Friday, August 10, 2018

Boodjamulla Day 2, Riversleigh Fossil Site, Miyumba and on to Barkly Homestead

Sitting in comfort in our motel room at Barkly Homestead - with full belly and slaked thirst.

Yesterday morning we broke camp at Adels, and headed back into Boodjamulla for a canoe trip up the Lawn Hill Gorge system. 2 Hours allowed us to paddle up the gorge as far as possible including a portage past the Indarri Falls.

A lovely way to spend 2+ hours, amazing red cliffs and rocky bluffs, vivid emerald lush creekside vegetation,  crystal clear water teaming with fish, abundant bird-life and a bonus sighting of a fresh water crocodile that swam right across our bow!

A final swim and lunch and we bid a reluctant farewell to Lawn Hill - well worth the effort of getting here.

On down the Riversleigh road to the Miyumba Bush Camp, about 50 km of "shake rattle and roll" gravel south of Lawn Hill and 4km past the Riversleigh World Heritage Fossil Site. Only 2 other vehicles - so a complete contrast to Adels Grove.

My favourite camp site to date. Minimal shade, dry scrub although only 300 meters from the Gregory River. Tank water and a single composting toilet and no fires allowed. Perfect. We set up camp and sat out the hotter hours of the day. Again - heaps of birds. Some eucalyptus trees were in full flower attracting swarms of insects and providing a plentiful food supply to swarms of Wood-swallows.Also lots of smaller birds feasting on the abundant grass seeds. Including this little beauty - the Double Barred Finch.

A stroll down the road to the causeway across the Gregory River - which just like the Lawn Hill Creek, is saturated with Calcium Carbonate. Apart from providing the vivid colour, it precipitates out of the water on any obstacle, creating extensive beds of tufa limestone that block the flow of the river creating ponds and billabongs on the flat landscape. The river bank is dense with giant paperbarks and other remnant rainforest vegetation. Also birds - did I mention the birds?

A late afternoon drive back to the Riversleigh Fossil Site provided a pleasant afternoon walk in an amazing landscape. Anybody expecting to see lots of fossils lying about the place would be very disappointed. The limestone formation that holds the famous fossils runs for kilometers and the 800 meter walk only has a couple of modest examples. No doubt that if you were intrepid enough you could follow the limestone ridge, hammer in hand (strictly illegal) and find plenty of amazing examples. Apparently the best place to see Riversleigh Fossils is in Mt Isa where there is a dedicated display.

Back to camp for dinner. As the night darkens we are blessed with clear skies and starry wonder. Planets, satellites, shooting stars in a deep silence broken only by the distant sound of the Gregory River cascading over the causeway.

And so to bed after another day of wonder.

Dawn and the last fading sliver of the moon greet our awakening.

Another 80km of gravel road before we reach bitumen and then down to the Barkly Highway pausing in Camooweal for coffee and an early lunch. Across the border into the NT and 260km blast (130km speed limit) to Barkly Homestead.

After hours on the road with little traffic, it's passing strange to arrive in an
Australian Outback Roadhouse - in the middle of nowhere - and find it full of fellow travelers, from every corner of the country and planet, happy to share this uniquely Australian experience.

A swim, a hot shower, happy hour in the pub - complete with live musician - dinner and the ritual of downloading photos from camera to laptop, then uploading pics to the cloud (internet connection permitting) and knocking out this blog. What fun!

Tomorrow onward to Daly Water - or that general vicinity.

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