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A wet weekend is forecast - so do we go camping? Yes - let's go overnight hiking as we need to practise walking/camping in wet weather for our upcoming trip to Tasmania where they have more rainy days than sunshine!

So Friday night saw us drive 3 hours in the rain to the northern section of Sundown National Park. After a quick dinner, it was to bed listening to the sound of rain on the tent. Saturday morning saw us pack up the tent in a light drizzle and drive along the 7.5km 4WD track into Red Rock Gorge camping area. This is where we left our car for 2 days.

A phone call to the park ranger a couple of weeks ago suggested we could cut cross-country to Mt Lofty from Red Rock as there had been a fire through a few months ago so the area wouldn't have too much growth.  Well, well, well.... obviously, he hasn't walked there recently.  The regrowth was taller than us and a machete would have been very handy (unfortunately not allowed in a national park!). 

Not happy walking through this. 

We eventually made it to the summit of Mt Lofty and found the summit marker.


A bit more bush bashing saw us reach the fire trail that would lead us to the Severn River.  It was very easy walking, mostly downhill, for the next 6.5kms with some nice views. And as a bonus, the weather was being kind with only a light occasional drizzle - not even enough for a rain jacket.



Dropping into the river it was now rock hopping and finding the best route to keep our feet dry. This was quite easy as the river level seemed low. 




We came across many large water holes and some spectacular gorge areas.



  Being spring, flowers were starting to bloom.



We lunched on a rock shelf at Nundubbermere Falls overlooking what would be a great place for a swim on a hot day, but with a light drizzle and 16 degrees, we decided against a swim.


Continuing down the river we passed red rock walls...


rocky river flats...


more water holes...


...and came across many beautiful grassy banks. At 4.30pm we set up camp at such a spot. 


A quick wash was appreciated (for getting clean - not the coldness of the water) before sitting down to a glass (cup) of wine and nuts pre-dinner.


The weather today had held nicely but now it was quite windy and cold so after dinner, it was into bed. 


During the night we could hear the wind howl down the river between the rock walls before eventually hitting our tent for a brief moment and then silence again. This went on for several hours but we woke to a still morning and no rain.

We set off at 7.30am continuing down the Severn River (which took on a different look to yesterday) to the junction of Red Rock Creek. 


We filled up our water bottles as we had read no water would be available up this creek.  It was now time for the hard part of the hike - uphill the rest of the way. It started out easy, just slight uphill and with several beautiful water holes (full of water!)....





 and rocky slabs to walk over....



....and lovely grassy spots which would make awesome campsites. 


We came across part of the old pump station used for tin mining.


Then the car (& truck) size boulders started and it was scrambling time. 


I was getting tired and every step was an effort. But now we could see the red cliffs of Red Rock Gorge and it was a magic place to be. 

We were now only 400m 'as the crow flies' from our car BUT we had to ascend a treed slope of 120+ metres to get there.  Firstly, we had lunch at this tree which was our exit point from the creek. 


Here we had a great view of Red Rock Gorge Falls whilst eating lunch.


It was then time for the ascent. Up, up and more up...


...before finally reaching the top of the escarpment where a short walk brought us to the Red Rock Gorge Lookout.  

Wow - beautiful - and we came from all the way down there!


Made it!

From here it was only 200m back to the car. We (well me, Kerrie) was exhausted, but it had been an awesome weekend of rocks, rivers, and scenic waterholes, all without the forecast rain.

Well now, that wasn't much practise for our Tassie trip!


Length of walk
    23km circuit approx. (Day 1 - 14km, Day 2 - 9km)
Time
    2 x 7 hour days, including morning tea and lunch breaks
Best Time to do
    Any time of year, great for swimming in summer. River rocks could be slippery in the wet.
Difficulty
    Hard. Skills and experience in off-track navigation using map and compass/GPS, scrambling and overnight hiking needed. 


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