Friday, 15 July 2011

Gregory Nat Pk, Keep River Nat Pk & WA border

After leaving Katherine, the scenery along the road made many changes. Open woodlands with spinifex grass & cane grass paddocks to rolling hills & mountain ranges. The ranges in Gregory National Pk were spectacular whilst driving along the road.
Ranges that were created over 350million yrs ago, eroded by an inland sea & more recently in the last 50 or so million yrs, by wind & rain, to leave beautiful cliffs & gorges

There are 2 sections to the national park. The eastern section is far more spectacular with deep red sandstone & conglomerate cliff faces & the western section is grey limestone.

We chose to visit the western section with a 45km 4x4WD road access to the Limestone Gorge.
Around the gorge are a couple of different features that I'd not imagined to occur in Oz.
Tufta dams - better for you to read the sign, than for me to transcribe

Then there's the calcite flows - a little like the calcite flows around Rotorua in NZ. Viewing the flows was restricted to the lookout.

Then there was this weird limestone

 The Limestone Gorge itself didn't look much from a distance - a bit boring really

The last 1.5kms of road into the gorge camp ground has been closed - rather permanently it looks like
as this is the road we had to walk along to get to the end @ the campground
That's just a section of the road - messed up from flood waters. Walking on it wasn't easy either :(

The gorge walls are plain to look at as well as being a hot dry walk

The only thing to break the monotony was a few billabongs that we could have swum in apart from the slime & moss
Inside the wide gorge, Boabs were growing every where -

We stayed @ Timber Creek - the town - named after explorer Augustus Charles Gregory when he needed repairs to his boat when sailing down the wide Victoria River - thus Timber Ck was named using the timber from the area. Lol.

Gregory & his team of explorers base was set up along the river 5kms outside Timber Ck
Some of his party engraved dates into the Boab trees - 2nd  1856 - July is around the other side I think??
 Significantly historical dates to fence off the area - Boab trees lose their leaves during the 'dry' season to conserve water - they look rather ugly without their leaves - so I'm looking forward to seeing 1 later in the yr with leaves on it.

Keep River National Park is just inside the NT border - with WA. It had been on my list of national parks to visit for birdwatching, rather than what else was there. The rare Gouldian Finch can be found in this park.
Or so I'd read!! - I had to ask the rangers to give me some tips as to where they were. I was really excited to find them - not the red headed 1's he'd seen. but black headed. :)) - Happy little girl is me.

Driving the 18km dirt road was 1 of our easiest dirt roads we've been on towing the van.

Oh my, the scenery was a spectacular bonus.............................
Just a shame there's was a lot of glare in this pic - hope you get my drift.................

The 1 hr walk next to the packed campground took us probably 1.5hrs as every turn had another spectacular view - this walk would be rated as 1 of a handful of the best we've seen so far on this trip.
I also took far too many pics & have had trouble deleting many of them...................... thus I hope you get some of an idea how good the area was & enjoy the walk too.................

I was so impressed, that I went back to some of the area for sunset pics & video camera in my pack as well.

Many beautiful red tailed black cockatoos fly gracefully overhead, calling out to each other constantly for communication

There was another less impressive (for scenery) walk along the Keep River. This unusually spastic looking boab tree was near the car park..............
There were some rocky overhangs along the river, shelter from the sun, wind & constant rain of the 'wet' season. Indigenous folks left some of their art work there - not as spectacular as seen in Kakadu, but there just the same.

Ginger's Hill, named after perhaps a nice fellow - had some great words of wisdom to say
On this hill was an unusual stone structure - just a short 200mtr walk up a slope to reveal -
in theory hard to think it would work, but the people would entice hawks & kites into their lair with smoke -  they circle over head over fires, looking for prey - the prey this time is some one hiding inside the structure to grab the bird when it landed on top & will eaten for lunch / dinner!!!!!!! What do you think???

This national park also had a large lagoon - cockatoo lagoon - I only got to see some of it & view the birds there as some areas were sectioned off for 're-vegetation'

 I suspect, they had Gouldian finches nesting near by & the rangers were protecting them from the prying public. :((

3 km west of Keep River turn off is the WA border -
restrictions with all fresh fruit & veg - fortunately I knew of this restriction & hence the only thing we threw out was a little pumpkin & 1 carrot!!!
Droves of people arrive at the border not knowing about the quarantine & either madly cook up / make salads or what ever they can do to turn fresh to cooked or ready to eat in another way or have to throw out $$$ worth of fruit & veg etc.

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