Ormiston Gorge and the Ochre Pits.
Driving further west on Namatjira Drive you soon come across a sign that says Ochre Pits turn here! I remember the conversation was like this, “Do we want to turn off here and have a look?”,”not really”, “you sure?”, “yeah, don’t know”, “Well why don’t we have a quick look and see what it’s about, not likely coming down this road again in the near future”. So we turned off and had a look at the Ochre Pits. Very glad that we did because we enjoyed it. The small cliffs are several multi coloured layers of rock showing a wide range of colours. It was and is still used for ceremonies, trading with other clans, even used to protect weapons, click HEAR to find out how.
Layers upon layers of different coloured rock, it was quite stunning and one could imagine the shifts in colour during the day and the seasons.
Above is some plant trying to cling on in a very harsh environment. Some views below of the creek bed that runs through here.
The colours were even evident in the creek bed, see below.
Here we can see where it has been mined.
Another colourful photo! Or two or three!
There’s no point stopping somewhere without checking out the plant life!
Back in the Pajero and another 17 km’s and we have now arrived at Ormiston Gorge. We had hoped to camp here but the small camp ground was chock-a-block and the sun was on the way down, so we knew we had limited time here which was a shame. Another beautiful Gorge here in the West Macdonnell Ranges on a similar vein to Serpentine Gorge but quite possibly even prettier!
Perfect spot for a swim during the heat of the day, alas it was winter time! Some intriguing rock colour and formations below.
Of course the plant life here took up some of my time, below is the Long Leafed Corkwood, Hakea suberea , quite common in dry desert regions. This is a large shrub or small tree 3-8m in height with dark brown cork like bark. Beautiful flowers produced in winter-spring, 4-15cm in length.
See above the contorted and gnarly branches and the beautiful flowers below.
Another interesting plant was Wahlenbergia communis , the Tufted Blue Bell growing to 75cm on alluvial plains and intermittent watercourses plus run off area’s, often found in sandy soils as well. A wide-spread perennial in all mainland states.
Not a great photo below but a close-up nether the less.
Here’s some more rugged cliffs.
Did you notice the gum tree’s growing on the sides of these cliffs, not many but a few hanging on for dear life!
What about this view below, pretty special I reckon!
Or even these views…
Whichever direction you looked it looked pretty special!
Time to get moving the sun was sinking towards the western horizon and we needed to find a camp site. We continued on past Glen Helen Lodge until we found a track that drifted off the road into the scrub. Little did we know at the time but we had camped in front of Mt Sonder. This is one end of the Larapinta trail which runs for 223km to Alice Springs. The quietness out here was simply breathtaking or maybe blissful or mind-numbing. Might depend on your mood!
Below is looking across the valley
Time to get set up before the sun disappears!
Swags, fire and Tea!
Now for a bit of exploring! That means plant hunting really!
Now the plant below I’ve shown before, but here it is again in a pretty cool setting. Solanum quadriloculatum .
Plus a couple of close-ups of the flowers, sort of!
Here’s a couple of sunset type photos. Amazing how the rock changes colour according to the light.
Now to sit down and relax and enjoy the cool still silent evening…