Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Walpa Gorge, Kata Tjuta, NT, Australia


2014 July: Short stroll - Walpa Gorge in Kata Tjuta (The Olgas), NT, Australia

Prolog

I was here at Walpa Gorge 14 months ago in 2013-05 with Ricky (after climbing South Australia highest mountain Mt Woodroffe). On that day, it was raining cats and dogs. But we have the good fortune to witness the most stunning scenery of water pouring down the cliff faces of the gorge. The most beautiful photo must be photo #29 ... scroll forward to see it.

But today, it is sunny, clear blue sky.


Walpa Gorege Walk

Walpa Gorge is a gorge between two of the highest domes in Kata Tjuta.

The walk in the gorge is a short easy stroll on a well maintained tourist track. Return trip is about an hour.  First, walk up a rocky gentle slope, then into a shady, moist gully. The walk ends at a viewing platform between towering domes. The viewing platform is as far east as you can go. The rest of the gorge is sacred to the aborigines.


Map

- Blue oval: Walpa Gorge
- Top right hand corner: It says the distance is 2.6 km return, 1 hour.


Satellite Image

Satellite image of Kata Tjuta, The Ogas:
- Yellow arrow: Points to Walpa Gorge carpark.
- Right yellow dot: Viewing platform based on the above map. The viewing platform is as far east as one is allowed to go.
- Left yellow dot: But my Garmin GPS indicates that this is the location of the viewing platform.
- Distance from carpark to the left yellow dot is 1.4 km oneway - measured in GoogleEarth.
- Distance from carpark to the right yellow dot is 1.8 km - measured in GoogleEarth.
- Distance as indicated by the map is 1.3 km (scroll back to see the map).

Well, I believe the left yellow dot is the correct location of the viewing platform. Can someone confirm this for me please? 


Timeline & Distance

        Next     2013
Today   Morning  May     Distance  Comment
------  -------  ------  --------  ----------------------------
15:10   07:53    16:36   0.0 km    Start at Walpa Gorge carpark
15:35   08:20    16:52   1.4 km    At viewing platform

15:38   08:30    16:55   1.4 km    Turn back
16:00   09:04    17:08   2.8 km    Back at carpark
======  =======  ======  ========  ============================
50 min  71 min   32 min  2.8 km    Distance is from GoogleEarth



Pictures

The pictures below are mostly taken today between 3pm and 4pm.

A few are taken the next morning ... Yup, I will go there again next morning  :-)

And a few were taken 14 months ago in 2013-05, in a trip with Ricky during heavy down pour. The photographs give a rare sight on how the gorge is like in the rain ... well, one word, stunning !  Scroll forward to photo #29 ... it must be the most beautiful picture of all the photos on Walpa Gorge.  At the time this report is being prepared, I can't find any picture posted on the internet of the gorge in the rain.


Walpa Gorge as seen from near the carpark

1)  Walpa Gorge as seen from near the carpark ~~~
- As a comparison, the lower pic was taken 14 months ago in 2013-05 in the rain.


Walking into the Gorge

2)  On the way to Walpa Gorge


3)  Left side (north side dome) of the above pic


4)  Middle part of photo #2


5)  Right side (south side dome) of photo #2


6)  Inside the gorge now ~~~
Most photos in this report are taken today between 3pm and 4pm. But the lower pic is taken the next morning using an old camera, hence the weird colour differences. (The battery in my main camera ran out of juice.)


7)  Zooming to the line of rocks in the previous pic ~~~
The rocks are composed of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of cobbles and boulders of varying rock types including granite and basalt, cemented by a matrix of sandstone.


8)  Going further forward ... Beautiful gorge !


9)  Middle part of previous pic ~~~
- The lower pic is the same scene taken 14 months ago in 2013-05 in the rain.


10)  Left side (north side) dome of the photo #8


11)  Right side (south side) dome of the photo #8


12)  We come to another foot-bridge ~~~
The taller plants around here are Kata Tjuta Wattle (Acacia Olgana) ... I think.


13)  The bridge here is the bridge at the centre of the previous pic


14)  Middle part of the previous pic ~~~
- The lower pic is the same scene taken 14 months ago in 2013-05 in the rain.


15)  Continuation to the left of the previous pic
ie Left side (north side dome) of photo #13


16)  Continuation to the right of photo #14
ie Right side (south side dome) of photo #13


17)  Going further forward we come to another foot-bridge (centre of the pic).
- The yellow arrow points to yet another foot-bridge ... a photo of it is in photo #18.


18)  I am standing on the foot-bridge pointed by the yellow arrow in the previous pic.


19)  Now standing at the end of the bridge of the previous pic ~~~
At this time, it is difficult to photograph the gorge:
- The colour of the sky should be navy blue. But in order to bring out the colour of the domes and the surrounding landscape which are in the shade, a slightly longer camera exposure time is required, resulting in the blue sky being washed out in the pic.
- To the right of the red dashes is part of the dome under the strong desert sun. Its colour is washed out too due to the longer exposure time.


20)  Middle part of the previous pic ~~~
- Red dashes: Refer to comments to the previous pic.
- Red oval: This is the pool in photo #22.


21)  Same scene as the previous pic, taken in 2013-05 in the rain at exactly the same spot as the previous pic.
- I am the guy in the lower pic.  Photographer is Ricky.


22)  The pool here is the red oval in photo #20.


23)  In the rain in 2013-05 (Photograph courtesy of Ricky) ~~~
I was crossing the stream of the previous pic ... there was a lot more water due to the rain.
I don't know why I bothered to put on a rain coat. The rain was so heavy that I was already soaked inside and out a long time ago.


24)  Getting close to the viewing platform ~~~
- The colour of the sky should be navy blue. But in order to bring out the colour of the cliffs and the surrounding landscape which are in the shade, a slightly longer camera exposure time is required, resulting in the blue sky being washed out in the pic.
- To the right of the red dashes is part of the cliff face under the strong desert sun. Its colour is washed out too due to the longer exposure time.


Walpa Gorge viewing platform

25)  The viewing platform is in front.
The platform is as far east as one is allowed to go. Further up the gorge is considered sacred to the aborigines.


26)  Beautiful scene of the gorge from the viewing platform


27)  At the viewing platform ~~~
The taller plants here are mostly Kata Tjuta Wattle (Acacia Olgana) ... I think.


28)  Me


29)  The 2 pics below were taken in the rain in 2013-05.
A rare sight of water pouring down the cliff faces of Walpa Gorge, and we have the good fortune to witness the scene !!!
- Upper pic: Ricky
- Lower pic: Photographed by Ricky ... Of all the pictures taken at the gorge, this one has to be one of the best.


30)  Still at the viewing platform ~~~
The cliff on the left side (north side) of the gorge ... ie continuation to the left of photo #27


31)  Still at the viewing platform and looking back at the track leading up to here


Leave Walpa Gorge viewing platform

32)  Off the viewing platform and on the way back to the car ~~~
This photo is taken not far from the viewing platform.


Flowers in Walpa Gorge

Flowers photographed along the way back to the car

33)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


34)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


35)  If you know the name of this flower, please let me know.


Return to carpark

36)  North side dome of Walpa Gorge


37)  Continuation to the left of the previous pic


38)  Retracing steps back to the car


39)  Cliff face of the south side dome


40)  The mountain range under the red bar is towards south-west-ish. If you know its name, please let me know. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

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