Monday, 18 August 2014

Manning River Gorge

After the most delightful night and day at Gibb/Barnett River Gorge, we were buoyed to say the least. Approaching Barnett River Roadhouse, one of only two places selling fresh anything on the entire Gibb River Road, well, it was a bit exciting. We managed to snaffle fresh milk, some fresh mandarins (both gone from the shelves the next day) and a few other random bits of freshness. The roadhouse has a campground 7kms down a dirt track, with the Manning River Gorge within walking distance from there.

Marguerite chasing corellas around the boab trees at Manning River Gorge campground.

I was looking forward to a hot 'indoor' shower, toilets that flushed and for some reason I was expecting grassy sites. Imagine the mood in camp when we discovered that the water was only hot for about one hour in the morning (try elbowing those Grey Nomads out of the way for that one), you can flush the toilets if you're OK with filling it with water first, and grass? Ha! I must have been smoking some to think that was going to appear.

Starting the Manning River Gorge in style- pulley boat.

Luckily the surrounding scenery made up for it along with some wonderful company. Here are the photos.

The Manning River Gorge and its main swimming hole.

Marguerite and Fiela cliff climbing.

Looking down the gorge.

Fiela about to jump off the ledge.



Yes, it was a bit disappointing to have paid for the privilege of camping directly on sandy dusty dirt with little in the way of amenities, and even now recounting these GRR doldrums, it puts me in a bit of a bother. It wasn't all bad, the bush and gorges were lovely, the Doves turned up providing us with someone to bounce our tales of mechanical woes off... but the dirt and corrugations were starting to get to us a little. We'd been on the GRR for two weeks, and even the prospect of another stunning gorge was beginning to wear thin, as were the bench tops since I had to wipe them every five minutes to keep the dust off.
Adcock Gorge. The only one we didn't swim in.

Galvans Gorge.

We drove out to Adcock Gorge on the recommendation of a magazine article which called it the "hidden gem" of the GRR. We took a look at its stagnant waters, turned around, walked straight back to the car park and drove out, only to be stopped by someone coming in- our front drivers light had fallen out of its housing and was hanging by some wires, dangling precariously in front of the wheel. I thought Fiela was going to pop a foofy valve when he looked at this next mechanical failing, another casualty of the corrugations. There was some heated talk of ringing Toyota and telling them how crap their cars were, what with things just falling off every time you went over a bump. But we picked those bits of our car up that we could and trooped wearily to Galvans Gorge a few kilometres away.

Beautiful and deserted, Galvans Gorge.

 Galvans Gorge was lovely and empty for about half an hour. It is usually overrun with people, being an easy one kilometre walk from the Gibb River Road itself, but we lucked out and spent a beautiful half hour here by ourselves, watching the water tumble down and snakes climb the walls. Until Fiela fell over with Caesar in his arms and donked the boy's head on a rock just in time for the hordes to invade our little space and wonder when our child would stop crying so they could enjoy Galvans in peace. Our little man came good upon seeing and then eating his most coveted food item- a mandarin. Fiela and I had a lovely if chilly swim.

We watched this python crawl up the cliff walls, spotted craftily by Marguerite.
Rock art. Clearly the snakes have been inhabiting this gorge for as long as Aboriginal people (ha!)

Back at Manning Gorge things were starting to really take off in the 'Bloody Hell This Is Getting Crowded' stakes, with the full force of families on their school holidays really starting to take off. We left the next day (after various running repairs to the car and camper were made), speeding on our way to a last minute decision- Charnley Station.

More Galvans Gorge.

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