This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2007 Travels June 13


I enjoyed my lone early morning sit outside, contemplating life, before M emerged from the Troopy and, eventually John from the van.

I made packed lunches, based on Ryvita biscuits, cheese and salami.

We drove back towards the highway for 8kms, then took the Limestone Gorge Track as far west as the Calcite Flow.

The Calcite Flow really stands out in this Zoom image

Beyond the car park here, the former track into Limestone Gorge was closed, due to Wet season damage. Judging by the extent of the wreckage we saw, the closure may well be permanent.

What happened when a track became a river!

Walked the 600 metre (return) Calcite Walk – very interesting. Just around here is grey karst limestone formations  and under here is a shallow cave system – The Bullita Cave is one of the longest cave systems in the world!

Grey karst limestone outcropping

The Calcite Flow appears as a white, solid creek, formed, I guessed, when dissolved calcite was precipitated out of water as it evaporated. But I could be wrong on that! Either way, it was a striking looking formation.

Calcite Flow and unusual erosion terraces on the hillside
Calcite Flow – solidified limestone

This whole bit of country was quite strange and different. The hillsides had small ridges that gave a terraced appearance, on which boabs were growing.

Reef-like formation, karst outcropping

Fossilized stromatolites occurred too. Limestone country, caves, stromatolites – definitely reminiscent of Pungalina, though I didn’t see any areas there that looked quite like this.

Left the vehicles at the Calcite Flow parking area and set out on foot for the Limestone Gorge camp ground, 2kms away, walking along the closed “road”. This resembled a rocky, dry creek bed much more than anything a vehicle could traverse.

Track to Limestone Creek Campground

In sections there were remnants of a sort of cloth matting substance that had been put down to try to reduce erosion of the track. Clearly, it hadn’t worked!

Despite the rough surface, the walk was enjoyable, with Limestone Creek flowing close by in places.

Limestone Gorge campground appeared little maintained and mown, now that there was no vehicle access. It would have been an attractive camp area, with the limestone ridges encircling part of it, and with the creek and East Baines River forming two boundaries.

Zoom view showing Calcite Flow at R, track beside and in Limestone Creek, and the campground at the stream junction

The creek here formed a long, small waterhole here, supposedly swimmable, though I wouldn’t trust it! Large boulders and rocky shelves beside it provided us with the perfect spot to prop for lunch. However, it seemed that a large water monitor lizard agreed about that – and we were intruding in its dining room. It kept careful watch over us, whilst dipping in and out of the creek.

Really clear Limestone Creek water – deceptive, because it was deep enough for a swim, here

Refreshed, we took on the 1.8km Limestone Ridge loop walk, from the campground. As the name suggested, this took us up onto the ridge behind the camp area, from where there were good outlooks over the eroded valleys of the limestone karst country, and down over the camp ground.

Limestone Gorge walk

The walking track wound around and took us back to the start. It was a walk worth doing.

I did wonder how much longer this little, slightly rough walk track would be maintained, if vehicle based visitors remained permanently excluded.

This boab still had all its leaves

Then it was the return walk along the rock beds that once were the road. The afternoon was getting hot by now and with the heat reflecting up from the light coloured rocks, the last km or so of the walk back was less enjoyable!

Altogether, we walked nearly 7kms today. That was enough!

As we approached the Bullita campground, there was the usual little bit of suspense – would we still have this place to ourselves? Or would we have neighbours? We were still the only campers here. Lovely!

Campfire and star gazing. Just the way I like to spend evenings.

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2000 Travels June 22


We got up about 8am. This is the type of campground where most travellers move on after one night, so there was much activity around us, to wake us up.

After breakfast, I went to the general store – part of the roadhouse complex – for bread. While I was gone, John got talking to the man on the next site, and helped him back his vehicle onto his van. His wife, whom we’d thought on seeing her yesterday was ill, he says is losing her sight and balance; this trip is for her. Of course, there is much that she can’t do, so he doesn’t either.

We went to the National Parks Office, here, and collected information about Gregory and Keep River National Parks.

Drove back along the highway for a few kms, then took the unsealed Bullita road, towards Bullita Homestead, which is 47kms from the highway.

The road was not too bad; there were lots of dips, quite a few with flowing water in. The deepest crossing was probably about 35cm. John stopped briefly in the middle of several crossings to “give the tyres a cool down” – not recommended practice at all, but it gave us views up and down the little creeks.

We spotted two new birds by the track, after getting out of Truck and looking carefully at the movements we saw – both finches: the long tailed and the black faced. There was much other bird life, most of which were familiar varieties. We are getting better at our bird remembering.

About 40kms down the Bullita road, the turnoff to Limestone Gorge was on the right, and we took that. The Information Board at the start of this said that it was closed beyond the Calcite Walk park area, due to washouts.  When we got to that point, some 6kms along, there was a closed gate across the track.

We left Truck parked there and did the 600m Calcite Walk. This took us to a valley where the limestone formations looked like a white waterfall.

06-22-2000 02 calcite near Limestone Gorge.jpg

The Calcite Flow

There were occurrences of stromatolites in places. The layered limestone outcroppings on the valley walls were most unusual. I loved the boabs scattered across the slopes. In all, a most interesting and enjoyable little walk.

06-22-2000 01 limestone gorge

Rock layers created an interesting terraced effect on the hillside

We encountered another traveller who told us that a grader driver had told him you could fish in the potholes in the closed section of the Limestone Gorge track.

We set out to walk to Limestone Gorge – the camp ground there was about 2kms from where we were parked. The closed road really was very badly cut up in a section of a few hundred metres – and there were little fish in some of the larger water filled holes in the road. It was a real mess, and we couldn’t see it being easily or cheaply repaired.

06-22-2000 05 limestone tk closed.jpg

Closed road into Limestone Gorge camp area

There were some superb old boabs en route.

06-22-2000 06 limestone gorge boab.jpg

Boab tree with massive base

Stopped to eat lunch just short of the campground, beside the Limestone Creek, near little rapids. We were amused by a water monitor sitting on a rock and watching us carefully. He was about half a metre long. Eventually he took to the water, but then crept around in a big circle behind us – cunning fellow!

06-22-2000 04 water monitor Gregory NP.jpg

Water monitor  watching us

We walked on to the campground. This would be a really pleasant place to stay, were it accessible with a vehicle.

From the campground, we decided to do the Limestone Ridge walk, since we were here. This was a 1.8km loop that was signed as taking one and a half hours, but we found it hot and exposed, and did not dawdle, so it took us 45 minutes. It gave great views over Limestone Gorge – quite impressive.

06-22-2000 03 Limestone Gorge Gregory NP

Limestone Gorge, seen from the Limestone Ridge walk track

We had ample water with us, which was good, given the heat of the middle of the day.

In all we walked for two and a half hours, over nearly 6kms and were stuffed by the time we got back to Truck. Our systems have become unused to exertion in real heat.

We then drove back to the Bullita Track and down to the Bullita Homestead area. We looked at the camp ground there, which would also be a pleasant, quiet place to stay – just a basic, National Park camp area. There was no one else there.

The Bullita Stock Route circuit drive starts there, with a crossing of the nearby East Baines River. We looked at this – with the river level quite high and the exact route through the river rather vaguely marked, it did not look a pleasant prospect. There was no way I would be wading that river to check the way – this is real croc country!

06-22-2000 08 bullita tk at east baynes r..jpg

Bullita Crossing of the East Baines River. Route goes to left of the marker.

It was getting quite late, so we did not stop to explore the old homestead area itself.

Returned to Timber Creek the way we’d come, getting back near dark.

A shower was very welcome after all the hot and sweaty walking.

The night seemed a little less hot and oppressive. Maybe we were beginning to acclimatize? The occasional small breeze that wafted over was lovely.

I couldn’t face cooking the planned sweet and sour pork, so I just cooked up the pork strips with some onion, and John had that with the leftover fried rice. I wasn’t hungry.

We drove 136kms today.