Tramp through the bush in searing heat. Sweat like a wildebeest, arrive at beautiful waterhole/waterfall. Swim. Cool down. Setup camp. Sleep. Wake up. REPEAT.
That’s pretty much it.
Oh, there is also amazing bird life, untouched Aussie bush and the occasional dingo, goanna and snake!
The waterholes at each campsite are breathtaking and are the perfect foil for the brutal landscape and harsh conditions that press right to the edge of these oases.
We did the trail in four days because of time constraints however I would highly recommend 5-6 days to really have plenty of time at camp to unwind and literally soak in the beauty.
There is plenty of advice out there to get started early in the day and it really does make a difference. The trail is fairly flat and undemanding however throw in some heat in the high 30’s and it starts to sap your energy and enthusiasm. So get going early. I recommend leaving no later than 730 am each day.
Explore. When you get to camp of course you can relax and have a swim but then put some light gear for sun protection on and get out and explore around the camp. Especially at 17 Mile Falls. It is possible to hike down to the base of the falls and look around.Each site has its own little nooks to explore and it is well worth it.
Keep your food packed tight at Sandy camp – there is a resident crow that has a long record of break and enter.
A Bug’s life
At Sweetwater pools pack your food and cooking gear and go down to the waters edge either north or south of the actual campsite. Why? Billions of flies and midgies inhabit the campsite and you will find peace at the waters edge that’s why!
Sandy Camp has lots of flies but they disappear after dark so plan accordingly. Its better to relax in your tent with the fly off if you just want to chill.
For Art’s sake.
Keep an eye out for rock art along the way. We were pleasantly surprised to spot some paintings on some outcrops of sandstone. I don’t want to give away the location other than to say you can spot it on day one or day two if you are taking it slow 🙂
It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here.
Cover up head to toe. Broad brimmed hat,and light long sleeve shirt and pants. This way you don’t have to mess around with sunscreen which you might forget to reapply. You do not want to get burn out here. The sun is merciless.
This trail really made me think about how the Aborigines take this trail without backpacks, boots, water bottles, back country meals, stoves, etc etc. These guys were really hard core and in tune with the land and it really made me think how awesome aborigines are and we have to preserve their culture and dignity!
Swim as much as you can. The waterholes may look dark and scary sometimes and with all the talk about crocodiles in the region people get a little jumpy but the trail is super safe for swimming and I swum a lot. There are no other nasties so just get out there and enjoy. I even did a night swim which ok, I admit I was freaking out a little but it was still awesome.