Sunday, June 13, 2010

Kalbarri National Park

The Murchison River finishes it's long journey at Kalbarri. In the national park, the river winds it's way through deep gorges, seemingly in a series of straight lines.

Kalbarri National Park

The red Tumblagooda Sandstone that makes up much of this area has a series of straight fractures running through it. These straight, vertical joints allowed the Murchison River to deeply incise the rock layers and form straight river segments. At times the river is up to 170 metres below the cliff tops. Wherever the joints intersected the river could change it's course.

It was here that I could do a short 10 kilometre circuit hike, aptly named The Loop. The river here loops back on itself, separated by a narrow cliffline. The walk starts from a place called Natures Window, a high cliff featuring a prominent arch within the cliff, and follows the clifftop east before descending down into the sandy riverbed to loop back to Natures Window. The layers of rock within the cliffs form striking bands of stone in contrasting brownish reds, purples and whites.

I drove down the road to access The Loop and the Z Bend - a road to rival any of Kangaroo Island's dirt roads. I thought I had set out early, but when I arrived in the carpark I found half a dozen cars already there. Doh. When I completed the hike though, I discovered that it had been an early start, the day was getting hot by now but the carpark was full. This was no time to set out on a hike!

Download kml file to view in Google Earth or adapt to use as a navigational aid in a GPS unit

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