Lawn Hill National Park is in the remote Gulf region of northwestern Queensland. It is over 1800 kilometres north west of Brisbane, close to the border with the Northern Territory.
The emerald waters and lush vegetation of Lawn Hill Gorge form a beautiful oasis in the outback, attracting abundant wildlife and offering exceptional views, walks, canoeing and cultural sites.
Just along from here you need to lift the canoe out of the water and drag it over the rocks to access the upper gorge.
We have been to some very remote places on this trip, and often the GPS doesn’t even know where we are.
There are so many gorgeous gorges on the Gibb River Road, and we are doing our best to visit most of them.
Surveyors Pool is in a remote area of the Kimberley, W.A. From Mitchell Falls, you continue on Port Warrender Road, which is really more of a track than a road, until you come to Surveyors Pool.
Further along Port Warrender Road, there is a look out which has a view right out over Admiralty Gulf in the Indian Ocean.
It is a little out of the way to visit Surveyors Pool, but well worth the effort. From this lookout, we turned back and retraced our steps to Mitchell Falls to prepare for our return journey down Kalumbaru Road to the Gibb River Road.
In my last post, I talked about Little Mertens Falls, which is a short walk from the Mitchell Falls camping area. This is a great place for a cooling swim, but the main walk from the camp ground is the track to Mitchell Falls and it takes about an hour and a half each way. It is quite a long way, and also involves some steep rocky climbs, but it is definitely worth the effort.
Once you have passed Little Mertens Falls, you trek alongside Mertens Creek, which is lined with pandanus and a haven for waterlilies. You next come to Big Mertens Falls which is much higher and more spectacular than Little Mertens, however you cannot swim here, so it is best to take your photos and move on.
Big Mertens is a very deep gorge, and quite spectacular in it’s own right.
To take good photos, you need to be a bit of a mountain goat and get right out on the rocks lining the gorge.
A bit more hiking and exertion brings you to your first glimpse of Mitchell Falls itself and you don’t at first realise that there are four layers of waterfall.
As you climb down and around, more is revealed. You need to take off your shoes and socks and cross to the other side of the water to get the best views.
We arrived at Mitchell Falls camping area about lunchtime, so in the afternoon went for a short walk to Mertens Falls where we planned to have a swim.
Life is good! A beautiful swim and a good meal. It doesn’t get much better than this.
The morning saw us packing up the tents and heading off once again, towards the Mitchell Plateau. We had a couple more nights camping along the way before we got to Mitchell Falls, and it was time for a shower so we stopped for the night at Drysdale River Station.
Sometimes the nicest places are ones you hear about from fellow travelers. We were chatting with a couple of backpackers who mentioned Josephine Fall was worth a visit so we decided to take the detour and check it out.
First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has visited my blog recently, especially today when I have put up several posts to try and catch up with myself. We have been out of reach of internet for most of the past several weeks while we were traveling in the outback and far north Queensland, so I have a backlog of photos that I want to put on here. Thank you also to everyone for their kind words and encouragement.
I had heard from friends that Paronella Park was a place we shouldn’t miss when we travelled to north Queensland, but we really had no idea what to expect. Paronella Park came to exist through the dreams and imagination of Jose Paronella, who arrived in Australia from Spain in the early 1900’s and through sheer hard work in the cane fields, together with his vision and determination, managed to buy 5 hectares beside Mena Creek Falls and build himself a castle. He also built a theatre/ballroom, refreshment rooms, bridges, tennis courts, a tunnel to a secret garden with a spring-fed waterfall, a picnic area, and planted over 7,500 tropical plants and trees. If that was not enough, he also installed the first hydro-electric plant in northern Queensland. The complex opened to the public in 1935 and since then has had several catastrophies including floods, cyclones and a devastating fire. Today the ruins of the dream make a fascinating place to visit.
Karijini National Park in the Pilbara is one of the most spectacular places we have visited. This was one of our first views of the Pilbara as we entered the area on our way to Karijini. On the winding road you can see a huge road train, which dwarfs the bus and car sharing the road. The sides of the roads were carpeted with purple and white wildflowers.
The many precipitous gorges of Karijini take your breath away when you peer into them for the first time, with their sheer rock walls, cascading waterfalls and clear rock pools. In this picture you can see a man standing at the bottom of the gorge and if you look carefully, near the top you will see a woman on a rock ledge that is half way up the sheer wall. She is on the track you use to descend to the gorge floor.
We camped in the National Park for a few days and explored many of the gorges. Dales Gorge was lovely, with a walk up to Fortescue Falls, where this serene pool lies at the top of the waterfall.
Further on into Dales Gorge you come across Fern Pool where we swam in the clear emerald water across to the twin waterfalls on the far side of the pool.
We enjoyed the many walks in the Park. The photo of us was taken near the waterfall that flows into Joffre Gorge. But I think our favourite gorge was Hancock Gorge where we climbed down rocks and ladders to reach the gorge floor, then made our way along narrow rock ledges and waded and swam through various pools until we could go no further, then made our way back again, the way we came. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the camera with me on this trek, so no photos to share, but we highly recommend the adventure if you get to Karijini National Park.
This last photo is a view of Joffre Gorge from part way down the climb. It gives you some idea of how steep the walls are, but if you are careful you can get all the way to the bottom.
Well, we didn’t really go all that far down the Gibb River Road, but we loved the day we spent at Emma Gorge with our Phillip Island friends, Lyn and Jeff.
Lyn told me this was her favourite place, and I can see why. It is absolutely stunning, very beautiful and so peaceful. And the water is an amazing turquoise blue colour.
The other side of the rock pool is a pebbly shallow. Very inviting, but the water was quite cold.
The roads might be long in the Kimberley, but there is so much to see and so many amazing vistas that it is never boring.
We drove through this grass fire on the way to Wyndham and on the return trip as well, by which time it was burning on both sides of the road. It is very common up here to see burnt out sections of bush and grass land. Most of the fires only burn the grass, leaving the small trees, and ‘cleaning up’ the country, as the aboriginals say.