at Theodore ($1.669 – it would have be 10c cheaper at Banana), after we had stopped under the Dawson River Bridge for lunch outside Theodore. With no more major events, apart from some dust (and some wacko who overtook us on the dirt and then turned off a few kms later) and some nice views, we arrived at Starkvale Campsite at 3:05, just in time for afternoon tea! Everyone enjoyed my Flourless Orange Cake.
We surveyed the area, there were quite a few other campers with various setups, and set up our own camp, nears the trees where we camped last time.
Soon it was time for Happy Hour, followed by dinner and I made Mulled Wine on the campfire, to share.
There was a storm during the night, and water got into our tent. Even though we were high and dry on our air mattress, some water dripped into my bags, and the edges of our sheets and blankets got wet.
On Sunday morning we left camp at 8am to walk down in the gorge. We had only gone down a fairly short way, when the sole fell off my shoe. I had kind-of been expecting it and had a spare pair of shoes tied to my pack. I left the old ones near a tree to pick up on the way back. We walked up the gorge past a couple of creeks.
Glynn sat on a rock, I think to remove a stone from his shoe, and I noticed that curled up below him was a lovely Carpet Python.
Shortly after this we turned right into Waterfall Creek gorge. There was a pool at the entrance, and we had to climb up and along the edge to get past it. Once we made it to the falls, it was obvious that we weren't going any further, so re-traced our steps.
Further up Robinson Gorge was Glenhaughton Creek, and we turned right into it. Eventually, at 10am we found a reasonably shady spot to stop and have morning tea.
Continuing on, we left Glynn before lunch, at a bend in the creek.
We went on, and had our lunch in the creekbed, at a reasonably shady spot.
All the way we were looking for the rock art, but didn't find it, as regrowth made it difficult for Darryl to recognise the spot.
Eventually we turned around and got back to camp at around 4:30pm (picking up my shoes on the way).
Happy Hour was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and a new batch of Mulled Wine after dinner. I think everyone slept very soundly after such a big day.
On Monday, Darryl, John, Stan and Glynn headed down into the gorge again, but this time going towards the 'Cattle Dip', while I stayed at camp.
I had a sore toe from a mishap with my spare shoes, and I don't think my thigh muscles would have let me go with them. I pottered around, tidying up, reading, doing some family history, and generally have a fantastically relaxing day.
There was only a couple of hours where I was completely alone, when all the other campers had either gone off on their walks, or departed.
When the men arrived home, they had again had quite a big day, and were keen for Happy Hour.
Dinner was followed by Mulled Wine and Stan showed a slide-show of his photos.
It turned out to be a pretty cold night, although, to be honest the whole trip was a fair bit warmer than I was anticipating for the time of year.
Darryl's account of the day
Left the campsite around 8am and followed the track to the lookout at the top of the gorge before walking the well worn path to the bottom, where we headed downstream. Like the previous day, the absence of sand in Gorge Creek meant we were forced to pick most of our way through high grassy banks, over rocks and fallen trees. On reaching the mouth of Surprise Creek, we took a short detour upstream until our way was blocked by a waterfall. On returning to the gorge we continued downstream to the mouth of Andys Creek, where John decided to wait for our return under the cabbage tree palms. The three of us pressed on, but Glynn's back played up again, and he decided to wait in the shade of an eroded steep bank for us. Stan and I continued on and were relieved when we were able to pick up the pace over the creeks sandy bed as the gorge narrowed.
It was not long before we found the narrow gorge and large pool at the entrance of Starkvale Creek. A bit further on around the bend we found the Cattle Dip.
As we thought we could see a way up to the lookout from the Cattle Dip pool, Stan stripped off to see if it was possible to climb out there in the future. After a few metres, the cold water forced him back to the beach, where he thawed out before we headed back with the intention of having lunch with Glynn. After a quick lunch stop, we headed upstream to John, where Glynn and I took a short walk up Andys Creek.
This small creek provided most of the water that was flowing downstream in Gorge Creek, and the large pools upstream of it provided a nice spot for camping.
On our return, to the main gorge we used our knowledge of the gorge for a speedy return to camp for happy hour.
John, Stan & Glynn drove up to the cattle dip lookout on Tuesday morning at around 8am, while we did some final packing for the drive home.
There were lots of large kangaroos in the paddocks, and a big mob at one point.
Luckily we arrived at Lake Murphy just after 10am, so it was in time for morning tea. We walked down to the lake and saw quite a few varieties of birds, including pelicans, and cattle in the distance.