Week 23 – The Munja Track

As we drove out of Mt Elizabeth Station Homestead, there was a little bit of trepidation and excitement to drive this more remote track. The track started out as a simple bush/station track, sandy but a good single track. The scenery was very cattle affected with short grasses and shrubby woodland. It was not until the first ‘jump-up’ that we started to appreciate the Kimberly bush and remote rugged landscape. If you are wondering what a ‘jump-up is then join the club…it appears to be a crossing over rocky outcrops. These can be just an up and over or take a couple of kilometres of up and downs and very rocky terrain. We were still in the My Elizabeth Station until after this first jump-up and then we were travelling through Aboriginal managed land. The track treated us to a wonderful variety of trees, plants, birds, cows and a dingo cross. The rocks and the vegetation are simply amazing and made the slow driving little more interesting.

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We had decided to break the 145 odd kms by stopping half way. This ended up being a stop at (or around) Turkey Creek. We found a great little pull off around the back of some cool rocks with flat ground and an existing fire pit. It seemed a perfect spot for a nights spot with a fire and a good nights sleep. A quick set up and Dom and Craig went to find some firewood. We had a great evening, being remote and alone, with a big fire, good food and great company. Craig and Kate had a great time experimenting with night/star photography, which turned out pretty amazing, even though Dom and I had to shield the firelight with a sunshade so it didn’t affect the photos.

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An early start was also a very short first leg. We didn’t quite realise that our campsite for the night was only about 200 metres from the most amazing rock art site. There were crocodiles, snakes, bird feet, a possum and possibly some figures and other pictures. They were great, but made even more amazing that we were able to locate the stones that were used to grind the oche.

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Arriving at Bachsten Campsite was a welcome sight. The camp was simple yet comfortable, with clean loos, hot showers and even a washing machine. Janet, the camphost, was very helpful and knowledgeable of the area, especially the bird life. Kate and Craig were pretty happy with the information she provided to try and get a look at the Black Wren found in this particular area of the Kimberly.

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Day two at Backsten Camp was yet another bright sunny day and we headed out to the ‘Rockhole’. It was exactly as it was called a permanent rockhole at the base of a waterfall. It was a perfect swimming pool with a seating area and shade. Craig wandered off to climb and explore past the weaterfall, while Kate took her camera to try to snap a shot of the elusive Black Wren. After lunch we attempted to walk to the Bachsten falls near the camp. Unfortunately we went the wrong way and instead of the 1km track we walked 2.km to a lookout over the falls and the gorge. This was super impressive, but we could not get down to the water and we were unprepared for the longer walk. Craig continued on to the waterfalls on his own, while the rest of us trudged back to the campsite. Lucky for Craig he actually found the waterfalls and had a merry time swimming in both levels by himself, while the rest of us were disappointed and hot and sweaty. Oh well, thems the breaks.

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On the third day of our side trip we headed out to Wren Gorge. This is further along the track towards Walcott Inlet. This gorge was superb. It was deserted for starters and we had the place to ourselves. It had an upper level where the kids played in the shallow pools and waterways above the main waterfall. We saw wonderful rock art on the boulders around the area. However we did spend most of our time below the falls in the wonderful rockpool below. The kids found a natural waterslide and played while the adults swam, explored the pool and the falls. It was at this site we were able to view the most amazing gallery of rock art. This was a fertility site so many of the paintings related directly to that topic. They were beautifully painted and so well preserved. Wren Gorge pretty much ticked all the boxes for beauty, swimability, awesome art and peacefullness.

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This side trip was the best thing we have done so far. We had great travelling companions, thanks Dom, Kate and Jackson. Kate took Lily out for a bird spotting session and they saw heaps of birds. We swam and chatted and played. Even had time to put up the hammock and have nap. The drive out was quicker as we knew the condition of the track and we were able to make it in one day.

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