Travelling Australia - Journal 2013
June 2013

Daly River Conservation Area
location map
The Daly River Conservation Area, officially named the Daly River Esplanade Conservation Area, was established to protect part of the Douglas River and riverine wildlife. The reason for including 'esplanade' in the title is unclear, probably to give the impression of a place for casual strolling. Various Google sources define an esplanade as 'A flat open stretch of pavement or grass, especially one designed as a promenade along a shore'. This Conservation area is certainly suitable for walking along a river but it is not really flat, nor paved or much grassed.

The Conservation Area extends along the Daly River downstream from the Douglas-Daly Tourist Park which administers camping grounds along the river. Among the camping grounds some specific areas have been identified as particularly interesting. Some camping grounds can reached by 2WD vehicle but most are 4WD during the dry season. Access at all during the wet season is not certain.

Douglas River Paperbarks and River Pandanus lining one of many pools along the Douglas River.
Early in the dry season, towards the middle of June when this visit was made, the Daly River was still flowing strongly but the level was noticeably dropping. The section of the Daly River past the camping areas, over a distance of a bit more than two kilometres, was remarkably variable. Large waterholes lined with paperbarks and River Pandanus were common but there were also wetlands where the river flowed in separate streams flowing through paperbark forests with pandanus clumps along the more clearly defined waterways. In other sections water flowed through narrow multiple channels in rock; the area named The Arches was applied because the river flows under arches eroded in boulders of rock.

Daly River Conservation Area - page 2
Douglas River Douglas River flowing through rocky banks; there is a sandy beach to the left of the photograph.
Narrow Faster flowing section of the Daly river under over hanging River Pandanus.
Wetlands outflow