Romandar crossing the creek

Day 438 – Day 443: Keep River National Park – Flora River Nature Park

Thursday, 14 to Tuesday, 19 August 2014                                                         603.9kms

Thursday morning while we were packing up, Ranger Lance came by and gave us some steak and corned silverside that he had made from a Hereford feral cow that he had obtained recently. We left camp just before 12pm headed east. Along the highway I saw a sign for a Zebra Rock Mine and Campground along the Duncan Hwy and decided we had to make the 10km detour and check it out. We met Ruth and her daughter Opal and with hubby Kim, they own Zebra Rock Mine. For starting from scratch 3 years ago, they have an amazing gallery that has a lot of awesome rock pieces, crystals, driftwood and historical photographs from the area, as well as hand crafted jewellery, plus photos of sculptures and tables previously sold. They have achieved so much in such a short amount of time. Their love of the Zebra Rock and creating unique pieces is inspirational. I can’t wait to see where time will take them. If you are ever over this way, be sure to stop in and check it out. They offer camping at $20 per couple unpowered, kids free; and also do Lake Argyle Wetlands tours which are choreographed to music and definitely something original. We fossicked in the fossicking tub in the gallery and bought 3 raw pieces for $10! I couldn’t resist the urge to stay the night, so we picked our spot and set up camp near the dry creek bed that we were free to rummage in. Elokin and Hendrix loved playing with Opal for the afternoon, and got to hold the pet Bearded Dragon “Matilda” Ruth is pet-sitting for friends.

Camp at Zebra Rock Mine
Camp at Zebra Rock Mine

Friday we had a late start to the day. We left Zebra Rock Mine after saying goodbye to Ruth and Opal just before 12pm. We found the Gregory Tree, where Augustus Charles Gregory and his party of explorers had set up their base camp on 13th October 1855 to explore the Victoria River.

 

The Gregory Tree
The Gregory Tree

From here we stopped in Timber Creek for diesel and had a cup of tea. Then it was a race against the sun to make it to Bullita Homestead Campground in Gregory National Park. Along the road we saw 3 donkeys and I almost had them convinced to come over to the car. The sun set but we made it safely, narrowly avoiding hitting a wallaby as it sat in the middle of the road. We must have stopped centimetres from his face.

Donkeys on the side of the road
Donkeys on the side of the road

Saturday morning, like Friday night was freezing! We didn’t drag ourselves out of bed until almost 9am. We had some school work to catch up on as we did none yesterday and then played around with some of the rocks we found at Zebra. In the afternoon we met a family from Katherine; Brett, Christine and their 3 children; and another Brett, and his family from Brisbane. Elokin and Hendrix were stoked they had kids to play with.

Camp at Gregory National Park
Camp at Gregory National Park

Our drive back out of the National Park on Sunday morning had us see a dingo, a herd of donkeys and a bustard on the side of the road.

 Donkeys
Donkeys

From Gregory National Park we made our way east along the highway stopping at Joe Creek Picnic Area for lunch followed by a look at the Old Victoria River Crossing. It had the remnants of the old ford in a shallow part of the river. We found some nice treasures amongst the river rock.

 Hendrix and Elokin at the old Victoria River crossing
Hendrix and Elokin at the old Victoria River crossing

After a splash of fuel at the Victoria River Roadhouse, which is now open under new WIFE, we made our way along the dirt road to Flora River Nature Park.

Upon arrival we were greeted with lots of kangaroos around the campground and a pig. Yep, a big black hairy PIG! Not another person around though which was a real treat. This place is beautiful.

Camp at Flora River Nature Park
Camp at Flora River Nature Park

On Monday morning we walked to Djarrung Falls, a pandanus and paperbark lined pool in the Flora River. At 2pm while we were schooling, someone let off two bombs nearby that deafened and scared us pretty good. They sounded like they were right on top of us, even though the nearest defence training base is around 75kms away, as the crow flies.

Tuesday morning we walked the 980m return to Kathleen Falls. This waterfall is actually a series of waterfalls that encompass the river and the water is an emerald green from the rich quantities calcium carbonate in the water.

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

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