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Goulburn River. (9th/10th July 2011)

Map:-

Mount Misery 1:25000

Party:-

Jenny, Fran, Ray, Trevor, Steve, Dug

Morrisons Flat Goulburn River National Park.  Pic by Dug

Saturday

At Steve's before 6:30, Fran already there, so we drove off to meet the others at Sandy Hollow. We were the first to arrive so grabbed a cuppa, not sure how you make a tea bag, tea taste terrible, but they managed. Still it was warm for my hands to hold. Jenny and Trevor arrived followed a little later by Ray. All together we drove on through the gorgeous scenery, with wide, green, flat bottom, river valleys, farm land, delimited by the sandstone cliffs typical of part of Australia. We always find it delightful to travel through on our trips here and there.

We arrived at Morrisons Flat service road about 11am and parked the cars in a small area above the gate, just down the hill a little. A pleasant day for walking, sunny with just the occasional fluffy cloud, only a light breeze here. I found the stroll down the road most pleasing this morning. We wound our way down, in a valley, beside a small creek in open forest with the valley walls getting ever higher and steeper, sandstone cliffs in some places. The bird life flitting hither and thither, or calling to each other, the rustle of the tree leaves ever present, pleasantly heard.

Morrisons flat was farm land but has now been taken over by the NPWS. It occupies a long flat area around a finger about 1/2km wide, formed by the river bed flowing south straight for 2km then turning a 180 bend and travelling north for about 1km. One thing you notice about Goulburn River are the long straights and then sharp bends so the direction is rather higgledy piggledy on its way, mostly east but sometimes south or north or even back the wrong way, west. The valley is mostly, flat bottom, fairly wide say 1/2km river flats bounded each side by scree slopes topped by sandstone cliffs. The river bed has lots of sand flats and shingle flats with water flowing quite quickly or sometimes long pools of clear water. Many pools have shoals of fish, it looks like carp and black brim mingling together in a warmed by the sun spot.

Goulburn River NP near Morrison's Flat.  Pic by Dug.

We took lunch sitting on a stone flat beside the river, enjoying the location and warm sun shine out of the wind. Pleasant walking day, along a river winding between sandstone cliffs, many long river flats for easy walking, or sand banks, or stone banks. Some magnificent tall cliffs with wind eroded caves, some suitable for habitation perhaps. Walking this farmed in the past country now managed by National Parks does have some drawbacks though - burrs, stinging nettles and prickly blackberry briar patches. Fortunately much of the briar patches under control and we can mostly avoid the nettles but prickly burrs - you become covered in them it you are careless or if you pick the wrong rout ahead. Unfortunately at this time of the year there were many goodly stands of dead plants with hard brown burrs ready to grab you.

One common to many areas is the "Farmers Friend - sticks with you through thick and thin", requires hours of carful picking to rid your clothes of them, particularly cotton, or wool, or fleece. Then there is Bathurst Burr and similarly shaped Noogoora Burr, an ovoid shape, about the size of your thumb covered in hooked barbs, really takes some pulling out of clothes or hair. These pests grow to head height so you can become covered in them when pushing through a strand of them. In some way the worst is the "land mine" or "tiger pear" a small cactusy plant with very ling strong spikes. I have had these spikes go right through the sole of a shoe, and often through the side of a synthetic material shoe. A particularly annoying feature is that, they often the spring into the air when bumped, where they cartwheel until they imbed into your head, shoulder, or back. Once there they are a pain to remove as if you use a bare hand they stick your hand with many spikes and refuse to dislodge, ouch. I know people who carry long nose pliers to remove these pests. We saw many black wallabies as we walked, poor things their coats were just thick with the burrs.

The warning about burrs isn't intended to take away the beauty or charm of this area, just a reminder that paradise has thorns, doesn't it? I really do love walking in this country especially on such a pleasant winter's day. Our destination for this walk is Bowes Creek which flows in from the north. Beside the junction is a high grassy bank nearly flat on top, with a convenient log to sit on by the cooking fire, and plenty of fire wood. Too get there we crossed the Goulburn and it was deep enough to wet the inside of my boots this time. We set up camp and build a bigger than usual cooking fire for warmth, anticipating a cold night. The spaced forest trees will add to our warmth and give us something to look at in the night sky if we awaken during the night. I often like to lay there looking at the night skies through the spreading tree branches.

Caves and Cliff Goulburn River.  Pic by Dug.

A very pleasant location for the six of us to sit around chatting while we cooked our dinners. I much prefer cooking on an open fire with a billy because you can use the glowing coals to regulate the cooking accurately. I prefer not to use gas because it is a fossil fuel, not renewable, while wood is carbon neutral since it will decay or burn in the next natural fire and release the same amount of carbon. A very pleasant evening not as cold as anticipated, fair amount of moon but lots of stars.

Eventually we retire Steve and I are sleeping out in the open as we don't expect a dew. I brought my warmest sleeping bag with that in mind. It was lovely snuggled up in the bag with the cool breeze caressing your face. It becomes frosty I'll close the hood to just a pinhole, but it doesn't

Sunday

The morning gradually lightens to the new day, we have all had a good nights sleep. How could you not with all this peace, tranquillity and good feeling. Not a long day so we ease into breakfast and packing, mainly enjoying the ambiance of place and time.

Before we start the walk back Ray leads us to a big overhang only a couple hundred meters up Bowe's Creek. It is big with lots of fallen rocks and even a way back through the top so that it is a natural arch. The sandy floor is mostly sloping but there are a couple of more level sections so we could have easily set up camp here with our party. There was lots of indications that wild life often used the area, dogs, wombats, roos. Birds roosted and nested in some of the crevices up higher.

We retrace our steps back towards the cars, but this time kept to the one bank without need to cross the river to keep our feet dry , after crossing at the camp site. We study the animal tracks in the sand, roos, wallabies, dingos, foxes, emus, pigs, goats, goannas, snakes, and lots of different birds. One thing was missing ducks, I would have expected to see hundreds of ducks along this stretch of river. I hope their absence means they were off breeding in the swamp lands formed by the floods over the past half year or so.

Shady Walking by The Goulburn River.  Pic by Dug.

A pleasing low exertion walk back to Morrison's Flat then we start the climb up the road through the forest back to the cars. Relatively gentle grades with just a couple of tight pinches towards the end.

As we walked through the forest, up the fire trail to the cars on the plateau, we saw an giant wedgetail Eagle feeding on the ground. Its wing span so big it couldn't fly between the trees, so it had to follow the road to a clearing before it could gain height and fly away, magnificent. I can only remember seeing this sort of thing once before - was it here in a similar location?

Thank you, Jenny, Trevor, Ray, Fran, Steve, a great outing. It is a pleasure to share this experience with you all. Till next time. Copyright Dug Floyd July 2011.

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ps

On the walk out it crossed my mind, more than once, it's time I brought new boots. I need all the help I can get covering rough ground. As a lad I owned Chippewa boots with high lace up, they were so good at the time, that they took you for the walk - 7 league boots I believe from the story. I have looked for them in Australia off and on for quite a while but couldn't locate any. I haven't seen those high lace up for years in the shops and from conversations with shop keepers very few places make them. Obviously the public have moved away from that style. They are available in USA still. Damn it I want to keep enjoying my walking and sore feet do detract from enjoyment somewhat. So I have made the effort and found one of the styles I like available on Amazon and brought them. They should arrive in 10 or so days.

I looked for footwear to wear in canyons for quite a while around Australia without success, I have seen a brand called "510" praised, but the canyon variety are not available in Oz as far as I can see. I brought them through Amazon for a particular canyon trip and they arrived in time within 4 days, at extra cost. But at $145 in my hand they are a lot cheaper that similar boots available here, which don't have the special grippy sole that these have proved to have. Comfortable boots with grip that you feel safe with certainly make canyoning even more enjoyable. I can understand that it isn't worth importing these specialist footwear into Oz since there isn't such a big market, and the boots seem to last well.

NBC walkers taking the sun. pic by Dug

It wasn't all walking, Jenny, Trevor, Steve, Ray, Fran take the sun.

Goulburn River. Pic by Dug

Cliffs, trees, river flats, Goulburn river NP

Goulburn River.Pic by Dug

Goulburn River, picturesque

Morrison's Flat. Pic by Dug.
Goulburn River NP. Pic by Dug

Steep bank below the cliffs, Goulburn River NP

Goulburn NP. Pic by Dug

Goulburn River, follow the wombat track.

Wombat Burrow. Pic by Dug Cliffs and caves.  Pic by Dug

Cliffs and Caves Goulburn River National Park

Cliffs, sandbanks, Goulburn River.Pic by Dug.

Goulburn River NP, sand, cliffs shade trees

Goulburn River. Pic by Dug

Goulburn River easy walking beside the cliffs

Goulburn River. Pic by Dug

Good level banks, camp anywhere.

Goulburn River walking.  Pic by Dug

Goulburn River walking

Goulburn River. Pic by Dug

Goulburn River long deep pools some full of fish, black brim and Carp.

Goulburn Riveer

Goulburn River, shady trees level walking

Goulburn River.  Pic by Dug

Goulburn River once was farmland here.

Goulburn River. Pic by Dug

Lots of trees with hollow branches for Parrot nests

Bow River Junction.  Pic by Dug

This is Bow River Junction we camped on the flat right bank

Goulburn River and Burrs.  Pic by Dug

No Burrs here:-)

Goulburn River Pic by Dug

Beautiful River scape - but Burrs

Ray picking off Burrs right from the start.  Pic by Dug
Burrs and Prickly Pear.  Pic by Dug

Not only Bathurst Burr but Prickly Pear

River burrs on the Goulburn.  Pic by dug
Farmers Friends.  Pic by Dug Bathurst Burr.  Pic by Dug Bathurst Burr
Caves, cliffs burrs. Pic by Dug Goulburn NP - Burrs. Pic by Dug

Goulburn River NP, lots of burrs

Tiger Pear, Pic by Dug Tiger Pears.  pic by Dug
Burr Mix.  Pic by Dug