A few macro images

The Doc is now in Darwin to have the car service next week.  He is exploring Nature Parks around Darwin (Darwin NP, Holmes Jungle Reserve & Knuckey Lagoon), with an emphasis on some macros photos. EDIT: The Doc managed to identify the flowers, both introduced from South America, at least the palm is native.

The Doc will also visit Litchfield National Park in the next few days and then decide whether to start Kakadu as well.

Ormiston Waterhole & Gorge – West MacDonnell Range

As noted in the last blog post, the first part of the week was hit and miss. While Rainbow Valley was impressive, the Rogue’s Triangle of Uluru, The Olgas and Kings Canyon was not. Kings Canyon was $40 per night for a single unpowered site! Ulura was $45! Plus the access fees. So The Doc gave both a wide birth, which involved more travel.

Diesel was $123.9 a litre in Alice Springs, 200km south at Erlunda it was 52 cents a litre more, and over $2 at Ulura. It comes to a point where a fair profit margin becomes a rip off. The Doc turned around and avoided the Rogue’s Triangle. If you want to visit these places, pay a travel provider and be ripped off in style – these locations are now hostile to the average traveller.

Sadly The Doc has not seen so many places, so close together requiring you so often to put your hand in your pocket – no other place in Australia is like it. Even at Standley Chasm the access fee is $12.

In contrast, the $32 entrance fee to the Alice Spring Desert Park was a worth every cent. While the fee seems high, the value for money was excellent, great displays, several walk in aviaries, nocturnal house with rare animals and the list goes on. Visit while in Alice Springs, as it is about a 7 minute drive from the highway along Larapinta Drive. A single morning in this one location shows you what could take months in the field to see.

So the week was not going well until the Doc drove into Ormiston Gorge Campground, when things changed for the better, nice grounds, showers, shade and the gorge a short walk away. Up early the next morning for a sunrise photos at the gorge, but the light was not right until around 9am. Then a walk along the gorge, with a climb up to the lookout. A steep decent and a bacon and egg sandwich was the reward at the end. Then off again at around 11am.

A visit to Grosse Bluff was interesting. It is an imposing bluff on the northern side, but the track takes you into a picnic area in the centre where you are surrounded by walls– it turns out it is a meteor crater. The cataclysm when the meteor landed must have been big, no humugous.

Images of Ormiston.

 

The waterhole and gorge also had many large Red River Gums and their amazing textures. Enjoy.

Back to Finke Gorge in the morning.

Finke Gorge (Palm Valley) – The Red Centre

The Doc has spent the last week travelling the West MacDonnell Ranges out of Alice Springs. Truthfully the week was hit and miss. It started poorly but improved a lot on Friday and Saturday.

The Doc is now in Alice Springs going to Mass and restocking. On Saturday it was the intention to return to Alice and then travel north to the Davenport Ranges, but on the way back The Doc checked out Finke Gorge. What a stunning place! And an afternoon could not do it justice. So on Monday The Doc heads to Finke Gorge and the nearby Palm Valley for two days and then onto Davenport Ranges, refuelling while he passes through Alice Springs. Some point and shoot photos from Finke Gorge. Enjoy.

Happy Mothers Day.

East MacDonnell Ranges – Alice Springs the Red Centre

ess well known than the West MacDonnell Ranges, the East MacDonnells has Emily Gap, Jessie Gap, Corroboree Rock and Trephine Gorge National Park.

The Doc’s youngest nieces are Emily and Jessie, so the two gaps had added interest.

Atherrke is the Arrernte name for Jessie Gap. Jessie and Emily Gaps are associated with the Dreamtime stories for three Three Caterpillars: Yeperenye, Ntyarlke and Utnerrengatye.

These caterpillars formed Emily Gap, Jessie Gap and many of the topographic features around Alice Springs, then spread out to the edge of the Simpson Desert.

Then onto Corroboree Rock and Trephina Gorge, including the Bluff and Trephina Creek (dry). Most rivers and creeks in this part of the Red Centre only flow after rain. Enjoy.

 

The Devils Marbles

The Doc visited The Devils Marbles today, near Wauchope in Outback Australia, about 110 kilometres south of Tennant Creek. The devil during a walkabout dropped his marbles all over the landscape.

The Aboriginal name is Karlu Karlu literally meaning round boulders. These are weathered granite boulders, lots of them. Kangaroo Island and Flinders Island also has granite boulders but not on this scale. Enjoy.

Tennant Creek

Most of the hard driving is done, The Doc is in Tennant Creek. On the way over he did the Dinosaur Triangle including Winton, Hughenden and Richmond in Outback Queensland. Most of the major finds have been over the last 20 years, some quite spectacular.

The Doc intends to start with the Devils Marbles tomorrow, south of Tennant Creek.

A recreation of the only known dinosaur stampede fossilised at Lark Quarry, 110 kms out of Winton. The reproduction is at the Age of Dinosaurs, Winton.

Darwin, Arnhem Land and Mighty Kakadu

The Doc recently visited Darwin, Arnhem Land and Kakadu on a four day helicopter tour, with a few days each side in Darwin.

The flight was based out of Darwin and Jabiru (the township near the Ranger Uranium Mine), with some landings to refuel from jerry cans in remote parts of Arnhem Land. So The Doc got some ground shots.

The trip was at the end of the wet season and the scenery was spectacular, extensive wetlands, rivers, gorges, waterfalls and escarpment a plenty. These photos have minimal post processing.

Arnhem Land is a up on a plateau surrounded by an escarpment. The rain that falls runs off the escarpment and feeds a multitude of rivers along the coastal wetlands, including the Adelaide River, Mary River, Wildman River, the East Alligator/West Alligator/South Alligator Rivers, Liverpool River, Goomadeer River, White Creek, Julia Creek (tributary of Magela Creek), Mann River and Katherine River. Katherine River being the only one listed that flows south into Katherine Gorge near Katherine.

Along this coastal plain, there was an abundance of water, rivers, creeks, streams and wetlands that have abundant crocodiles and water buffalo. With so much water the crocodiles were very hard to spot.

This area has more rivers and water than either Cape York or The Kimberley and The Doc has flown over both of those areas.

On the way into and out of Arnhem Land you must fly over the escarpment, which is hundreds of metres tall in places. Twin Falls and Jim Jim Falls are well-known waterfalls that flow off the escarpment in Kakadu National Park.

The Doc nicknamed one part of the escarpment the Guard Towers, these massive structures were imposing as we flew by. They look smaller in the photos (The Doc used a 24mm lens), compared to real life.

We flew across Kakadu into Arnhem Land and through and abundance of waterways and gorges. The gorges were often full of dense rainforest, unlike any other place visited by The Doc. It makes you wonder what wildlife it hides.

As we approached one river and waterfall the copter noise spooked a black wallaby. So The Doc managed to see the rare all black wallaby. An All Black Wallaby may do rugby union supporters heads in! It is the male that is black, it is normally nocturnal and only found in Arnhem Land across to Nabarlek.

The abundance of water in the Wet Season means lots of waterfalls. The Doc was most impressed by the Mann River Gorge Waterfall in a remote part of Arnhem Land, even more than Jim Jim Falls and Twin Falls in Kakadu. He got both aerial and ground photos (as we refuelled), and a passing thunderstorm made it look even better.

The Doc is now frantically packing the Patrol to drive into The Northern Territory in the next few days. The last blog post for a while, enjoy.

Pilbara textures

The trip to The Kimberley also included The Pilbara, where iron ore mining occurs on an industrial scale. At Port Headland, 6 bulk ore carriers are loaded at once (more now as the terminal has expanded) and over 20 ore carriers are moored off the port awaiting their turn. Trains bring the iron ore to the port – trains 495 carriages long!

Port Dampier near Karratha is the other large port. It is not as big as Port Headland but impressive nonetheless.

The Pilbara has amazing textures, heavily influenced by the abundant iron in the rocks. So many things are red, the rocks, the sand, the dust and the visitors. The red is caused by the oxidation of the iron in the rocks. Who said you cannot bend rock?

The Pilbara also had some interesting barks, distinctly different from the Kimberley. Enjoy.