Day 22 – Archer River to Elliot Falls (300km)

Bull dust, corrugations, waterfalls and flies. That’s how I’d sum up today.

Started the day with a quick swim/wash in the river that we camped next to. Such a nice way to start to the morning, though not sure if it’s superior to a hot shower… probably.

20130604_RCH_3117 20130604_RCH_3120It was to be another long day in the driver’s seat again. We only had about 300km to cover, but when averaging 60kph it makes for a long day! I have to say, generally the roads have been pretty good. So far there hasn’t been anything that a regular car couldn’t tackle (provided they didn’t care about the panels being shaken loose). I know I’m not at The Tip just yet, but a (very small) part of me feels a little cheated/disappointed that it’s been something that we could have done in a regular van. (FYI – the photos are just of the average corrugations that continue for 100s of meters, not the ones that shake teeth loose)

In between the large stretches of very smooth dirt/clay roads there are still small sections of welcome bitumen. It’s just the odd 5km stretch of corrugations that ruin the party. At times the jolting is so aggressive that the windscreen wipers turn on (the lever shakes down).

20130604_RCH_3126We are staying in a national park tonight, and there are several waterfalls. The first is Fruit Bat Falls, which was about 30m wide and about a 2m fall. Super popular with families looking for a nice place to swim/cool off. We just missed a window of emptiness – when we arrived the place was dead, five minutes later there were 10 car loads of people! Made it difficult to get a nice photo of the falls without rotund white people in the shot.

From here it was 5km along The Old Telegraph Track. Now, this is where everything changes. This is very much 4WD terrain! There is now a bypass road that winds a much longer path, but due to the OTT no longer being maintained, it’s much quicker. OTT was easily being the most challenging driving that we’ve done in Deli-chan – and I have to say, she shone! The first kilometre had large ruts that were fun to traverse, but we soon came around a corner to find two cars parked in the middle of the road. They stopped to survey the giant pond we had to cross. I think if I’d come across that body of water with no-one else around I’d have thought it was too deep. The two cars in front made it (including one with a trailer), so I crossed my fingers, whispered sweet nothings to Deli-chan and hoped for the best. It was deep, and the bottom was rough, but sure enough, Deli-chan made it through easily! The track got steeper and more technical the further we travelled, but apart from a few scrapes on her belly, Deli-chan scored full marks! I was worried about lean angle with so much weight on the roof, but we took it slowly and it never felt dangerous.

The campsite has two sets of waterfalls and a swimming hole – Elliot Falls, Twin Falls and The Saucepan.

20130604_RCH_3132The Saucepan was pretty enticing – nice deep pools filled with beautifully clear water.

20130604_RCH_3136Elliot Falls were the most aggressive looking of the day – not one that I’d want to swim in/around.

20130604_RCH_3138Twin Falls were the family friendly falls – two tiers of falls, with gentle pools at each tier for easy swimming.

20130604_RCH_3144Finally (not that I was waiting) experienced the flies that swarm while the sun is out, then after sunset swap for mosquitos. Not fun, but just an interesting transition.

22日目 6月4日(火)  さらに北をめざす。

朝は、美しい川で野生児シャワー。 目が覚めます。

またひたすら土の道を進みます。北に進むにつれて舗装されてる道もほぼ皆無になってきましたが、それでも想像していたよりスムーズで今の所、デリちゃん何の問題もありません!

でもちょっと景色が見慣れすぎて来たので、飽きてきちゃいました。なので懐かしの90年代ポップを流しちょっと気分をアゲて見ました笑
今日は、国立公園を目指すため、メインの道路(新しいバイパス道路)を途中から離れ、オリジナルの道路を走行しました。 道は、やはりメインの道路に比べるとガタガタ道や、大きな穴があいていたり、道幅が狭かったり 、とつぜん以上に大きくなったり。 徐々にコンディションが悪くなってきて、Fruit Bat Fall(滝) へ向かう道路は、1台の車がやっと通れる狭さ。
ようやくリアル4DWデリちゃんの頑張りどころの1日となりました。

こんな大変な道を来たんだからと期待をしながら到着。ピクニックエリアでサンドウィッチを食べて(サラミ、チーズ、トマトが最近の2人のお気に入り)、いざ滝へ。 そしたら着いたときは、1台のみだった駐車場が突然満車に。  滝は、落差が高い滝ではなくて、平らな滑らかな岩底の浅い川の高さが少し変わった様な、なだらかな滝で、水遊びには最適な滝です。 日本にはこういう滝があまりないので、個人的にこういう滝大好き♥  でも残念な事に水着に着替えて、また滝まで戻ると土砂降りになってしまったので、また次の滝に移動することに。

次の滝とは、今日予約したTwin Fallがある国立公園のキャンプ場。 そこまでの道のりは、さらに大きな穴、たくさんの小さな穴、車を傾けなければ走行できない溝のある道などなどが容赦なく待ち受けていました。 30分ほどで、前2台の車が停止。そしてドライバーがどっかへ行ってしまいました。 車内で5分程待っていましたが、どうしたものかとロス君も外へ様子をうかがいに行くと、なんと行く手にはちょっと深めの川が。そしてその先には急な坂道。。。おっと。。。 しかし前2台の車も無事通り抜け、いよいよデリちゃんの番。 デリちゃんやりましたー!!  にしても、私たちが最初だったらぜったいビビって立ち往生してただろうなぁ。最初じゃなくてよかった!!笑

Twin Fallは、先程のFruit bat Fallと同じ川。キャンプスポット22番に車を止めて、雨も止んでるのでSouse Pan と書かれた看板にそって行ってみると、これまたかわいい水遊びに良さそうな滝が。 まだ泳がず、写真をとって、Twin Fallの様子を先に見る事に。 Twin Fall めっちゃ可愛い♥ なんだかテーマーパークにありそうな人工的な水遊び場みたい! 一目で気に入っちゃいました。 小さな子供連れの家族とともに水遊びを楽しみました。にしても、水の温度が一発でジャボンと入れるほど温かい。 積丹と石狩の凍える真夏の海水浴になれている私には、天国のようだ、、最高♥

夜は、トマト、パプリカ、ズッキーニ、なす、オリーブ、サーモン缶でパスタ。 美味しいけど、この味ちょっと飽きたな。

明日は、いよいよオーストラリアの北端を目指します!! でもその前に朝また水遊びしにいこーっと。

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