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Lawn Hill National Park. (17 January 2011)

contributed by DerrickJessop
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Lawn Hill National Park There are other great walks along the gorge.

After being delayed a few times by the wet, we finally made it to Lawn Hill National Park, and it was well worth the effort.

Lawn Hill National Park The Lawn Hill National Park Headquarters is on the edge of the middle gorge. Camping is no longer allowed in this area, but Adels Grove is a great spot not too far out of the park. (See story of our visit to Lawn Hill).

After travelling through great swathes of savannah grassland and scrub we arrived at Adels Grove and set up camp before going on to the park.

Lawn Hill National Park The cliffs look to be of rounded red mud interspersed with river rocks.

In 2001 the fascilities were satill being developed but that didn't hinder our exloration which we began be walking along the upper cliffs.

Lawn Hill National Park Below the middle gorge the creek divides around an island stack and continues over cascades.

The gorge is formed by the Lawn Hill Creek which rises in the Northern Territory and continues on to the Gulf of Carpentaria, North of Burketown.

Lawn Hill National Park The dam stretches across the full width of the gorge.

It is fresh water, although mineralised and completely safe to swim in. The broad expance of the middle gorge ends up stream at a tufa dam that stretches across the width of the gorge.

Lawn Hill National Park The upper gorge, beyond the tufa dam is densely lined  with cycads and undergrowth.

Above the dam the water is edged by dense cycads, palms and thick undergrowth and disappears in a thick conglomeration of bushes, tree trunks, vines and undergrowth.

Lawn Hill National Park The dam is created by calcite forming around fallen debris.

There are other walks around the gorges, one of which leads under the cliffs to a rock face with rock art of a rainbow, faded but discernable.

The cliffs are a deep red and look as if they have been formed out of red mud. They are not shattered, but are rounded with river stones interspersed.

Lawn Hill National Park Here is a sample of the calcite deposit around a trunk that has rotted away.

The way to appreciate the gorge is by canoe. Canoeing is quite safe as thewater is calm and there are no 'nasties' in the water. After canoeing between the high gorge cliffs the tufa dam appears around the bend.

Lawn Hill National Park The lower gorge is a refuge for fresh water crocodiles and canoes are not allowed.

The dam is about 2 metres high and has been created by tree trunks and debris caught across the gorge and slowly covered by calcite and minerals from the water. These tufa dams appear in many places in the North of Australia.

Lawn Hill National Park A canoe trip up the middle gorge is a great way to go.

It is possible to canoe quite safely right up to the overflow and it is possible to see clearly how the dam has been formed.

Lawn Hill National Park The lower gorge gives way to open savannah country.

It is easy to manoeuvre a canoe over the dam and continue on in the upper gorge.

Lawn Hill National Park A walk around the cliff top is an ideal way to get to know the gorges. This is the middle gorge, great for canoeing.

The lower end of middle gorge divides around an 'Island Stack', a large high rise block of rock. On our visit the water flowed only around one side, but floods open up the other channel so making an island.

Down the cascades can be seen perfect examples of the calcite that covers the tree trunks and debris. One sample clearly shows where the tree trunk has rotted away leaving a tube through the mineral.

Lawn Hill National Park The upper gorge finishes with a thick tangle of trees, vines and undergrowth.

From on top of the relatively flat Island Stack a great view of the end of the lower gorge can be seen. The gorge gives way to open savannah land and Lawn Hill Creek disappears in the distance.

Lawn Hill National Park A tufa dam separates the middle and upper gorges.

All in all , Lawn Hill National Park, and especially its gorge is a wonderful oasis in a dry barren land.

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