FRIDAY 20 JULY CHARNLEY RIVER STATION
It was another cold night.
We got ourselves organized reasonably early, with prepared lunches, and set off for Grevillea Gorge and Lillie Pools. These were some 30kms to the north and then west of the homestead, on Plain Creek. This was a tributary of the Isdell River, which flowed NW to the sea at Walcott Inlet. In coming from Mornington, we had crossed the water shed between the river systems that flowed south and west, like the Fitzroy, and the northward flowing ones. The Gibb River Road tended to follow this water shed a lot of the time.
Along the way, we had a wander around an open grassed area where there was a derelict windmill structure that was all stark and twisted up. Presumably, it had succumbed at some previous time, to a cyclone – or two?
An enterprising bird – a kite maybe? – had built a rough nest in the framework.
From the end of the access track we had to walk over a series of rock ledges – almost like a giant staircase – to reach a ladder that led down to the water level in Grevillea Gorge. The ladder was anchored – sort of – to a steel post cemented into the rock wall.
Found ourselves by a pool above a substantial two part waterfall.
Below that was another pool and more falls, but there was too much rock climbing involved for us to follow the stream down.
After spending some time around the ladder pool and falls, we followed rock shelves and ledges upstream for some distance along the creek. Although it was hot this was really enjoyable – the noise of the water in shallow areas, and the lush greenery along parts of the banks, made it feel cooler.
At nearby Lillie Pools, more scrambling over rock shelves was involved.
There were no waterlilies in the series of small pools here – they had been washed away in the last Wet season.
We were able to cut south, to Dillie Gorge, further downstream on Plain Creek. The grading and opening of the access track had only been completed yesterday. It was still rough in parts. In one place we stopped to pull some old barbed wire off the track.
More scrambling down the rocky and rugged slope was required, to get to the water level. The boulder slope here was unusual – like a giant hand had just picked the rocks up and thrown them down in a random jumble.
The effort was worthwhile – Dillie Gorge was the best of the lot! It was quite a deep and extensive gorge.
Again, we spent some time exploring along the creek and gorge – and enjoying our total solitude.
Dillie Gorge was extensive enough to make us wish that we’d had a canoe to explore with.
We would have really liked to be able to explore the track further to the north – to Junction Waterhole and the old homestead, but it was not going to be open any time soon. Charnley was another less visited but so scenic part of the Kimberley.
As we’d been coming out of Mornington, the other day, we’d encountered six couples, from New Zealand, in rented motorhomes – the types that were allowed to be on unsealed roads. They were on a bird watching holiday, and we had talked birds, and destinations, briefly. They came into Charnley this afternoon. One of their vehicles had lost its brakes, so they were in a bit of a dither about what to do next. Our advice was to simply phone the rental company – there was a public use phone up at Reception – and let them sort it out.
The funniest event of the whole trip. to date, happened this afternoon – at least, it was funny for John and me. M walked across to Reception to make a phone call, to check on a friend’s welfare. As she wandered back, the aggressive gander started to follow her. M walked a bit faster. The gander started to waddle faster. M speeded up, gander too. Within a minute, M was running across the open space, hotly pursued by gander at full speed, neck stretched out, wings flapping. It was one of those events that would have looked hysterical on video – except we were laughing too much to even think of recording it. M arrived, hot and offended – at us laughing as much as at the bird. He retreated, no doubt considering he’d won the encounter.
John had now concluded that the reason the lamp was playing up was that he had not been putting enough fuel into it. So it may not have needed pulling apart at Mornington, after all.