Oodnadatta Track

Second Year On The Road

Australia Day in Darwin 
Australia Day Cane Toads! Australia Day
Wildlife in our backyard!Possum fell in the pool - nawwww!

 

Cocosaurus Cove
Crocodile snack - Crocosaurus Cove Meet the reptiles - Crocosaurus Cove

 

Litchfield National ParkTermite Mounds - Litchfield National Park

 

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

Kakadu National Park

 

Cutta Cutta CavesCutta Cutta Caves Edith FallsEdith Falls
Lorella Springs Wilderness Park

Lorella Springs Lorella Springs Lorella Springs Northern Spiny-Tailed Gecko
Caranbirini Conservation Reserve Limmen National Park

 

Devil’s Marbles
The Pebbles Devils Marbles

 

Wycliff WellWycliffe WellAileronAileron
Arltunga Historical ReserveBinns TrackTrephina Gorge Nature Park
Binns Track
Alice Springs Beanie FestivalAlice Springs Beanie Festival
Lasseter’s Camel CupLasseters Camel Cup Lasseters Camel Cup
Henley On Todd RegattaHenley On Todd
Alice Springs Reptile CentreAlice Springs Reptile Centre
Our Time In Alice SpringsHelpex Alice Springs Finke Desert RaceFinke Desert Race
Mount Sonder, West MacDonnell RangesWest MacDonnell Ranges
Palm Valley
Palm Valley
Heating up in HermannsburgHeating up in Hermannsburg
UluruUluru-Kata Tjuta
Kata-TjutaUluru-Kata Tjuta
Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley Oodnadatta Track
Coober PedyCoober Pedy
Lake EyreOodnadatta Track

Birdsville

BirdsvilleBirdsville 2014-09-05 031 Birdsville 2014-09-06 007water Birdsville 2014-09-06 047water WintonWinton 2014-09-07 003water
NormantonThe Big Croc, Normanton Cobbold GorgeCobbold Gorge
Undara Volanic National ParkUndaraCrystal Caves
The Crystal Caves
Mt Uncle DistilleryMt Uncle Distillery

 

Cape York
Bamaga TavernCape YorkThe Old Telegraph Track
Cape York

Chilli BeachCape YorkCape York
Zazen

ZazenZazen
CooktownCooktown

Our Time In CairnsCairnsAustralia Day 2015 Cairns


 

 

Bye NT

Top 5 Things about the Northern Territory

Adelaide River Croc Cruise

 

We spent over a year in the Northern Territory; not out of choice but out of obligation.  We had to work in Darwin for nearly a year to replenish the bank account and we got stuck in Alice Springs for three months with Troopy troubles.  In that time, we have learnt a lot about the culture of the Territory and have even grown fond of it.  Despite the unbearable humidity of the Top End during the summer months, the relaxed and almost negligent attitude towards hospitality and business, and the worst television advertisements we have seen since we left Melbourne, the NT has its perks.

 

It was great to be surrounded by so much wildlife and aboriginal culture, and the locals are always up for a drink… or seven!  In Darwin, the lightning shows during the Wet Season are incredible, and it was wonderful to feel cold during the winter months in Alice Springs.  On top of all that, we made a bunch of great friends who we’ll miss until we get to see again.

 

Oodnadatta Track

 

There is a big contrast between the Top End and Centralia.  The weather in Darwin and the Top End is hot and moist most of the time, while it is dry and dusty in Alice Springs.  While Alice is a quiet town, placid and laid back, Darwin is a little more promiscuous and is a backpacker haven.  Alice was also considerably cheaper than Darwin in terms of beer and meals when out on the town.

 

Trying to put together a list of only five things that are great about the Northern Territory was tough, but we did it and we think this list is pretty good.

 

Indigenous Presence

As Melbournians, it was unfamiliar to us to have so much aboriginal culture around us.  Whether it’s the colourful bags and wallets in the souvenir shops, the aboriginal art galleries that are probably more common than McDonald’s restaurants, or the groups that wander around the city almost aimlessly, waiting for the bottle shop to open, you can’t ignore the indigenous presence.

 

Our most enriching experiences were down near Alice Springs.  We learnt a little about the local language and their creation stories, but what really stood out was having to ask an elder for permission to stay on the side of the road overnight when our radiator split.

 

Learning about the Anangu culture when we were at Uluru was also eye-opening, and it makes us sad that European settlers interfered with that magical lifestyle with their trampling cattle and introduction of foreign plants, animals and diseases, amongst other things.

 

Uluru-Kata Tjuta

 

Paradise

The Top End has pockets of paradise everywhere.  Hot springs, waterfalls, pools lined with lush vegetation – places that are easy to get lost in.  We found a few of these pockets all over the Top End

 

Lorella Springs Wilderness Park near Borroloola is definitely one of our favourites.  With beautiful waterfalls, cool pools and balmy springs, it was very difficult to pull ourselves away.  The Douglas Hot Springs was another location with a hot spring that fed into a creek, and with a campground nearby, it’s the perfect place for a week-long getaway.

 

Lorella Springs

 

Other great pockets of paradise include Robin Falls, Edith Falls and Gubara in Kakadu National Park.

 

Rock Formations

If you’re keen on rock formations, you can’t go past the NT Trifecta – Uluru, Kata Tjuta and Kings Canyon.  It will take approximately three days to explore all three, and if you can catch a sunrise or sunset, then you’re in for a treat.

 

Other rock formations to check out in the Northern Territory are Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve just south of Alice Springs, Chambers Pillar along the Old Ghan Railway Heritage Trail, and the various Lost Cities dotted around the state.

 

 

Crocodile Craze

As we headed north along the western coast, the first warnings we received about crocodiles was in Derby.  We didn’t believe it at first, but after seeing heaps of freshwater crocodiles in the Kimberley and even witnessed a suspicious splash at the Fitzroy River crossing, by the time we got to Darwin, we were well aware of the presence of these prehistoric predators.

 

Darwin uses the croc craze to promote tourism, with great attractions like Crocosaurus Cove and the Adelaide River Jumping Croc Cruises, where you can see dangerous saltwater crocodiles snap for a piece of meat within metres of the boat.

 

Don’t take crocodiles for granted.  While some businesses use crocodiles to give tourists a unique experience, it’s certainly not all just for show.  Crocodiles are frequently spotted surfing waves at the beach and crocodile attacks happen frequently, to pets and lifestock, as well as to tourists and even locals (who have no excuse to not know better).

 

Adelaide River Croc Cruise

 

Markets

The NT is market central, and we took advantage of ever market we could find!

 

In Darwin, there are so many dry season markets you’re spoilt for choice.  Our favourites were Mindil Beach Night Market, Palmerston Market, and the Nightcliff and Rapid Creek Markets, both of which run through the wet season as well.  These markets are the go to places for a great atmosphere, energetic performances, cool shopping and delicious food at fantastic prices.

 

Mindil Markets

 

Goodbye NT!  It’s been fun; it’s been swell, but after more than 15 months, the swelling has gone down and it’s time to move forward.

 

Bye NT

 

Limmen National Park

Experience Gulf Country : Roper Bar to Borroloola

Roper Bar

 

We turned off Stuart Highway and travelled along the Roper Highway towards Roper Bar.  It was a single tarred lane road that was shared with oncoming traffic for a fair way of the journey.  Alongside the road were hundreds of termite mounds – a reminder that the ant population on earth is far greater than that of humans.

 

We stopped at a rest area about 35km from Roper Bar.  The mozzies caused us to lock ourselves into the Troopy and we went to sleep to the sound of howling dingoes.

 

Roper Bar

We got to Roper Bar in the morning – so early that the general store wasn’t open.  We headed for the river crossing and drove over.  Unfortunately, the continuing road was restricted access so we turned around and crossed the Roper Bar again.

 

Roper Bar

 

The Roper Bar is significant because it’s the place where Ludwig Leichhardt crossed the Roper River on his expedition from Moreton Bay in QLD to Port Essington at the top of NT.  These days, the crossing is much easier because it’s concreted, and it’s also known as a great place to catch barramundi.  If you do stop to fish here, remember that where there’s barra, there’s crocs!

 

On our way back to the general store, we sussed out the ruins that were nearby.  The stilts and stairs of what used to be a house were still erect, with a shallow water tank at each corner.  There was also an old shack that some nutter inhabited for a while, scrawling his diary on the corrugated iron walls.

 

 

Lomarieum Lagoon

On our way to the Lagoon, we were nearly knocked off the road by a wanker playing Colin McCrae Rally in his Troopy.  He drifted sideways around a blind corner, kicking up dust as he went.  If we had gotten to that corner a few seconds earlier, he probably would’ve written both our Troopys off.  Idiot.

 

Anyway, we found the turn off for the lagoon fairly easily and were surprised at how big and pretty it was.  There were so many water lilies in the water, and we drove along the edge to try to find the end.  The lagoon just kept on going well after the track we were following ended.  Did we mention how huge the lagoon was?

 

LOMARIEUM LAGOON

 

Limmen National Park

A fairly new national park, Limmen was declared in 2012 and is best enjoyed with a 4WD.  There are a few river crossings that also offer the opportunity to fish and plenty of places to camp.

 

Towns River Camping

Our first night in Limmen was at Towns River.  We got there just after lunch and fished for about an hour without much luck.

 

 

In the morning, we continued along the schizophrenic road, sometimes rocky, sometimes smooth, admiring the pretty blue flowers and rocky outcrops that ran alongside the road.  The Limmen Bight River was shallow and easy to cross.  Keep your eyes open for the Four Archers (Barrkuwirriji) in the distance, after you cross the Limmen Bight.  You’ll see them better if you’re heading from Borroroola to Roper Bar.

 

Also, once you pass the Nathan River ranger station, check out the corrugated iron bull mailbox with balls and poo.

 

Limmen National Park

 

Butterfly Springs

The only place in Limmen National Park where you can swim, this is an absolutely fabulous spot.  While we were here, we met a couple travelling Australia in an epic truck with the emblem “Department of Having a Good Time”.  After a chat, they continued on and left the campsite to us.  We decided to make use of the privacy and play cards in the nude. A pair of Dutch guys rocked up, and after an embarrassing ice-breaker, they told us they saw our Troopy in Katherine and now they understand what Our Naked Australia is about!

 

We stayed at Butterfly Springs all day, frequently going into the water to cool off.  A friendly water monitor hung around, and we collected lots of bush passionfruit that was growing in the area.

 

Us at Limmen National Park

 

Southern Lost City

The road to Southern Lost City was lined with great rocky ridges with boulders precariously perched on the edge.  There were a few creek crossings and washouts, with a few rocky and sandy sections, but we got through in 2WD.

 

The Southern Lost City is definitely worth the diversion.  There’s an easy 2.5km walk through the tall pillars to an unspoiled view across the valley to the Western Lost City.  Some sections off to the side of the path had recently been burnt when we visited, so we got to explore other areas and get right amongst the tall pillars.

 

Limmen National Park

 

Lorella Springs

No excuses – if you love camping, 4WDing, friendly people and the wilderness, then Lorella Springs is your kind of paradise.

 

Lorella Springs

 

Borroloola

First gazetted in 1885, Borroloola is a remote fishing community of around 900 people.  It acts as a base for people who are making their way to the coast, and also provides services for nearby McArthur Mine.

 

The town sports a supermarket, a few petrol stations and cafes, as well as a museum that is located in the old 1866 Police Station.  Entry to the museum is via a small donation and is worth stopping by to learn a bit about the history of the surrounding area.

 

Borroloola

 

Caranbirini Conservation Reserve

Located about 46km south of Borroloola, if you’re in the area, it’s worth a look.  This Lost City has an easy loop walk around the sandstone pillars, and if you’re into bird watching, there’s a bird hide at the semi-permanent waterhole.

 

Caranbirini Conservation Reserve

 

Cape Crawford

At the intersection of the Tablelands and Carpentaria Highways is Cape Crawford, which was mistakenly named because it was believed that it was near the coast.  A must-see destination is the Heartbreak Hotel, a cool stop for anyone interested in Elvis and a decent feed.

 

Heartbreak Hotel

 

Our time in Gulf country was over, so we headed west to make our way back to the Stuart Highway.

 

Us in Gulf Country

 

Lorella Springs

Volunteering : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park

Lorella Springs

 

DAY 7 -10 : VOLUNTEERING

Over the next four days, we got our hands dirty and did odd jobs around Lorella Springs.  By volunteering, our accommodation and meals were all sorted, and we got two free drinks a day.  We also got the satisfaction of leaving our mark on Lorella Springs and getting to know the other volunteers better.

 

Not only did Juz team up with Rich in the kitchen to cook up lunches and dinners, she also painted a mural next to the bar using spray paint.  She had never used spray paint before, and corrugated iron is not the best canvas to work on, but she adapted and produced a mural that got lots of positive feedback.  Once the mural was complete, she moved over to a toilet block and painted a cockatoo for the boys and a pink galah for the girls.

 

Lorella Springs

 

Dave also helped out in the kitchen but his main task was digging trenches and running cabling for the cabins and safari tents with Brogan.  Dave also had time to check the Troopy’s rear right wheel, which had been making a grinding noise for the last few days.  Turns out the brake pads were worn down to nothing and the disc had been seriously damaged.  There was nothing he could do about it at Lorella Springs so we planned to replace the disc and brake pads in Tennant Creek.

 

Lorella Springs

 

We had planned to finally leave by our 10th day but there was a rumour going around that they were going to hold a pizza night and there was no way we were going to miss out on PIZZA!  We put together a capricciosa with anchovies and everyone got a slice of each pizza that was made.  We had our last drinks around the fire, prompting Rhett to tell stories about Lorella Springs, and we eventually went to bed promising ourselves that we would leave the next day…

 

Lorella Springs

 

Experience : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park – #1

Experience : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park – #2

 

Lorella Springs

Experience Paradise : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park – #2

Lorella Springs

DAY 4

Juz got up early to take photos of the sunrise over Snapping Handbag Billabong before we made our way toward Flying Fox Swamp.  This is another of our favourite destinations.  Paddling the canoe over the still water, through the trees, with the waterlilies passing by, was absolutely beautiful.  Bees buzzed in the lilies and dragonflies skipped over the water.

 

Lorella Springs

 

We reckon Monarch Rock could be renamed Cookie Dough Mountain, because that’s what it looks like – a big wad of cookie dough, full of nuts, nougat and choc chips!  Butterflies floated around the shaded areas of the rock and we found a small cave with bats and dragonflies inside.  We did a lap of the rock and found loads of bush passionfruit too, which we picked and ate while we looked for more.

 

After climbing Monarch Rock and enjoying the spectacular 360° views of the country, the Cascades were a great tonic.  We had a dip by the creek crossing and saw two brolgas that promptly flew away trumpeting like elephants.

 

 

On our way back to the campground, we stopped by Nudie Hot Springs.  There were two camps set up at the site, one of which was truly letting it all hang out.  We followed the path to where the hottest water gushes out from the rock, and followed the creek back to the pool of perfect bath temperature (32° Celsius) and had a nudie dip.

 

Our plan was to do some fishing at Eagles Nest Billabong so that we had something to cook for dinner.  On the way though, Dave noticed that the water temperature gauge was getting a bit too hot.  Eagles Nest was only another 10km away so we raced before we burst a hose.  Just as we arrived, we heard a pop, but luckily it was just the lid of the overflow bottle.  While Dave tended to the Troopy, Juz pulled out the rod.  She was accompanied by a seasoned fisherman who went through three lures with no luck.  Juz gave up after about 30 minutes and after a quick ride in the provided boat, we went back to the campground.

 

Of course, we were just in time for Happy Hour and another great socialising session with the volunteers and other campers.  Plenty of stories and photos were exchanged and after a session around the campfire, we went to bed.

 

 

DAY 5

It was very hard to pull ourselves out of bed and we didn’t end up leaving the campground until about 9:30am.  Nannies Retreat was our destination and the road leading to it had been cleared two days earlier so it was a fairly smooth run.

 

Lorella Springs

 

Once we arrived, we found the path to be long and overgrown but freshly marked with pink ribbon and rock stacks.  Suddenly, we were there, atop a rounded rocky landscape of sandstone.   A stream ran through the area and after Dave explored one of the caves, we had a dip in the pool.

 

 

We found our way back to the Troopy and headed for Sloshy Springs, which wasn’t officially opened for the season.  We drove for hours on indecisive track surfaces, stopping occasionally to remove branches and fallen trees from the track, which was a great opportunity for Dave to flex his muscles.  The track eventually disappeared and it was nearly sundown so we returned to a creek crossing about 30 minutes back and camped on the track by the water.   Juz fell unconscious when her head hit the pillow while Dave went to sleep to the sound of howling dingoes.

 

Lorella Springs

 

It just so happens that the creek we camped next to WAS Sloshy Springs… go figure!

 

DAY 6

We packed up and started to make our way back to the campground.  The return trip was much easier because we’d cleared all the fallen branches the day before.  We diverted to Billy’s Camp to check out the original settlement of Lorella Springs, which ended up being the perfect stop for Dave to tend to the overheating radiator again.  The ruins were full of rusty things – a fridge, corrugated iron, a sink, buckets, a wheelbarrow, even an old ant bed oven!

 

Lorella Springs

 

By the time we got back to the campground, we noticed a loaded motorbike parked by the office.  A guy from the east coast had emailed us and said he was heading our way, and after exchanging itineraries, we discovered that we would intercept each other at Lorella Springs.  We approached the bar to meet our new friend.

 

Over a few drinks, we had a good chat with Brogan about where he had been and where he was going.  He was circling Australia in an anticlockwise direction, the opposite way to us which meant that we had heaps of tips to share with each other.  Rhett turned up at Happy Hour and while we had planned to leave the next day, we all offered to volunteer for a few days.  Dave and Brogan would work on cabling for the cabins while Juz offered to paint a mural on the wall beside the bar.  She also presented herself to the kitchen that evening and made a big pot of spaghetti bolognese for all the volunteers’ dinner.

 

Lorella Springs 2014-05-21 017

 

Experience : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park #1

Volunteer at Lorella Springs

 

Lorella Springs

Experience Paradise : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park – #1

Lorella Springs

 

The world is divided into two kinds of people – those who have been to Lorella Springs Wilderness Park, and those who haven’t been to Lorella Springs… yet.

 

We caught wind of Lorella Springs not long before we got to Darwin.  While we were only supposed to stay in Darwin for two months max, it was drawn out to 11 months and for the whole time, we had Lorella in the back of our minds.

 

Lorella Springs offers a remote wilderness for campers, hikers, 4WDing enthusiasts and everyone in between.  The property is so huge, there could be 100s of people in the park but you’d never know, and you could easily spend weeks exploring all the natural features.  The owner, Rhett Walker, has spent the last 30 years exploring Lorella Springs and says that he’s only explored about 20% of the ONE MILLION acres his property covers – his land is bigger than 29 countries!

 

Lorella is Rhett’s everlasting project – his labour of love.  He opened the wilderness park to the public in around 1998 and he has put so much work in to creating over 1000km of tracks that access hot springs, swimming holes, waterfalls, rivers and gorges so that everyone else can enjoy the beauty of his country.  Back in the early days, Rhett and his family pushed tracks through the bush with a couple of modified 4WDs.  It would sometimes take them weeks at a time to reach the new areas and make the waterfalls and swimming holes accessible.   Nowadays though, they’ve got a backhoe, but they still have to spend some time at the start of the each Dry Season re-clearing the old tracks.
The central campground sports a bar that offers delicious meals and Happy Hour between 5 and 6pm, a kiosk, laundry facilities and a book exchange. There is also Crusty Dick’s Bakery, which offers huge loaves of soft fresh bread, perfect for dipping into stews or with butter and jam.  A recent addition to Lorella’s attractions is a selection of helicopter flights to meet every budget.  Lorella Springs is closed during the Wet Season and reopens every year from the 1st of March until October.

 


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DAY 1

After 30km of shitty corrugated road that is owned by the council, we opened the gate to Lorella Springs and were greeted warmly by Marie, Rhett’s partner.  After we got a rundown of the park and were given a few maps, we sat down and had a well-deserved drink at the bar.  Dave spoke to Marie about park attractions and facilities while Juz chatted with Tim, one of the chopper pilots, about geckos and Lord of the Rings.  The day was still young so we pre-ordered our dinner and decided to go and check out some of the features that were close by.

 

On our way to a series of pools, we crossed Crocodile Springs, a pretty creek crossing with a small lagoon filled with waterlilies.  The turnoff for the pools was a few kilometres up and we decided to go all the way to the end of the track and work our way back to the campgrounds.

 

Lorella Springs

 

After crawling along in low range 4WD over the last 600m of very rocky and rough track, our first stop was Tawallah Pool.  We both jumped in for some fast refreshment, and Juz put her snorkel on to check out the little fishies.  We rock-hopped further down the gorge before heading back to the Troopy.

 

 

The next two pools were Fossil Fern and Emerald Pool.  Fossil Fern is so called because some of the rocks by the side of the pool have fossilised ferns in them.  While Juz was snorkelling in the water, Dave was trying to find the fossils.  Eventually he called out to Juz, “I can’t find the fossils!”, and she said, “That’s because you’re standing on them!”

 

 

Emerald Pool was a crystal clear pool with a white carpet of sand between the hairy water weeds, and plenty of little fishies.

 

We continued on to Wildfire Gorge & Tristan Pool.  The walk to Tristan Pool was along a rocky creek bed and marked with tape in the trees.  Wildfire Gorge was further on and the reflection of red rock in the still pool was beautiful.

 

Lorella Springs

 

The last stop of the day was Inkspot Pool.  While we didn’t go in, we could see how fun it would be to launch off the rocks.  Because it was so close to the track that leads to other locations within the park, we ended up visiting Inkspot Pool several times during our stay with other volunteers at the park.

 

We made it back to the campground just in time for Happy Hour.  Even though the drinks are marginally cheaper, it is a great social event and a perfect opportunity to mingle with staff and other campers.  The dinner we ordered earlier was served at 6:30pm and both dishes were welcomed with wide eyes and hungry bellies.  Dave’s T-Bone was satisfyingly good, tender with great flavour, while Juz’s stuffed chicken was big and juicy, and stuffed with cheese and garlic.  Both meals came with crunchy hot chips, coleslaw, pineapple and beetroot.  Super yum…

 

Lorella Springs

 

DAY 2

We started the day early and headed for the Waterslide.  We were initially hesitant (Juz was afraid she’d graze her bum), but Dave was brave enough to go first and it ended up being super fun!  We both went down the slide several times, giggling like schoolgirls. The rocky path continued beyond the slide to Indiana Falls.  While the trail was overgrown, we eventually got to the top pool and were rewarded with a refreshing swim.

 

 

Next was the Musterers Cave, one of our favourite locations.  It’s a short climb to the cave and inside it are old saddle parts from when the cave was used as storage during the wet season years and years ago.  If you take a few more steps into the cave, you’ll be surrounded by the sound of crunchy wings flapping, as massive dragonflies hover around you every time you move.  If you have a torch, you’ll be able to see the microbats too.  We exited the cave and checked out the rock art and amazing views around to the left.  We also saw a friendly Northern Spiny Tail Gecko with amazing eyes and a spiky tail.

 

 

Our next destination was the Arches, but the path disappeared in a dry creek bed and we got lost.  We ended up climbing an escarpment to the left instead of heading right.  Sure, we had nice views at the top, but it wasn’t the Arches, so we went back to the Troopy and started again.  We eventually found the Arches, and after a rest, we found the (now obvious) path that brought us back to the Troopy.

 

Lorella Springs

 

Our last stop was the Valley of the Springs.  Rhett told us great things about this place but we were so exhausted, we only got about 200m from the Troopy before we realised we didn’t have the energy to continue.  We turned back and ducked into Inkspot for a refreshing swim before returning to the campground.  When we got back and told Rhett, he said we only had to breach the hilltop and the amazing rock formations would have been there.  Bugger…

 


That afternoon, we had a therapeutic dip in the Magical Spring that is only 30 meters from the bar.  It’s a shaded, banana tree-lined pool with very friendly fish that will nibble on you if you give them the chance.

 

After we cleaned ourselves up, we went to the bar for a quick drink before attempting the Sunset Walk.  About halfway to the top of the escarpment, we saw a rainbow, and then the dark clouds dumped a bunch of rain on us.

 

Lorella Springs

 

By the time we got back to the bar, we were soaked through.  We did a quick costume change and returned for more socialising with the other campers.  We met two fellow travellers – Mel and Kell – who had just spent the last few nights at Nannies Retreat.  Mel is an entomologist and Juz loves critters so they had plenty to talk about, including that beautiful gecko that Juz spotted at Musterers Cave.

 

Lorella Springs

 

DAY 3

It was a rough start after the previous night’s revelry, but we were determined to complete another section of Lorella Springs and made our way towards Teardrop Falls.  It was slow going for most of the way because of the rocky track, and we even burst a tyre on the way.

 

Lorella Springs 2014-05-16 498

 

When we finally arrived, it was all worth it.  Water sprinkled into the lower pool and the sun cast a rainbow in the spray.  We climbed up the mountain to the top pools, one of which was down in a rocky basin.  We scaled the sheer wall and had a refreshing dip in the clear pool, and even saw the reason why it’s called Teardrop Falls.  This was definitely one of our favourite spots in Lorella, and is also a really popular destination for the chopper flights.

 

 

We checked out the Mountain on the Edge of the Clouds on the way back – a great lookout into Gateway Gorge and Little Rosie River below.   We continued along the track to where the river crosses the track and there was a canoe waiting for us.  Dave took control of the oar and paddled Juz down the river while trying to sing like a Venetian gondolier.  Juz told him to shut up so that she could enjoy the tranquillity of their surroundings.

 

 

We briefly stopped by Hidden Pools – three cascading swimming pools, before setting up camp at Snapping Handbag Billabong.  Juz cooked up some SPAM Turkey Burgers while Dave fished in the billabong.  As we got ready for sleep, we could hear splashing and sploshing, which were probably cane toads, fish and/or crocodiles, and these noises continued throughout the night.

 

A cane toad at Lorella Springs

 

Experience : Lorella Springs Wilderness Park #2
Volunteer at Lorella Springs

Northern Spiny-Tailed Gecko

Wildlife : Northern Spiny-Tailed Gecko

Northern Spiny-Tailed Gecko

Name: Northern Spiny-tailed Gecko

Scientific Name: Strophurus ciliaris

Location: in semi-eucalypt woodlands of Northern Australia

 

The northern spiny-tailed gecko is typically arboreal, but it has been found in desert areas that are void of vegetation.  They are primarily nocturnal but don’t mind basking in sunlight hours.

 

Apart from dropping their tail when threatened, they have an interesting nervous trait – these geckos will squirt a musky smelling fluid from glands in its tail area.  This sticky fluid turns into long threads like spider silk that stick to your skin.

 

As with many other species of gecko, they feed on small insects found within their habitat.  The females are pregnant frequently throughout the year and lay two soft shelled eggs.

 

Lorella Springs 2014-05-16 334

 

Our Encounter

Juz nearly lost her shit when she spotted one on a small tree at Lorella Springs.  She was going to use the branch for support while following a rocky path and nearly grabbed onto the little guy.  Dave turned around to find Juz squealing by the tree and the gecko was so well camouflaged that he needed to be within centimetres to notice it.

 

We were mesmerised by its dragonesque eyes – the pattern was beautifully intricate and those two spikes were like thick eyelashes.  As it calmly crawled over Juz’s hands onto Dave’s shoulder, it headed for the beard.

 

Northern Spiny-Tailed Gecko