Sunday, 6 August 1995

AUC 1995 - Florence Falls/Buley Rock Holes

Hiroshima Day started earlier than I had wished, when a strong wind began at about 3:30 am and built in strength to some substantial gusts by 4:00 o'clock. This became a major hassle as the tarp blew about, making loud cracking noises like a whip, as it snapped back down from each strong gust.
I was up and about, adjusting tent poles, adding ropes and resetting pegs. Even after returning to bed, I was unable to rest, fearful we might lose the tarp in the next strong blow. Sue was equally worried and neither of us slept much after this rude awakening.

What we hadn't realised immediately, was the lack of grass on the tent sites, meant the fine grained sand which covered the surface was slowly being transferred into our tent. By morning, we had a fine layer of dust over everything and in every crevice - including up our noses and in our mouths. We were still spitting dust out at lunch time !

Florence Falls
Despite this, we loaded our packs for a day on the hoof as we walked the area immediately near our campsite. We had questioned the guy who manages the campsites for the NP - the work is contracted out - and he gave us some valuable information. It appeared there were no long walks at Litchfield, as most appeared to be one or two kilometres in length. Perhaps this is because of the heat up here or just the fortune of the distance between the major features generally being too far to walk within the one day.

Our first track left from our campsite and along a short boardwalk on the top of the escarpment to the
lookout above Florence Falls. Photo opportunity taken, we then descended the stairs which led us to the narrow gorge floor, 45m below and walked to the pool at the base of the falls.

The best walk of the day came with the following 1.5 kilometres. The Shady Creek Walk, which is semi rain forest for most of the way and winds along a narrow, but very pretty creek with numerous mini waterfalls. It was very cool along the water course and we enjoyed the good interpretive signs dotted along the track.

At the completion of this section, we added on the walk to Buley Rock Holes, which started from the base of the Day Car Park for Florence Falls. This was a much warmer walk through more open forest, despite the close proximity to the creek, but it did a good job in preparing us for what was to come. Upon reaching the Rock Holes, we were delighted to find a succession of natural rock pools, which varied in depth, along the course of the creek we had been following. Many of them had sandy bottoms and rocky sides and all were located under waterfalls no taller than three metres.

Buley Rock Holes
We were soon into our swimmers and immersing ourselves in the cool offerings of the pools and spent about 90 minutes lazily passing the time. Chris and 1 both had a good time in the deepest of these holes - diving for a lost pair of sun glasses (me) and finding a $5 note (Chris). It was a wonderful family time for the five of us.

We dressed, Chris somewhat more slowly than the rest of us. Having decided to join me in skinny dipping, he was embarrassed when people arrived at the pool and his swimmers washed over the small falls joining the two pools we had been swimming in. When they were returned to him, he missed catching them and they sank to the bottom of the deep pool, approximately three metres down!

Lunch was taken In a scenic spot on the track back to camp, with each of us occupying our own space on individual rocks above a four metre waterfall which was the final of a succession of three or four smaller falls and dropped into a deep, sandy bottomed pool. Beyond this, the water flowed serenely down a narrow creek bed, with trees dipping to the surface. It was probably the best setting any of us has digested food in.

By the time we returned to camp, we were tired and hot, so the cold showers on offer were a further relief. A camp fire was again lit for dinner and we all settled early, with sore feet and swim worn muscles.

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