Walking at Ormiston Gorge
2. Ormiston Pound Walk
The 3-4 hour Ormiston Pound walk completes a full circuit from the Visitor Centre, meandering around scenic slopes, dropping into the mind-boggling expanse of the Ormiston Pound and returning along Ormiston Gorge via the main waterhole. The walk is best done in an anti clockwise direction - the impact of the coming into the pound is heightened. The walk cuts through a diverse geology from limestone, to quartzite and granite. This diversity of geology also mean that you travel through a diverse range of habitats from rocky, Spinifex covered hills to tree lined, rich creeklines.
As you walk keep in mind you are covering some of the territory of the elusive, rare Central Rock-rat. The name conjures up images of a typical rat but this species is a unique Australia Rock-rat and is only vaguely similar to true rats. Thought to be extinct, this small rodent suddenly reappeared after a 50 year absence only a few years ago. During the first decade of the twenty first century, it once again disappeared only to reappear in fauna surveys in mid 2010. This continual disappearance during low rainfall years illustrates the dramatic rise and fall of small mammal populations across inland Australia. When the country experiences abundant summer rainfall these species can also become common but plummet once again after typical rainfall patterns return. Much of the Pound Walk is prime Central Rock-rat habitat but because the animal is nocturnal your chances of spotting one is limited.
Keep a lookout for waterbirds along the scattered waterholes inside Ormiston Gorge. The rocky, granite area in the middle of the Pound is a great spot to see the Spinifex Pigeon and the small Military Dragon. Wedge-tailed Eagles (Australia's largest flying bird - the Emu is our largest but he only manages to walk!) is often spotted flying high along the edges of the surround ranges.
Remember that much of this walk is unshaded so wear a shady hat, sunscreen and suitable clothing and footwear. This walk is best done in the early morning.
Remember that after high rainfall there can be extensive waterholes throughout the Ormiston Gorge that may require you to swim or wade through.