Towards Hell Hole Gorge National Park August 22 - 23 2021
  I see it oft suggested that the journey is as important as the destination.

And so it is.

Some of the roads, tracks, and random overnight camps are as interesting as the target.

We set off from Welford National Park along "The River Track". Struggling to find some semblance between the brochure description and reality. We are parallel to the river, about a km away.

  One of those "is it or isn't it" collections of stones. Which with a little imagination can be construed as a rough circle.
  There is a diversion to "The Jetty". Hard rock, jutting a little into the river.

More an island than a jetty. The tide must be in.

We watch swifts leaving and entering their nests built under an overhang on the furthest small rock.

  Ever onward. We've realised its further to Hell Hole Gorge than we thought.

Across the Barcoo River as we leave the park.

  Apparently good fishing.

More of that hard rock. Which was useful for the causeway / bridge builders.

  Our intent was to take a branch of the Diamantina Development Road, the Regleigh Road to the Trinidad Road, then the Thylungra Bulgroo Road. Almost due east all the way to Adavale.

The "road closed" sign where we intended to leave the main Diamantina Development Road did not auger well.

  A bit further south, we took the Regleigh Road. North, then hopefully east on our original tack.
  A good road. Well maintained.
  Though after the turnoff to the station buildings it seemed to deteriorate.

Perhaps the map knows something reality doesn't?

  A further deterioration after each bore.

Not far to where the map says it stops being a road and becomes a track.

  We persevered. We were so close the extra time didn't matter.

The difference between 20km and 19km.

The sign on the gate says "private", etc. The track would have crossed the creek about a km ahead.

  We retreated. To fight another day, so to speak.

The development road is single width. But no traffic.

  Occasionally wider.

Our interest in Mitchell Grass is sparked over and over.

I now know there are four types. Hoop, Curly, Barley and Bull.

So far I haven't found a web page with all four pictured. Lots of agricultural sites suggesting how useful each is as pasture, with a page for each and few pics.

I'll make my own composite pic for comparison when I have a chance.

  Further south, the Trinidad Road.

Hopefully this will lead to Adavale.

  Perhaps Welford isn't the most easterly sand ridges associated with the Simpson system.

Though they did mention north east.

  Alas. After 55km the Thylungra Bulgoo Road, a turnoff from the Trinidad Road, was nowhere to be seen.

We retreated yet again.

  Getting a bit late in the day, the rest area at Thylungra (where we turned off the development road) was uninviting. We also knew there would be a mobile phone signal about 30km further south.

We found a convenient track off the road and settled in for the night.

A small flock of budgerigars showed us how well camouflaged their colours make them. I needed binoculars to even know they were there.

  We watched the moon rise. Vaguely aware that the soil along this long stretch of development road is a tad treacherous when wet.


I was woken at about 04:30 with flashing lights. Conscious we were alone, almost out of sight of the road, I needed to investigate. But saw no-one.

Then a peal of thunder, a flash of lightning (not necessarily in that order) and a few spots of rain.

We spend the next 90 minutes driving through light rain to Quilpie.

  We parked a couple of doors down from the info centre. A bit disoriented in the dark. Went back to bed for a couple of hours, serenaded by light rain.

We wake up to a reminder that troubles aren't forever. While not really having any.

The ground proved firm. Though when we walked on it next morning a tad slippery.

Heavier rain about 9am. Squally. Pleased we moved.

Info centre full of useful info. We walked to the supermarket. Dump point, fuel, and back to info centre for water, and left for drive to Adavale about noon.

We also use internet to check road conditions. There are flood affected roads further north (more north than we are traveling) with no closures that affect us.

  A brief stop to admire the fountain grass (we asked at the info center).
  Road to Adavale is open.

The "red road" that is. The "black road" not mentioned.

  The Diamantina Development Road is a bit wider, with road furniture, east of Quilpie.
  There were at least 5 signs for Hell Hole Gorge at the turnoff to Adavale.
  We keep an eye on the sky. There was no rain in our vicinity on the radar. Even when it was raining!
  The red road, presumably because its across red sand.

Mostly sealed, of the 100km about 20 is still gravel, but work is progressing.

The black road is presumably named because it follows the river across clay.

  Adavale. Population about 20.

Gateway to Hell Hole Gorge National Park.

  A very big warning sign about remote area.

The roads are open.

  Good road towards Milo Station.

The clouds seem to be changing.

  Growing darker as we check the navigation. Its about 70km from Adavale.

There are lots of signs. Typically at junctions where we could go wrong.

  Ever changing sky. That looks like rain in the distance. Just about where the campsite is.

The sign is one of those "roads to recovery" (haven't we done well) signs about road building.

The national park is shown on most maps as "no vehicle access". This road was put in (along an old fence line if our maps are correct) about 2013.


  Definitely rain. Though not too concerned as we are on sand, and the campsite is rock.

But not far now.

  The park entrance.

With concern about covid-19.

We expect one other party of campers. Limit for booking is three sites.

Despite visibility somewhat hampered by rain and windscreen wipers overdue for replacement we found our way to the campsite. Crossing Powell Creek was hardly noticeable. Probably because we didn't cross it.

I suspect the track has been moved a bit since some of the internet descriptions I've read of driving up one side and down the other on the rock shelf that is Powell Creek.

  Camped at last. About 24 hours late - though who's counting when it doesn't really matter.

Definitely rain. The colours are simply beautiful.

A brief, squally, shower.

  That peculiar sunlight from a storm bound sky that highlights the mulga.

Perhaps I should add there is a bitterly cold wind blowing.

We close the door and most of the windows.

Our thoughts turn to why its called Hell Hole Gorge.

Though we also emerge for a brief recconnaisance of surroundings, to plan some walking.

Hell Hole Gorge National Park August 24 - 26 2021

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