And as a final treat, we got to ride a helicopter back to the start of the walk.
We strapped ourselves in, since the back seat was once again door-less.
But the view of the falls was priceless.
With all that blue water, you would think that the falls are a good place for a dip. You can swim, but only in the upper pools – saltwater crocodiles may be lurking in the lower pools.
We got a bird’s eye view of the track we had walked on.
And five minutes later, we touched down!
The falls (and the helicopter) was my picture of the day.
A little bit more walking over the stony plateau.
Along the way, we saw some beautiful flowers that seemed to thrive despite the dryness.
Then we reached the drop – we’ve arrived at our destination!
After 5km of walking, we are finally at Mitchell Falls.
We walked across the plateau – it was a bit uneven in places, but at least not too steep.
Much of the landscape was dry stone country, but things changed when we reached a river.
This pond was at the top of Big Mertens Falls. The waterfall was dry but there was still a bit of water about.
This was my picture of the day.
There was more rock art to be seen. This one is a Gwion Gwion style depiction of animals.
And of course, there are the hand-prints. Traditionally they should be found in pairs – one when the person was a child and the other as an adult. However many in the last hundred or so years many did not get to return as an adult and so only single hand prints are found.
We drove another 70km down the rough road to the campground at the start of the Mitchell Falls walk, deep in the Mitchell River National Park. The walk, a 5km one across the plateau, was definitely one of the highlights of the fortnight. We were led through the park by these poles.
It was quite right that one of the first diversions off the track was the rock art under the sandstone overhangs by Little Mertens Falls. Once again, they consisted of both Wandjina and Gwion Gwion style paintings.
Let’s see some interesting details around the Munurru rock art site.
A fig tree with its web-like roots searching for water.
A tiny little wildflower in the midst of the long, dry grass.
Colourful fungi in the sunshine. I’m guessing by the colour that these are poisonous.
At the end of a long day, we finally made it to our campsite at King Edward River, or as the locals call it, Munurru. It’s a tranquil place with big skies and waterholes lined with pandanus and gums.
This was definitely the deep bush – you can’t escape the dust here.
The following morning, we ventured nearby to look at the rock art under the sandstone overhangs.
This area obviously had great significance for thousands of years since there were even the art of two separate peoples. The most recent clans painted the wandjina, or spirits.
But long before that, other people painted these very different paintings, which are now called Gwion Gwion. Much debate rages about who and when these were painted. Some think they’re of Asian, Melanesian, even African in origin.
The camp is my picture of the day.
The next day was a very long and arduous drive from El Questro to the eastern edge of the Mitchell Plateau. Along the way, we visited Ellenbrae Station – another million acre property that is still a working cattle station.
We learned from the young manager Logan that things can get very expensive out where they are – everything has to come by road train or plane! So to attract visitors they have a small camping ground and cream tea. That morning it’s been specially baked by his mum, and it was a good scone.
Apparently they’ve attracted so many takers that they can hardly keep up with the demand.
The Outback is full of novelties. We found one in the car park at Ellenbrae – their public phone (and me in my ‘Steve Irwin’ get-up).