Col's Big Trip (2) Final of Finke Tk + More.


Well-Known Member
Hi all,

This report starts where I had just spent the night at Boggy Hole on the Finke River.

The next day I continued my journey north along the Finke River. The river was named in 1860 by John McDouall Stuart (one of the great Aussie explorers) he named it after one of the promoters of his many expeditions, William Finke. The indigenous name for the river is Larapinta.

The early morning sun lighting up the cliffs and other scenes along it’s course had me frequently stopping to photograph, admire and absorb the vibe from this sensational part of central Australia.

The Finke runs for around 600km and ends roughly near the western edge of the Simpson Desert. As I have shown you it is usually just a string of waterholes, it can however become a raging torrent during rare flood events. On those extreme occasions water can flow into the Macumba River and then into Lake Eyre, a total distance from its headwaters of around 750km.

Another waterhole I passed along the way, the calm morning allowed for more brilliant reflections.

The Finke River has long been referred to as "the oldest river in the world” and once drained Australia’s ancient inland seas. In places such as the James Range, the Finke has a deeply cut meandering course. This only happens on flat plains, therefore the river must have formed before the local ranges were pushed up; that event happened between 300 and 400 million years ago.

We know for certain it has followed the exact same course for the past 15 to 20 million years and generally flowed along the same path for approx.100 million years. Amazingly in parts it’s path is believed to date back 340 million years, well before the time of dinosaurs!!!

Even after I had left the National Park the scenery was still brilliant.

After hitting the bitumen my next destination was Birthday Waterhole where I intended to camp that night. It is located on the Hugh River in the West MacDonnell Range National Park west of Alice Springs along the Namatjira Drive.

At the start of the track there is another notice board explaining what to expect.

As with the Finke, the Hugh River is almost always dry.

Birthday Waterhole still held some water which I was pleased to see, I pitched my tent to secure the best position (just in case) took a quick pic and then drove further on to explore the Hugh River Gorge.

The Gorge itself was made up of a number of narrow sections where the increased water flow during rain events had created the occasional waterhole, in sheltered spots there were even the odd Cycad growing.

Once back at camp I was in for another swim, how could you not take advantage of such a picturesque spot.

This is a White-necked Heron that wanted to share the waterhole with me, plenty of tucker there for him/her for as the quantity of water slowly decreased the small fish there were becoming more concentrated and easier to catch.



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With a bit of light still left I strolled around the immediate vicinity taking in the ambience of this delightful camp spot.

Some night pics of the stars above my camp that night.

On my way to the Alice the next morning to restock before I ventured west through the deserts and more remote country.

There is so much to see in the immediate vicinity of Alice Springs but all of that I had previously seen so the only thing I will show you is Flynns Memorial, as the sun was is in a perfect position to photograph it.

John Flynn was a christian minister who devoted his life to improving the lives and health of others. He was responsible for starting what became the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the worlds first flying ambulance service. He was a truly truly great Australian and worthy of far more reading about than what I can provide here.

Once I had stocked up with some tucker and fuel I left civilisation and entered the remote desert regions that stretch for well over a thousand kilometres to the west.

The Gary Junction Road (that I was on) along with many other remote roads/tracks across outback Australia where first surveyed and then built by Len Beadell and “The Gunbarrel Road Construction Party”. He bestowed that name on a team of road builders in 1955 that he led.

Over a period of eight years, he and the GRCP built more than 6,500 kilometres of dirt roads in remote areas of central Australia for the Weapons Research Establishment based at Woomera.

Along those roads at significant locations or intersections, he placed plaques to permanently mark those points.

And another, showing the country that I was now in.

Obtaining fuel in these vast and remote regions is one you have to constantly think about. At Kintore about 10 ks south of the main road I knew they sold fuel but driving around I wasn’t able to see where from so I enquired at their store and was surprised to be told that I was parked about 5 metres from the pump!!, this is it.

A piece of art in the main street and a pic of their local footy ground, not much grass grows out there so grazed knees are all the go on game day!!

This plaque is on the Northern Territory Western Australia’s border, note the change of condition and type of road service. At that remote spot W.A. was streets ahead of the N.T. with their maintenance regime.

A short distance from there is Mt Tietkens where I camped that night.

William Tietkens was second in command on two of Earnest Giles explorations across outback Australia in the 1870 and 1880s. Later on he became a surveyor, prospector and explorer himself.


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Wildflowers and a couple of termite mounds near the base of Mt Tietkens.

As we come to the end of this report, here is the sunset and a pre dawn shot of a new moon with Venus just below it that I experienced whilst there.

That’s where this one ends, plenty more to come.

For continuation of this series of reports, you can view the next one (3rd) in the WA section, when posted.



Great report Col. I was at Boggy Hole in July.... great camp spot and certainly an "interesting" drive from top to bottom. Great place to get away from the crowds.


4x4 Earth Contributer
Good stuff. The photos, the history, etc., is one way to see places just sitting in front of a computer.:).


Well-Known Member
Geezzz, these pis'c make me want ta throw some gear in the patrol and
head out there.
Thanks for taking the time to share.


Well-Known Member
So much to show you all, this trip just gets better and better as you will see.
Glad your all enjoying the reports.