We couldn’t resist one more swim in the Fern Pool so we packed up camp and descended down into the gorge one last time. Magical! – especially when it’s quiet and tranquil with few people around. Back on the road we headed through Tom Price getting some shopping and a water top-up. With our permit in hand we headed off along the Rio Tinto mining road which basically follows the railway line that runs (the trains run non-stop) from the mines around Karijini across to the coast at Karatha, Dampier and other nearby ports that also operate 24/7. The road was pretty decent and we had a good run across. We passed quite a few of the long, long trains and Cammy managed to wave enough at one to get a loud horn honk.
Over at Millstream-Chichester NP it was a warm afternoon and we found a spot in the campground. We’d followed the family the boys had made friends with so there was more fun to be had.
Deep Reach on the Fortescue River is a great swimming spot except for the swarms of large catfish that are staring up at you as you reach the water’s edge. Once they realised we weren’t going to feed them (and Josh belly-flopped on them) they dispersed a bit. The boys weren’t fazed at all and played happily for a couple of hours. Cliff Point lookout gives a bit of a vantage point to see the river from up high and the surrounding landscape.
We had a walk through the old Millstream homestead which is worth spending some time in and the crystal clear spring water flowing through the adjacent wetlands is amazing – no swimming permitted unfortunately and I’m sure we’re not the only people who have wished they could.
The campground didn’t have showers but did have plenty of hot water for use in the camp kitchen – we borrowed a few buckets full and had some nice showers back at our camp.