This morning I was up before sunrise to explore the escarpment behind our camp at Umbrawarra Gorge. From the top of the escarpment the view was fantastic as the sun came up. The country between the escarpment and the gorge is an undulating stretch of spinifex and spear grass, punctuated by amazing outcrops of weathered stone.
These outcrops vary in size and complexity. Some have large overhangs and cavities and many contain aboriginal paintings, grinding surfaces and flint chippings.
These outcrops make great photographic subjects in the early morning light. The blue sky and sea of yellow spinifex provide a great colour arrangement.
Crossing the area of grassland behind the escarpment eventually brings you to the Umbrawarra Gorge. I found more rock paintings along the top of the gorge, also some interesting caves and crevasses.
There are permanent waterholes at the bottom of the gorge, some with sandy beaches and full of small fish. The water is bloody freezing when you first dive in but after a while numbness sets in and it feels pretty good.
Many of the rocks along the escarpment and through the gorge have a rippled surface similar to the texture of sand after the tide has gone out. I guess it means this whole area was once under water, or just that it’s covered in ripply rocks.
Dianne and I walked up the gorge and found some weird little red flowers covered with a sticky fluid to trap insects.
These flowers looked like a type of soft cactus. They grew in clusters near the water and were about 20cm in diameter.
We also found some tiny yellow orchids, about the size of your little fingernail. They grew in shady pockets along the floor of the gorge
Exploring the gorge and the surrounding country is a fantastic experience. The fascinating geography and interesting aboriginal art sites make you want to just keep on walking and exploring.
Wow. Glorious photos. Thanks for the inspiring trip through Umbrawarra. Makes me want to get back to the Top End right now.
As for those little red-rimmed flowers that you said looked like soft cactus, they’re Drosera, more commonly called sundews. They are carnivorous plants. Those little droplets lure in insects, and then the many little “arms” close in around it, trapping it while it is digested.
Glad you liked the photos, it sure is an inspiring place. Thanks for the information on those little red flowers. We could see ants stuck in some of them and thought they must have been digesting them.
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