We're OUT of WA!!!
Trip Start Jan 23, 2010
27Trip End Jan 29, 2012
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The trip from Broome through The Kimberley is just beautiful. The drive through this fabulous area seemed more civilised with lots of road works, no doubt getting ready for the coming rains. Five hours per trip seemed to fly by whilst admiring this amazing landscape. More lush than The Pilbara, it makes for amazing contrast with the deep greens and the red rocks. Even I got fed up with taking photos, knowing that you will not see the true beauty of this region.
Fitzroy crossing led us to stay at The Lodge just outside of town and me getting to grips with just how wet it gets here. A picture at reception showed the place flooded and in my ignorance I inquired if that was the result of a cyclone, to which the receptionist replied, barely looking up with "No, that's just the rainy season" Then I started to notice that just about everything was on stilts or built on embankments!
A day trip to Geiki Gorge was an experience. The local indigienous ranger was incredibly knowledgeable but also gave a real personal perspective with my fascination with just how much the rain effects these communities. The markers on the gazebo gave us an idea of how high the flood water gets each year. Just taking it all in his stride, he told of communities all pulling together and getting on higher ground. It lasts for about a week and then the clean up begins, having to be wary of the water snakes and crocs that follow the water into town.
Yes crocodiles. Our first experience we were actually on the road, crossing one of the many creeks and whilst many were a dry old turnout, the occasional one had water. One such crossing, Fabio jokingly said "water in creek - look for crocs!' Well there were about ten of them!
So we arrived in Kununarra, firstly having to sort out our awning, it decided it had enough of the caravan and split up. Now if there was one place we needed the shade, it is here we have not had a day below 40C in about two weeks - so in for repairs it went. (We were warned by all and sundry that everything is expensive up here, especially caravan repairs, with people taking advantage of the fact you have no other option. However we were pleasantly surprised to be charged only $20!! Would have happily paid $100 - so that was great!)
Meanwhile we arrive at the caravan site and head to the pool to cool off (not me, crocodiles way too fresh in my mind) and start to smell the scary smell of a bushfire. Sure enough right NEXT to the park, so scrub is alight. Fireman Fab heads off to help fight it and I'm there reassuring the children all will be well! After a few minutes, you can see people panicking and gas bottles being moved and all the vans near the fire being sprayed with water
Finally they show up and have all under control within minutes...But for a while there I was preparing to evacuate! They ended up doing some controlled burning and everyone in the park headed for the alcohol! We had a good chat on an evacuation plan and what we would take if the worst ever happened.
Mirima National Park is a very easily accessible park, so close to town and so beautiful, the home of the mini bungle bungles. We didn't end up going to the actual Bungle Bungle as the road in and out was reported to be quite bad and a good two hours to get there, look and then another two just to drive out again, I couldn't do it. Especially as it was a hot 46.8C. This was a great substitute.
Ivanhoe crossing was once the original road to Wyndham, however when the the whole Ord River project started a diversion dam was created, which is part of the Ord Irrigation Scheme designed to harness the massive volume of water that flows down the Ord River from the man made Lake Argyle, for use in farming.The upshot being the road is now flooded and impassable in the wet season
Lake Argyle i huge and the actual dam which holds this huge expanse of water (9 times that of Sydney Harbour!) was quite a shock as it is very small! It does make you wonder why we are not making more of this incredible engineering feat and sending this water south. Kind of makes you have less respect to the water shortages. USE THIS WATER ALREADY!
Lastly a trip to El Questro.....well this is strange, because it is privately owned, you can find little information in any of the tourist centres. There is soo much to see, but we couldn't bring the van here as the Gibb River Road is not sealed and our van is not built for it, so we made do with just the one day and a trek to Emma Gorge. Luckily we scored a reasonably cool day and the trek to the gorge was just as enjoyable as the gorge was spectacular. The water was trickling like raindrops (read bullets!! - pretty hard) from the top and the water cooled us down wonderfully.
We are in Darwin at the moment, but I will post a blog with photos in the coming days. I don't want to exhaust my audience..... So keep your eyes peeled for the next installment!!