Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 77-79 El Questro Wilderness Park– 24-26 Aug 2009

12,414 kms, 36 degrees C

OK, we have now started the fabled Gibb River Road. El Questro was our first stop, just 1m acres, including the uber expensive homestead ($1000 a night), cabins and us at the bottom of the price scale on the campsite! Clever marketing and use of natural wonders have been combined to pull in the tourists and fleece them, er like us.

There are some great 4WD tracks - first we went up Saddleback Radge to see the sunset. Next was the Explosion track but it was so rough that we felt the name might well describe our shock absorbers to discretion came into play. But the lookouts were glorious once more.

The walks are all fantastic – El Questro, Moonshine and Emma Gorges were all wonderful. Plus yet more thermal springs at Zeberdee. All had great views, interesting fauna and flora and most importantly of all supurb waterholes to cool off, as it is getting pretty hot right now, above 35 degrees C, probably hotter between the vertical gorge walls.
It’s a small world – people in the tent by us went to school with Jason Bunn, one of close musician buddies back in Melbourne.

We spent our 19th wedding anniversary at the steak restaurant at El Questro, along with champagne and wine (a real treat from the XXXX Gold that has become our staple tipple).

The Chamberlain River cruise was cool – our guide Buddy, an ex stockman probably well into his 70s had lots of saltie old stories to tell, as well as chatting up the “young” 60-ish year old women at the front, ie the only ones in focus!

The seven spotted anglerfish is quite remarkable in the it traps its prey – by spitting water! It’s accuracy is spot on – check out the video. We were a little worried about its choice of prey – not only will Stuart’s camera not taste to good but it might be a little large!!

We were thrilled to see a few Yellow spotted monitors – but this was a sign of two things. First the wet season might be coming on quicker than normal – the monitors are a month early. Now it is good news that we have seen them but we don’t want to be here in the build up to the wet as it will be hot and horrible. But the second sign is very sad indeed – the cane toads are now on the East side of Lake Argyle. In Kakadu the locals have noticed dramatic reductions in goanna, lizard and monitor populations, as they all live on frogs. When they eat a cane toad they will die, due to the toxin in its back. This beautiful monitor has only the time it takes the toads to get to him and there is nothing that can be done about it. Truly awful.


Michelle said...

Thursday - me in North Melbourne, you on the Gibb - hmm.. let me think. Having serious acclimatization issues - wearing my outdoor clothes inside with the heating full blast. Miss you all. No more SB noises - instead drunks reeling down the street from the pub...Nearly finished the book - so Sheena it will come your way very soon! Can I come back? would not take up much space in the back of the vehicle... Good luck with the big trip!

Honora said...

Pleased to hear you managed to celebrate your anniversary - so you did get your dinner afterall Nic. Can't believe it's almost 3 months since you left!

Stuart Riley said...

Mum, yes we had a lovely dinner, bottle of wine (which is a real treat out the bush) and it was a unique way to celebrate our 19th. Might need a big one next year!!

Michelle, sorry to hear about the temperatures. Very much the opposite here, 41.5 degrees at Mornington last week, too hot. You are welcome back any time, you know where we will be!