17th – 19th June 2017
Leaving our campsite we descended for about 5 km into Rio Tinto Gorge via a sealed, one lane road. A lovely drive made better by not meeting any road trains coming the other way!
Once at the bottom 162km of dirt road with all its corrugations took us to Millstream Chichester NP. The countryside through which we drove continues to surprise us with its beauty – we followed ranges and water courses, some, like Hooley Creek where we stopped for a cuppa, having water in them.
At the NP the Millstream Homestead is now set up with information displays, each room covering either geology of the region, indigenous life before white settlement, or the pastoralists. It’s a lovely homestead with big wide verandahs all around, lovely lawns and once upon a time had an ant-bed tennis court. The owners ran sheep mostly, but also some cattle, and had a large kitchen vegetable garden which was very productive. The spring-fed Fortescue River at the bottom of the garden provided a permanent supply of sparklingly clear water.
Apart from the economical difficulties of dingoes killing the lambs and falling beef prices, life here would have been very pleasant. A quiet night at Miliyanha campsite ($13.20/n) which has a new camp kitchen, gas stove top, gas BBQs and several picnic tables. Nice place.
This morning we did the 9.5km walk from the homestead to Cliff Lookout above the Fortescue River. The walk started near the river, which is quite narrow but only followed it for a little while before heading through palms, acacias and grasses, which had not long ago been burnt. We returned via the cycle path which was even further from the water – not one of our most memorable walks.
Back at camp we drove to Deep Reach, which is a beautiful, long, wide part of the river lined with palms and acacias. The white cockatoos call it home, very raucously.
National Parks has done an outstanding job here providing lots of covered picnic tables and 3 gas BBQs set amongst the natural vegetation. A wide lookout with seating showcases the river and safe concrete steps lead into the water. The water was beautiful for swimming, pleasantly cool. The rainbow serpent, Wayu lives in this pool and it’s said to be so deep as to be bottomless. After a refreshing swim we stayed here reading and relaxing until near sunset.
Unfortunately there was no break between the flies going in and the mossies coming out. We beat a hasty retreat to Stargazers campground, the other site within in Park, where we BBQd our meal along with a few other campers and the camp hosts. A very pleasant evening with good company and no mossies.
The highlight today before we left Millstream Chichester NP was our brunch break at Python Pool. An unsealed road running alongside the railway line, where we saw several very, very long ore trains, took us there, the last 5km or so, from the railway to the Pool, in pretty bad repair. However, that was when the scenery was most spectacular.
This is a small pool, its feature being the enormous cliffs that bound it – though thankfully not on the side we access it from. Yes the water was chilly but the chill soon wears off and it was another delightful swim.
To see more of our photographs from Millstream Chichester Park CLICK HERE