Road to the Waterholes


I’d heard tell of the waterholes just down from the village but had never been. Read an account in a famous Australian artist’s diary of going there in the 40s. They sounded beautiful; clear water & deep spots for swimming. But the dirt track down to them was the barrier: a dangerous drive, sheer drops one side, accessible only by 4WD.

But on a hot summers day with a few friends, looking for something different to do; the decision was spontaneously made- we’re going down! So in a jeep-like not quite 4WD vehicle and with an intrepid driver (not me!) at the wheel – it was on.

a look out halfway down the track


And you had to hang on for a bumpy ride; one that was tense, spectacular & dusty. 4WDs coming from the other direction laden with camping and fishing gear; an uncertain protocol of passing. In the old days the men would get out of the carriage and walk to relieve the load, often to be met by some bushrangers lying in wait for them round the bends…

looking for rocks to add to collection at naturalists desk

down at the river

But then the road started to level out, become more gentle. Glimpses of the river through the trees, the odd campsite and fisherman silhouette. We chose a random spot and set up our picnic. Out of mobile range, listening to the river rushing over the stones and the throb of cicadas and watching the electric blue dragonflies – time started getting hazy.

caves by the side of the river

magical blue dragonflies coming and going


I can’t remember the last time I swam in a river. You don’t really need to in Australia; there are just so many beaches. But the water was soft and calming, it felt different to seawater. Little fish swimming by, occasionally you’d hit a mossy rock & so only a slow breast stroke possible. After lunch we went and lay in the part where the river was cascading over the stones and got a natural massage.

by the banks

an unexpected picnic guest


Heading back to the village & the old schoolmasters house feeling drowsy and relaxed. The drive didn’t seem as scary on the way back up. Or as long. Another nap and then making and setting up a beautiful dinner in the courtyard. What a memorable day…

after swimming and naps… dinner and flowers from the garden

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