Category Archives: Bushwalking

Tabletop Traverse, Deua NP – October 2015

 

Just 5 days after getting back from our Africa trip was the October long weekend. Of course I needed to get away bushwalking! The trip was in the Deua NP 4-5 hours south of Sydney. After some fairly ordinary traffic getting out of town on Friday afternoon Caro & I got to camp at Snowball around 9:30pm. We had an early start Saturday with a big day ahead of us. The morning was spent descending to Woila clearing – it was fairly slow going with lots of undergrowth.
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Lunch at the creek was most pleasant, if you ignored the evidence of cows. We hydrated as best we could, loaded up the water before starting on the ascent for the afternoon.

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The afternoon was a constant slog up – and we were unfortunate that summer had arrived early – temperatures were around 30C.

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We got some fantastic views of our route – Scout Hat (right) and Tabletop (left) shown here.

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We ended up making camp well-short of our original goal. Camping in a saddle, our party of 8 found flat-ish spots where we could lie down for the night. It was very windy during the night which led to a mostly sleepless night.

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Another early start – with the immediate challenge of ascending Scout Hat.

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There was exposed scrambling on narrow ridges. The wind hadn’t really let up so it all felt a little precarious!

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Still a long way to Tabletop.

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A particularly exposed section of the descent off Scout Hat.

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Once past Scout Hat it wasn’t completely straight-forward…

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Four hours after leaving camp we made it to Tabletop – the first flat ground we’d encountered in that time! We enjoyed a cup of tea and a long break here.

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Then we pushed onto Horseshoe Point, our camp for night 2 and where John had cached 18l of water. It was a lovely spot.

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Vivien and I collected some water from a nearby (40 mins walk) spring. We had split groups earlier in the day – with the advance party making an attempt on Mother Woila. They had collected water during dusk on their way back and clearly hadn’t managed to find the nice clear sump we filled up from.

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Day 3 was potentially going to be a boring fire-trail bash but our fearless leader decided on a cross-country short cut. It ended up being lovely walking. Good call.

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The final push back to the cars. A fantastic long weekend in rarely visited country.

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Kimberley exploring (June 2015) – Part II

In our second week we headed to Emma Gorge and the Cockburn ranges. Despite being only a couple of hundred kilometres apart the landscapes were quite different.

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We got an exciting preview of our week to come as we got a helicopter to drop us off at the other end of the range.

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We got very excited by the Boab trees.

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And had a most delightful morning tea stop swimming at this waterhole.

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But soon we were into the narrow gorges…

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and more packfloats!

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Our campsite on the first night was the worst of the trip. I don’t have any photos of the crocodile eyes gleaming out at us, the numerous cane toads hopping around us or the 2.5m python which decided Caro’s bed was pretty comfy. On the positive side there was this amazing bower (made by a bower bird to woo his lady).

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Relaxing in the close quarters of camp.

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First thing next morning we had a pack float (one of the reasons we’d stopped where we were the night before).

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There was a lot of water weed in the waterways in the Cockburns.

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Morning tea views.

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Camp night 2 was far more spacious – and also featured a bower (on right behind the tree). This one had little skulls in it (amongst other bones), as the bower birds in the north of Australia collect white objects rather than blue.

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We explored the amazing ‘bat cave’. This photo can not portray the sulphuric smell which encompassed us as we swam through guano-filled waters with our mouths firmly shut!

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Amazing slot canyon.

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Emerging from the sulphuric corridor.

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We had hoped to explore a little further afield but found some of the tributaries dry.

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So we continued up the main gorge where there was plenty of running water.

 

 

 

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Another amazing slot near our third campsite.

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The best campsite of the week.

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Dryfall – this creek system would have been amazing had there been flowing water.

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Many of the tops had been recently burnt which made for pleasant walking.

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We saw a lot of snakes in the creeks – we think they were mainly tree snakes.

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We tried to descend the ‘bat cave’ canyon from the top (as we’d got to a drop we couldn’t get up when ascending it). Unfortunately we were confronted with a 12m overhanging drop and we only had a 6mm handline.

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So had to be happy with a lunchtime swim instead.

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The top of the dryfall we’d visited earlier.

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Tom all tuckered out.

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Not many campsites come with existing washing lines (& carabiners)!

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Beautiful spot for our last campsite of the trip.

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Emma Gorge with the hoardes (out of shot).

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Kimberley exploring (June 2015) – Part I

In June 2015 we visited the Southern Carr Boyd Range in the magnificent Kimberley region of Western Australia. Our trip started with an early morning boat trip on Lake Argyle to our drop off point.

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With the boat departing we are truly isolated for the next seven days.

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Many of our campsites were on gravel river beds where we managed to find just enough space for 5 spots.

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Some of the walking was true bush-bashing through long grass and my nemesis – pandanus!

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But the bush bashing is all worth it when you unexpectedly come across waterhole gems like this one.

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We had a couple of steep climbs on our walk but generally we were on flattish ground.

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The views were great.

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The colours amazing.

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This was a stand-out campsite. An afternoon of entertainment with jumping opportunities from three sides of this amazing pool.

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Our food group delivered some amazing meals. Later that evening we had butter chicken with pappadums, and chocolate mousse with smashed raspberries and chocolate shards. MasterChef eat your heart out.

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There were days of awesome gorge walking on flat rocky platforms.

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With more swimming holes and jumping opportunities

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The route had its challenges from climbing down waterfalls…

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to compulsory pack floats…

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to large amounts of rock-hopping

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and more pack floats!

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And then we were amazed to discover slot canyons!

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No, this is not Karijini but it sure looks like it.

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The flora was incredible.

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Oh and did I mention slot canyons :)

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Stunning vistas

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And a really long packfloat! (and a large freshwater crocodile which was fortunately spotted after we’d all made it to the other end)

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Fortunately the helicopter found us at the end. Otherwise it would have been a really long walk!

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