Tag Archives: Millstream Chichester

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.



From Karijini to Millstream Chichester

Tuesday 20th August 2013

We got up early and took about 3½ hours to get ourselves ready to go! It was our first time of packing all our stuff on our own and we got a lot better as time went on, but it was a relief to get on the road. From Karijini we drove to the mining town of Tom Price, then to the Millstream – Chichester National Park – a grand total of 281km. The map below shows the route and some places of interest.

THIS file will give a much more accurate version of the route and also includes the photographs taken along the way. You need to download the file and open it in Google Earth available HERE.

The route took us through typical scenery of the Hamersley Range.

On the road to Tom Price
The road to Tom Price, in Karijini National Park

Before long the dirt road became asphalt and we continued to Tom Price. This is a town serving the iron ore mines in the area. Almost all the mines here are owned and run by RTZ. (Similarly the mines near Newman are BMP mines.) We are told it is not a company town, but it is. Almost everybody works for RTZ, or for a company which works for RTZ.

But it is a pleasant enough place, but like many of the more recent towns of WA is very similar to Newman or Kununurra or Port Hedland or Karratha or wherever. But it (and they) served us well and we were able to do our chores of shopping, laundry, fuel etc.

We also got our permit to drive alongside the RTZ railway for part of the rest of our journey. At Newman this is a formality, but not at Tom Price. I suspect that the road is only available to the public against the wishes of RTZ, probably at government insistence. So in order to discourage usage you have to sit through a 20 minute DVD about how to drive on dirt roads. This emphasizes the extreme and imminent danger of this hazardous practice. You are taking your life and that of all other road users into your incompetent hands. They show examples using steep, twisty, undulating, badly maintained roads and then ask whether you REALLY want to do this. Well we did and discovered that the road we drove along was nothing like those shown in the DVD. It is a good dirt road, well maintained and as good as many other dirt roads we had, and would, drive along.

It was a long uneventful drive to Millstream, the only excitement being passing an ore train then waiting for it to pass us so that we could photograph it. Having been informed on many occasions that pictures of trains are not to everyone’s taste I have embedded a slideshow of part of my Flickr photostream which will allow the train enthusiast to see my photos.

Eventually we reached Millstream and headed for the Crossing Pool Camp as we had heard that it was the most picturesque – and indeed it was. It was also full – unsurprisingly as there are only nine pitches! So we took the roundabout route to Miliyanha camp passing much of the infrastructure which transports Millstream water to the towns of the coast, such as Dampier.

At Miliyanha we found that informality is the watchword – you find an empty pitch which you fancy and pitch your tent. Some time later the resident, unpaid, wardens stroll over and take your details and money ($A54 for 3 nights) and have a chat. I works very well.

We camped, made ourselves comfortable and cooked our supper. Our headlights, purchased in Tom Price, worked well. Our Primus lamp also worked well, but not while we cooked on the gas stove. The spare gas cylinder we got for the lamp turned out to be empty and we had not thought to have it filled! However we did find out that there is a very good camp kitchen with light and stoves supplied, so we will use that in future.

The Moon
Full moon from our camp site at Millstream Chichester.

And here is a geological map of Millstream Chichester.

Millstream geol
A geological map of the Millstream Chichester area