This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels July 10

TUESDAY 10 JULY     KURRAJONG CAMP

It was another very cold night – felt like close to zero.

M was away early to drive to Walardi camp area, maybe 20kms away, and the nearby helicopter area. She had booked to do a 9.30am flight over the Bungles. It cost her $260 for half an hour. She was hoping to see from the air some of the areas she and John had explored over the past couple of days.

John did not want to do a flight, as he had done one when we were here in ’93. I prefer my feet on solid ground!

We rendezvoused with her at the Piccaninny car park at 11am.

M had enjoyed the flight and had seen the creek area we walked. The “rules” prevent the helicopters from going close in to the gorges, or too low.

In particular, she was impressed by the expanse of the Bungles, beyond the relatively small areas that the public can access.

Some of the gorges they flew over were little more than clefts in the rock.

We walked to Cathedral Gorge. That was the seventh and eighth time I’d walked that bit of track, in a few days! Wet feet again……..

The recent rains had ensured a profusion of flowering plants…..

There were more people in the Cathedral chamber than when I was here yesterday. However, the tour group ones did not stay long and then there were just a few of us left there to really take our time soaking up the atmosphere of the place.

It really was quite towering and majestic, and hushed. The name was quite appropriate.

Looking up, from inside The Cathedral

Returned to the grey bedded Piccaninny Creek. Walked up it – again – for a little way before branching off on the Lookout Track. Followed this to the Lookout, which gave some distant views of clusters of domes, as well as glimpses of the plains beyond.

From the 21st century perspective, it seems amazing that this really unusual and special area was not really appreciated by Europeans for its potential, until the 1980’s. To the local graziers, it was just part of the countryside, until it was featured in a TV program in 1982. In 1987 – just six years before our first visit here – it was declared a National Park.

On the way back to the vehicles, we detoured to walk the Domes circuit (again).

Found a side track that I’d missed, yesterday. It led to an area where there was some aboriginal art – hands and the like, and a little pool that was like a mini Cathedral.

Back at camp again, discovered that our bag of rubbish – carefully  hung up to be out of the reach of predators – had been raided by some of our feathered friends. I should have taken it with us in Truck.

It could only have been birds!

For the rest of the day, downloaded photos onto my laptop. Lazed about.

We stirred ourselves to do a little bit of preliminary packing.

The week here had gone so quickly, but between us, had explored much of what there was for the general public to do here. I wondered whether, in the future, more sections and walk tracks would be opened up. Or whether there was enough to manage, as it was. Anyway, given the relatively short period that most visitors stayed for, there was enough to occupy them for a couple of days.

This would actually be a great place for grey nomads like us to volunteer to work, for a season, doing something like staffing the Visitor Centre. Imagine the places one could get to see on days off!

It had been a very pleasant camp spot – and not exactly crowded……..


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2007 Travels July 9

MONDAY 9 JULY     KURRAJONG CAMP

I had another good night’s sleep, although it seemed colder. Being less exhausted, maybe I just noticed the cold in the night. I was up at 6.30am. Pottered about, getting stuff organized.

Breakfasted, then drove back to the Piccaninny car park, stopping along the road a couple of times to take photos – a luxury I am not often afforded when someone else is driving!

Holly Grevillea along the way

I set out again on the same track, but soon deviated to tackle the short Domes side walk.

I knew that the other two would take some time to walk back from their camp, so thought I had time to sidetrack – just in case it was later decided we wouldn’t come back this way.

Also – I didn’t want to walk too far to meet them, only having to back track along the same route I’d trudged a couple of days ago!

The Domes circuit provided a really good encapsulation of typical Bungles domes – a way for most visitors to see in a small area what we had expended a lot of effort to visit further along!

From there, it wasn’t far to the next side track – to Cathedral Gorge.

Because of the recent rains, there were lots of pools on and beside the track, as I walked in there. Had to wade at a few points and got wet feet. There were a couple of short ladders to climb too, that took the track around difficult bits.

The track to Cathedral Gorge
Getting closer on the narrow track

I was really lucky to get into Cathedral Gorge in between tour groups. There was only one other couple in there while I was taking photos.

Way in to Gorge

The Cathedral is a huge amphitheatre type of cavern formation at the head of a gorge.  In its base is a large pool.

Pool in Cathedral Gorge, and the black rock of a waterfall course

The curved rock roof causes sound to be amplified and echo. The roof is partly open to the sky. In one section, a black stained rock wall that denoted a wet season waterfall, reached up really high. There must be an awesome torrent pouring down there when it really rains.

The Cathedral
Reflection in the Cathredral Pool
The Cathedral Pool and the way out again

On the side track back from Cathedral Gorge, I passed heaps of tour group travellers walking into the Gorge. How lucky had I been?

At the corner with the Creek track, had a little debate with myself. Was it just possible that the intrepid two had made really excellent time and gone past this point towards the car park? Logic said not – but I thought I’d best play safe and check.

So I tromped the km back to the car park. No hikers. Tromped the same km back again, then continued on up the Piccaninny Creek bed.

I only got about a km along from the Cathedral Gorge turn off, when I turned a bend and there they were, heading my way. It was right on midday. They had made good time – five hours since they’d left their camp, some 12-14kms away.

John heading back along Piccaninny Gorge
Debris showing the extent of floods along here

They’d had a great time, and were “high” on the achievement.

They hadn’t explored the full lengths of all the little finger gorges at the top of the main one – too much boulder hopping, verging on rock climbing. But I thought it was a great effort to do what they had done, especially 66 year old John with his one replaced hip and another well on the way to needing same.

One of the hardest walking sections

Loaded them and gear into Truck. On the way back, detoured into the airfield area near Walardi camp, so M could check out the sightseeing helicopter flights. On our Piccaninny Creek walks, had heard and seen these overhead.

Then drove back to the Visitor Centre to de-register them. More cold drinks were purchased!

Back at camp, they unpacked. In the wash-up dish, I hand washed John’s dirty gear, and my socks, which were wet and dirty from having to wade on the way into Cathedral Gorge.

Then we all relaxed over late lunch and into the afternoon. They had lots of anecdotes to tell me – and remember, themselves.

The wildflowers in the Park were truly spectacular, we had noted. I’d seen a superb red variety of holly grevillea, and a  golden rod type wattle was also notable.

Holly Grevillea

 It was good to have company again, in camp, even if it did mean I had to share the bed clothes!