Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 124. Karijini N.P.

By Gorge

Oxer Lookout

We had a huge day planned today, so after a hearty breakfast we were off and straight into it. We went straight to ‘Hancock Gorge’ first; as this one is closing for maintenance in a day or two, so we need to get in and see it ASAP. At the top of ‘Hancock Gorge’ was the ‘Oxer Lookout’, and it was outstanding. From here you can see straight down into ‘Red Gorge’, ‘Joffre Gorge’, Weano Gorge’ and ‘Hancock Gorge’. It was breathtaking to see all four gorges joining together from the one lookout.

Descending into Hancock Gorge

The kids - ready for the challenge
Next we decided to get brave and decided to hike down into ‘Hancock Gorge’. It’s a 3hr hike and a class 3 & 4 (Class 5 is the hardest) so we weren’t sure how the kids would handle it. We decided to go as far as they could take it, and stop if it became too difficult. After a short way the we hit the class 4 section which was a ladder that led down to the gorge’s floor; everyone got down with relative ease.

We proceeded along the bottom of the gorge walking through water courses and shimming along rock ledges. It is one of the most spectacular environments I have ever entered. There was such an amazing contrast of the green Spinifex grasses, red dirt and numerous red colours of the rock faces that stretched at least 150mtrs up to the sky above.

As we got further into the gorge the water levels rose, and the rock ledges became so narrow we had to enter the water to get through. At one point the water was up to our waist; it was cold but so much fun. I was surprised as the kids never complained.

Unfortunately the water then became too deep. The crevice was too steep to navigate with the kids so we had to turn back. The kids were so disappointed but they will never understand how amazing they were to even get that far. The rest of us were very impressed with all their efforts!

After a well earned lunch break, we decided that the last walk (although very challenging) was so much fun we would try another. This time it was ‘Weano Gorge’. We were only 100mts in, and I was already carrying the kids across the deep sections coming up to my waist. The water was very cold, but bearable; and the scenery again was breathtaking.

At one point the ledge the kids were shimmying along got too narrow and I was going to try and carry them all across. Poor Grace who was first; the last thing she said to me was please don’t drop me in, well it must have been a jinx because two steps along I slipped on a submerged rock and we both went in up to our necks into the cold water. I’m not sure if it was the shock of the water, but poor Grace was most upset with me. Again we decided it was time to turn around.

This gorge walk went both left and right from the bottom, so we decided to head back and explore it now in the other direction. The track was a lot easier, and the water crossings were nowhere near as deep. We found a big cave up in the rock face, and we had a ball trying to get up to. It was worth the effort though, as the kids had a ball.

Climbing deeper and deeper into the gorge...

On the way back to camp, we decided to stop off and check out two more lookouts that were only short walks from the car park. First was ‘Joffre Gorge’ and second was ‘Knox Gorge’ and both were equally amazing. I am astounded at the contrasting colours here; the deep red colours of the rocks highlighted by the huge termite mounds, with the green Spinifex and plant life makes for an amazing site. I think today we hiked over 3kms of quite difficult track, that all up took us over 4hrs to complete. It was well worth ever step.

Joffre Gorge

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