Day 19 - Sunday 1st November
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!!!
Today was exciting as we had heard a lot of good things about this place and the expectation was high!
We rolled out of bed to find that everything was as we left it the night before so the storm had obviously gone around us thank god!
We threw some bacon on the barby with a few eggs for brekky and as we were finishing up there were cars starting to roll in and a big crew of people hiring canoes.
We took this opportunity to follow them down to see where they were putting the canoes in and to get a feel for the area. It always seems much safer and less eerie when you see someone do something first or if you have others around you.
Our kayak wasn't ready at this stage but we sat and watched a few of them set off. We then wandered along a track along the edge of the creek and found a sign to the cascades swimming hole. A small A4 printed sign attached to the wooden sign said 'due to below average rainfall the water at the cascades swimming hole is not flowing' we thought what the heck lets go for a look anyway. It was a pleasant walk through the towering high canopy of palms and vegetation. When we got to the cascades we could see why the A4 sign was put in place. There was water but it wasn't running and therefore was not all that inviting for a swim. It was easy to see though how this would be a great spot for a dip with the water flowing over the sections of rocks which would form mini spa baths.
We then returned to camp geared up the kayak and headed on down to launch! We were a bit sceptical about how this would work with two of us in a single seat kayak (we did have a dry run at camp first to ensure we didn't look like total fools).
Jed in the seat with the paddle back to back with Milly in the cargo area just chilling. This worked fine but was a little unnerving until we got comfortable. 1cm of kayak above the water level was just enough at the rear providing Jed didn't paddle to fast. (If he did we started taking on water)
The trip in the kayak was amazing. We were the only ones on the water whilst traversing 90% of the gorge from the launching area to the falls.
We paddle along past where the green vegetation and muddy banks finished and into the gorge itself. Here we were dwarfed by the shear size of the red cliffs rising out of the water on either side of us.
Had a few visitors come and share the park with us for day trips and swimming today and had a couple of crews pull up and setup camp for the night also! 30 odd campsites here, 10-12 sites to be used for tents and we get two new campers turn up and want to set up either bloody side of us!! Why not setup somewhere else on the bloody 10 acres where you're not disturbing us!! Admittedly we had the best spot and the most shade as we were here first and there was absolutely no one camping here when we arrived.
Next two best sites with shade were either side of us, so if the boot was on the other foot we probably would've done the same! After all shade is a godsend up here!
We did get chatting to one couple camped beside us who said they were heading for Darwin. We picked their brains about where they had come from and they said The cape York penninsula. Perfect I thought, now to suck some info out of them. We pulled out the maps and had a look at the locations they had been and the tracks they had travelled. They were basically the same roads we were planning to take! There was one road we asked about which was from Dunbar through to musgrave that warns about low lying swampland being difficult to cross. They mentioned they came through this way and had no dramas as it is so dry everywhere! This information was invaluable as had we decided against taking this route it would add close to 800km's to our cape trip and possible another 2-3 days.