Sunday 18th October – Northbrook Gorges
After our last minute change of plans late last night (from racing ducks, kite festivals and rat fanciers, to leech infested Elabana Falls, to Northbrook Gorges—which Bronwen had found on the internet so it must be true), we had all got to bed quite late. This made getting up at eight o’clock, after around six hour’s sleep, the most challenging part of the day.
Having managed to get up, Bronwen and I got ready, and drove to Maz’s. We’d planned to get there by nine to go to Coles when it opened, but as usual were running late, and got there around twenty past. We rushed to Coles, bought some chips and some apple juice, and drove to Northbrook Gorges—around an hour’s drive, past several hundred motorbikes.
We parked on the side of the road, as the instructions had incorrectly told us to do (we later found out that you should park a bit further up the road and walk down to the creek—it is shorter, there is more parking, and you are slightly less likely to be killed by a wayward motorcyclist), and walked up the creek. It started easily enough, with a bit of sharp grass and some rock hopping, but before long we were having to get our feet—and once we got to the first gorge, other more sensitive parts—wet, and having to pass our bags and camera gear over rocks to get through some of the deeper parts.
As usual, Maz (who had found a bananaphone) and I had carried several kilograms of pointless camera gear with us, none of which we used and all of which we had to go to great trouble to keep out of the water. We also both managed to take really poor photos the entire time, due mostly to a lack of thinking, too shallow a depth of field, and too slow a shutter speed—all of which I put down to a lack of chocolate.
It seemed like quite a busy walk—we met a few groups of people returning while we were on our way up. They were all much wetter than us, which gave us hope that the worst was yet to come.
Once we go to the second gorge we found that it was far too deep to get through without swimming, so we stopped for lunch (only the best—muesli bars, corn chips and fruit juice) before abandoning our bags and camera gear and swimming—it was quite cold and I quickly found out that it is nearly impossible to swim with one hand above your head holding things, if you are wearing cheap sandals that somehow catch the water and turn into anchors.
Having somehow survived, we had a chat to some people we met on the other side of the second gorge, who had done the walk a few times and who told us that there wasn’t much point going any further upstream and that it’s better to park further up the road and walk down to the creek—so we didn’t go any further upstream, turned around, and headed back towards the car.
Overall, it was a nice, relatively unchallenging walk with a little bit of swimming. Maz managed to fall off a log while trying not to fall off a log (and made a nice splash sound as he slid into the icy depths), and Bronwen cut her leg while testing which was stronger—her leg, or a tree (apparently a tree is stronger). We even met some families with small children on the way back, none of who seemed to have drowned.
After driving back to Maz’s we bought some things for dinner from Coles (baked beans, pasta salad and potato salad), watched “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” (by accident—we’d just found out it had Daniel Craig in it and had meant to only watch a minute or two of it to confirm this), and then Bronwen and I drove home and did lots of washing that we’d not had time to do because we had been freezing ourselves in a gorge instead.