This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

1999 Travels June 28

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We motivated ourselves to get up at a reasonable hour, despite the chill, and get going out to explore some more of the Western MacDonnells.

I would quite like to go and camp out there – at Redbank Gorge or Glen Helen, to explore out that way, but John prefers to stay put here and do day tripping.

We drove as far as Ellery Creek Big Hole – about 90kms, and a very pleasant, scenic, drive to get there. There were always ranges and hills alongside the road for interest, and regular little gentle dips, where the road crosses dry creek beds. I presume that these flow so infrequently that it is not economic to build bridges.

On the way, we detoured to Honeymoon Gap, and went up to its lookout, where the views of the ranges were excellent.

06-28-1999 01 Honeymoon Gap.jpg

Honeymoon Gap in the West MacDonnell Ranges

06-28-1999 02 West McDonnells from Honeymoon Gap lookout.jpg

The spinifex and scrub country around Honeymoon Gap

Ellery Creek Big Hole is reached by an access road from the main Namatjira Drive. For a couple of kms, it runs along side Ellery Creek – dry, with a wide sandy bed, and lots of trees growing along its sides. Really pretty.

06-28-1999 03 roaks and gums Ellery Ck.jpg

Ellery Creek – redrock and white ghost gums

From the parking area, we walked the short way to the waterhole. We had been able to see the large gap in the range as we came in on the approach road. Like at Simpsons Gap, this is a permanent waterhole in the Ellery Creek, where it has carved a deep way through the range. In places, it is over 20 metres deep. The written material about it warns that it is extremely cold, to the point of being hazardous for swimmers. We were not inclined to test this out.

The waterhole was lovely – large and contained between the red rock walls of the range. We stayed there for a while, watching little fish in the water, and birds, and chatting to people. Two young men saw the Cape York logo on John’s shirt and asked him for information about that.

06-28-1999 04 Ellery Creek Big Hole.jpg

Ellery Creek Big Hole

Then we did the Dolomite Walk, from the carpark out to the west. It took us about an hour. This was scrambly and rough, in places, and hard work for John, but was a most enjoyable small walk, with some wonderful views across the area.

06-28-1999 07 Dolomite Walk Ellery Ck Big Hole

Country on the Dolomite Walk



06-28-1999 09 Ellery Ck Big Hole dolomite wall

Rock stacks on the Dolomite Walk

06-28-1999 08 Ellery Creek country

It was quite a rugged walking track

Back at Truck, we had a late lunch, enjoying sitting out in the sun. It does seem a little warmer today.

I have a sore mouth today. Think I might have cut a gum, using dental floss.

From Ellery Creek, continued west another 23kms, to the Ochre Pits. From the car park area, it was a short walk to look at these – the walls of a dry sandy creek, where different colour soft rock ochre appears. This was a major aboriginal site, where they were able to obtain different coloured ochres to mix up into paints for ceremonial decorations, and also for medicinal use.

06-28-1999 LO 10 near Ochre Pits view towards Ellery Ck.jpg

The Western MacDonnells – looking back east from near the Ochre Pits

We wandered along the creek bed for a little while, looking at the different colours in the walls.

06-28-1999 ochre pits.jpg

The multiple colours of the creek walls at the Ochre Pits

06-28-1999 wendy walking at Ochre Pits.JPG

Exploring the creek at the Ochre Pits

That was enough for the day, so it was back to Alice Springs. We drove 252kms today.

John had cold beef and potatoes for tea; I had tinned tuna with my potato, as it was easier for my sore mouth to deal with.

The night was absolutely freezing.

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