SATURDAY 2 JUNE DEVILS MARBLES TO OLD POLICE WATERHOLE 175kms
I was up just after dawn. It was a chilly early morning.
The previous night’s full moon was just going down over the Marbles.
I wandered around, again, taking early morning photos of the sunrise over the rocks. M appeared not long after I went out. John slept in.
We got away from there at 9.15, by which time most of the other overnight campers had departed. We were not famed for early starts – something M just had to put up with!
The turnoff we sought was not far north of the Marbles. It was the dirt road east to Kurundi and Epenarra stations. From near Epenarra, we took the Binns Tracks south for 34kms, and then the track into Old Police Waterhole campground, in the Davenport Ranges National Park.
The road quality over the 160kms (about), was variable. At the start, it was “channelled” into multiple deep ruts by wet weather drivers – tricky driving with the van in tow – but after that, improved. The section south from Epenarra was sandy in parts, and it was rocky for the last 9 kms.
It was a very pretty drive, especially from the highway to the Kurundi area. After that, it was open and flat, for a while.
It was into the afternoon when we arrived at the campground. The low ranges around the Waterhole were not visible until the last few kms.
First impression was that it was worth the effort we’d made to get here.
There was a long waterhole, with lots of grass and shade trees in the camping area, which spread out along one side of the pool. There were about eight fire pits/BBQ ‘s scattered through the camp area, and a couple of the Central Australian style ventilated pit toilets too.
With no other campers present we had the choice of camping sites and set up at a distance from where the track in entered the camp area. There were not really any attractive sites beyond where we were. There was a toilet not too far away, with a track going up a small hill to it. There was a fixed low table and a fireplace.
Another couple arrived a while after us, and set up a good distance away, but that was it for the day. Magic solitude!
There was a whistling kite’s nest across the waterhole, with a baby in it. We could hear the kites “talking” to each other in a way that was reminiscent of when we camped by the Cooper Creek at Innamincka.
There were corellas and white-plumed honeyeaters galore – and huge spiders in hanging webs!
M came in here last year, on her way south from Darwin, and camped a couple of nights. She said it was bare and dry then, with much less water in the waterhole.
Now, the holly grevilleas were blossoming, also some wattle species, and the spinifex was blooming. On the way in, we’d seen some bloodwood trees in flower.
This area is, biologically, the divide between Central and Northern Australia, so there is much diversity.
John and I had not been here before, though it had been on the “one day” list for ages.
Now, seeing it, we decided to stay an extra three nights – four in all. Park fees cost us $6.60 a night – $3.30 each.
After setting up camp for an extended time, we just sat around, admiring the outlook over the waterhole, and enjoying the general peacefulness of the place.
We cooked dinner on the BBQ plate provided on the fireplace.
It was great to be able to sit round a campfire again. The night was pretty cool though! It was so quiet, with just the bush noises from the occasional night bird, insects and frogs. It is getting increasingly hard to find these really peaceful, solitary, places.