Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

22-May-2005
   
From Normanton, we travelled south and then west to Gregory Downs and free camped beside the crystal clear Gregory River. From here we could travel a further 100kms west on a gravel road to the Lawn Hill National Park. The journey was through a flat landscape with short trees and grass that was used for cattle grazing and apart from a few cattle stations, there was nothing apart from thousands of termite mounds. Termite Mounds
Gregory River

At Gregory Downs there was a pub, two or three houses and an Aboriginal Mission. The shop that was there had closed down so to go shopping now involved a 740km round trip. It's a popular campsite though but we needed to be prepared and brought in everything we needed. There was a plentiful supply of water from the river which was also good for swimming in.

The Gregory River at Gregory Downs

We found a nice spot about 3 paces from the waters edge. The river is not always like this however, in the wet season (summer) everything you can see above can be underwater. They had recently built a new bridge so that the road could be used all year round to service a tin mine about 50kms away but the water covered it by a metre or so one wet season! You wouldn't want to be camped here in the wet. We heard several rumours that the camping area was to be closed off so if you are heading this way it might be worth checking beforehand.

The new bridge over the Gregory River

Gregory Bridge
St Andrews Cross Spider I found this spider guarding the area between the caravan and the water; It's called a St Andrews Cross.

There were some clean public toilets and showers about 200mtrs away but can you spot the deliberate mistake?

No Ali hasn't got her shorts on back to front, look at the solar heater on the roof and look at what's up above it!!

Yes, the shade net is above the solar heater.

New toilets at Gregory Downs
Lawn Hill Gorge

We drove out to Lawn Hill National Park and hired a canoe to paddle through the gorge.

Lawn Hill Gorge

At the end of the gorge there were some falls that were a good place to get in for a swim.

Lawn Hill Falls

Lawn Hill Falls
Catfish

There were some good-sized catfish in the water and later we learnt that there were also pythons and freshwater crocs! (Pythons are non-venomous and fresh water crocs do not eat people - usually! Or so we were told.) We didn't see either and if we did I don't think the navigator would have stepped foot in the canoe.

Catfish at Lawn Hill

The road into and out of the gorge was a classic outback road, red dust, blue sky and bush stretching as far as you could see.

The road out to Lawn Hill

The Lawn Hill Road

Next - Move on to Northern Territory >