Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Travelling the Kimberley

My trip with Alexander Watson through the Kimberley this month. Birds are featured in the following two posts; images here are more general in nature. The highlight was the stunning Mitchell Falls (above), a series of three huge waterfalls cascading over the sandstone escarpment. It took us 1.5 days to drive to Mitchell Falls from Broome.   

This signs greets motorists heading north from the Gibb River Road up the Kalumburu Road. All very well, except that much of the wilderness value of the Kimberley will soon be severely compromised by the massive mineral exploration and development projects underway in the region.

Our vehicle crossing one of the rivers en route to Mitchell Falls after leaving the Kalumburu Road.

Aboriginal rock art at a site not far from the Kalumburu Road. We were to see rock art in several places but were surprised that nowhere did there appear to be local Aborigines employed to show it to tourists.

Also surprising was finding these Aboriginal bones in a cave crevice at one rock art site. I had found similar bones in a similar situation in Arnhem Land back in the 1970s, but to see them here, with so many travellers around, was totally unexpected.

Merten's Creek above Little Merten's Falls in Mitchell River National Park.

Our camp at Mitchell River. We had three nights here, though were forced to move camp because of the noise of commercial helicopters.

A warning to campers posted by national parks officers.

Perched above Big Merten's Falls... a woman died here from falling from this cliff top around the same time we were there (we found out later).

The pool below Big Merten's Falls and the sandstone cliffs surrounding it.

Alexander at Mitchell Falls.

Another scene from Merten's Creek. The sandstone cave wall on the opposite bank is adorned with Aboriginal rock art.

It was scandalous that the majesty and tranquility of Mitchell River National Park was undermined by the continual drone of tourist helicopters flying up and down the gorges and rivers all day.

On our way back from Mitchell River, a dingo crosses the Kalumburu Road.

The Drysdale River at Miner's Pool... a wonderful camping spot, where we spent two nights.

Afternoon reflections of pandanus on the Drysdale River.

An Ultimate brand campervan, complete with elaborate annexe and all the bells and whistles, exploded in the camping ground at Miner's Pool while we were there. It took just 30 minutes to be reduced to this... apparently the cause was an exploding petrol container.

Bell's Gorge towards the western end of the Gibb River Road; our last night was spent camping at nearby Silent Grove.

The river above Bellis Gorge.

A Black-headed Python near Silent Grove.

Boabab trees near Silent Grove.


  1. Hmmmm... Sort of excited but a little freaked as well! We are following in your footsteps in the next 4 weeks ... so I'm looking forwards to the birding posts with anticipation!!!


    We're borrowing the Alice Springs rello's campervan (I'm not familiar with these things) and I don't like the look of Pic #17!

    Bring on the birds!!!!

  2. Pete, I'm back from the trip now... it was just 8 days, mostly to get the grasswren... I would NOT be towing a campervan to Mitchell River National Park. Campervans are fine as far as the turnoff from Kalumburu Road but after that, I would be doubtful. That said, I did see a couple in there so it is clearly feasible, and there should be less water in the rivers when you are there

  3. Thanks Greg, yeah we don't have significant plans beyond the Gibb River Road actually. I'm sure there will be posts showing how we got on!!

  4. The warning written on paper for campers related to Dingo is Funny but after seeing Dingo pic i feel scary it looks like Dangerous Fox.I hope your trip of Mitchell river National Park is full of adventure and difficulties but you guys find fun and enjoyment there. Website Development Sunshine Coast

  5. Thanks for that Johny.... I think the dingoes are safe enough so look as people keep an eye on their kids

  6. Sound you had interesting outback adventure.Thanks for sharing these fabulous photographs as seeing these many adventure freak get inspired to visit this place- including me.I must say there are lot of things to do to have extraordinary outback trip.

  7. Thanks Ella, that's kind of you