Riversleigh and Boodjamulla NP May 6 - 7 2021
  Yet another day. Doesn't time fly ....

We cross the Gregory River just south of Riversleigh. About 100km from where we camped last night.

Behind us is a tour bus, waiting a turn to cross and let the passengers take a photo. We provided an unpaid bonus. We waved and smiled anyway.

The crossing is a bit deceptive. The concrete is very slippery. 4WD engaged.

  "Riversleigh D" is a world heritage listed fossil site.

Disjointed bones in limestone. A challenge far beyond the scope of the average jigsaw fanatic.

  Believe it (or believe it not), this is a cross section of a rear leg bone of a Baru Wickeni (a 5m crocodile).

Apparently it hunted mainly on land.

  The land is predominantly sandstone. With a layer of limestone on top.

As the limestone was eroded by water sink holes formed as lakes with a topping of limestone. Animals broke the surface and fell into the water. Some drowned. Most were eaten and bones scattered. Becoming fossilised in the bottom of the lake. The lakes eventually filled.

The surrounding land eroded, leaving the limestone that had filled the lake as an outcrop. Full of fossilised bones.

  The limestone behind the lake formed outcrop is older. It supplied the calcium carbonate to the lake.
  A brief diversion to enjoy the colours of a cricket.
  I thought someone had laid out some fossilised bones for our inspection.

But no. They are firmly embedded in the limestone. I guess they erode more slowly than the surrounding rock.

  Layers of fossils in the broken, fairly coarse, limestone.
  Big Bird (Dromornithid) stood about 3.5m tall and 300kg. Related to chickens rather than emus.

The round polished stones embedded in the rock are gastroliths from a bird's crop, to help with digestion. (I read that on the helpful sign ..... ).

  Nearby a leg bone from a big bird.
  On a side track is a site where paleontologists have removed some fossils so we could see some of the techniques.

This is a jumble (technical term?) of bone fragments.

Ali happened to mention "I'll believe it when I see one opalised".

So here we are, helped by Ali's perfectly manicured finger.

Not the colours of opal, but bone replaced by mineral.

  A bit hot at the Riversleigh campsite. We had booked a site in an unappealing place.

We had lunch and spent the afternoon near the Gregory River crossing.

A crimson finch, one of several among the reeds.

  Peter introduced us to "tata lizards".

We waved, it waved back. Sometimes with left hand, sometimes right hand.

Something to keep us amused? I have a couple of 5 second videos, but will have to rediscover how to shrink them for the blog.

  Camped at Riversleigh - we'd paid, Boodjamulla was full, and we had no need for Adel's Grove.

So next morning, awake at the crack of dawn and on the 50km of road north to the gorge. A few washouts, but generally in good condition considering the tour bus traffic.

  The gorge and surrounds are sandstone.

There's an 8km circuit, we took the easy way through a valley parallel to the gorge with a little uphill at the end, and returned along the riverside, which included a couple of steep descents.

With age comes wisdom!

We weren't quite prepared for spinifex. The first we've noticed this trip. We wonder what is different about this area.

  The sandstone has a long memory of water caused waves in the sand as it hardened to rock.
  Looking back along the "back trail" down the valley.

Its about here that we became separated. And both radios were in the same pack.

Two of us along the track, two took the "alternative route", straight up and over the ridge. Not the first to make such a mistake, there were footprints. Until they disappeared.

Had they turned back, or gone off the track? The eternal question. With answers only available later.

Either way, if we went back we would miss them or never catch them.

Having gone back to look, and waited a while, we carried on.

Lo and behold, there they were. From the top of the ridge they could see the track on the next ridge. A rough scramble down and up, and we were all together and on our way again.

And now we know what we are capable of we can plan ever more difficult excursions ....!

  As we approached the Upper Gorge Lookout we saw a layer of limestone overlaying the sandstone in the distance. Probably the same sequence as at Riversleigh, only 50km to the south.
  And a view from the lookout into the valley and the gorge cut through the tilted sandstone.

The bedding planes in the limestone look vaguely horizontal. Which suggests the sandstone tilted before the limestone was laid. Though really we haven't seen enough of the landscape to be even vaguely conclusive. They may be tilted away from us, and we can't see it from a side.

  And the gorge without the pretty foreground flowers .....
  Down the zig-zag from the lookout and the track follows the river through the gorge.

A quick pic of a passing bower bird.

  Thence to Indarri Falls.

The canoists stop here for a swim. And sometimes domestic disputes about how hard or easy it is to carry (portage for the canoeing enthusiasts) over the falls.

Clue .... there's the track and convenient landing places, but the canoes look heavy.

  A panorama from the falls lookout.

Sandstone gorge with tufa waterfall. To us a tad unusual. Formed as the calcium carbonate in the water crystallises out as water evaporates. Giving the classic convex shape as the falls build rather than the concave shape of falls (such as yesterday's Leichhardt falls) as they erode.

Just enough to remind us of Plitvika (Croatia), though very different and on a different scale.

  The Duwadarri Lookout. A bit of a climb. The day is becoming warmer.

"Do we have to?". Sadly, "yes". That's where the shortest track to the truck goes.

Nice to sit on the park bench for a while.

The steep bit is on the far side. We chose well.

We've drunk lots, and have lots left. Drank lots more back at the trucks.

  From just below the lookout, the track alongside the river (Lawn Hill Creek), car park and camping visible.
  Campsites still full. We decide the lagoons south of Camooweal would be a nice place to camp.

About 180km. So off we set.

We arrive at the southern most lake on dark. Every time the sun moved to be directly in front of us there was a bend in the road, the last 15km being due south.

Slow due to the difficulty of seeing obstacles in the gravel roads, with surface changing frequently, but generally good.

A good night's sleep was had by all.

Camooweal to Gorrie May 8 - 12 2021

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