Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Den of Nargun, Mitchell River National Park

I was a big fan of Patricia Wrightson's books when I was a kid. Her novels combined stories of kids in the 70's with Aboriginal mythology, creating fascinating - and sometimes terrifying - tales of adventure. 
The Nargun was one legend that had me scared silly. The story of the half human/half stone creature that ate children at a waterhole, and threw weapons back at people, was possibly a bit TMI for my younger self and I never forgot it.
Patricia Wrightson

Fast forward to 2015 and I found myself driving for miles and miles and miles down a dirt road in East Gippsland, to visit the Den of Nargun.

We arrived at a carpark with toilets and a picnic area and I was glad to find there was a large group of people there. At least we weren't alone... *gulp*
We set off down the signposted track on our 20 minute walk. The track was wide and easy to navigate, the birds were singing,  the sun was shining, and the place didn't seem so scary, after all.
Den of Nargun

The trail took us down into a valley and the wide flat path soon turned into a narrow goat track on the side of a rocky ridge. We walked for ages. And ages. Then we met some other visitors coming up the path. 
"Are we there yet?" we asked, hopefully. 
"Halfway" they said, "but it's worth it."
We plodded along...
Den of Nargun

I found a rocky map of Australia at my feet. Maybe the Nargun put it there...
Den of Nargun

The track became less of a track and more like a bunch of rocks to be clambered over...
Den of Nargun I caught glimpses of blue sky above the high rocky ridge, but the sun struggled to filter through the dense foliage of the rainforest as we went further down the track.
Den of Nargun

The forest floor was green and damp and I was happy to find a few fungi along the way.
You know I love my fungi photos, right?
Den of Nargun

Finally, we could hear the sound of running water. It sounded just like Wrightson had described it, in "The Nargun and the Stars".
Den of Nargun
It was not scary at all. It was actually very peaceful and I imagine this would have been a beautiful place to meet, bathe, swim and relax in the shade of the trees.
Den of Nargun

We sat on some rocks for about 20 minutes and listened to the sounds of the water flowing, before beginning our climb back up the gorge to the carpark.
It was a great experience and I now have fond memories of the place, rather than darker recollections. 
I can't wait for our kidlets to read the book when they're a bit older and maybe revisit the Den Of Nargun in a few years time. 
Den of Nargun

What: Den of Nargun  
Where: Wallers Rd, Iguana Creek
When:  Daily
Why: Cultural significance, nature
How Much: FREE

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