Kings Canyon – Watarrka #2

On our second day at Watarrka we decided to walk into Kathleen Springs. It was a more open walk than the Kings Creek walk but still a very enjoyable one. The walk was paved all the way and started with a climb over a sand dune and then a fairly flat walk to the spring. The path wended its way between two escarpments making it like a small gorge. In this photo we are approaching rock wall that leads to the spring,

Cattle have been grazed here for many years and the Aboriginal stockmen when mustering used the tapering valley to trap the cattle who came to drink the water from a tank that the station had installed. There are remains of the cattle yards built in 1962. In the foreground is what is left of the loading ramps used to load the cattle trucks.

The rock formations on both sides of the walk were stunning, made more so in the bright sunlight. The other thing of note was how green the slopes below the rock faces were, a clear reflection of the rain that the centre of Australia has received over the last few months.

As we approached the spring there was a rocky but nearly dry waterfall that also fed water to the spring pool when it rained.

The last 30 metres of the walk was on a metal “boardwalk” along the edge of the rushes that led from the waterhole, it had a bit of a tropical feel with quite luxuriant trees and plants

The pool itself was quite large and really beautiful and framed by a wonderful rocky escarpment.

Along the way we passed a large rock which had the wave markings of an ancient sea made when the rock was sand before it was buried and compressed into rock. These are the marks of the rainbow serpent of Aboriginal legend.

There were many small wildflowers along the walk many much less than a centimetre across but still beautiful, here is a selection of them. The day was quite windy so it was a bit of a job to take the photo of the flower when the wind stopped and it had stopped waving about. Some of the longer stemmed flowers needed Nadine to hold them steady while I took the photo.

On the way out we noticed a side gorge that also had stunning rock faces and lovely trees.

The photo below is our view as we walked away from the spring.

By the path was a grinding stone left by the aboriginal women who used it to grind the seeds they had gathered.

Tomorrow we head off via Mereenie Loop to Alice Springs and we will we travel through Aboriginal lands so we have to buy a permit to travel that way. It is a notoriously rough road so we will have to lower the tyre pressures a bit to protect them and our vans. This way to Alice Springs is around 150Km shorter so it is worth putting up with the corrugations and dust (we hope!).

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