Idalia National Park July 30 - August 1 2023
  Leaving Mariala via the fence line we turn west on the very smooth road to Adavale.

Not as flat as we thought?

  Down to the plains.

The height and colour of the Mulga variable.

  Through Adavale we turn north towards Blackall. We have to find the way into Idalia National Park from the north.

The sign for Hell Hole Gorge reminds us of fun we had there a couple of years ago.

  We pass through the Gowan Range.

A long way to Idalia, which is north west, in the Gowan Range.

  Low, flat topped, hills that we have become used to.
  Perhaps Idalia to our west. But inaccessible from this direction so still a long way to drive. Certainly the same (Gowan) range

It occurs to me how difficult it is to work out direction from a picture with no clouds and few shadows.

  Nearing Blackall some obvious evidence of recent rain.
  We turn west before Blackall.

For the interminable, never ending, usually irresolvable, discussion about whether trees have been cleared or were never there.

Idalia slowly becoming closer.

  And closer after we turn south.
  Into the park, and another of those stationary steam engines.

Park entry is through a gap in the hills.

It takes us a while to realise that we are not in a valley surrounded by hills, we are on a plateau.

  After a little bit more west we turn north. A variety of bush, predominantly Mulga.
  Camped at Monks Tank.

In some parts of Aus it would be called a dam. Other parts a tank. This is the latter. An open top hole in the ground, the sides built up from the excavated ground.

There's a tall mesh fence around it, with a human width gate, secured with chain and hook.

Fences are not an obstacle for birds. So we enter, to sit and watch as they arrive for their evening drink.

White plumed honey eaters.

  Near the truck, one of a flock.

Mixed with apostle birds, but later separate.

  A wide open camp site. Limited to 30 people it will probably never feel crowded.

There is one other couple camped.

  Next day a drive northwards from the campsite.

To Emmet Pocket Lookout. Looking north west.

There are several pockets like this eroded into the northern edge of the plateau.

  Never too sure what goldilocks zoom to use for "good" pics.
  We walk along the "steep", "difficult" track to the "gorge".

If it was raining this would be looking down the waterfall.

The track is level, and firm sand, for most of the way. Occasional stony bits up or down. Perhaps just us, neither difficult nor steep.

  We notice an occasional vine. The flowers out of place. This one fallen to the ground.

Each one we looked at an ant strolled out.

  Arid land vegetation. We like the pastel greens.

The patterns in this bush caught my eye.

  We made use of the mobile phone internet at the lookout then drove round to Bullock Gorge.

Another edge of the escarpment overlooking a pocket. This time looking northerly.

  And exercising the zoom.
  The markers for the loop track at Bullock Gorge win our prize for the most complicated seen.

Four parts. For some the twisted wire had rusted, and the plastic pipe slid down the spike.

The plastic pipe looked about the right size to join two bits of flexible pipe that is our shower drain.

I resisted the temptation .....

At Emmet Pocket the markers were splashes of white paint on rocks. We wondered if the artificial intelligence applied to autonomous driving could distinguish between the paint and used loo paper. Fortunately humans easily can.

  Enjoyed the view instead.

Hard to tell when looking over a plain, we think the trees are more sparse.

  Still enjoying the colours of the Mulga.

Seems to be "our thing" since we learned of the colour of brigalow.

  The loop walk is around a ridge that extends northwards. Views on both sides.

At the tip of the ridge we feel a (relief from the unseasonallly temperature) breeze. The trees at the tip are more than usually wizened, with very small leaves.

  Rainbow gorge.

We aren't sure about "gorge". Perhaps it becomes steeper and deeper as the creek falls off the escarpment.

This bit is just beside the road.

  Hard to capture the colours.


  The white powdery sand seems to have crept into cracks between laminations.

Its white, like pure silica, but is very fine grain, not the texture of sand.

Murphy's Rockhole is closed, to vehicles, bikes, and walking, due to the state of the road. The grader driver widened it, but left lots of roots. Open again in a week or two. Sad for us. It promised to be interesting as it seems animals drink there.

There are yellow-footed and nail-tailed rock wallabies in the park.

  Australia has been conveniently (for me) mapped into bioregions.

Its been useful to us on various trips. This trip I've calibrated the image to Oziexplorer (using coordinates of capital cities) so I can see gps coordinates, and map our travels across the regions.

  So here it is with the camps marked. We can see our travels through the brigalow belt south (BBS), into the mulga lands (ML), and to where we are now at the edge of the mitchell grass downs (MGD).

Which helps our conversations about whether the trees have been cleared - probably not.

Since we aren't particularly observant it sometimes helps to know the vegetation will change, so we know to look more closely.

  Just as at the campsite we ponder whether the grass is a Mitchell Grass.

With of course no hope of resolution, particularly without internet.

  And here are our campsites on the highlands map. We are a long way west of the influence of the dividing range and the highlands.

But some movement in the earth must have caused the (different sort of) sandstone to rise before being eroded. And since there's no basalt, different minerals to form the hard cap that gives the hills their flat tops.

The precipice sandstone in the highlands was laid down under fresh water, perhaps the sandstone here laid down under a sea. With a much broader mix of minerals.

Water, altitude, latitude, geology, chemistry, and humans, are just some of the influences on vegetation. I suspect my (our) picture will never be complete - which is part of the fun of attempting to satisfy curiosity.

  Another day. A lazy day. At the campsite.

Yesterday was unblock the windscreen washer jets on the wipers. Tedious. Had to resort to blowing compressed air back through the jets. Clean the outside of windscreen.

Then clean the inside.

So today a bit of a stroll along a management track, south of the campsite then west for about 3km. No vehicles along for quite a while. Just signs of a horse, a cow, a pig, and macropods.

The high mesh fence around the tank had intrigued me. Now similar fence (with disappeared gate) across the track. Ranger calls it an "exclusion fence".

The bottom mesh is bent along the ground for about 300mm. We've seen rabbit, or hare droppings, so perhaps rabbit proof. But generally "everything proof".

  I've heard them. Thought the flock behaved a bit like the apostle birds we've seen. But they fly a little differently. And a different sound.

They are Halls Babblers. Local to a largish area which we are more or less in the middle of.

To confuse, they also don't sound like other babblers. Very much not like the babblers we heard but didn't see in Carnarvon Gorge. Though they do babble.

  Large groups. They swoop between trees. Ones and twos in the air at the same time. As one lands another takes off.

So they progress through the bush, rather than staying in one place.

  Another mystery.

This is a milled, treated pine, post. It used to have two signs attached to it. Each about 150mm square.

About a km along the track. There's no evidence of tracks other than the one I'm walking on.

At the camp there's a couple of old signs identifying trees. I suspect some parts of the park have been allowed to decay.

  Back to the tank, for a spot of bird watching.

Effortless waiting for them to arrive for a drink.

A spotted bowerbird.

  And the back of a spotted bowerbird.

Just a hint of pink behind its head, not visible in the pic.

  je ne sais quoi?
  it really is different to the white plumed honeyeater.

Perhaps a brown-headed honeyeater.

Sometimes surprised when we look at pics back in the truck.

  And we think a wattle bird.
  A couple of double barred finches.
  And three (I can only see two) Mallee Ringnecks.

Very cautious. Arrived, looked for about 5 minutes, one flew down to the water, was spooked, so back to the tree.

  Eventually satisfied so down for a drink.

But no mulga parrots.

  Next day, on the way out, a short walk into wave rock.
  And on to the top of it, to look more or less a little bit west of south, across the central plateau.
  With a brief stop to look closely at leaves on the mulga trees.

The scientific name of the dominant mulga is Acacia aneura, which refers to the lack of a prominent mid-rib in their leaves (a means “no” and neura means “nerve”).

The structures that appear to be leaves are actually flattened leaf stems called phyllodes. They function as leaves, but are very efficient in arid conditions.

Carnarvon National Park, Salvator Rosa, Nogoa River August 2 -3 2023

Sorry, comments closed.