The trip which included the Ayr Nature Display was also my first visit to Alva Beach, Ayr’s local beach just a quarter of an hour from town. The township is much like others along this part of the coast (Jerona, for instance) in existing for holiday-makers and fishing enthusiasts. There isn’t even a shop, let alone a pub or a servo – just a cluster of houses, two blocks deep, between the beachfront dunes and the salt flats, swamps and cattle country of the hinterland.
The country is all very flat and a difference in elevation of a metre or two marks the difference between swamps, cattle country and canefields, as this (2014) photo shows.
The beach itself is impressive for its huge expanses of sand, flushed down the nearby Burdekin River and deposited along the coast. The mid-distance horizon in the first photo below, in fact, is a sand-bar which extends for kilometres along the coast and is stabilised by low-growing vegetation. It may all change radically in the next cyclone but for now it’s a significant off-shore island, as this map shows.
As I said a few days ago, the wildlife at Porcupine Gorge was abundant when I visited it last week. Here’s a sample of photos under the three broad headings of mammals, birds and invertebrates (i.e. insects and spiders). I did see some reptiles as well – a goanna and a frill-necked lizard (I think) on the road, and several small skinks around the gorge – but have no photos to share here.
A large wallaby or small kangaroo species was quite common in the early mornings but I’m not sure which species: possibly red kangaroo or agile wallaby, but I’m inclined to think they were Antilopine Kangaroos, Macropus antilopinus. If so, they were at the Southern end of their known range.
Getting to Porcupine Gorge from Townsville is easy but takes a while: drive South-west to Hughenden (380 km) and turn right. Drive another 70 km, still on good sealed roads, and you arrive at the Pyramid camping ground overlooking the Gorge. It’s too far for a day trip and a stretch even for a weekend, which is why it’s six years since I have been there. After that trip I promised to write about it but other things intervened so this will be my first real report on the place.
The gorge carved out by Porcupine Creek, a tributary of the Flinders River, over millions of years is more than 100 km long and the National Park encloses and protects a quarter of it.
The camping ground is on level ground on the Western lip of the gorge, offering good views down to the Pyramid. A steep track leads down to the creek and (at this time of year) sandy beaches beside swimming holes, rocky terraces, grevilleas, melaleucas … endless entertainment for anyone willing to explore. Continue reading “Porcupine Gorge National Park”
A collection of photos from our visit to Alligator Creek on Easter Saturday, as promised a few days ago in my post about the goanna.
We parked at the picnic ground, followed the Alligator Creek Falls walking track as far as Cockatoo Creek, two kilometres upstream, and returned for a late lunch before a heavy shower of rain made us decide to return home rather than walk down for a swim.
The Townsville region received quite a deluge between mid February and early March, after a dry start to what we hoped would be a good Wet. Green Path recently posted photos of the Town Common after rain, and here are some from Hervey’s Range to the West of the city.