Category Archives: Information

Kalbarri and Perth

Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th October 2013

This was a very long day! We drove almost 550 miles and were still 9 miles short of Kalbarri. We set off at 7:15, filled up at Meekatharra, turned off the Great Northern Highway at Mount Magnet, passed through Yalgoo and Mullewa to the North West Coastal Highway and then almost to Kalbarri, getting to the camp site after 5.

Between Mullewa and the North West Coastal Highway we spotted several blue tongued, fat tailed lizards crossing the road. We managed to avoid squashing any of them but when we stopped to look at them they showed no appreciation and showed us their teeth.

HERE is today’s route and photos. Open with Google Earth.

Kalbarri1
Geological map of the Kalbarri area. Get the full size HERE

We camped at the camp ground at Murchison House Station, on the banks of the Murchison River. This was Chris’s favourite camp site but i thought it was too sandy.

Kalbarri Campsite-2-Edit-Edit
View of the Murchison River from our tent.

Friday 4th October 2013

It was obvious that we were getting nearer Perth. All about were more people than we were used to seeing. It was the Perth schools half-term and many of them were taking the break in Kalbarri!

HERE is today’s route and photos. Open with Google Earth.

We drove to Nature’s Window in Kalbarri National Park. The road crews had mistimed their work and were finishing off extensive roadworks in the park. As a result there were long waits while graders ran along the roads. The visitor facilities at the car park were still being built; the car park was full and there were more people about than i had seen in any National Park!

Nature's Window
The valley of the Murchison at Nature’s Window.
Nature's Window
People walking along the ridge at Nature’s Window. This ridge is the neck where the Murchison forms a loop.

Most of the people we saw seemed to be families with kids. I suspected that the country around us was as wild as Australia was going to get for them. We felt we were very experienced bush walkers!

Nature's Window
Chris and me at Nature’s Window

However an advantage of lots of people about was that a nice lady took the picture above! This is Nature’s Window which appears on countless postcards i Western Australia.

Nature's Window
The Silurian Tumblagooda Sandstone is colourful and rather soft.
Nature's Window
Nature’s Window is not the only hole in the ridge!

We had intended to go to the Z-bends, also in the park, but the agony of following slow moving cars along the dirt roads decided us to head into town.

Kalbarri Lookout-2-Edit
View of Kalbarri and the mouth of the Murchison River

We drove up to a lookout to view Kalbarri, took a photo and went into town for lunch. Then southwards along the coast where we called in at a bird sanctuary called Rainbow Jungle. This was rather better than we expected – the birds seemed very well looked after.

Rainbow Jungle
Green-winged Macaws at Rainbow Jungle

Then back to camp for supper and a last night under canvas!

Saturday 5th October 2013

It was almost 400 miles back to Perth. It was strange to have to deal with other traffic on the road!

HERE is today’s route and photos. Open with Google Earth.

On the outskirts of Kalbarri we looked for whales at Natural Bridge lookout and saw some dolphins, but the cliffs made a better picture.

Natural Bridge Lookout
The Natural Bridge carved in Tumblagooda Sandstone

We continued south stopping to look at the Pink Lake which really was pink! The pinkness is caused by Dunaliella salina and is harvested by drug and cosmetic companies.

Pink Lake
The Pink Lake

We pressed on stopping for fuel at Geraldton  and eventually got to Julie’s where we got a warm welcome!

Marble Bar

Monday 30th September to Wednesday 2nd October 2013

Did about 240 miles today, much along empty dirt roads after we turned off the Great Northern highway. The route from the highway to Marble Bar is featured in a publication of the Geological Survey of Western Australia called “Discovery Trails to Early Earth” by Martin Julian Van Kranendonk and J. F. Johnston (ISBN 1741682452, 9781741682458). A file, which can be opened with Google Earth, detailing the sites mentioned in the book, can be found HERE. Further information about the book can be got HERE. This latter link is probably the only place you can get the book from.

Marble Bar1
Geology map of Marble Bar area, with our routes. Get the original size HERE.

HERE is the route and pictures of today’s trip. Open with Google Earth.

Once we left the highway our first geological stop was to look at a granite tor which was not far off the road.

Granite tors
A granite tor – part of the Yule Granitic Complex

Great batholiths of very ancient granite are characteristic of this part of the Pilbara. They are almost 3 billion years old and are easily seen on Google Earth.

Marble Bar Granites
Granites of the East Pilbara, with some other features of geologic interest.

The tors are the most prominent features in a flat landscape.

Granite tors
Granite tors

Up close they become much more interesting. They are a pile of huge almost spherical boulders with lots of interesting grottos between the boulders. Many have petroglyphs, although we did not see any.

Granite tors
Chris on one of the tors.

The next geologic excitement was when we came upon the Black Range dykes. there is one prominent one – labelled in the Google Earth extract above – but if you zoom in to the area you will find several others with the same trend. The next photos are of a relatively minor one, but even this is pretty big!

Dolerite dyke
One of the Black Range dykes. It forms a linear ridge with blocks of dolerite running down its flanks.

The age of these dykes is considerable – 2.77 billion years. The amount of material in the dykes must be huge. The main dyke is 70 km long and 250 metres wide. They are thought to be the feeders for the Mount Roe Basalt at the base of the Fortescue Group.

Dolerite dyke
A closer view of the dolerite dyke.

The injection of so much material up and along this dyke had a great influence at the tip of the crack formed by the injection of magma. Even a crack as big as this has to have an end and this is seen at our next stop.

This was where the road crosses a stream at the end of the Black Range. All of the dyke is south of this spot. The crack which allowed the magma injection ends here. And here there is an unusual conglomerate. The big blocks are rounded but the small fragments are angular. In a normal, water lain, conglomerate it would be the other way around. In a normal conglomerate the smaller fragments have been transported farther and therefore would be more rounded. There are some small rounded basalt pebbles present.

Unusual conglomerate
The conglomerate at the tip of the Black Range

It is thought that the conglomerate was formed as a result of the emplacement of the Black Range dyke. As it was injected into its fracture it grew a fracture in front of it. this would be full of hot gases from the dolerite, groundwater and granite boulders plucked from the sides of the fracture. The gases and groundwater would form high pressure steam which milled the boulders making them round. The milled fragments would be angular. At a late stage some basalt clasts entered the mix. Then it stopped and what was there consolidated into what we see now.

Unusual conglomerate
The unusual conglomerate. There are some basalt fragments, especially below the triangular boulder on the left. Note the chert on the middle right.

After a few more geological stops we continued to Marble Bar and got a powered site at the caravan park.

Tuesday 1st October 2013

Today turned out to be a long drive but we did see some nice geology.

HERE is today’s route and photos. Open with Google Earth.

We started by going to the terrestrial equivalent of a black hole! This is in the Warrawoona Syncline, found between the Mount Edgar Granite and the Corunna Downs Granite. As these granite domes rose, the heavy greenstones, through which they rose, slid off the tops and down the sides. As the older rocks went down, the younger ones rose and, as a result the greenstones were stretched vertically. You can see the position of these unusual rocks in the Google Earth extract above.

Greenstone stretched vertically
Vertically stretched greenstone

These greenstones are not very green! In fact they are felsic volcanics (quartz rich lavas, probably) but the whole sequence in which they appear contain lots of more basic lavas, which weather green and these give their name to the whole.

Greenstone stretched vertically
A closer view of the stretched rocks.

Unlike a black hole this process did not go on for ever – it eventually froze preserving a very unusual rock.

These are very old rocks – 3.45 to 3.31 billion years old. the granites are not much younger – about 3.3 billion.

We then decided that we would like to go for a swim and decided thar Carawine Pool was the place. We must have been blasé about distances by this stage the round trip distance between Marble Bar and the pool is about 235 miles! But it seemed a good idea at the time. And we did have the consolation of having our geological guide book to inform us of what we were passing through.

Nullagine1
Geological map of our trip to Carawine Pool. Download the full size version HERE.

The highlight of the trip was a look at some stromatolitic limestone.

Stromatolitic limestone
Stromatolitic limestone on the way to Carawine Pool.

This is part of the Tumbiana Formation which is about 2.72 billion years old. These were once thought to be the evidence for the earliest life on earth but, not far away, there exist stromatolites which are 3.4 billion years old. Dealing with such ancient rocks it takes a little thought to remember that there is 680 million years between the two!

While I was at the outcrop a road train passed by. It was carrying manganese from the Woodie Woodie mine to Port Hedland – a round trip distance of 465 miles. It is along tarred roads all the way but it still must be quite a job. It is slightly less than the distance from Bristol to Aberdeen. Seeing this shows how essential the railway from Newman to Port Hedland was. How many trucks per day would be required to get a quarter a million tons to the port?

Road train passing our car
Manganese road train on its way from Woodie Woodie to Port Hedland.

We pressed on and eventually got to Carawine Pool. As a swimming hole it was a bit of a disappointment. A recent flood had cleared a lot of the vegetation and deposited a vast quantity of gravel so it was a bit bleak. But there was a lot of water in the pool – it is actually a part of the Oakover River.

Carawine Pool
Carawine Pool.

The rock on the other side of the pool is the Carawine Dolomite – 2.55 billion years old.

After our swim in the rather murky water we returned to Marble Bar and had a welcome drink in the Ironclad Hotel.

Wednesday 3rd October 2013

By this stage we had determined that we would be back in Perth on Saturday so we had long distances to cover. We would drive to Perth from Kalbarri. It would take one overnight stop to get there and there are few attractive places en route, so we decided to wild camp when the time and place looked right.

HERE is today’s route and photos. Open with Google Earth.

But first we needed to see THE “marble bar”. This bar across the local river is what gives the place its name.

Marble Bar
The “marble bar”

The first Europeans to look at this knew a little about rocks and called them marble. Later people recognised them as being made of silica, not calcium carbonate and so called them chert. Red chert has a little haematite (iron oxide) as impurity and is called jasper. The blue-black chert has pyrite and carbonaceous impurities. Chert without impurities is white.

Marble Bar
Chert showing regular banding

The bedding indicates that these were originally laid down as sediments. They have been tilted and are actually overturned.

Marble Bar
Lots of jasper

The rocks may have started as sediments but that was not the end of the story. The sediment laid down was nothing like the rock we see now. It seems that they started out as a limestone! (So Marble Bar was not completely wrong!) Then silica bearing sea-water circulated into the crust, was heated up by the underlying granites and transformed the limestone to chert. It was not a passive process – the hot fluids returning to the surface, besides transforming the rock, fractured it. You can follow regularly banded chert into zones where it is broken and disrupted.

Marble Bar
Regularly banded chert and fractured chert just above Chris’s toe.
Marble Bar
More disrupted chert

You are not allowed to collect specimens at this site, so we drove along the strike to a spot where someone has dynamited some blocks off a cliff face and there we collected a nice specimen.

Then to the Comet Gold Mine which was once a very profitable venture but now exists as a purveyor of tourist stuff. Chris was hoping for a gold nugget pendant but settled for some jasper earrings. I got a T-shirt.

Then it was a long slog southwards. The road past Nullagine was dirt for most of the way. Nearer Newman it was tarred as there was a lot of mining activity. I think a new BHP iron ore mine is being developed here.

We did some shopping in Newman and continued on our way. In late afternoon we started looking for a suitable site for wild camping and eventually found a suitable spot a few hundred yards off a side road.

Our first wild camp
Chris at our wild camp site

And there we spent a quiet night beneath the stars.

Ningaloo

Saturday 21st to Thursday 26th September 2013

This was our fastest start – up at 6:30 and on the road at 8!

We first went to the Burrup Peninsula which is, nowadays, an awkward mix of ultra modern oil and gas facilities (pipelines from offshore fields come ashore here), and timeless aboriginal art. We, of course, were after the art but were rather disappointed. Perhaps we were at the wrong place, or did not venture far enough, but what we saw was not as good as what we saw near Newman. I don’t have any decent photos so will have to leave you with a gas flare!

Gas Flare
Gas flare seen fro the Aboriginal art area on the Burrup Peninsula

HERE is a link to our route and photos taken between Dampier and Exmouth.

Yardie1
Part of our route from Dampier to Exmouth

The route was long and tedious – lots and lots of not very much.

Exmouth1
Part of our route from Dampier to the Exmouth area

It did become more interesting as we drove up North West Cape along Exmouth Gulf. There are some expensive looking properties with boat anchorages.

 

Ningaloo Saturday
Detail of our route in the Exmouth Peninsula

When we got to Exmouth we stopped at the Visitor Centre and booked a bungalow at the Lighthouse Caravan Park seventeen km beyond the town – we fancied a bit of luxury and wanted to be assured of our bed before driving onwards.

We were told that accommodation in the Cape Range National Park, if you have not booked in advance, is assigned on a first come, first served basis at the camp entrance, when the ranger comes on duty at 9 in the morning.

Then into town to get some supplies. At the Caravan Park we signed in and settled into our nice bungalow.

Sunday 22nd September

We got to the Ranger station at 8:30 and joined the queue. 45 minutes later we got to the front of the queue and found that the only camp sites available were on the other side of Yardie Creek. This is a long way south and a very long way from Exmouth and possibilities of resupply. So we decided not to go there.

We decided that we would stay at the Yardie Homestead Caravan Park. This is nowhere near Yardie Creek! In fact it is north of the park, on the road to Exmouth. Because I was feeling a bit under the weather and my back was complaining about too much activity, we decided not to camp but to indulge ourselves with a chalet. And we decided to stay for five nights.

After lunch we headed north, had a swim and went up to the lighthouse which gives its name to last nights accommodation. Then back home for a barbecue.

And the temporary filling I got in Port Hedland proved all too temporary! It came out – I will get it replaced when I get back to the UK.

HERE is a link to today’s route and pictures. This includes tomorrows activities.

Monday 23rd September

This was rather a lazy day. Taking advantage of the availability of a pay phone and telephone card at the camp site, we arranged where we would stay on our way back to Perth. Shark Bay was on our list so we arranged four nights at a place near there, also a place on the way – it was  450 miles to Shark Bay!

Then we hired snorkel, masks and flippers from the camp site and headed off to the Lakeside snorkelling area in the National Park.

Lakeside Snorkel Area
The Lakeside Snorkel Area. the white at the skyline is the edge of the reef. The back reef runs from the waters edge to the reef. The fore reef is the slope beyond the reef down to the deep sea floor. It is covered in broken coral.

But it was very disappointing. There was a strong current from the south west and this stirred up a lot of sand, making the water very murky and visibility poor. Also the current meant that you had to paddle like fury to stay in one place.

We stayed in long enough to see that there was a lot of coral and lots of fishes but we were soon back on shore.

Lakeside Snorkel Area
Chris suffering from being unable to snorkel at Lakeside Snorkel Area

We tried again after lunch but conditions were even worse. So we packed up and headed south to look at Turquoise Beach and Mandu Mandu Gorge. We found lots of coral fossils in the gorge – the formation includes Middle Miocene coral reefs, mirroring the modern ones offshore.

HERE is a link to today’s route and pictures. This includes yesterdays activities.

Tuesday 24th September

Tuesday morning was a very lazy time, hanging about the chalet, watching the emus walking past. After lunch we drove south of Exmouth and headed for the hills.

There are a couple of tracks which lead into the Cape range. One goes along a valley – Shothole Canyon Road – and the other goes along a ridge – Charles Knife Road. Both roads were made when the area was being explored for oil deposits.

Shotover Gorge
Our truck parked at the end of the Shothole Canyon Road

Shothole Canyon gets its name from the shallow holes drilled for explosives to aid the seismic exploration of the area. Strangely enough someone found another reason to visit the canyon. See HERE.

Charles Knife Road goes up to the top of the Cape Range to an old wellhead where an oil exploration well was drilled. Parts of the road go along knife edged ridges but that is not the reason for the name. Charles Knife worked for the oil company and laid out the line of the road.

Charles Knife Road
View toward the Indian Ocean from the Charles Knife Road

After our tour of the inland bits of the Cape Range we returned to Exmouth and bought our supper from a local fish merchant – there is a lot of fishing in the area.

HERE is a link to today’s route and pictures. This includes tomorrows short excursion.

Wednesday 25th September

This was a remarkably lazy day! Most of it was spent round the Caravan Park. Before lunch we went to a nearby beach to see if we could see turtles – we couldn’t so we sunbathed.

Chris on the beach
Chris on the beach

Late afternoon we went back to this mornings beach and watched the local windsurfers. Then walked south to something odd we could see in the distance.

Turtles mating on the beach
Turtles mating on the beach. Romance plays an unimportant part in the process.

It turned out to be turtles mating – but we originally thought that the big one was dead! The owner of the caravan site told us what was really going on.  The female has a gash on the back of her neck which you can see in the photo HERE.

HERE is a link to today’s route and pictures. Includes yesterdays route and photos.

Thursday 26th September

After breakfast we decided that we were not beach people and that we would not go to Shark Bay. We much preferred the inland parts of Western Australia. You might conjecture this by the number of photos I took on the coast compared to inland. So we phoned and cancelled our Shark Bay booking.

For our last day on the coast we decided to give snorkelling one last chance and hired what we needed and headed to South Mandu Beach.

And found that the sea was too rough to snorkel! So carried on south to look at Yardie Creek. It does not reach the sea but the pool extends up the gorge. We resisted taking the boat trip up the gorge.

Yardie Creek
Looking inland up Yardie Creek

After lunch (at the Caravan Park) we tried our snorkels at Oyster Stacks but again the sea was too rough, but we had better luck at Turquoise Beach. The water was turbid but at least we got the snorkels wet.

At Turquoise Beach
Corulla eating grass seeds at Turquoise Beach
At Turquoise Beach
Golden sand, turquoise sea, blue sky – another boring Western Australia beach!

HERE is a link to today’s route and pictures.

Port Hedland and Dampier

Thursday 19th and Friday 20th September 2013

This morning was a long, uneventful, drive into Port Hedland. By this time we were using cruise control and so passed the place of our speeding fine with an easy conscience.

HERE is our route and pictures of our route to, and within, Port Hedland. Open with Google Earth

Port Hedland1
Geological map of the Port Hedland area and our route from Eighty Mile Beach

In Port Hedland we booked a tour of the port, spotted a dentist and booked an appointment for later that afternoon.

The tour of the port was very disappointing. We were not allowed off the bus, could not get near the interesting bits such as the rail wagon unloader and I think I knew more about the nature of the business than the guide. She did not know the capacities of the boats or how fast they could be loaded. Photos from the bus were poor – the best I have got is of an ore carrier passing the end of the main street of Port Hedland.

Ore ship at the end of the street
Huge Chinese ore carrier at the end of the street. Note the sign for the dentist.

I suspect that the reason that they are so reticent is that relations between BHP and the people of Port Hedland are not very good. Many of the workers on the site fly in to Port Hedland, work for their shifts and fly out to spend their money in Perth.

Also the stacks of iron ore in the older part of the complex often cause dust problems and low level annoyance. BHP does not want to give any information which would cause them grief. But they are trying to move the dirty bits of the operation further away from the town.

Then off to the dentist where I had a replacement filling put in for A$255! Then to the camp site where, to celebrate my birthday, we hired a cabin which was very comfortable.

Then back downtown to have dinner at the Esplanade Hotel.

Friday 20th September

We left our comfortable chalet and went to the retail delights of Port Hedland – shopping and diesel at Woolworths. then a long and uneventful drive to Cossack.

HERE is our route from Port Hedland to Dampier via Cossack. Open with Google Earth

Cossack1
Geological map of an earlier part of our route from Port Hedland to Dampier
Pelican at Cossack wharf
A tame pelican at Cossack wharf

Cossack is an old, almost abandoned, settlement which was once a centre for the pearling industry. A dangerous business – the highlight of Cossack are the graveyards, one European and one Japanese. But the highlight for us was a tame pelican which posed shamelessly.

Dampier1
Geological map of the latter part of our route from Port Hedland to Dampier

Then we drove to Dampier where we found the smallest camp site of our trip. We were next to a guy from Victoria who was in the area looking for a job – he was a mechanic of some description. He thought he could get a job very easily but was more worried about finding some place to stay. The camp site had a rule that you could only stay for three nights and no returns for a week.

This was typical of the mining and oil and gas areas of WA. Most hotels are filled with workers who fly in for one or two weeks then fly back to Perth. In many cases what are described as hotels are really a collection of dressed up shipping containers.

(We did hear of a few workers who stayed in Bali and flew on the frequent tourist planes between Perth and Bali – only three hours. For the same money you can live a much more luxurious lifestyle in Bali than you can in Perth.)

Because many of these towns will be abandoned when the mine closes, there is a reluctance to provide permanent facilities, release land for house building and establish communities.

Iron ore loading at Dampier
The RTZ iron ore loading dock at Dampier. There are four ships here – they dock on both sides of the pier.

From the camp site we had a good view of the RTZ iron ore loading facilities. In the evening we saw a huge bulk carrier start being loaded. It was high in the water showing much of its underwater paint protection. When we got up next morning it was low in the water with hundred of thousands of tons of iron ore in its holds and getting ready to sail to China.

Iron ore loading at Dampier
Ship being loaded with iron ore at the RTZ pier at Dampier. Note another ship on the other side of the dock.

El Questro

 2nd to 7th September 2013

On Monday the second we left Lake Argyle and headed for El Questro. You can see our route on the map below. We stopped off in Kununurra for groceries and the internet. We had to move money about. I don’t know how we would manage if we did not have internet access. Fortunately there is a very good community internet facility right next to the visitors centre.

We got to the turn -off for El Questro and met a couple who were turning back because the road was too rough for their camper van. but we found it to be an easy drive with a water splash just before the Resort.

Cambridge Gulf1
Geological Map of El Questro Area with our route from Lake Argyle. Available HERE.

HERE is today’s route with photos. Open with Google Earth.

El Questro was a cattle station of a million acres but now describes itself as a Wilderness Park. It still runs 8,000 cattle but is mainly known as a destination for recreation. This ranges from luxury (and very expensive) at the homestead to a caravan and camp site with toilet blocks and camp kitchens. AND there is private riverside camping where for an extra A$8 per day per person you get no water, no toilets and no cooking facilities, but you do get complete privacy. Water and the other niceties of life can be got a few miles along the road at the caravan park.

And that is what we chose and it was worth every extra penny!

El Questro Campsite
Our expensive campsite at El Questro. Note the toilet facilities on the right.
El Questro Campsite
Another view of our camp site

We were right on the bank of the Pentecost River and just across from us was the territory of a wallaby who grew active at dusk. She had a joey but she did not seem perturbed by our presence.

Wallabies across the river
A wallaby with joey just across the Pentecost river from our camp site.

What did we do at El Questro? You could spend a lot of money on helicopter trips or 4×4 expeditions if such took your fancy but we confined ourselves to the free and cheap end of the available attractions and found that they more than satisfied us.

Our first excursion was to Zebedee Springs which brought back memories of “The Magic Roundabout” but which is in fact a spring of warm water which comes to the surface at a fault between two members of the Proterozoic Kimberley Group (c. 1800 MA) – the older King Leopold Sandstone and the younger Pentecost Sandstone.

Zebedee
Zebedee Springs

There are rather more Livistonia Palms than there is water.

At Zebedee Springs
Livistonia Palms at Zebedee Springs. Spot the water!

It is a pleasant enough place for a brief visit but it soon becomes crowded. The car park is small, perhaps they should make it smaller.

HERE is today’s route with photos. Open with Google Earth.

We also went to Emma Gorge which is part of El Questro even if it is a considerable distance away.

Emma
Emma Gorge. Something seems to be wrong with the calibration of the map. I suspect the path should be in the valley!

At Emma Gorge there are luxury tented cabins and a very nice restaurant and coffee shop. I can recommend the coffee and cakes after a walk along the gorge.

The gorge becomes quite narrow and a flood a few years ago has covered the path in boulders so progress is slow and tricky. But it is rather beautiful.

Emma Gorge
Chris near the head of Emma Gorge

At the end of the gorge is a lovely pool in which you can have a cooling swim and, if you go over to the right hand wall, a pleasing warm up where a small hot spring enters the pool!

Emma Gorge
Chris at the pool at the end of Emma Gorge.

As a geologist I was struck by the many examples of ripple bedding I saw in the gorge. I don’t want to clutter this blog with too many photos of what many would consider boring stuff but if you are interested here are some links to the relevant photos on Flickr.

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Ripple bedding heaven

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Our next gorge was El Questro Gorge which was not far from our camp site.

El Questro
Route to El Questro Gorge

HERE is today’s route with photos. Open with Google Earth.

It may not be far but you have to cross a water splash, which to the untutored eye appears hazardous but, with the truck we had, was trivial. It does look rather good though!

Moonshine Gorge
Chris driving across a water splash on the way to El Questro Gorge

The Gorge does not have high sides but it is very rugged. The most difficult bit is where a huge boulder almost blocks the gorge. You have to wade across a pool and scramble up the side of the boulder. This is where people with young kids stop. We continued.

El Questro Gorge
The Half-Way Pool. You can get up the left side of the boulder.

 

Beyond the boulder the way is easier but involves lots of boulder hopping. Eventually one gets to the head of the gorge where there is a pool suitable for cooling off.

El Questro Gorge
Chris in the pool at the head of El Questro Gorge.

Other gorges we visited were Moonshine Gorge and a boat trip in Chamberlain Gorge. None of these is particularly impressive but both give pleasant excursions. On our last full day at El Questro we visited both.

Moonshine Chamberlain
Routes to Moonshine and Chamberlain Gorges. There are questions about the northern map sheet calibration. It does not merge well with the more modern southern sheet. And the rivers on the northern sheet seem to be in the wrong position.

Routes to Moonshine Gorge and the Chamberlain Gorge.

Moonshine Gorge
Approaching one of the pools in Moonshine Gorge

In the morning we went to Moonshine Gorge which is quite an open gorge with a creek running along it which, at this time of year, leaves long, linear, pools.

Moonshine Gorge
A tree in Moonshine Gorge

The going is very bouldery, many of which seem to be layered gabbro, but the geological map does not show any likely source. The valley has more vegetation than in some of the other gorges.

The pool at the end of the gorge walk is large and a tempting swim hole.

After lunch we drove to the jetty at the Chamberlain Gorge and had the short cruise along the remains of the river. At this time of year you cannot go far – indeed at one point we had to get off and walk along the shore so that the lightened boat could cross some shallows. In summer I suspect the river might be more challenging.

Chamberlain Gorge-5-Edit
Our cruise in Chamberlain Gorge

Compared to the cruise on Lake Argyle this was much less professional but still a lot of fun. No swimming – salt water crocs have been seen in the gorge but we did see fresh water crocs, a turtle, hand caught a barramundi and coaxed several seven spotted archer fish to perform. These fish catch insects by spitting water at them, to down them, while they fly. Fish food acts as a surrogate for the insects and they can spit considerable distances. The best technique is to present the fish food in front of your neighbour so that they get wet rather than yourself.

The next day we set off for Mount Elizabeth.

Karijini to Broome

After John and Julie left us to return to Perth, Chris and I camped for a few days in each of the Karijini and Millstream-Chichester National Parks and then had a long drive to Broome.

Karajini and Millstream
Our long journeys at Karijini and Millstream. (Karijini has been misspelt in the map – sorry)

These National Parks are, for Western Australia, close together but they are very different. Their name give a clue – Karijini is different, “foreign”, Millstream is familiar, homely. Karijini is highland and a place to visit, Millstream lowland and a place to stay; Karijini is spectacular, Millstream is subtle. But what you go to see is the water and features made by water. You do not stay long in Western Australia before you find yourself going to great efforts to look at a piece of water. And usually it is well worth doing!