With the $480 new tyre safely strapped beneath the Navara, we headed along the Kalumbaru Road to Drysdale Station where we decided NOT to spend our 32nd wedding anniversary in a shadeless paddock, but instead booked a converted container (room). The following day we headed out towards the Mitchell River Plateau for the second of our ‘must do’ activities……a heli flight over the plateau and landing at the top of the Mitchell Falls. Before this however, we camped at the beautiful King Edward River camping ground for the night and resolved that it was such a pretty place that we would stay a couple of nights on our return and take the kayak out for its second journey.
Along the track to Mitchell Falls, there are two indigenous art sites before and after the King Edward camping ground. We visited the first on our arrival and spent a couple of hours at the second site before heading into the falls. Unique and very different to anything we had seen previously. The book purchased at Drysdale station was a must in order to find all of the sites and to understand their significance.
The TRACK to Mitchell Falls!
The literature Noelene had read said that this road was ‘unmaintained’, and this definitely proved to be the case. I also discovered after we had returned that campers are advised NOT TO TOW along this road! Heeding the advice of numerous locals, we took our time getting in. As the undulations caused by the giant tour trucks/buses are more like dunes than corrugations, we took 4 hours to travel the 76 kms into the camping ground, dodging rocks, washouts and coping with steep river ascents and descents. To our delight, the truck had survived the journey in as had the camper.
We rose early again as our heli flight was booked for 8:15 and arrived prior to the tour groups for our weigh in and safety briefing (Do not walk into the tail propellor unless you want to,look like Jack Newton. Though the flight lasted just on 10 minutes, the view of the falls and surrounding plateau were magnificent, making the cost and the 8 hour return drive worth it (nearly). A couple of hours exploring around the falls and then a 2.5 hour walk back to the camp ground past more rock art beneath the Big Merten Falls.
Spent a further day swimming and kayaking the King Edward River before returning to Drysdale Station for a Famous Kimberly Burger and then back on to the Gibb River Road and to Manning Gorge.