Lawn Hill NP and moving along the Savannah Way

Our next stop was Adel’s Grove, named after a French botanist, Albert De Lestang, who was commissioned by the government to experiment growing tropical trees & fruits in the 1930’s.  By 1939 he had over 1000 different species and it was a most beautiful botanic garden.  In the early 1950’s it was burnt out and subsequent owners have not continued the botanical aspect of the Grove.  We were camping in ‘The Grove’ area, next to Lawn Hill Creek and it is still an impressive grove with lots of tall trees and exotic foliage.  The reason to stop here is to visit Lawn Hill National Park (NP), now known as Boodjamulla NP, after the rainbow serpent who created the gorge and all the animals in the Dreamtime.  It is a 10 km drive to the NP and we spent the afternoon canoeing through the Lawn Hill Gorge, even did the portage and canoed through the Upper Gorge.  It was quite magical since the lush tropical vegetation (ie Livstonia Palms, figs, pandamus etc) are remnants of the ancient rainforest that covered the Gulf Savannah millions of years ago.  The gorges have sheer 60 m (200 foot) sandstone walls and beautiful clear green water.  Finished the day with a drink at our neighbors campfire.  Returned the next day to do the 8km Upper Gorge Walk which was stunning – great variety of terrain, 3 fabulous lookouts, a swim at the falls and a beautiful sunny day.  We walked all along the tops of the gorges we canoed through the day before and got a much better perspective of the gorge system and the surrounding area.  Walking along the gorge beside the high red cliffs and amongst the ferns and palms was very special, and we were disappointed that we didn’t have time to do more walks there. Met another couple, Ken and Roz,with an Explorer Motorhome like ours, so had some great conversations with them before and after our walk.

Travelling in the outback its good to stay flexible, as we found out again, when we turned up at Hells Gate Roadhouse at 1pm to get fuel and were greeted with a sign advising they were out of diesel. So we had lunch in the roadhouse, one of the nicest we’ve come across and one where we actually were happy to eat the food.  Hells Gate takes its name from the days when the police escorted the drovers and pastoralists to the Hells Gate pass on the NT border and then they were on their own.  We waited until 4pm when the fuel truck arrived and we were able to continue  on.  Could have stayed there as it seemed good but we wanted to visit a free camp 30 km down the road and we were glad we did.  Stayed at Hann Creek Billabong on our own and sat outside with a beer watching about 40 different bird species flitting around the billabong – very pleasant! And the sunrise was also special.  Funny for us to see a sunrise but the 6 am alarm is becoming a habit (maybe we are turning into grey nomads after all).  That stop marked the last overnight in Queensland and 10,000 kms so far on this trip.


The view of Lawn Hill Creek beside our campsite at Adel’s Grove


Canoeing in Lawn Hill / Bodjamulla NP
Beautiful red cliffs along the lower gorge


Innarroo Falls, site of the portage and swimming place
Dick portaging the canoe to the Upper Gorge
Canoeing in the Upper Gorge
Beautiful water lillies in the gorge
More water lillies


A beautiful peaceful place at the top of the gorge
The beginning of the gorge and where we turned around


It was such a beautiful canoe trip
And we even got very close to a cormorant


Dick made me hold my shirt up for a sail on the paddle back (not very effective)
The early part of the walk around the gorge


Looking down on the upper gorge, and a special spot for lunch


Walking between the red cliffs and the clear green water
Swimming back at the waterfalls
A refreshing dip on a hot walking day!


Another lookout and another view of the upper and lower gorges


The last lookout for the 8km walk, one of our highlights
The final climb down


End of day catchup with another Explorer MH!
Dick heading into the roadhouse



Not the sign you want to see!!
Our camp spot at Hann Creek Billabong
Sunrise over the billabong


9 thoughts on “Lawn Hill NP and moving along the Savannah Way

  1. this traveling must be good for you, because you both look younger with every picture! The scenery is spectacular.

  2. Wow Pat! Amazing – all of it! How special to do that canoeing trip. You and Dick will be awesome experts on the Australian bush and outback by the time this trip is over .. must-have dinner party guests! Great blog and photos as always. Think we all know what your next career might be.

  3. Great photos.
    Did you venuture into the water at Adel’s Grove and swim with the freshies?
    We are flying back to Cairns on Tuesday. Can’t wait as it is not shorts and t shirt weather here.
    Safe travels.

  4. Geez. The cliffs, the palms, the waterholes, the falls – it all looks fabulous. I’d love to see all the birds – so great for you.
    Keep the lovely photos and descriptions coming!

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