Mt Moffatt Easter 2010

Friday, Apr 02, 2010 at 01:00

Sir Kev

Mt Moffatt is in the South West Section of the Carnarvon National Park.

We were invited to tag along with EO Member Isuzumu (Bruce and Annie) after our expensive trip to Lightning Ridge had made a dint in the finances.

We were lucky enough to score a camping permit in the Mt Moffatt section of the park for the 3 nights that we were going to be spending there.

Bruce and Annie spent the night in Dulacca on the Thursday night, while we stayed at home to finish loading the camper (I worked all day Thursday). We had organised to meet up with them in Roma to refuel and have breakfast.
We were up at 4am and had the kids locked and loaded in Darkie and were on the road by 5am. We ended up arriving in Roma within minutes of Bruce and Annie and rolled into McDonald's for Breakfast, which I now HATE.
The Breakfast meal although clearly indicating that you get one of their greasy bacon and egg rolls, a Hash Brown and a regular coffee, does not infact include the coffee. Even the acting store manager couldn't get that through her 13 year old head :(
With the kids playing in the play ground, Bruce and I left Sam and Annie to watch them while we ducked down the road to refuel. I got close to 150l of diesel for $1.149/l :)

Upon arriving back to McDonalds we loaded the troops up and headed off up the Carnarvon Highway to Injune. Another quick splash of fuel so we had full tanks (diesel was $149.9c/l OUCH).
We rolled out of Injune at about 9:30am and headed across the bitumen to Womblebank where we turned right onto the Carnarvon National Park road. Not far up the road we hit the dirt where we pulled over to let the tyre pressures down in Vicki the Viscount.

This area also had a heap of Wedge Tail Eagles, the kids counted up to 10 Wedge Tails soaring above the open grasslands. Unfortunately they were all to far away for a good photo :(

On the dirt section I was in the lead to pre-warn Bruce of bad sections of the road to reduce damage to Vicki ;)
It was getting close to lunch time when Bruce mentioned that somewhere before the park boundary there was a picnic shelter which would be a good spot to stop for lunch.
We found it and stopped there for lunch. The Shelter is unique for the area and is very effective. The roof stormwater is directed into 2 rainwater tanks for use by travellers. The area was also home to some very sharp burrs :(
A couple of 240l Bins were there to dispose of small amounts of rubbish before we headed on into the National Park.

After lunch we continued on, stopping once again at another Point of Interest, the Slab Hut.
From what I can gather the Slab Hut was used for worker accommodation when mustering was on. The Stockyards are right out side and it is a great piece of Aussie Bush Building

Not long after the slab hut we entered the National Park and kept to the left at the main track junction and continued on to the turn off to the Dargonelly Rock Hole Camping Area.

When we arrived at the camping ground we met up with Glen and Jo who Bruce and Annie know from another forum.
We set up camp around one of the fire pits provided then went for a look at the Rock holes hoping they would be overflowing with the recent floods that had gone through the area. Alas they were back to their normal level with heaps of tadpoles and small fish thriving in the water.

Later Friday arvo Mick (the park ranger) and his lovely partner called in and made their way around all the campers. Mick is quite a character and his partner was equally keen for a chat :)
A few discussions of the recent rain and flooding as well as the reported baiting of pests was had, before they excused themselves to continue onto the other camping grounds throughout the park. Just after they left we discovered they had cleaned the toilet and restocked the toilet paper to reflect the number of campers expected over the long weekend. That was very pleasing to see :)

Evening was upon us and it was time to crack the campfire up and begin preparing for dinner.

Bruce produced his pride and joy BBQ plate, which we gave a good working over ;)

After the kids had been fed they wandered off to bed as it had been a long day for them. The rest of us sat around the camp fire for a few more hours swapping stories etc.
Unbeknown to me the night was to take a major turn which made it a very loooooooooooooooong night. Peta our youngest (3 yr old) woke me up at about 2 am after vomiting through her bed in the Trak Shak. It was great to be woken with a set of vomit covered lips when she tried to give me a kiss LOL
Luckily she had only vomited on half the queen sized mattress that she was sharing with her sister (well so I thought). After cleaning her up as best I could without waking everyone up, I got her to sleep on my chest (brings back memories of her being a new born with reflux). Only to have Ashley (our eldest daughter) scream at about 4am. I obviously hadn't found all the vomit and Ashley had moved and planted her head into it LMAO. So I was once again in damage control and was trying to clean her up as best I could. When I eventually got her to sleep, I was unable to sleep due to smelling of vomit hehehe Just what you want on the first night of camping.
When the sun finally began to rise, I was up and out of the camper to watch it rise over the horizon. The dingoes then decided to howl the night away and welcome the new day.

I got the campfire started and everyone else started to venture out of bed and join me around the fire, where I explained what happened during the night.

With the sun now fully up, we began cleaning up the kids bedding and getting the kids fed breakfast. We also organised our travel requirements for the day. Once organised we headed off to explore.

First stop for us was Marlong Arch, which is a short walk from the main circuit track.

The kids enjoyed themselves here exploring through the small caves created in the sandstone.

There is also quite a bit of exploring to be had behind the Arch, there is some Aboriginal Rock art and some deep caves. The cave below was pitch black when the photos were taken

This is some of the rock art and formations we found behind the Arch.

Before we departed from Marlong Arch, I dropped the pressures in the Air Bags as I had forgotten to drop them after unhitching the Camper :) Travel after that was a bit smoother :)
From Marlong Arch, we motored on down the circuit track to the start of the Kookaburra Cave walking track. The long night had started to take effect with Peta and she only walked 100m or so along the track before Sam and I had to carry her. That is not real fun carrying a near 17kg child across some undulating bush walking tracks.

From there we continued on down the circuit track to Lot's Wife. This rock formation looks like a Salt Pillar and towers over the trees in the area. Quite a number of engravings by early explorers and settlers can be found.

From Lot's wife we headed further north and into the 4wd section (recommended by DERM) of the Park, we paused for a photo opportunity at the Kenniff Lookout )Peta had at this stage fallen asleep in the car, she loves dirt roads LOL) before continuing onto the Rotary Shelter Shed, which is one of the smaller camping spots in the Park. It was here we stopped for lunch, where was the day going??
Before we ate lunch Bruce and I headed up to the UHF Repeater near the Top Shelter Shed to check the condition of the Track as Mick (the park ranger) mentioned that beyond there was a bit dicey if not adequately prepared. The track between the Rotary Shelter Shed and the Top Shelter Shed reminded me of some of the Vic High Country Tracks ie you wouldn't want to meet someone coming the other way as it was narrow with a shear drop to one side.
Upon return we found the others had made themselves at home and were well into preparing lunch :)
Bruce then mentioned that he and Annie would stay there whilst the rest of us ventured along further (they had been here previously). Due to Darkie still a bit bouncy due to me still running high tyre pressures, I decided to drop pressures prior to the climb up to the Top Shelter shed. So the tyres were dropped from 45 psi to 25 psi ...... Man what a difference in ride hehehehehe

With lunch finished and Bruce and Annie relaxing at the Rotary Shelter Shed, we (Glen and Jo as well as us) headed up to the Top Shelter Shed and UHF Repeater. The views on the track up were great and the kids could only comment on the drop offs to the side :) Last time we were in the Vic High Country they were too young to remember much of it.
There was quite a few vehicles up at the Top Shelter Shed, in particular there was a Hyundai Santa Fa and a Nissan X Trail, so it is possible with an AWD vehicle although I wouldn't recommend it if it was wet.

This was going to be the point that we turn around and head back down but once up there we decided to see just how bad the remaining section of track was. There was a few vehicles that we saw head up during the lunch stop not there so they must have continued on as well.
We headed off and ended up meeting 3 vehicles returning, although none stopped to give us a heads up as to the track conditions nor how far they actually got :(
We continued on and went past the turn off to Peawaddy Gorge Lookout, then we came to a large boggy section that appeared to have had quite a few vehicles doing U Turns. I jumped out for a look and discovered fresh vehicle tracks going through the slosh which had a solid base. We pushed on through the slop and entered the Mahogany Forest, I have included a description of the dreamtime story in Places for Mahogany Forest and it is quite interesting to see the kids expressions when you tell them the story as you drive through it.

As we continued on we came across a large tree over the track in almost Tropical rainforest, there was a small detour track to the left which I again got out to check (didn't want to be recovered by an Isuzu;) and found that although tight was a reasonable detour. Once past that we came across a group of Bush walkers, all they could say was "Don't you listen to the Ranger??"
I just replied that "He had said that it was not recommended and not that it was closed"
When we returned we discovered the bush walkers owned the X Trail and Santa Fa.
Just after the Bushwalkers we reached the end of the track at the Head of Carnarvon Creek, again see "Head of Carnarvon Creek" for more details of the significance of it. There was also a very well set up Prado at the end of the track, they were just starting to have lunch.
After a quick chat with them we checked the area out and began to head back to meet up with Bruce and Annie who were still waiting at the rotary Shelter.

On the return trip back to the Rotary Shelter I received a call on the UHF from Bruce wanting to know how much longer we would be, as we were going to have a camp oven roast that night and the campfire would need stoking to get enough coals. It was decided that they would head off back to camp and we would catch up in due time. After a brief stop once again at the rotary Shelter Shed for the girls to use the long drop toilet (which must have one of the best views in Aust), we headed back to the Dargonelly Rock Hole Camping area. Glen and Jo stopped at the Marlong Arch to see if they could get a better photo of the arch as when we stopped in the morning the sun was not in a very good position.

As it so happened we arrived not long after Bruce and Annie and I suggested we combine the veggies into the one camp oven and use the other 2 camp ovens to cook the meat. I had 2 Camp Ovens a 7.5l and a 12.5l Hill Billy spun steel while Bruce and Annie had a cast iron one. We filled the 12.5l one complete with veggie ring full of veggies and used the 2 smaller ones for the meat. I had a 1.5kg boned and rolled leg if lamb and Bruce and Annie had a size 18 chook.
It all turned out perfect :) Although I didn't quite finish all the Lamb :( but it was great for lunch the following day.

With an early night on the cards due to the early start to the day ;) We rolled into bed early ready for another action packed day to come.

Once again I was up before sun rise and had the camp fire stoked ready for the others to rise and shine. I cooked the Kids Pancakes for breakfast and managed to get a couple myself :)

As it was Easter Sunday, and Peta was the first of the kids to get out of bed. I think her extremely loud squeal when she discovered that the Easter Bilby (no rabbits permitted in a National Park ;) had visited Bruce and Annie. The Easter Bilby had left a small collection of Easter Eggs on their camp table. With Peta now close to waking everyone who was camped near us and possibly those in all the other camping areas in Mt Moffatt, I suggested she go and get her sister so they could see if the Easter Bilby had visited them. That began the trail of destruction as both kids then began the hunt for eggs hidden throughout the camper and awning.
It was a feat in itself to get the eggs and other goodies there without being crushed, so I am sure this will be one Easter they won't forget in a hurry.

Annie and Jo were going to do the longer walk around The Looking Glass, Cathedral Rock, The Tombs Rock Art Site and The Chimneys. After the previous day's laborious effort carrying Pets we didn't want to have to carry her over 5km so we stayed in camp with Bruce to clean up a bit (we were still playing catch up from the Friday night). Glen drove Jo and Annie down to the start point and then returned to camp, they had arranged for him to return in a couple of hours to pick them up. When they returned they marvelled at the quality of the area they had just experienced. This is now a major reason for us as a family to return so we can experience it as well. Just need the kids to be a bit older and independent first ;)
For photos of The Looking Glass, Cathedral Rock, The Tombs Rock Art Site and The Chimneys check them out in places as I have uploaded photos there and included info on all the places ;)

Once Glen returned with Annie and Jo, we had a quick smoko (Easter Eggs for the kids) and headed out for the remaining section of the park that we had yet to visit.

Just on departing Bruce and Annie experienced 2 or 3 Magpies attacking a goanna that must have been getting to close to their nest in the camp ground. This was peculiar as we were not attacked at all whilst walking around the camping area.

From the Dargonelly Rock Hole camping area we headed off to the Top Moffatt Camping Area, The track in from the Main Circuit Track is a designated 4wd track and I would suggest that Large trailers and Caravans would struggle to traverse the track. The Turn off to the camping area is at the end of the Mt Moffatt Airstrip.
The first creek/river crossing is one that takes you by surprise as there is a very sharp left hand turn that is well disguised as you go up a slight rise before the track veers sharply to the left down into the crossing ;)

There is a few other creek crossings on the track out to the Top Moffatt Camping area.

When we arrived there there was one group of campers packing up, A 200 series Landcruiser with Mum, Dad and 5 kids hehehehe No TV at home for them it would seem ;) They were tenting it and had the roof rack of the 200 series well packed with all their gear.

At the camping area the track continues across the river crossing to a locked gate. I have since found out that this locked gate prevents access to the Original Mt Moffatt Station Homestead Site which was burnt to the ground in the early 1900's

We stopped for lunch here and Annie spent some time photographing the area.


After lunch we backtracked to the Main Circuit track and continued to the Information Hut which contains self registration camping permits and general park info. It is located across the road from the existing Mt Moffatt Homestead which was built there after the original one was burnt down. This is also the Park rangers residence and is Out of Bounds to the General public. There is also a flushing toilet located just near the Information hut.

The Old Stockyards are also located here. We had a group photo taken while hanging off the stock yard rails.

With the day beginning to get along we moved onto the West Branch Camping Area, this camping area is set on the banks of the West Branch of the Maranoa river, hence it's name. This camping area is also close the the Start of the Carnarvon Great Walk, Extract from the DERM site
"The Carnarvon Great Walk links the Carnarvon Gorge and Mount Moffatt sections of Carnarvon National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty and human history set within the highlands of the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt.

A range of walking experiences are offered within this Great Walk — from short strolls to a truly challenging six or seven day walk. Wander the shaded, cool side-gorges of Carnarvon Creek or ascend ridge lines above and beyond the gorge to the lofty, dry woodland plateaus of central Queensland’s most elevated area. For those up for the challenge, the full circuit walk (86km in length), is destined to become one of Queensland’s great walking experiences — a true adventure to remember."

The walking track commences with a steel suspension bridge that crosses the Maranoa river, everyone in our group braved their fears and crossed the bridge.

The Camping area had a few campers in it and was well appointed with 2 long drop toilets and had water available.

After a quick use of the Facilities we headed back for our camp. During the past few trips along that section of track we had commented on a rock which looked to have a plaque on it close to the turn off to the Dargonelly Rock Hole Camping area. I decided to stop and check it out and take a couple of photos. It turned out to be a memorial plaque to a Dozer driver who was killed in an accident while creating the track.

Once back in camp we began to pack up some of the camp in readiness of departing the next morning.
I whipped up some Spaghetti Bol for dinner and the kids happily enjoyed some more chocolate Easter eggs for dessert.

With a long day in the saddle the following day we had a reasonably early night, Glen and Jo were intending to make it all the way home to near Brisbane, My mob to Chinchilla and Bruce and Annie were going to take their time and stop in Mitchell for the night.

I was once again first up and enjoying the sun rise when Glen and Jo emerged and began to pack up as they wanted and early start.
Bruce offered to cook breakfast while Sam and I got the majority of our stuff packed up.

Glen and Jo go away early and we were finally packed and ready to roll by 9am (we had to wait for the dew to dry on the camper).

We pretty much followed the same method of travel as the trip in, me in the front and the Mu and Vicki trailing behind. The crossing at Ogliby creek was pretty cut up on the trip out, so much so that Darkie copped mud in between the Headlight protectors and the headlights. That caused the headlights to get a bit warm

We stopped just after we got back onto the bitumen so we could air up the tyres on Vicki

A few miles down the road we continued straight past the Womblebank intersection to Injune and continued south towards Mitchell. We stopped at another great little shelter shed for lunch. It was at the intersection of the Mitchell Forest Vale Rd and the Carnarvon National Park Roads with a minor road off to the west which crosses the Maranoa River.

From there we headed off in front of Bruce and Annie as it was only a short distance to the Warrego Highway and Mitchell. Bruce and Annie checked the free camps out in Mitchell before deciding on the Caravan park for the night.

We pushed on towards the East as I had to get home and be ready for work Tuesday morning :(

We refuelled in Miles at the Freedom servo (I think it was the Freedom servo ;) and it was 14cp cheaper than the Caltex on the western side of town (what a rip off). Must be something to do with it being Easter weekend.
There was a heap of traffic heading east due to the Easter in the Country Festival in Roma and I heard on the UHF that there was 4 Police cars between Roma and Chinchilla. That info obviously didn't get heard by a P Plater in a Hilux as he passed me at a great rate of knots in a 100 km/h zone only to be pulled over a few kms down the road by the only marked police car we saw. The other 3 were unmarked cars, unlucky for the P Plater........... I think NOT hehehe

We rolled into Chinchilla with a few hours of light left and we unpacked all the necessary items etc and then sat down and reflected on what a great long weekend away we had, had.

We will definately be travelling again with both Bruce and Annie as well as Glen and Jo, they were great company and the kids loved that they were welcomed by both couples.

For anyone thinking about heading to Mt Moffatt for a trip away, I say do it, it might not be as well advertised as the Carnarvon Gorge section of the Park. But I reckon it is probably better as it is not as crowded and the walks are sooooooooooo much shorter LOL.

With the assistance of Bruce and Annie, we are compiling a Trek Note for the trip from Injune to Mt Moffat then out via Mitchell.

I would like to acknowledge Annie and Jo for some/most of the photos contained within this Blog and in all the places I have created for this area that we visited. Without their input with the photos etc. The Blog and Places would be just text and a boring affair to read. So Thanks to Annie, Bruce, Jo and Glen for a great long weekend away and for the additional things you have assisted us in.


Kev, Sam, Ashley and Peta.
Russell Coight:
He was presented with a difficult decision: push on into the stretching deserts, or return home to his wife.
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