Chilling Down at The Grove

6th September 2017 – Day 9 (119)

Gregory Downs to Adele Grove (Lawn Hill) 95kms

A rough old night, with Will coughing and struggling with a cold. What is this crap? I’m feeling a bit ill also, sinus trouble. But we got up at 8am, ate some cereal, and packed up in the howling wind. At least it would be at our backs today. We headed down the Lawn Hill road about 9:30am, and the first 25 kms were pretty good sealed road. Then it started to break up into bits of good dirt, then patchy bitumen with some pretty big pot holes, and it continued like this for quite a while. No worries here, it was easy to miss the holes, and find smooth sections, on the bike.

This is the free camp by the creek in the morning, after heaps of vans have hit the road already. Nice, but too busy.

About halfway along, we passed a turn off into Century Mine, which mines zinc and lead, and we just new the road would deteriorate from here. We all know mines need good roads, and they maintain them, but no further than they need to. Yep, just as expected, this was where the corrugations got pretty bad. It didn’t take us long to pull over and deflate the tyres a bit. After that, it was much better, and we also praised the wind as it was blowing the dust away from us.

The corrugations were bad, but got heaps worse after this. Letting the air out helped heaps. Just dodge the sharp rocks.

Our average speed was probably about 50kms an hour, but the motto was to arrive without injury or damage. Quite a few big vans were heading out, very, very slowly. That would be a tough drive. There were some road works, close to our destination, and they had a diversion in place. It was shitty, wet bulldust, and slippery and muddy, so we just pulled back onto the bit they were grading. We stayed right over on the left side, away from the work, and it was much better. By the time we got to Adele Grove, at 11:30am, we were dusty and thirsty, but happy to have made it without drama.

Another road conquered safely, and we’ve known about this place for years, it’s great to finally get here.

We asked about accommodation options, but went with our trusty tent, as all the rest were way above our budget. So we grabbed a cool drink, and found “The Grove” where we picked a spot to put the tent up. Not too far from the toilets, and a lovely walk to the creek. Both of us are feeling a bit tired and run down, so after getting organised, having a walk around, and booking ourselves on a Gorge cruise tomorrow, I had a nap, and Will read his book. I hope we can get ourselves together soon, this is getting ridiculous.

This place was founded by Albert de Lestrang, in 1920, as an experimental Botanic Gardens. At one point he had over 1000 exotic plants. It was all destroyed by fire in 1950.

Dinner was an onion, tomato, capsicum concoction, with lamb chops from Normanton, the last of our fresh food. Who knows what we’ll eat tomorrow!

7th September 2017

Lawn Hill National Park

Another rough night due to us both having colds, but no rushing out of bed today. A relaxing brekkie of the old cow fodder, and then a discussion on our food options for tonight and tomorrow. We’ve eaten all our breakfast food, all our lunch food, and we have rice, cous cous, tinned chicken (yes, it’s real chicken, and next to the tuna and stuff in the supermarket), so basically no fresh food. It means no lunch today, but no worries, we have plenty of meat on our bones, we’re not starving by any means. Dinner, we decided, would be fish and chips at “The Shack”, here, and we booked in for a cooked breakfast tomorrow, which should last us all day. As we had a tour at 1:30pm, we didn’t have to rush around, so went over to chat to a couple in a VW Trakkadu van. It’s like the modern day 4WD Kombi van. We’ve investigated them before, but not in the flesh.

Will spotted the van coming in, so snapped this sneaky pic.

This meant we got to meet, Jenny and Mike. Oh and Ian and Sue, who were also checking out the rig. All these guys are a fare bit older than us, and fitter too, and travelling around happily. They all travel differently, and have been to many more places than us. We enjoyed a great tour of the Trakkadu, and shared some fantastic discussions about travel, kids, pets, you name it we talked about it. They were all so lovely and friendly. No judgement, no negativity, just curiosity and sharing information. This is what I love about travel. Meeting like minded people and sharing stories and information.

Lucky they parked near us, and we “accidentally” got the whole set up in our camp shot. Looks pretty good.

Eventually, we had to break away to head off for our tour. We had to ride 11kms on the rough gravel road to the National Park, which took about half an hour, so we left about 12:30pm to make sure there was no rush. There is camping in the park, but not much shade, and aside from toilets, no other facilities. You also have to book online. But the Lawn Hill Creek, is very nice.

We had a walk around the national park while we waited for the cruise, and found these enormous Salmon Catfish. 

The cruise was on a solar powered pontoon boat, with an electric 4hp motor. It was actually a great way to view the Gorge, and Rodney was a good skipper and guide. After the tour we had to have a swim in the creek, which was very refreshing, but not as cold as the pool in Normanton. After the swim, we had to put our riding gear back on, ride back to Adeles Grove, get fuel for the ride out (just a top up to make sure we make it) and then it was happy hour at the bar. Good timing!

So many great shots of the amazing gorge, it is spectacular. Unique plants, and the water colour is from a type of algae, along with a high calcium content.

At the narrow end of this section of the creek, is Indarri falls. It is beautiful, formed from the calcium in the water, and changes every year with the wet season rains, which rush over the wall causing bits to break off. Bottom right, can you spot the little croc?

The Barramundi we saw were bigger than the freshwater croc, so we felt safe.

A very nice spot to sit and the only spot with Telstra reception (no other providers get service out here), so we sat and blogged, enjoyed a beer, and the rest of our day. Will went and sorted the fish and chips from The Shack, we were pretty hungry by now, and it was really good. What a good day. Great people, great scenery, and great food. The only thing left was to have a shower and a good sleep. Only, when we got back to our camp, two big 4WD’s had parked about 2mtrs from us, and set up camp! Why? There is heaps of space! Bloody hell, well they’ll regret that when we both start coughing and snoring with our colds. Still a good day, is a good day!

Fish and Chips in the middle of nowhere, fresh and yummy.



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