Round Millstream Chichester

Wednesday 21st August 2013

Today was spent near our campsite. In the morning we walked to Crossing Pool Camp; in the afternoon we drove to the nearby Cliff Lookout and Deep Reach Pool. You can see our route on the the map below. Today’s route is the red one. The blue route is what we did on Thursday.

Millstream geol3
The route of the 21st August (red) and the 22nd (blue)

Millstream is much more wooded than Karijini as you can see from this photo of our camp.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
Our camp at Millstream

and along the river valleys you see lots of trees.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
Trees on our walk to Crossing Pool Camp

And you get some rather exotic ones such as the Millstream Palm.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
The Millstream Palm (Livistona alfredii)

As you get closer to Crossing Pool Camp you come to remnants of the Fortescue River showing how much higher it is in times of flood.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
The Fortescue River with flood debris trapped in the branches well above the current level.

At Crossing Pool the course of the Fortescue forms a large pool.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
The pool at Crossing Pool Camp.

We did not swim here as the water was rather turbid and the banks rather steep. We had been spoiled by our stay in Karijini. We did, however chat with the Camp Volunteer, (an unpaid civilian who, in return for free camping, supervises the camp and dispenses advice) and one of the campers. He had booked his pitch several months in advance.

Then we walked back to our camp. On the way we climbed a small hill and looked over the Fortescue valley noticing the flat topped remnants of fossil river terraces.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
The Fortescue valley with remnants of a higher river terrace visible.

In the afternoon we drove to Cliff Lookout, just across the Fortescue from Crossing Pool Camp to admire the view.

Around Millstream - Chichester Park
The Fortescue River from Cliff Lookout.

We continued on to Deep Reach recreational area, which we had virtually to ourselves.

At Deep Reach
Calm day at Deep Reach – lots of reflections

Here there were facilities for getting into the water easily, and the water was a bit clearer, so it was not long before we were swimming.

At Deep Reach
Chris swimming at Deep Reach

Our last port of call was the Visitor Centre. It is not so busy as the one at Karijini, but does have lots of Kangaroos round the place!

Kangaroos round the Millstream Homestead
Kangaroo at the Millstream Visitor Centre.

Thursday 22nd August 2013

Millstream is noted for its water; the Chichester part of the Park is rather drier and so you walk farther to see water – at least Australians do! And as we did the same I suppose we were honorary Australians for the duration of our stay!

It was quite a long drive to Mount Hubert (where you park for the walk to MacKenzie’s Spring) and on the way we were impressed by the vastness of the bush. Big things seem to shrink. Look at the next two photos. They are both taken from the same spot. The first is a wide angle; the next is a telephoto. A cursory glance at the first suggests it is a picture of a not very interesting bit of bush; the telephoto shot shows that it is a siding on the Tom Price – Dampier iron ore railway with several millions of dollars of stuff, parked.

Train in the bush
Spot the multi billion dollar investment!

Seeing this shows the difficulty in being against developments in WA. It is such a big place that huge projects “disappear” and have a minimal footprint.

Train in the bush
Several millions of dollars of ore waiting to be moved on one of the biggest railways in the world.

 From Mount Hubert it was 5 km walk to MacKenzie’s Spring and back. But it was an easy walk along a good path.

MacKenzies Spring and around
Chris on the path to MacKenzie’s Spring

The rocks of the area are Archean and members of the Fortescue Group, 2.7 billion years old. There are lots of basalts and dolerites but even the sediments contain lots of volcanic material. When we got to the Spring we found it to be in a sandstone, just below a small dolerite sill.

MacKenzies Spring and around
MacKenzie’s Spring

Apparently the spring was very important to the camel convoys which were a mainstay of transport in days gone by.  We met an Australian couple at the spring who were very enthusiastic about the beauty of their country.

Back at the Mount Hubert car park we ascended the not very difficult Mount and admired the view.

MacKenzies Spring and around
View Northward from Mount Hubert. This would be our route the next day, past the Pyramid.

We then drove a few miles further to Python Pool. This is a plunge pool at the base of a waterfall. The waterfall was not flowing at this time of year, but it must be spectacular in the wet as it comes over a massive dolerite dyke.

Near Python Pool
Python Pool and its (dry) waterfall

Here we had lunch and then headed back to Millstream. After another swim at Deep Reach we wandered round the old Homestead and looked at some of the pools, including the Jirndawurranha Pool which is sacred to the local Aborigines.

Round the Millstream Homestead
Chris at the Jirndawurranha Pool. No swimming allowed.

At our camp we found that the site had filled up compared to the previous nights. Our tent looked very humble next to the huge and sophisticated camper vans and trailers which had appeared! We dined and went to bed knowing that we had a long day in front of us.