Friday, August 6, 2010

Week 32/52 - Carawine Gorge - camping with the Rainbow Bee-Eater

Welcome to Week 32 of my 52 week Tour Downunder Western Australia - in which I aim to bring you stories and images from around the beautiful State I live in - Western Australia. I have done a lot of travel all across my State and I wanted to share some of the sights with you. Some of the photos have been taken in the last 2 or 3 years and some are new this year as I travelled to places new to me.
In week 31 we visited the hottest place in Australia - Marble Bar in the northern Pilbara - and now we will drive inland approximately 173 kilometres east to Carawine Gorge on the Oakover River and the Great Sandy Desert. I hope you have your camping gear with you!

From Marble Bar we travel east along the Ripon Hills Road through rolling hills covered in Spinifex, yellow Wattle and purple Mulla Mulla, turn south at the Telfer turnoff, then off the bitumen onto the unsealed gravel road to Carawine Gorge.

In the photo below we are heading towards the hill line where we can see in the distance the trees marking the Oakover River and the line of dramatic red brown cliffs which is Carawine Gorge.

From Life Images by Jill
Many of the river gums at the gorge were unfortunately destroyed by floodwaters following Cyclone Faye in 2004, - much of the riverbank is now bare red rock - amazing to see the force of a cyclone uprooting huge trees - however there are still a few good campsites at the water’s edge amongst the remaining trees. See below our camp for the night. We have built a fire near the waters edge and I have the camp oven on the fire cooking dinner. My husband found an old piece of corrugated iron to put on the wind side of the fire. You can see him in this photo.

From Life Images by Jill
The river upstream looks so inviting we wished we had a canoe so we could explore. Made a note to bring a canoe on our next trip north.

From Life Images by Jill
In the afternoon my husband Rod and son Mark went fishing, while I took my camera and tried to photograph the Rainbow Bee-Eater. The splash of bright colour with was the Bee-Eater was flashing across the water and landing on the dry branch of a tree near where I sat on a fallen log by the bank of the river. The warm glow from the late afternoon sun lit his wings and a light breeze ruffled his neck and chest feathers. Suddenly he swept back over the river, returning just as quickly to the branch with an insect in his mouth.

Wishing for a bigger zoom so I could get a better capture of the Rainbow Bee-Eater...

From Life Images by Jill
And later we cooked damper and toasted marshmallows over the campfire under the full moon and a blanket of stars.

Thankyou for looking everyone. I look forward to hearing from you, and I hope to bring you a few more photos tomorrow night from Carawine Gorge. In the meantime I hope you enjoy your camp tonight under the gum trees with the Rainbow Bee-Eater. Got to go and cook some more marshmallows - goodnight! I will see you in the morning.

I took this one in the early morning - one of the views from our camp.

From Western Australia
We also drove out to the edge of the Great Sandy Desert where the red sand hills start rolling away into the distance - however the sand hills aren't bare as you can see here - they are covered in a huge variety of plant life. Seeing the desert for the first time highlighted to me the vision and courage of our early explorers and settlers who came out here with whatever their horse could carry and a dream to guide them.

From Western Australia
This is the abandoned Ragged Hills Gold Mine.

From Western Australia
And this is Mulla Mulla - a very common plant in the Pilbara. Whenever we travel north I always look out for the Mulla Mulla because it signals to me that we have entered the Pilbara which is an region I really love.

From Wildflowers
I hope you have enjoyed these photos. Next week we will head south from Carawine to beautiful river banks of Skull Springs and the gold mining town of Nullagine.
I hope you will join me then!

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Thank you for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed this tour around Western Australia. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you for taking the time to comment.