After heading off on the trail to the Mitchell Plateau, we found about a dozen backpack clustered at the top of the hill next to the turn off for a swimming hole. Not keen to share with a tour group we thought we’d come back when it wasn’t going to be so busy as it was only 15 minutes up the path.
The trail lead through open landscape under the full sun and alongside cliff edges that provided some much needed shade. We stopped and checked out the aboriginal rock art.
The path led across a wide shallow stream, we crossed and stepped off the trail to get another vantage point. We had just walked across the top of a waterfall the plummeted to a gorge below.
After walking for several hours we arrived at the top of the plateau. We crossed the river and found a place to take a refreshing swim. The water levels were quite low and the pools quite rocky so caution was needed to prevent bashing a knee or shin on the rocks. After cooling off we found a shady spot beneath an overhanging rock to have our lunch.
Picking up the trail again and carried on past the helicopter pick up point. Scrambling in, over and around rocks we found a great look out from on top of a boulder to view the four layers of the Mitchell Falls. The sight is spectacular and photos just don’t do it justice.
We had a couple of hours to wait until our helicopter pick up time. We had another swim and sat in the shade of the heliport waiting for our turn.
Eventually we were led to the chopper. Em was right next to the open doorway. Craig sat opposite facing her. The pilot checked we were belted in correctly and we were away. Take off was smooth, and we were soon flying high over the Mitchell Falls. Em’s stomach lurched as the helicopter tilted as it turned and she was tipped toward the open door. The chopper turned to towards the coast to see the JDR falls. As we flew over the vastness of the land was evident.
The 18 minute ride saw us pass by the Mitchell Falls a second time before retuning to the base camp. We were both grinning ear to ear as we left the chopper. We were both so glad that we had not skimped and gone with the 6 minute chopper transfer. The experience was definitely value for money.
That night we shared the camp fire with our new neighbours Ralph and Terri as the dingos could be heard howling in the distance. Later that night Craig awoke to hear sniffing around the outside of the tent and presumably a dingo trying to get into our rubbish bag on the back of the car.
Our third, and final day at Mitchell Falls we drove further north to Surveyors Pool. The road was extremely slow going. We eventually made it and parked up. The sun was beating down as we started down the trail. Unsure exactly how far we would need to walk we took plenty of water with us. It turned out to be a fairly short and mainly level path and we soon found ourselves standing at the top of the waterfall into the tranquil pool below.
The water at the top of the falls where swimming is permitted was very shallow, so we decided against going for a dip. We headed back to camp arriving just as the sun was going down. We had collected some more firewood from the designated area on our way back in so promptly set about getting it started.
With the limited amount of gear we’d taken with us, we didn’t take long to pack down on our final day. On the drive out we stopped at the aboriginal rock art locations and spent some time rambling around the rocks admiring the works.
The road seemed to be worse than we remembered as we headed back to Drysdale Station. After three days without showers we were both pretty grubby and appreciated the hot showers. We had to re-organise the car and trailer again before heading to bed where renewed appreciation for the comfort of an inner-spring mattress as opposed to the airbed we’d used for the last three nights.