Watarrka

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once a sandy seabed, now solid stone…

After leaving Uluru, I drove three hours northwest to Watarrka National Park – sacred to the Luritja and Arrente people. Here, the canyon oasis provides a year-round refuge for animals and birds, and, during deep droughts, for humans, too.

20220408_120612Traditionally, such places are usually reserved for non-human life, in support of the arid-region’s delicate species and systems. If humans overuse, or wrongly use, these waterholes, a great deal of desert life will be put at risk.

Apart from the dramatic upper cliffs of the main sandstone canyon, Watarrka is a relatively unassuming escarpment of rocky ranges and shallow gorges.

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To avoid the heat, I rose early to summit the canyon rim, while fresh sunlight warmed the cool morning with orange and yellow. The striking cliffs were beautiful to behold.

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Watarrka is home to 60 rare or relic plant species. With around 570 species of desert plants, it is regarded as a ‘living museum’. Notable are the ancient cycad palms and perennial rock pools. Nearly 100 bird species live here, too, as well as a variety of desert mammals, including herds of wild camels.

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Near the top of the canyon is a sacred twin-waterhole. The energies of this spring feel similar to those of Uluru – sinking deeply into the body, stilling the mind, and opening the heart.

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With the heart widening and opening, all of human travail, including mine, was laid bare. The impulse to deepen in meditation and understanding increased, and I was drawn beyond separation, fear, and mortality, prior to thoughts and mind, into the source of existence – freedom and love. Sitting beside this pool for a long while, it also became clear that this was the end-point of my present wanderings. And with this, I decided that in the morning, I would commence the journey ‘home’ to south-east Queensland, with one more stopover along the way…

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Also CLICK here for: Sacred Parks of Australia Page

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3 Responses to Watarrka

  1. Paul says:

    Beautiful photographs! You took me there for a refreshing respite…

    Like

  2. Sheila says:

    Just simply stunning and beyond words.

    Like

  3. mike says:

    thank you Stuart.
    i don’t remember being so struck by the beauty of your pictures before. these last few are amazing.
    at the very least your book of outback exploration will be a modern day guide for others wanting to explore Australia.
    mike

    Like

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