Thursday, June 25, 2015

El Questro and Home Valley Station 11-13 June

I'm writing this blog as I sit at the pool at Home Valley Station, ready for a swim when I get too hot. We arrived here this morning about 10 am after the short trip from El Questro.

We spent 2 nights at El Questro and could have stayed longer. We had stayed there before in 2004 and we're interested to see what had changed since then. There was much that was the same, but I think there are a lot more camping areas now, and more leisure options, many quite pricey. The advantage of having your own transport is that you can access more places at your leisure. After setting up camp we had a swim in the natural pool which looked similar to my recollection, perhaps a bit bigger. The first afternoon we did one of the 4wd treks to Saddleback Ridge Lookout. It was steep with quite a few hairpin bends, but David enjoyed the challenge. It was a great vantage point to view parts of the property and the sunset was excellent as well.

The next morning we visited Zebedee Springs, a permanent source of water which is a constant 32 degrees. It is a beautiful spot and it was very relaxing lazing in the pools surrounded by rocks and palm trees. The springs are a popular spot and only open until midday. We timed our run well arriving mid morning as the early birds, including a coach load, were leaving, so it was much less crowded.

After our swim we gathered some firewood then did a drive to Jackaroo Pool, then to Chamberlain Gorge for a quick look. We booked for the Chamberlain Gorge touring the afternoon. It was very scenic, huge red sandstone cliffs and enough wildlife, but the 4 metre croc that is supposed to live there didn't make an appearance. We fed the archer fish which spit at you, the catfish which are growing very big, and spotted a couple of very large barramundi.

We also had 2 campfires at El Questro, the first for quite a while, since Rainbow Valley,  South of Alice Springs. It was such a nice change, and it's been cool enough at night now to find sitting around a fire not too hot. In fact by about 8.30 it's cool enough to put on a jacket.

We met  a few interesting people there as well. It was  a surprise to find another Kavango there so David introduced himself. The couple comes from South Australia. They are also camped here at Home Valley. We also got chatting to people camped next to us and over the campfire discovered that she was at Teachers College at Bathurst at the same time as I was, although neither of us could recall the other. However we certainly remembered several others who were there with us.

We left El Questro about 8.30 am and by 10 we had setup at Home Valley which is only about 50km down the road. The river crossing at Pentecost River, although wide was quite shallow and posed no problem. 

Home Valley has better facilities than El Questro but there is much less to do here.  It is very pleasant sitting around the pool with background music playing.  An escape from the dust, although there are a few hundred more kms of dust to go when we leave.

We took a drive out to the riverside camping spot and immediately regretted our decision not to camp there. It is a stunning spot with a view of the Pentecost River, grazing cattle, green pasture and the distant Cockburn Range which glows red with the sunset. Another “Wow!” spot.

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