Day 35 – Tuesday, 28 June 2022 

Today we headed out bright and early to visit Litchfield National Park. We could find very little information on the park and what is in it, which is extremely disappointing. Even the signs at the entry into the park give you very little to go on once we got there. Even when you visit the website there is no information in detail to help you plan your day’s travel. 

We turned off the Stuart Highway onto the Cox Peninsula Road at 9:27am and the temperature was 24 degrees but expected to reach 30 degrees by the end of the day. 

School times for Safety Crossings in the NT start at 7am and go until 5pm, which means if you pass a school on a school day you have to slow down to 40kph. 

Shortly after we turned off the highway it started to sprinkle with rain, enough that the windscreen wipers needed to be turned on several times. 

We pulled in and stopped at Wangi Falls without knowing much about it. There is a big café there that sells coffee and ice-creams. 

We followed that pathway from the car park, and it took us to a viewing platform of the twin waterfalls. The pool is not opened for swimming as yet as there may still be crocodiles about after the wet season. 

We spent quite a bit of time at the platform. Russ took along the tripod for his camera, and he had both the zoom and short lens, and I had a zoom and prime lens. 

We were lucky enough to get some good shots of the falls, but also some pictures of the orb spiders, rainbow bee eaters and a double winged reddish-brown dragonfly. 

It was very humid, and Russ was now fighting a headache, so we had our lunch in the car with the air conditioner going.  

We headed further into the park and saw signposts to other places but on this journey, we only stopped at the Magnetic Termite Mounds which was quite fascinating. We will need to go back several times in order to see everything that is of interest to us. 

We turned towards Batchelor and home (the long way) and came across the sign for Zebra Rock. I have this on the schedule when we get to Kununurra, but apparently the mine there is now closed to the public, so we detoured and stopped for a look.  

The world of rocks and minerals has many puzzling and interesting areas for exploration but only a few of them have caused as much bewilderment as a mysterious rock type found in the Kununurra district of Western Australia. The Rock is known as Zebra Rock. 

Zebra Rock is a very attractive fine-grained siliceous argillite (indurate siltstone or clay stone) with rhythmic patterns of red bands or spots contrasting sharply with a white background. 

As yet, it is not known how the rhythmic and regular patterns were formed, but it is known that the red portions are coloured by ferric (iron) oxide. 

Geologists have investigated Zebra Rock for the past 40 years without producing any valid explanation for its origin. It is realised that the rock poses an interesting problem of genesis. 

The origins of the rock may be based on one or more of the following explanations: 

• Ripple patterns imposed on the rock during the deposition of sediment. 
• Slump structure formed while the rock was still in a plastic state prior to solidification. 
• Selective leaching and reconcentration of iron oxides and silica. 

The age of Zebra Rock has been placed at 600 million years in the Upper Proterozoic era or Pre-Cambrian period. 

The only known deposits of Zebra Rock in the world have been found near Kununurra in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. The deposits are found in small reef outcrops of stratified claystone or shale in the Ranford Formation. 

Digging is difficult because of the shale surrounding of the reef. The best implements to use for the extraction of the rock are crowbars and picks. 

The Zebra Rock is not found throughout the whole reef but in small individual reefs, which are spasmodically placed within the major reef. Individual pieces of Zebra Rock may appear as brown stone without any apparent patterns but when they are cut with a diamond saw they may show one of the many Zebra patterns. 

Most of the Zebra Rock can be cut with a hacksaw but a diamond saw does a better job and is more economical from a commercial point of view. 

Zebra Stone varies in hardness and quality, depending on the site from which it is taken. Some types are very porous and chalky with visible pitting faults and in different patterns whilst other specimens are dense with sharply defined rhythmical patterns. 

The Rock is a fine collector’s item and has many beautiful rhythmic patterns, which vary considerably, but the rock is too soft to polish. The rock is simply rubbed back with sandpaper, then left or sprayed with a clear lacquer to give a “wet look”. 

I bought a pair of earrings! 

There was a brief shower of rain as we were going through Acacia before we turned onto Rum Jungle Road (you gotta love some of the names!) 

Rum Jungle is a locality in the Northern Territory of Australia located about 105 kilometres south of Darwin on the East Branch of the Finniss River. It is the site of a uranium deposit, found in 1949, which has been mined.  

The area derives its name from an incident when a thief stole 750 ounces of gold from miners after getting them drunk with rum.  

The GPS tracking for today was very interesting also. We began our trip from Humpty Doo at 34 metres above sea level. We descended to 18 metres at Tumbling Waters on the way to Litchfield NP, and climber to 225 metres just before the Tolmer Falls Lookout (a trip for another day). 

We were supposed to be going out for the smorgasbord tea at the Darwin Turf Club tonight with Kaye and Bruce, but Kaye has come down with Bruce’s cold, so it was cancelled. 

While Russ napped, I rang and made an appointment for both of us for our chiropractic maintenance visit with Dr Steve.