Thursday, 14 July 2011

North West Queensland - Week 2

10/7/11 Packed up and drove out to Mickey's Creek Gorge, which was a small side gorge, quite narrow with lots of rock-hopping, plenty of ferns and running water, an even more spectacular gorge went off beside it which was extremely narrow, and had mosses draped down its vertical walls. 

We had to have our feet and hands either side of the gorge at one stage to avoid the water, but stopped before we had to take off our shoes, as the water was freezing cold. A bit further along the road was Baloon Cave, another rock-art site, which was a bit disappointing. 

We camped the night at Springsure, meeting a very interesting couple, who had a really well set up 4x4 and had travelled extensively in Australia as well as overseas. Very spectacular sunset with the light on the escarpment.

 11/07/11 4.1oC at 6.30am Went to the lookout at Minerva National Park, overlooking Springsure, for a really spectacular view from the lookout, also an interesting gorge (Fred's Gorge). Then we drove back through Springsure, to get photos of the rock faces. 

We went looking for the Wills Graves and instead of going the signed way, went along the Emerald road to come back on them. This gave us more bitumen as this road went past some mines, but we missed the turn, Mt Helmet Road, and ended up at a property. Eventually we found the turnoff to the graves, and were surprised to find our camping companions, having just been pulled out of a black soil creek bog by a local farmer with his Prado. We all walked to the graves, where 19 Europeans were killed by aboriginals in 1861. 

Many aboriginals were killed in retribution, and although stories vary, it could have been up to 200. Found a gravel pit along the road to Longreach, where other travellers had pulled up, for the night.

12/07/11 2.5oC at 6.45am Wedgetail Eagle on roadkill. Very cold in Jerico. Emus. Longreach for lunch, and a laundromat. Paddock full of camels. Winton then Bladensburg National Park. Lots and lots of wallabies, and a couple of emus. Nice camping spot despite the dry and desolate landscape. A nice sunset picked out the reds in the leaves around us, and in the east the sky was a deep blue with a pink band. After dinner went for a moonlight walk along the dried up creek bed, of Surprise Creek. Spotlighting only found lots of wolfspider eyes gleaming back from the moist edges of the remaining pools.

13/07/11 11oC at 6.30am. 100Km of red bulldust to Lark Quarry to see the dinosaur stampede fossilised footprints. Brilliant! Went on the 90min walk around the conservation park. Red rock jumpups, brightly coloured tiny dragons, black glassy ironstone, red, white and yellow rocks. Tiny white, and purple flowers, green spiny spinifex. Caves in the red rocks where wallabies sleep.

  On the way back to Winton, 4 brolgas on the side of the road.
Butchers with Chilli and Capsicum sausages, and old-fashioned cured salami and ham. Lots more emus in paddocks, some cattle, sheep and goats. Lots of roadtrains heading south, many grey nomads in all directions. Combo Waterhole Conservation Park on the Diamantina – nearly 30 fire-kites around the trees, going to sleep to the sound of galahs which had roosted for the night. 

This is the waterhole which is the origin of Waltzing Matilda. A bit of an exciting night with gusting winds eventually lifting off our tent-cover. Got up to put it on, in time to see a magnificent glowing orange moon-set.

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