2/7/14 – We got up at 5am and were on the road by 20 past 5. We kept telling ourselves it was 7am in Qld, only it was still dark here. The road as described and advertised was pretty rough but no rougher than the 8kms from the Kalumburu turnoff into the King Edward Campground, just 76kms of it. Corrugated, loose gravel, lots in some places. Large rocks sticking up out of the road, very very dusty. We came to the conclusion the red dirt/gravel road was the worst part, trouble was it was mostly that, but we have been on worst with the camper. We would have been fine taking the camper. You don’t get over 60kms/hr took us just under 2hrs to do the 76kms.
The whole walking track is 3.5km one way, (7km return) allow 2hrs each way. The track from Little Mertens Falls to Mitchell Falls is classified as class 5, which means it has some reasonably difficult bits in the way of rocks to climb over, some with big steps.
Little Mertens Falls which aren’t that little have several rock pools and spas at the top before flowing down to a large swimming hole. Under the falls there is some Bradshaw Paintings, took us ages to find them. It’s a steep goat track down to the bottom of the falls, it is worth it though as it’s really lovely and cool down there. We had fun exploring behind the falls trying to find the paintings.
We climbed back up the goat track then started climbing down some big rocks. Next falls are Big Mertens Falls or Mertens Gorge. It’s a long drop down. You walk across the top of them following the markers towards Mitchell Falls.
There is 2 ways to cross the river, the first is to keep following the white guide posts all the way to the left, which we did. Which takes you above a small set of falls and a slippery wide crossing knee depth. The other shorter way is to cross just above the Mitchell Falls through faster running water but less slippery and we were told a safer crossing. From there make you way up to the helicopter landing pad. From there you can explore the different viewpoints of the falls.
The falls are amazing, water thunders over in several different falls that make up the Mitchell Falls. Be an awesome site in the wet season. Of course then you would have no option but to ride on one of the helicopters that made noises all day. Some people walk one way and then fly back the other, prices start from $130, we walked both ways.
At the time we didn’t know about the first river crossing just above the falls, so we walked across the slippery one both directions. I (Kate) slipped and came down on my butt sitting in water. But as the true photographer I am the camera went up in the air safe and sound but the boots I was carrying landed in the water right along side me. Chris was ahead and didn’t see me fall, he turned to see someone sitting in the water camera in the air not realizing it was me.
After that embarrassing fall, clothes and boots needed to be dried out. We made our way to the top of the falls, put the clothes and boots on the rocks to dry out while we had a swim. It was when a big tour group came along that we found out about crossing here, which we were told was safer.
The walk back to the car park was hot. We stopped for a paddle or in Chris’s case a swim at the top of Little Mertens Falls, the water is so cold.
Several hours later over the rough track we arrived back at camp and had a relaxing night sitting around the campfire.