Rest Day - Karinjini National Park

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What a start to a fantastic day. At about 6.30am the birds started to sing on what was our first sunny start to the day since last Monday. Sleeping in our luxury eco tents was perfect – quiet, cool, comfortable although a trip to our open air ensuites proved to be rather damp. Everything including the floor, walls, toilet seat and basin were still soaked from the days rain.

For some a sleep in was in order as most did not turn up for breakfast until 8.00am, a pleasant change from the 6.00am starts from previous days. With a degree of excitement and expectation, most walked the 500mtrs to Joffre falls, situated in a spectacular narrow gorge. The stunning scenery of the Hamersley Ranges opened up before us. This view had been completely hidden in cloud the evening before. Even spinifex pigeons seemed to queue to welcome us to their home. The termites were busy constructing a new mound, around 3cm high. Surrounding them were some 2metres high. As the roads started to dry out we were hoping we were going to have the opportunity to drive out to the spectacular gorges after our morning coffees.

While some of the group just wanted to relax and catch up on a few days washing, the rest of us jumped into the vehicles and had our breakfasts stirred up while we drove over 40km of very corrugated nuddy road to Dales Gorge. Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool and Circular Pool were the highlights. The very fit descended the 285 steps to the base of Fortescue Falls and it seemed to turn into a race to see who was the fastest to ascent.

After arriving back at the Eco Retreat for lunch (just in time before the kitchen closed), some decided they had not yet had their fill of the spectacular gorges. Into the 4WD, we headed out to view Joffre Falls from the east side. Spectacular vertical drops formed a natural amphitheatre with an amazing waterfall as the central feature. Just as spectacular was when we were joined by a metre long goanna. This beautiful creature just ignored us and strolled along in the sunshine with is great tongue flicking in and out at great speed, seeking whatever he could find for a snack.

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Knox gorge provided the next highlight, if you discounted splashing through the enormous puddles of water in the 4WD. Dramatic was the only word to describe the deep water of Knox Gorge. Suspended on the viewing tower over a vertical drop of a couple of 100mtrs got the heart going for a few. Unlike last night when sunset was rained out, tonight everyone was expecting (and some got a view of) an amazing sunset in the Pilbera. What a fantastic day.

Richard Cooke