This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2009 Travels June 4

THURSDAY 4 JUNE     CARNARVON GORGE

I was woken at 7am by John, who wanted me to get a new packet of his Celebrex pills out from my medical store under the bed. Apart from me knowing where things were, accessing under the bed required that no one be in it at the time.

When John went to take a Celebrex, late last night, because of the painful hip, he discovered that the pack was empty. Of course, whenever he’d taken the last pill, he’d just put the empty pack back in the cupboard. So, down on the knees for me, lifted up the bed base – gas struts are a great invention – and fished out his medicine. A “discussion” ensued, along the lines that this was the last packet, this was not my poor organization, or fault, he’d been told quite clearly, back in March, that this was only a three month script rather than the usual six, etc.

By then, I was too awake to go back to bed.

When I took my coffee to sit outside, the sky was clear and blue. I watched the place come to life. Then, by 8am, cloud had started coming across again.

Busy apostle birds

There was an item on the news I listened to on my little radio, about the swine flu that had turned into an epidemic in Victoria. Despite the name, it was a nasty form of people flu. A week ago, there had been no cases in Qld, now they had twenty eight. Bit scary how quickly it had spread and grown. I just hoped it didn’t get in amongst the grey nomad population in Queensland, where we were heading.

When I wandered across to check if there was anything new, Reception had put a notice up – a fax from the Rolleston Police, saying the road from the highway to Carnarvon Gorge was closed to all vehicles except 4WD ones, and there was no towing of anything allowed. The penalty for ignoring this was a $4000 fine, plus any costs for recovery, repairs to road damage caused. So, they did have some teeth!

Perhaps they should have stationed someone at the road and highway corner, though? The young couple opposite us packed up their camper and left. They actually had to get another vehicle to tow the camper up the hill on the – closed – road, because something was broken on his toy 4WD. A few others left too, carefully removing the barrier tape across the track to do so! I could only hope that karma caught up with them, sooner or later.

John eventually woke up – late. We had a late breakfast (him)/early lunch (me, as I’d had my breakfast a few hours earlier.)

Went walking again. Followed the track along the creek, past a number of really pretty pools. The walking track joined the Park road near the Wilderness Lodge and we then followed the road to the Mickey Creek walking track.

This followed Mickey Creek up into a small gorge, and was a lovely walk.

Mickeys Creek Gorge walk track, and the creek
Thick bushland along the track; tree growing around rock

The gorge was small scale – miniature, compared to the main Carnarvon Gorge – but not as scoured out. Its appearance was more like I remembered the main gorge to have been. However, the creek was much smaller and could be stepped across.

We retraced the route as far as the Wilderness Lodge, then followed the road back to camp. It was shorter than the winding, creekside track had been, if not as pretty. I thought we’d walked about 8 or 9kms. It took us a bit over three hours.

When we reached Takkarakka, about 4.30pm, the road closed signs had been removed and several vans were leaving. They may have been worried that the rain would come back overnight!

Sausages and mash for tea, then an early night, being tired after all that fresh air and exercise.


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2009 Travels June 3

WEDNESDAY 3 JUNE     CARNARVON GORGE

I woke up to a wet world, grey and misty. However, the campground paths and grass were not too soggy. Not going to be a red mud in the van problem here….

As I had my coffee outside under the awning, watched a van pull out – and then come back and set up again where he had been! Both the road out to the highway, and the road from here to the National Park, were closed. There was a sign on the track, just beyond Reception, to that effect.

Whilst it had still been dark and I was lying semi-awake in bed, had heard some engine activity. Found out later that three or four rigs, anticipating that the road closed signs would go up, had headed out in the dark to try to beat the “official” closure. Selfish idiots! One of these – a 4WD and camper trailer – slid off the road on the first hill and had to be pulled out by a tractor from Takarakka. This, of course, churned up the slippery road on that hill even more. I had no sympathy whatsoever for the driver. There are always the inconsiderate few who think only of their wishes, and stuff things up for others. I hoped the resort charged him for the tractor retrieval.

Heard later that another of these rigs got bogged a bit further on. Don’t know who retrieved him, or if anyone did. Maybe they had to stay put for a while, which would have served them right.

After breakfast, we walked up the Takarakka drive track to the road. At that point, there was a fairly steep  uphill stretch in each direction. The one in the highway direction was a real mess, courtesy of the early departees. No-one with their senses about them would try to tackle that gradient with that much mud on it. I decided they were lacking in brains as well as consideration.

Even walking alongside the road in order to take photos was muddy and slippery.

Photos did not show how steep the road gradients actually were….

There were occasional episodes of rain – mostly drizzle – through the day. Maybe we should have just stayed home in Melbourne for the winter – the weather would probably have been better!

Two Rangers from the National Park came in to get gas. They said that the road to the Park could open this afternoon, if the sun came out. It didn’t. Apparently the road had a sandy and rock base and did dry out quickly.

Looking back downhill from as far as I could walk…

A police 4WD vehicle also arrived – from the other direction. They came to check there were no vital issues with the stranded campers. Some people were being inconvenienced, of course. Some were on ridiculously tight schedules that didn’t allow for hiccups like closed roads. Most were philosophical.

Anyone who had done their research before venturing in here would know that road closures were a regular event and, given that it was winter, planned accordingly.

It might appear – correctly – that I had no sympathy for anyone not able to take an extra couple of days to wait out the situation.

There was, for example, an American couple, with a little boy, who were booked on a flight out of Brisbane tomorrow morning, and had been expecting to drive there today. A mere 720kms – with a young child.

Camped further along from us there were a Britz and a Maui motorhomes – not 4WD ones, but the types that were not permitted to leave the sealed roads!

Later in the day, local staff did escort a vehicle out, up the hill – I was not sure why or who.

We went for another walk in the afternoon, just on the tracks around the resort and towards the road. John came up with the idea that we had to spot twenty different types of birds, before we could go back. Eventually, had to admit defeat, when we could only manage eight. The birds were, it seemed, finding it a bit wet to be going about their usual birdy business.

Pretty clear message……

Late afternoon, there were two or three local vehicles out and about, looking for two fifty year old ladies, camped near us, whose husbands hadn’t seen them since 11am. Apparently, they went up to the Resort for a cup of coffee, then decided to go for a walk – all the way to the Park, where they were “found”. It was a bit of excitement, but how embarrassing to have been them! Obviously, THEY didn’t think they were lost – it was all the men’s idea.

Tea was cold chicken, hot potatoes, and coleslaw.

The rain got heavy again, after dark. That wasn’t going to improve the roads any.

I read, then went to bed at 10pm. Times like these, it was good to have a stock of books. John played his latest computer game – till 2am, apparently.