This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2007 Travels June 17

SUNDAY 17 JUNE     KEEP RIVER NATIONAL PARK

We were a bit slow to get going today – John slept in!

Today, wanted to give M a good exposure to the best of this Park.

We drove to the other campground, Jarnem, another 14kms to the north. The track was in pretty good condition. It passed through occasional low sandstone outcrops, with bigger ranges sometimes visible beyond. The vegetation was a mix of spinifex, shrubs and low trees – there were not as many boabs in evidence here as there had been at Bullita. Some of the trees – eucalypts of some sorts, I thought, were in flower, with clumps of big lemony yellow flowers.

The Jarnem campground is not as scenic as where we were – but it was also not as busy.

There were large flocks of red tailed black cockatoos feeding on the ground around the camping area, which seemed to have been burnt, maybe a month or two ago.

The goal was to complete the full Jarnem/Nigli Gap circuit walk. The distance of this was confusing – Park info gave one distance, the sign boards at Jarnem gave two different distances. It was somewhere between 6.8 and 8kms!

The walk circuit

The track out of the campground initially crossed flat black soil plains, and there were plenty of the black cockatoos there.

Red tailed black cockatoo

We skirted the front of a range, then the track took us fairly steeply up a narrow valley in the rocks.

Steeply uphill. Keep River valley in background

Signposts have more than the obvious value……

From the lookout at the top of this climb we could see both back across the Keep River Valley, and into the rather pound like area where we were headed.

The Bungles-like striped sandstone dome structures were obvious, across the flat central area.

Over there is where we are headed….

But first we had to go down to that flat, picking our way carefully down the rocky path.

The central area was not as flat as it had appeared. There were rock outcrops of various sizes and configurations, and often with a stacked appearance. Clearly, there had been some selective burning -both to reduce “hot” bushfires later in the season, and to make the area more passable for us!

The vegetation was really varied, too, from the spinifex  grasses, through eucalypts and other trees,  turkey bush, and even palms and boabs.

The variety of rock type and shapes and what was growing made for a really interesting walk.

Eroded sandstone

A rock stack also made a convenient place for lunch.

A shady place to sit for lunch

We spotted a pair of plump, white quilled rock doves sitting on a ledge, keeping very still. These birds are confined to the north-west of the country, so we were pleased to have spotted them. But they were too far away to photograph successfully.

The path approached close to the dome structures, so we could appreciate their intricacy. To me, they were identical to the structures found in the Bungles.

The way back was through the Nigli Gap – more gradual going.  Because of the late start, we’d ended up walking in the hottest part of the day. I’d definitely had enough by the time we finished.

The circuit walk we’d done was basically the only walk to be done from this campground. Last time we were here, there was another walk, to a section of the Keep River, to the north. We did it, but it was a bit of an anti-climax, walking across the floodplain but not really being able to get close to the river because of thick vegetation. Looked like National Parks had now taken it off the walks menu.

Drove straight back to the campground, and lazed around for the remainder of the day.

We had a cooking fire in the nearest fire place, then sat around it after tea, chatting and admiring the night skies some more. Had a bit of an ongoing “spot the satellite” competition going , on these nights.


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2000 Travels June 24

SATURDAY 24 JUNE     KEEP RIVER NATIONAL PARK

We were up about 7.30am. The tour group left soon after. It didn’t seem like they had seen much of the park!

It was a lovely morning, with lots of birds about – much bird noise.

After breakfast, I packed lunch, and we drove back to the main park track, then further north for about 16kms, to the other camp ground, Jarnem. That was larger than the one we were in, with more specifically marked out caravan and trailer bays. But it is not quite as impressive in its immediately obvious surrounding scenery, as ours. The track there was fine, but we could see a number of places where the track had flooded.

06-24-2000 03 near Jawarrm campground Keep R.jpg

Near Jarnem campground

Our goal was to walk to Policemans Waterhole. On the information  boards in the National Parks office in Timber Creek, I’d noted that the western track was closed, due to water, so we took the northern route.

There was a large area of water over the track in one stretch, so we did get wet feet. We passed through high grass, in places. It did not seem that this track had been much used, recently.

06-24-2000 01 walk tk to policemans whole.jpg

The almost overgrown walking track to policemans Waterhole can be seen leading away from me

Policemans Waterhole was on the Keep River, but when we reached there, most of it was obscured by vines, pandanus and high grass, so it was a bit of an anti-climax. However, the sandstone outcrops on the way had been scenic, so the walk itself was worth doing. We had travelled about 2kms from the Truck.

06-24-2000 04 old policemans wh tk

Near Policemans Waterhole

It was getting hot by the time we left the water hole. We retraced our route for some of the way, then branched off to the west to do the Nigli Gap walk. According to the information at Timber Creek, this track was closed, due to water, but it appeared to us that they had it the wrong way round, because this track was fine.

06-24-2000 02 walk tk to pmans whole

Lone palm tree on the ridge

The Nigli Gap track went round some excellent sandstone formations – rather like those of the Bungles – most spectacular and very photogenic.

06-24-2000 06 nigli gap walk

Bungles-like dome formations on Nigli Gap walk

06-24-2000 07 nigli tk

Spinifex, dome like shapes, and palm trees on the Nigli Gap walk

06-24-2000 08 nigli domes.jpg

It was a hot walk back to the Truck. We had lunch in the camp ground there and watched birds.

Then drove back to our camp. The round trip today was 41kms.

We  lazed about for the rest of the afternoon. I marinated chicken drumsticks for tea. I tried to treat a heap of sandfly bites I must have collected yesterday, on my right elbow area – it is very hot and swollen today. We could see little sandfly/midge things around, so I put on repellent.

It was pleasant, later in the afternoon, as the day cooled down. The camp area became quite crowded by evening.

John had another go at fixing the kero lamp.

Tea was carrot soup, drumsticks, coleslaw.

There was one group of campers running a generator, which was quite noisy. They didn’t turn it off until after 10pm, by which time most other campers were trying to get to sleep. Inconsiderate pigs.

Our lamp gave up totally and wouldn’t go at all. We lit a small fire in the nearby fireplace and sat round that for a while, before turning in, and trying to sleep against the background noise of that infernal genset. Karma would get them, somewhere, sometime, I found myself thinking!