..... Tuesday 28th December 2010
The journey to Kununurra, which is the border town of Western Australia and the gateway to the Kimberley's, was absolutely incredible. The views were spectacular in every direction, amazing rock formations loomed over us and then appeared like a wall in front of us. For miles these fascinating rocks followed our route. They have an interesting wall effect that runs just below the top of each range...like someone has built a big wall round all of them. If it had been in any country other than Australia you would think it was manmade.
The Border to Western Australia involves going through a quarantine check point, they are looking for fruit and veg, cane toads, honey, soil, seeds and plants... if you had any of these on you had to give them up. We had a few onions and potatoes which we declared but she still had to come in to the van to check and found Gary’s stash of unshelled nuts.....she confiscated the walnuts!! He was convinced that walnut must have been her favourite and that was why she took them.... there was no consoling him.
Back on the road and breathtaking doesn’t even come close to describing how unbelievably beautiful this part of the country is , every corner we go round it gets more and more amazing..I am running out of adjectives I may have to make some words up. As we enter Western Australia we have noticed some strange looking trees, Boab trees that look like wine bottles with branches or quart pots...very odd looking trees that are only found in this corner of Oz.
Weather Hot & Sunny 38 degrees
We arrive in Kununurra and check into a Big4 that is on Kununurra Lake. The view of the lake is fantastic and sunset was to die for, but the campsite is a bit tatty and they squashed us all into one area although the place was almost empty. It didn’t help we were both tired and very hot, I am not sure the four days in A/C has helped with our temperature gauge as we are struggling with the heat again. An early night will help...mind you it really was early as we are now one and half hours backward again so although it felt like 9pm to us it was actually 7.30pm in WA. There was a little owl (a Tawny Frogmouth) sitting on the wheel of the caravan next to us apparently he had been living there for six months, sleeping during the day and flying out each evening....good job they didn’t move their caravan very often. Wednesday 29th December 2010
Got up and booked out the campsite, it was a lovely setting but it didn’t feel comfortable. We drove to the information centre and got the lowdown on the local area. We decided to take a drive out to Argyle Lake and the dam one of the settings for the film Australia with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Kununurra was the main location for the film and the stars all rented property in the town during the filming. We drove passed more breathtaking views and marvelled at how lovely this whole area is. The lake was amazing, the largest manmade lake in the southern hemisphere and we were able to drive over the dam and along the bottom of it which was awesome. We had lunch in the park at the base and then drove back to town.
We are booking into another Big4 which has a five star rating but was closed yesterday. We were met by a very enthusiastic gentleman who took us on a tour of the campsite in his golf buggy before showing us to our site. We set up the awning and fly nets and then went for a dip in the pool, which was very cool and we left almost chilly. However at 41 degrees that feeling didn’t last long. Dinner was fajita and once the washing up was done we settled down for the evening. Thursday 30th December 2010
We had been recommended to visit the Ivanhoe Crossing, again it featured in the movie Australia but more interestingly it use to be the main road to Darwin. We were amazed by what we saw, I have never seen anything like it in my life. The whole road is a river, slightly raised so only four wheel drives can go through. It was fascinating to watch and luckily for us a 4x4 was coming through it just as we arrived. Another car turned up and we got chatting to the couple in it, they had a 4x4 and were contemplating driving over it. He even waded out to see how deep it was but it was too slippery underfoot so came back. A family turned up also in a 4x4 and after a lot of deliberating they all made decision to go for it.....well you only get to drive over something like this once in your life (unless you live here of course). They had offered to take us over and bring us back but they weren’t going to come straight back so we declined and waved them off from the bank of the river. They both made it with lots of cheering and waving from the other side. It was a good job we did decline the lift as the park wardens came down and closed the gate...they were the last ones to go over for the day. We asked the warden (who looked like Jaba the Hut) how they were going to get back and was told that there is a 7km road that goes round the river. We then asked why they were closing the crossing, and he told us that the rain was coming which would raise the level of the river so they need to open the dam gates which will flood this whole area. We got back in the van and moved away quickly.
We couldn’t believe our luck that not only have we been able to see the crossing in its full glory but also to see cars going over it. Our next stop was meant to be Kelly’s Knob lookout but the rain had started falling and the visibility was really bad so we didn’t see much point in going up. So it’s goodbye to Kununurra as we start the long drive over to Broome. The drive was once again filled with fantastic scenery and once the rain stopped and the sun came out it was a really pleasant drive. We had to stop for cows on the road, it was birds (brolga) on the road on the way to Kununurra, but at least the cows moooved over when you get close to them.
Weather Cool Windy 32 degrees
We only stopped to eat our egg mayo sandwiches and fill up with petrol and arrived in Halls Creek by 4pm. Halls Creek is a fairly big town, it’s the nearest town to Wolf Creek which has one of the world’s biggest craters and the setting of a horror film about three backpackers who broke down and were helped out by a psycho murder... which left us a little nervous especially it was based on true events. The campsite was very friendly, clean and tidy and for once it was a nice cool evening.Friday 31st December 2010
We have a long journey today as we are do the rest of the journey to Broome in one go. We were recommended a really good website by the receptionist back in Darwin that gives you Cyclone warnings for all of Australia http://www.bom.gov.au/cyclone/
and I have been making sure I check it every couple of days as it is Cyclone season here. I had already logged off when I remembered and very nearly didn’t bother to log back on it but couldn’t believe what I saw when I did. There was a cyclone right over Broome, decision time do we wait and see where it heads or do we just go for it.... we went for it. We got up straight away and were on the road by 7am, stopping first for petrol and ice. The ice was for the seven bottles of cider and box of wine ready for this evening.
The scenery was in the shadow of the rest of the area, although some bits where lovely the landscape was a lot dryer and more barren. There were a lot more cows in the road, we had to slow right down when a little calf changed his mind halfway across the road and skipped back to his mum. We had a couple of monitor lizards too, one lazily plodding across the road and other one some Aborigines in the car in front of us ran over and then stopped the car to go back for it.....apparently they make great soup. I think they were worried we wanted the lizard too as we also slowed down but only to pull into a rest area. The highlight of the day was a family of kangaroo’s that came bounding over the road....don’t worry we didn’t hit them. We have killed three small birds though, one just ran at us in the road....suicidal, two just sat in the road and didn’t move...very sad. The other thing we have killed hundreds of is grasshoppers...now there is a really stupid creature. Leaps tall buildings in a single bound with no idea where it is going, they all sunbath on the road and then jump at the van to escape......Gary is fed up with cleaning grasshopper brains off the windscreen.
News on the road is the Cyclone is still heading for Broome, a local lady told us to get there as fast as we can before it arrives. However when we got signal gain and checked the website it had missed Broome and was heading out to sea, which just meant we probably wouldn’t get much more than a few days of bad weather. The roads were wet as we approached Broome but we never actually got rained on, a couple of times we seem to drive between dark clouds or change direction just as we approached them.
Weather Post Cyclone Rain 34 degrees
We arrived at the campsite and met up with Bob and Linda again, although the last time we saw them was Cairns we have been chatting on Facebook quite a bit and reading each others blog. We had the site next to them and just managed to set up as the heavens opened and rain came down. As it was New Years Eve we cracked open a couple of ciders and watch the downpour. Bob and Linda are off out for a meal and invited us to come along but after a long Journey and the fact that we had food already for the evening we declined but went over to theirs for a drink before they went out.
New years Eve wasn’t the big full moon party we had last year, this year involved us together in the van playing card (which I lost at again) with the music on and me falling asleep by 9.30pm. Gary woke me up before midnight to see the New Year in. Happy 2011 Everyone Saturday 1st January 2011
Got up early as normal with only the hint of a fuzzy head, waited until 8am our time to text the folks at home happy new year. The whole day was spent either swimming in their wonderfully large pool or sitting out the front of the van chilling and reading. We have booked in for a week here as there is a lot to do and the campsite is really nice.
We had Bob and Linda over to our place for drinks, which was lots of fun and involved lots of alcohol being consumed. It was more like New Years Eve should have been.....without getting to the midnight bit, we crashed about 8pm. We can’t drink the way we use to.......Gary is really worried about coming home.....it’s going to kill him that first night out with the boys!!