Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Stunning Lawn Hill

Pretty high up on our list of places to visit this year was Lawn Hill National Park on the Queensland/Northern Territory border, three hours north of Mount Isa or three hours south of The Gulf if you were coming down from The Savannah Way like us. Was it a long drive in there through not much? Yes. Was it worth it? Well, you be the judge...

Sunrise over Lawn Hill Gorge
Somebody call Queensland Tourism or Parks or somebody - I've got photos to sell! Our first night at Lawn Hill we stayed 10km out of the actual park at a private campground, Adels Grove - which was originally owned as a nursery for a British botanist who would grow all sorts of exotic plants on the banks of the Lawn Hill creek and send them to botanic gardens all over the world. 

It was still ridiculously hot (high 30's to 40 degrees) so we opted for an early morning sunrise walk up to the hill behind Adels Grove and watched the sun poke out above the plains. When we got back to camp we went for a quick dip in the creek before heading into the park to explore.

Sunrise over Lawn Hill

Sunrise walk to beat the heat!
Quick plunge into the waters of the creek to cool off
 The Lawn Hill creek meanders through a magnificent gorge, it doesn't run to a trickle in The Dry like most creeks, in fact in parts it is 27 feet deep just in The Dry! We decided to do a walk to a lookout over the gorge and around a big rocky island which towers above the creek below. By this time it was getting to 40 degrees with a fairly steep climb up to the lookout - pretty warm, pretty buggered but pretty spectacular!

After all that I think we stumbled into the creek down the bottom for a well deserved swim. For a gold coin donation to the RFDS you could grab a tyre tube and float on down the creek. Perfect. After our gummi adventures on the mighty Leron river in Papua, the Lawn Hill creek was pretty tame! Along the creek were steps down to gain access to the water, beautiful clean water with not much flow so you could just bob along all day.

The next day was shaping up to be just as warm so we again opted to set off in the dark just before dawn for a walk up the gorge to Indarri Falls. Breathtakingly beautiful scenery at that time of the morning when the sun just pokes over the horizon and hits the rocks. Not to mention the cool morning air which is tolerable for a walk in. 

We continued on the loop walk around, heading over the rocks of the cliffs and gaining some more spectacular views over the gorge. Beautifully green also, Lawn Hill really is an oasis in the midst of the outbacks harsh environment - loads of native grasses and pretty grevillea.


Steep little descent in the track back to campsite
Back at the campsite called for another swim in the creek (obviously) before we hired a canoe to take a paddle up the creek back to Indarri Falls again. 

Matt about to take a dip and me looking out over the gorge

Our campsite at Lawn Hill
 Taking a canoe up the creek and through the gorge was a totally new perspective - along cliff faces where you can't walk and taking your time to paddle this way and that. It was truly amazing. We paddled upstream easily as there's not much flow to the creek at this time of year and arrived at Indarri Falls again (where we had walked to that morning). This time a few people had arrived for a swim and we tied our canoe up and jumped in as well.

Me swimming at Indarri

Paddle paddle paddle!
Another swim and tube ride down the creek when we return, unfortunately this is the part where our Lawn Hill adventures took a turn for the worst and Matt's wedding ring slipped off his finger (whilst trying to do a 'solo man' manoeuvre mind you) which was sad. It now rests somewhere on the bottom of the creek at the gorge. Oh well.

We love, love, loved Lawn Hill and have been telling everyone who will listen to go there, although perhaps we shouldn't - we loved it because there were not too many people, no big visitors/tourist centre or overpriced camping. The beauty of Lawn Hill is that it is so far from anywhere, and thank goodness it is.

* Apologies for some photos in this post, this is about the point where we started using Matt's little point and shoot rather than my camera. 

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