This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels July 20

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?

Cyclone damage?

An enterprising bird – a kite maybe? – had built a rough nest in the framework.

Better than a tree?
Charnley country…

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.

Nature’s stairway…
Looking down on Grevillea Gorge and Plain Creek
The way down…

Found ourselves by a pool above a substantial two part waterfall. 

The top of the waterfall….

Below that was another pool and more falls, but there was too much rock climbing involved for us to follow the stream down.

The lower part of Grevillea Gorge

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.

Near the Lillie Ponds

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.

Dillie Gorge down amongst the rock jumble, somewhere….

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.

Dillie Gorge

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.


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2007 Travels July 19

THURSDAY 19 JULY     CHARNLEY RIVER STATION

It was a freezing night. I finished up putting on both a windcheater and a beanie as extra sleepwear, and was still cold. So much for my theory about closeness to the coast.

A rooster started up at dawn, just to add to the misery. It had a funny crow – there was no “doodle” in it. More like one loud squawk – a very loud one!

From what we could gather, in talk overheard around the camp ground and ablution block in the morning, most campers here had arrived yesterday, and were planning to visit Grevillea Gorge today. So, we decided to wait a day before we did that visit.

Instead, we did the walk that was a circuit from the camp ground. This went to Paradise Pool, on to Tower Hill, and back to the camp ground – about 5kms. The walking was over stony ground to the pool, but was a bit less rocky on the way back from Tower Hill.

On the way to Paradise Pool

The pool area was quite pretty, albeit small scale. There were a couple of little lots of rapids coming down into a series of small plunge pools.

One of the pools was home to a large water monitor, who did not seem particularly perturbed by our presence, but just kept sunning himself on his rock shelf by the water.

Water monitor

The walk was enough – it got rather hot during the walk. Our crowd avoidance strategy worked – there was no one else on the walk.

What was left after something hatched
Was this an unusual type of wattle?

After that effort, and a late lunch, we were happy to laze around camp for the rest of the afternoon.

Now the sites had dried out, they were not as bad as they seemed yesterday, although there was no respite from the afternoon sun on the front of the tent. We were actually very pleased to be away from the large numbers of mosquitoes that were infesting the desirable sites close to the creek!

One of the free ranging ganders was quite aggressive. I was walking back from checking some information at Reception, across the large expanse of open ground to the camp area, and it started to hiss and make little runs at me as I walked past the group of geese.


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2007 Travels July 18

WEDNESDAY 18 JULY   MORNINGTON TO CHARNLEY RIVER CAMP   190kms

We were up at 6.45am., packed and away by 9. John really wanted to get ahead of other departing travellers with camper trailers, and not be held up by them and following a cloud of dust for long distances. He didn’t really know how many of such would be departing, just assumed there would be some!

A little way down the track, M’s CB radio suddenly decided it was going to work again, after having been U/S for some time. Seemed she might have hit the right bump? Anyway, now we could communicate when going along, again, if need be.

I loved the drive back to the Gibb River Road, with the King Leopold Ranges sometimes visible in the distance, and the majestic flat topped peaks near Mt House.

At the junction with the Gibb, turned to the west, to go back to Imintji Store, 25kms away, where we had noticed, the other day, they did tyre repairs. It meant backtracking, but doing all that was reasonable to ensure we had two functioning spares, seemed the sensible thing.

Tyre was repaired, after a fashion. The problem seemed to have just been wear on the tube – it might have been getting a bit old. Sometimes, we’d had new tubes put into older tyres, and part used tubes put into new tyres, and John had lost track of the age of the tube in this particular tyre. Fortunately, the wheel size was a common one, and the Store was able to supply a better tube.

The rough and rocky crossings of Fletcher Creek on the Bungles track had quite possibly created the problem.

M had elected to do the doubling back bit to Imintji with us, rather than go on ahead. We were able to do a little stock up at the Store – margarine, which we were just about out of and hadn’t been able to get at Halls Creek! Bought some frozen meat, packets of cup-a-soups, bread, fresh tomatoes (what a luxury), and a sandwich for John’s lunch.

Topped up the fuel again. We’d done 350kms since last here. It was still $1.85cpl.

Best of all, the wife part of the couple running the Store for the season, was a hairdresser by trade. Because the Store was not busy, I was able to get a hair cut. Bliss. I had definitely reached the uncomfortably shaggy stage.

The access track to Charnley River Homestead (Beverley Springs Track) was only just to the east of the Mornington one we’d come up this morning. It was nearly 50kms from the Gibb to the Charnley River Homestead and camp area. The track was quite rough, and rutted in parts where it had obviously been driven on wet. So it was fairly slow going. There were a few little creek fords with mud and low water in.

Charnley River/Beverley Springs track

About 7kms in from the Gibb, we stopped to view a boab tree where the explorer Frank Hann (of Cape York notoriety) had carved his initials when he explored through this area in the 1890’s. I guess that what would be considered graffiti, if done today, served a purpose then, in that his route could be found by others.

Frank Hann tree

The campground fees here were $30 a night. Unpowered of course. The amenities were adequate, if a bit rough and bush style, compared to Mornington.

It was hard to find a good spot to pitch the camp. We were comparatively late getting here, due to the detour to Imintji. The really nicely shaded places, beside the little creek that edged one side of the camp area, were occupied. The area we ended up on had been watered, so was a little muddy in places, and with lots of ants going through it. Although we’d managed to find a place with some trees for shade, this would be in the mornings, so in the afternoon the tents would get hot. Couldn’t be helped. I resigned myself to a not so great camp spot.

Charnley River Homestead camp

After the rough track in, the left rear tyre was slowly going down when we arrived at the Charnley camp area. Another tube? Maybe it was a similar age to the one we’d just replaced? At least that justified the detour we’d done back to Iminitji!

From the information given to us when booking in, there was quite a bit to do here, although the access track to the north, to Old Beverley Springs Homestead ruins, was closed. Like Mornington, it was new ground for John and me.

Charnley was a working cattle station. There were some calves wandering about the place, plus a baby donkey, chooks, a little mob of geese, some peahens and peacocks.

At least our rather exposed camp spot was not very close to any other campers, which meant John could run the genset for a while so he could play computer games! No comment from me…