Cool mem­o­ries of a sin­gu­lar swim

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - GWENDA LAWTHER

SOUTH HED­LAND, WA KARINJI National Park in the Hamer­s­ley Ranges was at the top of my Western Aus­tralia must-visit list.

Ar­riv­ing at mid­day I needed to stretch my legs af­ter the 450km drive from Port Hed­land so de­cided to head straight to the clos­est land­mark, Jof­fre Gorge, which was a short walk from the camp­site.

The air was heavy and the sun hot but don­ning my fa­ther’s old Akubra hat and slap­ping on sun­screen, I was up for an ad­ven­ture.

De­spite the poorly marked trail I man­aged to lo­cate the gorge, al­beit on the op­po­site side to the look­out. I de­cided to go down. The smooth black rock along the sides of the gorge seemed cut to mea­sure from a quarry and made an easy climb to the wa­ter’s edge where the deep, dark wa­ter beck­oned me. Leav­ing my pack I slid in and gasped with shock at the cold.

Hear­ing laugh­ter I looked up to see sev­eral peo­ple watch­ing me from the look­out. I could barely make out their faces but their voices car­ried clearly. ‘‘Take your shoes,’’ they called out. So I slung my shoes around my neck and pushed against the light cur­rent to a nar­row crevice par­tially blocked by fallen rocks.

A short climb and the am­phithe­atre of Jof­fre opened in front of me. Sleek high ver­ti­cal walls cut my view from any­thing but the sky, the only sound birds and the desul­tory trickle of the nearly dried-up wa­ter­fall, the peb­bled bot­tom of the river ex­posed as a dry bank around the edge of the am­phithe­atre. I was in heaven.

Re­luc­tantly as the light be­gan to fade and the tem­per­a­ture started to drop, I made my­way­back up the trail, get­ting a lit­tle lost so that it was al­most dark by the time I reached camp. My usual five-minute tent set-up be­came a chore when I found my rub­ber mal­let wouldn’t pen­e­trate the rock and red dirt.

How­ever, my Girl Guide train­ing at last served its pur­pose and with an ad­just­ment here and an ex­tra rope there, I tri­umphed with an in­tri­cate web of knots that tied my tent to a few boul­ders dragged into place (with due con­sid­er­a­tion to any wildlife that could have been shel­ter­ing un­derneath) and the back of the car.

With a mug of steam­ing soup and a chunk of bread I sat back and let the moon­less night per­form its magic. Send your 400-word con­tri­bu­tion to Fol­low the Reader: travel@ theaus­tralian.com.au. Columnists re­ceive an Aubecq fry­pan ($99.99) from the Ever­green Clas­sic range of ce­ramic-based eco­cook­ware with non­stick coat­ing. More: (02) 9662 3450; mor­gan­ware.com.au; pe­ter­sofkens­ing­ton. com.au.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.