This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

2002 Travels June 15

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It was another hot day.

We tried to get going early, but could have done better!

Drove the rough road to the National Park again.

Hired a canoe. Our timing was actually quite fortunate, as those who had gone out early had finished their time, so we didn’t have to wait.

We opted for a three hour hire, as we intended to try to get right up to the end of the Upper Gorge – where we’d seen from the Lookout a couple of days ago. This would be a 6km paddle altogether.

The canoe was similar to the one we used yesterday. like then, I put John in the front, so I could steer/direct.

Getting into the canoe was easy, because they had a type of built ramp, and the hire man helped.

The paddling was easy as there did not seem to be much current, and the water was totally calm. Going up through the Middle Gorge was really beautiful – in parts, sheer red rock walls rising out of the water. In other parts there were narrow areas of bank between the water and the Gorge walls, where there was lush growth.

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The Middle Gorge from the canoe hire area

So it was all red and green contrasts. Even the water was a greeny colour.

The creek water has a really high calcium carbonate concentration, reflecting its origins in limestone rock. It is calcium precipitation that formed the little falls and rapids, like Indarri Falls, the Cascades, and the ones at Adels. In some places, little white clumps of calcium could be seen floating. We had been told that drinking the creek water tends to make one thirsty, because of this.

There was lots of bird noise from the paperbark and pandanus fringes along the creek. We could see archer fish in the water.

After a leisurely and easy paddle through the Middle Gorge, of about 1.5kms, we reached Indarri Falls. Though only a few feet high, they look quite impressive from the water level, with water flowing over in several places across their width.

There used to be a proper canoe portage around the falls, to facilitate taking canoes between the Middle and Upper Gorges, but this was wrecked in the big floods of 2001.

We were able to pull the canoe into the bank and get out, one at a time, without mishaps.

Given our lack of experience at canoeing together, until this trip, and the fact we planned to be getting in and out of the canoe at Indarri Falls, I was not quite game to risk my camera, so we had to be content with our mental images.

We carried/dragged the canoe about 25 metres, along a path, to the access point above the falls. Again, got back in the canoe ok. Felt we were getting quite good at this!

We paddled on, for about a km, eventually rounding a bend and going towards what appeared to be solid vegetation. Had we not already been up on the tops, on our walk, might have assumed that the gorge above Indarri was short and not worth paddling to the end for.

But we had seen from above that there was a narrow channel through the bushy stuff, that opened into the big waterhole beyond it. So there were really two parts to the Upper Gorge.

The narrows through the pandanus and paperbarks was different and extended for maybe 150 metres before it opened out again. The high red rock walls became lower then, especially on our right hand side.

We could see the Lookout hill above, where we’d sat and watched the gorge on our walk.

The gorge ended where the creek entered it – small and shallow and not able to be paddled.

We paddled back the way we’d come – but of course it looked different, going the other way, so was equally engrossing.

Negotiated the detour around Indarri with no hassles – apart from the weight of the canoe. It was heavier than it looked, and quite an effort was needed for the two of us to manhandle along the narrow path.

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Middle Gorge near Indarri Falls

We were quite careful, at the end of the paddle, lining up the canoe with the landing ramp. It would have been embarrassing, after our successful journey, to have fallen out of the canoe in front of the man doing the hiring!

Ate a very late lunch in the Park campground area. It still did not seem all that busy. We remained convinced that Adels was by far the best place to have stayed.

Spent the rest of the day relaxing at the van.

Tea was leftover fish cakes.

Today’s canoeing was one of the best things we have done on all our travels. It was so beautiful, peaceful, and so unique. I remained amazed that this area seemed so little known – or publicized.

Slept very soundly!

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