Way out West

For the past two weeks TB and I have been travelling in far western NSW. It seemed too good an opportunity to miss, seeing this part of the country after heavy rains over the past few months have broken some 15 years of drought. We were thrilled with all the wild flowers and wildlife that we saw. Our ultimate destination was Mutawintji National Park (you may know it by its former name Mootwingee).  En route we passed incredible displays of Sturt’s Desert Peas

Std2
Stp1

Lots of emus

Emus

And even emus taking a ‘bath’ in a large puddle in the road!

Birdbathclose

We had a great time exploring the walks near the campground. Climbing up on the Byngnano Range and looking into the rugged country beyond.

Byng2
Byng3

What was an even more dramatic experience was the rain storm later in the day that transformed the previously dry Homestead Creek

Drycreek

into a raging torrent in less than 20 minutes!

Flood1
Flood2

Even as we watched dry channels filled with water …

Beforeandafter

These photos were taken 10 minutes apart.

Once the rain had cleared we had this fantastic park to share with only two other campers, both very good company, until the roads were opened again some 4 days later.

The Western Ridge walk turned out to be another stunning experience with incredible views back down to the valley

Westernridge

and away over the flat western plains.

View_westridge

Again the flowers were fascinating and in such profusion that I found it hard to keep track of what we were seeing. One of the showier plants was Prostanthera striata or Jockey’s Cap.

Prostanthera

Others just amazed not only by themselves, such as this Ptilotus sp. or Mulla Mulla

Ptilotus1

but also through their massed display such as the lower southern slope where these plants had clearly found their perfect niche.

Ptilotus

On our final day we walked into Mutawintji Gorge. We walked through the floodplains which were covered in swathes of pea flowers Psoralea sp.

Fieldofpurple

and shoulder high daisies.

Fieldofgold

Inside the gorge the creek was still running with water which made the going a bit more awkward than usual. At the end of the gorge was a big waterhole. You could hear the sound of the waterfall but it was hidden by a series of narrow passages.

Swimming into the waterhole we followed the narrow passages to be greeted by the sight of a wall covered in dancing reflections of light. (TB put his camera in a plastic bag and swum with it on his head!).

Reflections

A short distance further on and we came to the waterfall itself. The sound of the water was being amplified by the cliff walls.

Waterfall

We ate a picnic lunch on a bench of rocks across the bottom end of the waterhole. TB chased dragonflies (with the camera)

Dragonfly

and I admired the velvety clumps of Abutilon sp., a native species of the plant called Chinese Lantern, growing in crevices of the deep red cliffs.

Abutilon

Our time at Mutawintji was over too soon. When we go back we hope to be able to see the fantastic rock art at the historic site, but that will be an experience for another time.

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