A Walk to Mataranka Falls


Don’t ever change your ways

Fall with me for a million days

Oh, my waterfall Waterfall

Don’t ever change your ways

Fall with me for a million days

Oh, my waterfall

Jimi Hendrix » May This Be Love (Waterfall)

Well Julie has given it away now! I like to take photos and am prepared to go to some extremes to get a better one. Then Gemma lets everyone know that it must be genetic because Simon is just as bad at losing things while chasing images. Actually, I think it must be nurture not nature because I started photographing with a Kodak Box Brownie at the age of 12 because my father wouldn’t and my mothers pictures always had the heads cutoff. Simon just likes to take photographs too.

Most of the landscape pictures shown so far have been taken in the “golden light” time half an hour before sunrise but on our last day here I decided to do the walk to from 12 Mile Yards to Mataranka Falls. I have previously photographed the odd waterfall – oops it slipped in!

Gary and Julie at Victoria Falls in 2004

In Australia with a mature (i.e. read old and flat) landscape you don’t expect big waterfalls, but I had a free afternoon so set out to drive the eighteen Km to the start of the 4km walking track to the falls on the Roper River. I left at 1.30 with the temperature 32 degrees C and getting hotter. A lot of the path was through thick sand and the rest rocky and undulating but I strode out the distance in 50 minutes, resisting the temptation to photograph the fairly impressive emerald-green river so I could spend more time at the falls. Here they are.


Geologically interesting (the high calcium content of the water deposits on obstructions like logs) but not scenically impressive by world standards

The river with its beautiful colour and the tropical vegetation were much more picturesque so I clicked away, trying to overcome the handicap of photographing landscapes in the “worst light” – the harsh, contrasty overhead light of midday – afternoon. Here is a sample.

The walk back was even hotter but a pontoon in the river provided the opportunity for a wonderful swim before driving back to camp to pack for the morrow’s drive to next stop Darwin


This tropical vegetation surrounds the Roper River in many ways – the banks, the reflections and the submerged trunks and branches left by last years floods.


7 thoughts on “A Walk to Mataranka Falls

  1. Hi Gary and Julie,
    Have just got back from our trip to QLD. Have enjoyed reading your blog. We have lovely memories of Mataranka. Are you doing Kakadu and Litchfield this trip?
    I sympathise with you in the heat and humidity in Darwin, even in July! Bob and I used to go out sight seeing early in the mornings and then find an air-conditioned shopping centre or museum in the afternoons. That experience convinced us to seriously think about air-conditioning in the van. Within ten minutes of setting up the van at the caravan park in Darwin on a hot and steamy day I joined an aqua aerobics group in the caravan park pool as an excuse to cool off. I found it quite enjoyable and kept going to the group over the next ten days and met some lovely people!

    • Hi Jeanette – so pleased that you have been enjoying the blog. I do enjoy replecting on what we have done, choosing and images and quotes but especially hearing from people who read and respond. Interesting – Julie didn’t think we needed air conditioning, but your experience caused my to over rule in the matter – the second night here, the air stayed on all night, despite the noise (in the van – it’s actually not noisy outside). It was cooler last night but still didn’t need even a sheet until just before dawn. We planned Lichfield, but that didn’t work out (major fatal accident on Stuart Hwy between road train & ute – road train won). Tonight we go to the markets, Friday barramundi on the wharf, then to Katherine. No Kakadu this time either – been there, done that (31 years ago!) the emphasis this trip is the top end to Broome and then down the West Coast to Esperance. Stay in touch and tell Bob we are always remembering you both

      • Was it the Mindi Markets you went to? Did you see the Roadkill stand? I think I had possum kebabs. There was quite a choice! Bob wasn’t quite as adventurous as I was.
        We went on the three gorge cruise at Katherine and got to see a “freshy” sunbaking right at the end of the third one. I think a helicopter ride over the gorge would be great.
        Our van is now up at Londonderry having major repairs done. A red P plater ran into the back of us as we were waiting to turn right at Ballina. His car was a write off (an old Camry) but fortunately our van was still roadworthy. We were very blessed in that we were only 500 metres from Frank’s 4 wheel drive shop so, still in a state of shock, we drove there and he and one of his mechanics bashed the corner out of our van and taped it up with plastic. We were able to continue on our trip north in our water-proofed but somewhat sad looking van.

      • Sorry to hear about the van accident – first Fred and then you, it’s a good thing I am not superstitious about threes! I imagine Bob found it all a bit difficult, I know I would have. Yes it was the beach market – there must have been 10,000 people there! I will put a blog post up about it this afternoon. We are having fish and chips with the Wrights on the wharf tonight. We did the Katherine Gorge tour 31 years ago and probably saw the same freshie, just much smaller. We will have a swim at the gorge and maybe get up to to Edith Falls. Jono has recommended a church in Katherine for Sunday. Monday we head for Victoria crossing

  2. Bob was remarkably good after the accident. He would have been a lot worse if it had been his fault! It helped of course that we could continue on our trip.We actually felt sorry for the lad. He was devastated.
    Did you know you can camp at Edith Falls? Not sure if there is power, but I took a mental note that we should stay there if ever we travelled that way again. Suitable for vans. Lovely spot. The walk was very pleasant (early, before the heat!).
    Have you invested in a fan? We found that really helped at night. We bought the last one on the shelf at K Mart, Darwin. We guessed that the rest of them had been bought by caravanners like us who had been surprised by the heat.

    • Thanks for the tip about the Edith Falls. We have actually booked to stay at the Big Four just out of town on the Gorge road because we intend to go to the Baptist church in Katherine where Jpno knows someone who has had some success developing a leadership group within the aboriginal men that is working quite well and independently – sounds encouraging. At the moment the plan is to have a look at the gorge Saturday afternoon and Edith Falls Sunday afternoon. Not only hot for walking but terrible light for landscape photography

      • Went to Edith Falls – Julie’s first real bush walk effort was the 2.6 moderate difficulty loop up to the upper falls – great spot for a swim because the first 500 metres is a hard climb. I have some photos I will try to post in a blog some time

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s