Rod and Cornie left early to explore Kalamina Gorge. Marg and I stayed back at the camp for a late breakfast instead. After brekky we followed the trail through the scrub to the Joffre Gorge Lookout, about 500m from our campsite. Joffre Gorge is deep, with sheer cliff faces on either side. At one end is a natural amphitheatre. A waterfall zig-zags its way across the jagged rock face and into the plunge pool below. From our lookout we could see a viewing platform on the far side of the gorge.
When Rod and Cornie returned from their Kalamina adventure, we all drove around to the Joffre Gorge viewing platform. Just as we were leaving the Eco Retreat, a dingo stepped out in front of our car. We stopped for photos as it slowly ambled across the road in front of us and trotted off into the scrub.
Basking in the warm stones alongside the steps leading down to the Joffre Gorge viewing platform was a king brown snake, a highly venomous reptile also sometimes known as a mulga snake. It was a couple of metres away and took no interest in us as we walked past it.
The viewing platform offered fantastic views of the waterfall and the pool below. Quite a few people were climbing down the ladders and enjoying a swim in the pool.
Knox Gorge was just a short drive away. The viewing platform at the lookout was closed due to shifting rocks after recent heavy rains. While we were standing nearby it made creaking noises, so we were grateful that park rangers had closed access to it. It would have been quite scary to be standing on it perched over the gorge and hear those noises. Despite the viewing platform closure, we were able to get close enough to get some pretty good views down both sides of the gorge anyway.
We followed an unsealed road to the Weano Gorge carpark on the western side of the national park. It was a shaky ride in places, but Rod handled the drive well. We ate lunch, then Rod and Cornie set off to do a couple of Class 5 walks into the Handrail Pool and Hancock Gorge. Marg and I first walked to the Oxer Lookout with views down Weano Gorge to our left and Hancock Gorge to our right. Sadly, a cross had been erected by the lookout in remembrance of a brave man named Jimmy Regan who had lost his life trying to save another in this place. Once again, access to the viewing platform here was out of bounds due to shifting rocks. But once again, there were places nearby from which to look down into the gorges.
Marg and I took the Upper Weano Gorge Trail, which is Class 4 along the ridge at the top of the gorge. We scrambled down a rocky path to descend into the gorge, then followed a creek surrounded by high cliffs on both sides. Walking through the gorge was not too difficult and we handled it pretty easily. It was really quiet and peaceful down there and we only passed a couple of groups heading in the other direction. Eventually we came to steps that offered us a fairly easy ascent back to the car park.
Rod and Cornie returned from their challenging walks about an hour after we finished our walk. We headed back to the campsite.