Kimberley Capers…Kununurra

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Sunday, October 2, 2011

We latched the gate shut as we drove out of Mabel Downs Station and continued our journey north through Turkey Creek. It was here that Rod's phone came back into range and we got the sad news that our dear friend Howie had lost his battle with cancer, passing away in the early hours of that morning (September 21).

Howie was a great mate to so many, he had the most positive attitude and happy disposition; you just couldn’t help but smile in his presence.  Our hearts go out to his family, his courageous partner and his young son.  We miss him so much and feel so very privileged that we had him in our lives. We’d like to thank everyone for their hospitality and support whilst we were in Adelaide for Howie’s funeral.

Back in Kununurra with very heavy hearts, our days were spent exploring the local area.  We stayed at a park located on the edge of Lily Lagoon.  We delighted in the regular visits from the resident Water Monitor lizard.  Whilst we appreciated our shaded site the payoff was the loud thump on our roof throughout the night of nuts dropping from the tree branches above!  In the late afternoon we finished each day with a cooling swim and sundowner watching the intense orange sunset over Lily Lagoon.

Kununurra is a tropical oasis and is surrounded by lush farmland and beautiful mountain ranges.  It was in stark contrast to the landscapes we had recently traversed.  The spinifex plains parched from the dry replaced with irrigated crops all looking so strong and healthy.

We did a pleasant walk through Mirima National Park.  Located on the outskirts of town, this park is said to be a mini Bungle Bungles.  With dome like structures not dissimilar in makeup and colours to what we had admired at Purnululu National Park we could understand why.  We climbed up to the top of the range and were rewarded with stunning views over the park and surrounding farmland.

The Ivanhoe Crossing, located a short distance from town on the Lower Ord River, is a concrete causeway which used to form part of the original road from Wyndham to Katherine.  Now it is more of a recreational area and with a healthy volume of water cascading over the causeway it is a stunning sight.  Whilst there are crocodile warnings posted, every keen fisherman that visits Kununurra wets their fishing rod there.  Rod was no exception and caught the luckiest fish of the day, kissing it and sending it promptly back on its way.

With the Bungle Bungles being such a unique phenomenon we took the opportunity see them from the air with a scenic flight which also took in Lake Argyle, the Diamond Mine, a couple of cattle stations and some amazing mountain ranges en-route.  It also gave us the opportunity to see the Kununurra area from a different perspective. The surrounding farmland looking like a patchwork quilt with the variety of crops displaying different textures and depths of colour, it was quite a spectacle. Rod once again stepped up as co-pilot and was lucky to have an instructor as a pilot. He was keen to impart his knowledge and so Rod got his first flying lesson!

Whilst it was a wonderful experience, next time we decide to do a scenic flight we must remember  that I actually don’t fare well in small planes, turning a paler shade of white than usual before going green and longing for the plane to land!  No more scenic flights for me!!!!

We enjoyed a day exploring the Wyndham area.  Our first stop was at a waterhole named The Grotto.  We could see where the water would be gushing down the rock faces in the wet and whilst there was no water flowing when we visited we climbed down the one hundred and forty steps to the base and found a brilliant waterhole.  With the water now stagnant we wouldn’t entertain the thought of taking a dip, we could however understand why it is so popular at the right time of year.  We were captivated by two Water Monitor lizards, one sunbaking on the rocks and the other taking a swim.

At Wyndham we took a drive around the port, the main street looking more like something out of an old movie set than a port town. We ventured up to the Five Rivers Lookout and admired the sweeping views over the Cambridge Gulf.  From the top of this hill you can usually see five rivers all running into the Gulf, however with the ever present bush fires the smoke haze was thick and visibility low.

After stopping for the obligatory photos with the large crocodile (twenty metres long), we headed out along Parry Creek Road to the Marlgu Billabong.  Along this gravel road we were quite surprised when we came upon Telegraph Hill. Here there were ruins of an old Telegraph Station which assisted shipping activities during World War One.  We just can’t imagine how isolated this post must have been back then.  From the hill we had sweeping views over Marglu Billibong.

It was such a pretty spot.  There were water lilies of pink and white decorating the water’s surface.  It was here we got to see our first Jabiru, the long red legs, striking black beak and mass of blue feathers had us enthralled.  There was a large variety of birds all hunting harmoniously side by side; the billabong was a hive of activity and yet so tranquil.  We had the place to ourselves and could have sat and watched for hours only it was Grand Final day and with Rod’s beloved Manly playing it was imperative we got back to camp in time for kick off.

Surveying the map we decided to take the Old Halls Creek Road back to the highway rather than back track.  What an adventure we had… The term road has been used far too liberally for this was nothing more than an old track.  The road was built in 1894 and we could see hand laid pavement stones along the track.  We don’t think it has had much maintenance since then!  At times the grass on either side of the road was taller than the Navara.  We drove over old cement creek crossings, for the most part dry thank goodness.  There was even a winch attached to a tree near a creek crossing which had deep sand; this did not add to our confidence.  At points the road forked with no indication as to which was the Old Halls Creek Road, finally after shake, rattle and rolling our way along we were back on the highway and back at our camp in time to watch the mighty Seaeagles claim another victory.

The build up to the wet was starting.  It was humid in Kununurra, coupled with the temperature hitting the high thirties every day, we were grateful for the swimming pool and our air-conditioning!

Highlights of Kununurra:

-          The Grotto

-          Marlgu Billabong

-          Old Halls Creek Road – track!

-          Scenic flight over the Bungle Bungles – despite the consequences!

-          Rod catching another fish!
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Kaz on

The best team lost - Go Warriors!!!

Michelle Voudouris "Malaka" on

Miss you both dearly, love that you're having a ball and love reading your blogs :)

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