Craters, Camels and Killer Bees

Mon 30th – We packed up pretty smartly and headed into Redbank Gorge. It’s a 1.2km walk to the gorge. The path is not well defined and at times you are walking along the creek bed and doing a lot of rock hopping. It’s well worth the walk, tall red cliffs follow the creek bed coming together at the end to form an amazing chasm. A lovely but chilly waterhole at the base of the chasm stopped us from exploring further in. Would of been so great to be able to wandered through it. You can see why the place is name Redbank, the cliffs are so red. We are constantly amazed where trees are able to grow, holding on precariously to the cliff walls.

Redbank-Gorge Redbank-Gorge-1 Redbank-Gorge-2 Redbank-Gorge-3 Redbank-Gorge-4 Redbank-Tree Kate-at-Redbank-Gorge

Oh oh we just saw our first wild camel ugly looking thing that is was, but so excited to see. It was just walking along the bitumen when we first saw it. 

Lone-Camel

Driving into Gosse Bluff we saw a group of about 20 camels. Varying in colour from a sandy colour to nearly black. Not the nice looking caramel colour in good nic we see at the zoos. Rough and mean looking out here.

Camels-at-Gosses-Bluff Leader

Gosse Bluff is a ring of rugged hills approximately 5kms in diameter created by an ancient meteoric crater some 140 million years ago. There is a short loop walk and a lookout that climbs a steep hill that gives amazing views of the crater. This is scared land for the Aboringals, so visitors must respect the place and keeps to the destination tracks. The place guarded by killer bees.

Gosses Bluff Gosses-Bluff-1

We have seen several signs since we have been in the Alice area warning about bees. Especially on taps as they seek out any moisture. When we have stopped for morning teas or lunch we have had bees come onto our dish cloth but mate not like this. Our kitchen was swarmed by bees, we had to eat in the car and couldn’t wash any dishes. It was throw them in the sink after fishing the bees out and a team effort to pack things up. Me waving a blue lunch plate Chris waving his hat. I gave a few a sever headache and Chris kept complaining that he had killer bees flying at him after being hit by a blue plate. We laughed about it once we were back in the safety of the ute and getting the hell out of there. Bee Warned.

Killer-Bees

A permit is needed to drive on the Mereenie Loop road as it goes through Aboringal land. We purchased ours from Glen Helen Resort for $5. The price varies depending on where you purchase it. It’s $3.50 from the info centre in Alice. Trouble is you have to specify the day you are going to travel on it, since we didn’t know we had no choice but to purchase it closer to the time. The pass includes a little booklet pointing out places of interest along the way.

One of the interesting features on the Mereenie Loop.

Lift-Um-Foot

We pulled into the Jump-up rest area lookout, just for a look and was surprised to find signs saying you can camp here for 24hrs. All other info we had read said it was day use only. We have pulled ourselves into a little nook and set up camp for the night saving us $42.

20120730RedbankHopeValley

Gorges, Gorges and Ochre Pits

Sun 29th – We woke to a chilly morning with icy cold wind. We were snug as a bug in the camper.

We backed tracked a bit to Serpentine Gorge. From the car park it is a 1.2km walk to the gorge. There is a large rock hole at the start of the gorge stopping us from exploring further there was also lots of trees. It was hard to photograph in the uneven lightening. Nice place to visit but not as nice as other gorges we have seen.

Serpentine-Gorge

The Serpentine camping area is a few km’s further up the main road and cannot be reached from the gorge day area.

A few km’s up the main road is the Ochre Pits. Not marked on the map but well worth stopping for. The Ochre Pits are only a short 300m  paved walk from the car park. The colours are amazing, reds, oranges, yellows, beautiful patterns. Totally recommend stopping for a look.

Ochre-Pit Ochre-Pit-1 Ochre-Pit-2 Ochre-Pit-3

Next stop was Ormiston Gorge. A 5 min walk to the waterhole turned into a 2 hr trek. It was indeed very spectacular and huge. We spent some time looking at the waterhole surrounded by tall cliffs.  We then crossed to the other side and did a bit of rock hopping, moving from one spot to another in awe of the magnificent orange walls, taking photos as we went. Before we knew it we were a fair way down the gorge. We ran into a few people who told us the Pound Walk that was a 3-4 hrs walk was amazing but they had to strip down to their undies to walk waste deep into some freezing cold water to cross. Brrr not my cup of tea. We did walk down to the crossing and then came back on the Ghost Gum Walk that took you high on top of the cliffs looking down into the gorge, spectacular. The Ghost Gum walk was steep but worth the effort and of course there was a ghost gum.

Ormiston-Gorge Ormiston-Gorge-1 Ormiston-Gorge-Cliff-and-trees Ormiston-Gorge-Pattern-Rocks Ormiston-Gorge-Steps Ormiston-Gorge-Reflections

Ghost-Gum-Lookout

We had a look at the camping area but at $10 a head we thought it was a bit steep, sites were close and still in dust but you did get showers.

Less than 5kms up the road is Glen Helen Gorge, from a photographic point of view it was great. Good lightening, blue water and gorgeous orange cliffs and birds. Right next to the gorge is Glen Helen umm Resort. Now when we think of a resort we think of some flash place, this was no resort. More like bush camping, $12pp unpowered, $30 powered. There was a small grassed area but most was still on dirt.

Glen-Helen-Gorge Glen-Helen-Gorge-1

It was nearly 3.30pm NT time (30 mins behind QLD, which we are still going by) so we drove the 25kms to Redbank Gorge. This is more like it, large sites, well spaced out mostly on gravel. Each site has a free gas BBQ and 2 hot plates, table and chairs and a fire pit all for $5pp, surround by lots of trees in a bush setting. Does it get any better than that. Oh one more plus there are 3 sites especially for trailers and caravans that are drive through and we can stay hooked up. How good is that, more our kind of place. We had arvo tea and a well needed cuppa before we set up camp.

20120729SerpentineRedbank