Day 27: Mornington Wilderness Camp – Sir John Gorge

Distance: 28km return

Total drive time: 2 hours

Author: Mrs A

Apparently today was Sunday, though we have totally lost track of days of the week, and to be honest, it doesn’t really matter! We had a slower start to the day and headed off around 10am to Sir John Gorge, one of the major attractions on the Fitzroy River. Each of the drives throughout the Mornington Wilderness is accompanied by an information book, full of facts and details of the environment we are travelling through. 

Today we learned about the importance of the termites, and how they are responsible for aerating the soils and the breaking down of plant matter, and the damage that feral animals do – particularly donkeys and cattle which trample the soil solid, meaning the delicate ecosystem can no longer maintain roots and plant life, thereby impacting all animals and birds as a result. It’s certainly a harsh environment here – 7 months of ‘dry’ when there is no rainfall, followed by 5 months of extremely hot temperatures and heavy rains (accompanied by high humidity and lots of mosquitoes) and the flora and fauna are well adapted to cope with it, assuming things are not interfered with.

Sir John Gorge was certainly peaceful and very picturesque. We rock hopped along the shore, spotting bird life and admiring the views, but the water didn’t look that inviting to swim in, despite the hot day. There is a plastic canoe you can  paddle here for the princely sum of $185! It is not a big gorge – this seems a bit of a poor deal, and definitely not worth the money, no matter the good cause it goes to! We pretty much had the place to ourselves the whole time, rare for The Kimberley!

We stayed a couple of hours before driving back towards camp, detouring at a waterhole called Bluebush. This was much prettier (as opposed to majestic), sandy beaches surrounded by paper bark trees and pandanus palms and teeming in bird life. It is about 6km down the Fitzroy River from the previous gorge. We lay in the shade beside the water watching the rainbow bee-eaters swooping and diving and trying the photograph the crimson finches which nested in the palms, and I scared a crocodile into jumping into the water on one of my explorations.

We returned to camp to make a hot chilli accompanied by a baked garlic damper on the BBQ, before an earlyish night.

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