WEDNESDAY 21 OCTOBER FORSAYTH
We got up early. At 8am it was already hot, with a clear blue sky.
We left at 9am to drive to Cobbold Gorge, some 40kms away. The unsealed road was alright – we could have taken the van out there, had we wished. The way travelled through more of the interesting hill country of these parts. We noted that trees are beginning to green up – a sign of the onset of the wet season?
Cobbold Gorge is on the large Robin Hood Station. They have only had the tourist venture going for three years. The small camp area is in a little valley – it would have been alright to stay at. However, I think we are better off, in the current heat, at Forsayth, where we can run the air con from the town power.
We paid $25 each for the tour and were driven in a 4WD Toyota, across the wide and dry Robertson River, to a waterhole that is where the gorge creek joins the river. There, we walked a short distance and got into a boat.
The tour uses an electric powered boat, as being much more environmentally friendly than a fuel motor. So we glided silently and slowly through this absolutely unique feature.
The gorge has been formed in sandstone rock by the heavy rains and floods cutting down through faults in the sandstone. The gorge is unusually narrow – not much wider than the boat, in parts – and quite deep. The original sandstone must have been quite heavily faulted, because the gorge twists and turns.
We travelled along for about 600 metres. There were many butterflies in the relative cool of the gorge, and fish – archer fish and black fish – in the water. At one point, we saw archer fish squirting water up onto the red gorge wall, trying to knock down insects. Saw a splash as a little fresh water crocodile exited the scene.
The colours of the gorge walls, the rock formations, and the different plays of light on these, were beautiful, as was the contrast of the occasional green plants growing where they had been able to establish. The reflections in the water of the creek in the gorge were wonderful.
Our guide said that there are at least fifty other gorges out there on the property, but no one knows much about them – yet.
One of the notable features about Cobbold Gorge was that, even at this end of the Dry season, there was still water in it. I guess there must be springs and soaks in the sandstone to account for that, along with the depth of the channels at the base of the gorge.
The boat trip was over too soon. It was certainly worth the money. Back at the office area, we chatted for a while with the young couple who have been hired to run the campground operation.
As we were driving back towards Forsayth, on the spur of the moment, since we were going past the turn off, took the road to the south, to Agate Creek. The road continued to be alright, looking like it had been fairly recently bladed.
We knew of Agate Creek as an official fossicking area where one could find agates (obviously) and had seen some excellent specimens of these at the Home Stay office. As with all the other gemstone things, hunting for these was not something we’d ever done before, and we knew little of the technicalities.
We must have driven about 50kms from the corner with the Cobbold Gorge Road before coming to a sign and a camping area that is the start of the fossicking area. Ate our lunch there.
Went up Black Soil Creek – according to the map at the entrance to the fossick area. We were not really sure what to do to find agate. It is basically a rock core, but we don’t know what those rocks look like on the outside, or where agate containing rocks might be found. There did seem to be some agate chips lying around, where we went, so we dug for a while in the creek bank and pulled out some rocks that might be ok? John was happy with what he found.
We drove further into the field and spent a short time at Crystal Hill, doing the same things. We did not see any other people around, which was not surprising, given the heat at this time of the year.
Drove along the track to its end at the Agate Creek Safari Camp. It was closed and the people gone. We found out later that the lady lease holder wants to sell it for $5000, but her partner doesn’t want to sell. John was impulsively attracted to the idea of buying it – I said NO WAY!
It was a very hot day but we felt alright in it – was a dry heat.
We got back to Forsayth about 6pm. We had driven 191kms.
Heard on the news that nearby Georgetown was the hottest place in Qld today, at 40 degrees!
Tea was steak, potato, beans.
After tea, I phoned K to ask him to send us the next batch of mail to Atherton PO. We have now decided to venture no further west in this heat, but to head back to the Tablelands. It was good to hear that all is well at home – a place that seems increasingly distant – apart from some hanging plant pots that smashed in a high wind. Once that would have worried me……
The night seemed to be slightly cooler for sleeping, with an occasional hint of a breeze coming through the open window above my head.