We are pretty much half way along the GRR and are staying at Mt Barnett Station (Manning river/gorge/falls – campsite). The campsite is along the river near a large clear swimming hole, complete with a lounging rock boulder in the middle and a four-seater dingy attached to ropes to ferry people across the river to the start of the gorge walk proper. Every boys dream location. Oh and only a couple a small crocs (freshies) that kept to themselves far away down stream.
We snagged a site close to the water hole and spent the first afternoon just playing in the river. The weather has been warm (about 31-33 degrees) so swimming is very enjoyable. Luckily the water is not cold – sitting at a pleasant 25 degrees.
After a quiet night we did the 7 kilometre return gorge walk the next morning trying to head out early to beat the heat because it is an hours walk across the plateau from the river to the falls. We made it away by 8 am following the haphazard markers along the way. It was a long hot walk but we were rewarded with beautiful falls and more swimming at the end of a steep climb down. Both Julian and James were eyeing off some keen rock jumpers and before too long James had done his first “jump” (after watching Dad). Needless to say it was not his last. Sam and I also enjoyed the water but without the thrills.
The Gibb is a funny place – so remote but there are just so many people either on their own traveling or in tour groups. Luckily the tour groups seem to be on a pretty tight schedule so they are never allowed to stay very long and once they clear out it is a lot quieter again (apart from our noisy boys!).
It is spectacular scenery up here but it doesn’t call to me in the way I thought it might. I think I am more a forest type of girl rather than Savannah. The walk back was not too bad thanks to a light breeze and wet gear from swimming. It is not often you get to do a bush walk with swimming at both ends. The afternoon was spent in the river with the boys “helping” everyone with the ferry crossing.
It was another early start the next morning to drive to Adcock and Galvin Gorges before it got too hot. Unfortunately we missed a turn off on the way in to Adcock Gorge and spent about an hour looking for the gorge before heading back out. The only benefit of this detour were meeting some grey nomads who’d lived in Kakadu for 12 years. They followed us on our exploratory walk at the end of the wrong turn and returned with spear heads and scraper stones from an aboriginal camp they’d spotted. They gave these to the boys – very cool. It was only on the way back to the main road that we spotted a rather faded wooden sign stuck up a tree saying “gorge left”, so off we went. It turned out to be a short and scenic walk in with a deep waterhole surrounded by high cliffs, very peaceful and filled with beautiful birdsong.
The boys spotted some aboriginal artwork on the walls as well. Next stop was Galvin’s Gorge – much easier to find. We passed a tour group heading out and luckily had it to ourselves for a while. More artwork was spotted and this time we all enjoyed a shower under the falls before heading back to camp for a very late lunch and more afternoon swimming.
The river/waterhole was so amazing we decided to spend another night to have a day relaxing (well catching up on jobs) without any excursions. We can’t imagine many other places that would be as beautiful as this.
Jules and I are so glad we have done this section of the Gibb. The roads have not been as rough as we thought they might be and the spectacular swimming holes have been beautiful.