Friday, June 26, 2015

Mount Barnett and Manning Gorge 19-20 June

Mount Barnett Roadhouse is one of the few places on the Gibb River Road where fuel can be purchased and where food supplies can be topped up, at a price. However given that the nearest town is over 300km away travellers are lucky to have anything at all. Unleaded fuel was $2.15 per litre, and diesel  was $2.09. Mount Barnett is also the gateway to Manning Gorge, one of the highlights of the Gibb.

On the way to Mount Barnett we detoured to look at Barnett River Gorge. Perhaps we didn’t look far enough but all we found was the Barnett River. Attractive as it was, it wasn’t a gorge, so we continued on to Mount Barnett.
Barnett River

A patch of boab trees

The road in left a bit to be desired

The Barnett Range

Crossing the Barnett River

Manning Gorge turned out to be all that we expected, and some that we didn’t. First was the swimming hole, officially known as the lower gorge. It is the best we have seen on the Gibb – enormous and ringed with trees and pandanus. It also has a tinny on a continuous rope to take people across the water to begin and end the Gorge walk. The tinny has a small hole in the bottom to add to the effect, so a water crossing by boat is never completely dry.

The lower gorge early in the morning

The tinny to ferry us across the water

 We had been told that the walk would take about an hour and a half each way, so we were prepared for it to be long, so we set off at 7 am to avoid the worst of the heat. We had also heard it was a tough walk which didn’t fill me with excitement. But no one told us about the rocks, or that we would need the agility of a rock wallaby. It’s quite demoralising to see young and not quite so young things jumping from rock to rock and landing sure-footedly. Then I have to remind myself that 12 months previously I was in a wheelchair, unable to walk at all. So we did the walk, in slightly less than the time stated. David had a swim when he got to the Gorge, but I couldn’t be bothered. Too difficult to change into a costume there, and a one piece isn’t very good for hot weather walking. It is a stunning spot with wonderful waterfalls to give you a massage, well worth the walk, even though I was a wreck.  A swim afterwards at the lower gorge, followed by a doze, helped to restore some energy.
David working the ropes

Setting off on the walk

Rock art on the Gorge walls

We made it!

Manning Gorge is a beautiful and popular spot

On the way back, David having a rest
Believe it or not, there is a path through that jumble of rocks
 This week has also seen the beginning of a new fashion look – swimming costumes and walking boots. It’s the most practical attire for the area, and essential for negotiating the rocks that seem to surround every swimming spot.

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