It had taken nearly two hours of climbing down cliffs and over rocks in now broken flip-flops to do the supposed 45-minute hike to Manning Gorge waterfall from our empty campsite about halfway along the Kimberley’s Gibb River Road. But it was worth it to dive into that pool. We had been assured there were only freshwater crocodiles in this gorge, and they don’t usually attack people unless it’s breeding season… which we were delighted to discover was in full swing. My girlfriend Fran and her fear of crocodiles – no matter what their water preference – took a little more persuasion to swim. My method here was faking knowledge. “Nah, it’s too rocky for crocs here, they prefer it swampy with mud where they can lay eggs and hide”, probably not true but she seemed to buy it enough to jump in. After an hour of somersaults and floating around in our inflated inner tube under the glistening waterfall the predicament of returning to camp began to prioritise itself. It would probably take us 90 minutes to walk back the way we came, but it was midday, blisteringly hot, and we were out of drinking water. Theoretically, swimming down the gorge should be a shorter route. The water would also keep us cool. It was a no brainer! There were a few boulders to climb over by the waterfall pool but after that, until the gorge wound around the corner, was several hundred metres of water. Floating down that in the inner tube would be a breeze and the scenery was unbelievable. Crystal water framed by sheer red cliffs that reached up to a cloudless sky where eagles pirouetted on the hot air flows. Despite the ropey situation spirits started quite high. But this mood changed rapidly when we reached the end of this stretch of water and were faced with more dangerously rocky terrain. This was also the first time the ‘shall we go back?’ debate cropped up, coupled with the increasingly worrying ‘are we sure we went the right way down the gorge?’ debate. The mood change accelerated down this route once we’d swam through the next much shorter stretch of water and encountered the much longer, more impassable stretch of boulders and ants nests. Neither of which are best tackled in broken flip-flops. Yet like a gambler chasing that one big win we plodded on under the blazing sun, not wanting to turn back in case the campground was around the next corner. By the third stretch of water I’d started to drink from the creek wherever it was running. Pushing Fran in the tube through the water, it was also here I looked behind and spotted the first beady-eyed crocodilian break the surface with his head and began effortlessly gliding behind us.
About The Author
TNT Magazine has been guiding independent travellers around the world for 35 years. Originally founded in 1983, TNT Magazine has been regarded by many as the youth travellers bible, offering a mix of inspiring travel content, news, lifestyle, fashion, jobs and accommodation. Our mantra is live life & travel which encompasses what we are all about. To live life to the full, and help young adults navigate the tribulations of working, living and experiencing adventure through travel. We have developed a great reputation throughout the world as an independent and trusted source of quality content and advice.
October 12, 2011
London diary: Stand Up For Shelter at Hammersmith Apollo on February 27, starring Tim Minchin and Jimmy Carr
February 22, 2013
March 27, 2012
June 26, 2009