20/06/2015 The road from Gregory Downs to Adels Grove was gravel, the first 70kms until the Century Mine turnoff coated with a compacted emulsion made from oil to provide a fairly smooth and comfortable road surface. This stretch was maintained by the mine for their B-Triple ore trucks that ran 24/7. Beyond the mine turnoff, the road reverted to corrugated gravel for the remaining 15 or so kilometres to Adels Grove; very bone-jarring in sections, until I dropped the tyre pressure on the car and caravan to give a better ride.
After driving through very flat open dry country, Adels Grove was a green strip of tropical forest beside Lawn Hill Creek. We were fortunate to find a secluded site tucked away at the far end of the camping area, next to the creek. Utilising Di’s ever developing directional hand signal skills (she’s advanced beyond “Back” and “Stop” signals to “Left” and “Right” as well) and my equally developing reversing skills, we reversed the van between and around trees and into our tight site without losing any paint or tree bark in the process.
What was left of Day One was spent looking around the camping area facilities (including restaurant and trying out the bar) and setting up dinner on the camp fire. Next day, we unhooked the van to drive 30 minutes further on via an even more corrugated gravel road to Lawn Hill National Park, with its spectacular gorges and picturesque waterway. We hiked to Indarri, an absolutely spectacular section of the river that afforded us a scenic swimming hole with waterfalls where we had lunch and a cool swim, before hiking on to Indarri Lookout and Duwadarri Lookout, both overlooking the gorge and river below. The views were just spectacular. The scale of this place was just mind-blowing.
This place is a marvel, just a very narrow strip of green tropical oasis surrounded by a very dry and barren landscape. How it came to be is a miracle of nature and at every turn of the walking path we were amazed at the rock formations or views we came across.
After two days at Adels Grove, we headed back to the riverside camp at Gregory Downs to meet up with Di’s sister, Paula and her partner, Peter. As luck would have it, our previous camp site was unoccupied and we moved straight back in. Felt like being home again. In no time at all, the van was set up and we were back into the water for a swim.
“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” ― Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32)