They say that what you don’t know won’t hurt you. Hmm. Maybe it should be rephrased as what you don’t know won’t scare you—at least not until you find out later. Our guide chose not to share the following information with us, which I found on the Australia Government Department of the Environment site long after I had returned home from my first Australia venture.
Some visitors choose to swim at their own risk, in selected natural plunge pools and gorge areas such as Gubara, Maguk, Jim Jim Falls, Gunlom, Jarrangbarnmi (Koolpin Gorge) and in creeks on the plateau above Twin Falls and Gunlom. These areas are surveyed for estuarine crocodiles prior to opening each dry season. There remains some risk that estuarine crocodiles may move into gorges and plunge pools during the dry season.
The next day after our arrival in the Jim Jim area, we hiked in to see Jim Jim Falls and the plunge pool (a deep pool created by the plunging waters of a waterfall). On the plus side, we didn’t get in the water until we reached the plunge pool. That government web site again:
- Visitors who choose to swim at the Jim Jim Falls plunge pool do so at their own risk. Please note the advice on our visitor safety page regarding crocodiles and all crocodile warning signs on site.
- Do not enter the water downstream of the Jim Jim Falls plunge pool. Estuarine crocodiles may be present.
Actually, the crocodile warning signs arrived after our visit—along with other changes that make the park more accessible to a larger number of tourists.
Oh, well, ignorance is bliss. We thought the only challenge was the house-sized boulders we had to climb over as we approached the sandstone walls that surround the plunge pool. And that cool, clear water was mighty refreshing after the long, hot hike/climb/scramble up the gorge.
The photos below are at the start of the hike in and about halfway through the hike out. I think they at least suggested how glorious the place is, and why we loved it so much. However, though we saw a lot more, I don’t have heaps of images from this hike, because once we reached the pool, I wasn’t thinking about photography, just getting into the water. (And to be honest, nearer the falls, both coming and going, photography seemed less important than concentrating on getting over those big boulders.)