Lawn Hill Gorge- OASIS!
29th -31st of August-
Thursday morning broke crystal clear blue and gloriously perfect, like the previous 30 days. In fact, since we turned due west from the Tropical Coast we have not encountered a rain drop!
Our prized destination was the superb Lawn Hill Gorge. We had already reserved a camp site and were very excited to reach our oasis. The Gorge has to be one of the most spectacular places we have ever seen. Its beauty is enhanced only by the fact that the surrounding 100kms do their best to hide their pot of gold. The station on which the Gorge lies is very dry, hot bleached grass, harsh rocks, and a little sprinkling of meagre vegetation. Giant magnificent red sandstone rock escarpments are the only clues to this jewel as you approach it.
Upon finally seeing the gorge, its towering sandstone walls and boundless splash of tropical greenery are mind boggling!! Even at the driest times of the year, the Gorge transforms you………..terrific turf. One suddenly finds oneself surrounded with palm forests, wildlife, pandanus, bubbling natural spa baths and a sumptuous freshwater crystal clear gorge. Upon arrival we were so excited we rushed down to the waters edge, rapidly blew up our inflatable canoe and headed out……..(paddle, paddle, paddle, splash, splash splash)
A canoe has to be the best way to explore the inside of the gorge- although the banks and walls are chock a block with walking trails….there is NOTHING like sitting out on the water with turtles, archer fish, pink & blue water lilies, calm pools and billions of birds. The Gorge is great because it actually consist of three different layers of cake to explore. The lower is out of bounds, the middle contains “Indari Falls”-a fantastic swimming spot with natural spa & waterfalls. The upper gorge awaits for those keen enough to drag their canoe up a portage. It will blow your socks off and your shoes as well……..
By the time we had staggered to the top it was 5pm. Let us share a little secret with you all…………98% of people who visit the gorge rent/hire canoes and they have to return them by 5pm. If however, you bring your own, you can stay out as late as you want. It was an incredible treat for us to have the whole gorge to ourselves. We calmly paddled back by the moonlight…absolute bliss! If you can’t afford a canoe, buy yourself a blowup li-lo/ air mattress/ or sea-biscuit at K-Mart and MAKE SURE you have a float as the sun sets and the moon rises……
Later on that night we went for a walk, guided by the light from the full moon. We climbed to the top of Indari Stack and watched one of the first storms of the wet roll in. As the rain blew over us we sought shelter in the shade of a cliff face and built a little fire to stay warm. Looking out over the gorge was ecstasy. This has to go down as one of the most amazing nights of the trip. There is a magic aura about the Gorge that is hard to put into words…..
The next day we went to neighbouring Adels Grove, another camp ground and waterhole nearby but a little less busy than Lawn Hill. The waterhole was exciting because it housed a little Freshwater Crocodile. We actually went for a swim with him….he was very tiny and harmless. Nice to finally see one close up. We decided to set up camp for a night at the Grove.
The real treat there is that wallabies come right up to your campsite and eat out of you hands. They’re certainly not shy at all! We also met up with a great young couple from Western Australia (Andy & Karen) and realised that they are doing the same trip that we are. We’re all heading out into the Gulf en route to Darwin so decided to team up, join forces and keep truckin along!!