This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2003 Travels August 15


Day off for us. Not much of a sleep in because of the genset noise.

This morning, a big, lovely, quiet, generator was brought over from the Mine, on loan. Everything worked again, even better than usual. But the majority of the icy poles were beyond salvage.

The cook freaked out – too much of her vegetable stock had been sold through the shop!

L and R – friends of the bosses – arrived from Isa, bringing with them some stock to replenish what had not been ordered – soft drinks, some biscuits. But we were still under stocked in some things. It really was an impossible ask for the boss to juggle everything. V and I had tried to help by doing a check of stock each week, and writing down what was needed for the shop, for her to order. But she still tended to forget where she was up to, when interrupted – usually by the baby.

There continued to be a really big cloud build up through the day. It apparently then rained at Mt Isa, at Thorntonia and at Riversleigh, but passed to the east of us, fortunately. We did not need red mud around the tents!

I packed some sandwiches for lunch and we put one of old F’s repaired canoes up on the roof rack and headed off to the National Park.

Launched the canoe from the new ramp and paddled off up through the Middle Gorge. This time, I took my camera, in one of the plastic barrels from the canoe hire.

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Towards the Middle Gorge

We made our way through the impressive, tall, red walls of the Middle Gorge, then carried the canoe – very carefully – along the path around Indarri Falls, and relaunched it back into the creek.

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There’s a lot more beyond this point

Paddled on along the Upper Gorge, through the narrow constricted section that tricks some into thinking that is as far as they can go, and on to the much wider section of creek below the Upper Gorge Lookout.

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The Upper Gorge Lookout is up on the bluff

The end of that wider part really was as far as could be canoed, 3kms from the launching ramp. We beached the craft on a sandy bank beside the creek and set off to explore further by foot.

We walked upstream, along the side of the creek. We mostly followed tracks that had been made by feral pigs, through the spinifex and scrub. These were quite passable to pig height – about thigh high on us – but a bit dense and prickly above that height. But we could see where to go, at least.

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Country beyond the Upper Gorge

We found lots of very pretty little water holes, alternating with rapids sections in the creek. I used two rolls of film on today’s jaunt!

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Lawn Hill Creek changed character so frequently

Reached the tributary Carless Creek. This had flowing water, so we concluded it must be spring fed, too. It originated somewhere just to the east of the Musselbrook Mining Camp, we thought.

We’d probably walked along side Lawn Hill Creek for about a km when we reached the tributary, then walked some way alongside this, before running out of pig trails to follow and finding the bush bashing a bit hard.

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Carless Creek

Ate our lunch sitting beside a little water hole in this creek. We were so quiet and unobtrusive, just sitting there enjoying the peace, that a large feral pig wandered down the bank opposite us, just doing what pigs do.

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Large black feral pig

These pigs were such a problem in the Park – and at Adels, in particular out around the rubbish dump pit. Cook’s husband regularly took a rifle out there, late in the day, and sat up in a tree, waiting for them to come in scavenging, and shot as many of them as he could. This may have discouraged them from the pit, to some extent, but did nothing to alleviate the broader issue that they posed over much of Australia. What really worries me is the prospect of human disease, spread by pigs, getting loose in Northern Australia.

After lunch, made our way back the way we’d come. John was using a stick to push aside the vegetation along the track, and accidentally hit me in the eye with the stick. Luckily, my glasses didn’t break, but it hot at such an angle that I developed a black eye, which later became the cause of some comments!

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We came across a plant with distinctive black and red seeds. M later identified these as a poisonous native pea species. Around here, they were known as Black-eye Susan.

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Black Eye Susan – poisonous

On a narrow part of path, a dragon type lizard suddenly rushed at me from the side. It was clearly in attack mode and gave me quite a fright. It was a pretty little thing, with a really long tail. It actually tried to bite me – ferocious little tacker.

Retrieved our canoe – happy to see it was still there. Very few tourists canoe quite up as far as where we left it.

As we paddled back down the gorges, saw a couple of freshie crocs, sunning themselves on logs over the water – they were looking quite fat and healthy.

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Big fat freshie croc

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Lawn Hill Gorge

We left the canoe with the rest of the hire stock at the Park, so didn’t have to go to the effort of getting it back up on the roof rack of Truck.

Showered and had a pleasant happy hour sitting watching the resident birds and feeling happy with the world.

Then went up to tea. There was fish for tea. But there was not enough left after the guests were served, for the staff to have a proper meal – we were given very tiny serves. How hard was it to count out pieces of frozen fish, this morning, and get it right?

Even the poor meal could not spoil what had been a delightful day.

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1998 Travels July 12


It was still cloudy in the morning, but with some lighter patches indicating it may fine up.

There are a lot of small, sticky, bush flies – due to yesterday’s showers, presumably. It feels a bit more humid.

Overnight, something stole the fish carcass that John was saving for his yabby net, plastic bag and all. From footprints about the place, a feral cat, we think.

This morning, there was a loud territorial dispute in the trees across the river, amongst a group of blue-wing kookaburras. They make an interesting and raucous variety of noises – very hard to describe, but sounds more like a malfunctioning motor mower than a bird!

I made pita breads, which were good to eat, but it took ages to cook 12 of them, in the camp oven! I need to allow at least an hour for that, in the future.

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Cooking pita breads – some cooked ones on plate at back

Our neighbours had left this morning, but later, people came to look at Camp 11 – they had not booked. As they were departing, they spotted a brown tree snake in a nearby tree (naturally!). It was moving around, fairly slowly, hunting.

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Tree snake in there

Later in the day, a couple came and occupied Camp 11, but they stayed well away from us and our area.

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Camp site 11 at Hann Crossing

After lunch, we went driving, back across the crossing, to Bizant, Blue Lagoon and Luma Luma Waterhole. Blue Lagoon was really pretty, but spoiled by massive feral pig damage around its edges, where the ground was damp enough to be a bit soft. I think they must have been after water lily roots. It looked just like a really wide strip had been machine ploughed all round. We are coming to some understanding of the huge and serious feral pig problem in these parts. They do major environmental damage, which impacts on native species. They breed so quickly. They are a host stage for a number of nasty mosquito borne illnesses, which, given the proximity of these parts to Asia – and its endemic afflictions – is a very frightening fact. It seems they roam the Cape in enormous numbers. They are such hideous looking pigs, too – big and black.


Blue Lagoon. The churned up area of mud is damage done by feral pigs

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Blue Lagoon

On the way to Luma Luma (which was a non-event, a very small water hole) we saw a large group, maybe 20, of Sarus Cranes and Brolgas, some dancing so gracefully, with wings extended. Then a number flew off – beautiful.

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Brolgas or Sarus Cranes

On the way back, saw a mob of pigs – mean looking!

We drove on past our site 12 and explored the riverside track as far as Camp 17. There are a number of rather rough and sandy crossings up that way and the far sites are gloomy and very isolated. I reckon that 11, 12 and 13 are the best options, by far.

I did some 4WD driving, on the way back – I have to get in practice!

It was dark by the time we got back to camp. Darkness happens so quickly up here.

We were not very hungry, after our late lunch, so I heated up a tin of baked beans and served it with some pita breads.

After tea, we packed the storage crates and the saucepan crate back into Truck, to try to improve the morning’s packing time. We have a longer drive ahead of us tomorrow. We thought about what things would need to be readily accessible, in the back of Truck, for just an overnight stop at Coen, so we would not have to do a full unpack. We will adjust tomorrow’s packing accordingly. The tents, camp bedding and our clothes and personal gear all travel packed in the backseat area, so these are easy to get at, anyway.

John showered again.

There was a full moon visible again tonight – not enough cloud to cover it.

We wandered down to the river bank and shone the powerful torch on the water. Think we spotted a few sets of red eyes, but not totally sure. The theory is that you count the number of red eyes, divide by two – and that is the number of crocodiles that are watching you!

I have enjoyed our two camps here in Lakefield National Park, but am quite ready to move on and explore some more new country.