Sunday, 24 July 2011

Last Day at Camooweal

Even with the most creative diary management we need to move on to get home in time for baby Martin’s arrival which we wouldn’t miss even for Camooweal so today is our last day. We have enjoyed the birds here so much and today Ian was able to take some great photos of the brolgas which are by far the biggest birds here. They have the most incredible trumpeting call and their wing display as they trumpet is quite amazing. Today they were out in force and we enjoyed watching them and listening as we sat in front of the van despite the ever present gale force winds. I know you all feel very sad for us, but it’s OK it’s still 20 degrees despite the wind chill factor!

“Our eagles” as we now call them have had a rocky time in the ‘penthouse’ as we refer to their nest high in the tree directly opposite us. Mervyn and Shirley and the kids appear to be hanging on for grim death some times and Mervyn even went to the extent of interrupting his frequent fishing assignations to bring back some twigs for reinforcement of the nest. Guess that’s the price you pay for high rise living.  The kite family on the other hand seem fairly well protected in a lower down location and just spend the day soaring above us and taking what they please from the lagoon.

Yesterday we had quite a performance from two cormorants who spent at least 15 minutes scrapping in the middle of the lagoon. Every time one popped his head up like a periscope the other one would spring into action and dive bomb right on top of him. At first we thought it was some sort of mating ritual but as time went on it became apparent that these two were definitely not in love! It kept us entertained trying to see where ‘up periscope’ was going to be next as they travelled some distance underwater trying to avoid each other. Eventually they seemed to tire of the game and just wandered off downstream, probably ‘besties’ ten minutes later with no memory of the major incident they had played out in front of two very amused visitors.

We went for a long walk today looking at other spots we might have next year if our private piece of paradise is already taken when we arrive and have come to the conclusion as indeed have the other 50 odd vanners here on most nights, that there isn’t a bad spot here anywhere it’s just a matter of finding somewhere you fancy and settling in.

To the front seats of the car tomorrow morning, and many a mile to cover, as we look back on what has undoubtedly been one of the highlights of our trip.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Camooweal Day Three

Well how nice is it when you return somewhere and find it as nice as you thought you remembered!

After some well earned relaxation, and reading, sewing, and a few walks, we decided to go back to the Drover’s Camp for a guided tour this time. What a decision, as we were shown around the excellent exhibits by Tom a retired drover of considerable experience and great knowledge. A range of beautiful paintings, many personal belongings of drovers, and their plant (or team) are on display. Camooweal was in the early part of 20th Century the capital of droving throughout north Australia, which is hard to imagine in the now small community of 310 (according to the entry sign), but it certainly is in a key location.

A droving plant typically comprised a boss, 8-10 drovers, a horse taylor, a cook, and in excess of 60 horses who would sometimes spend upwards of 12 months on the road with a typical mob of 1250 – 1500 cattle. Men often lived on 2 – 3 gallons of water for a number of days, and slept in swags comprising a canvas cover on a couple of blankets, and NO mattress at all after up to 8 hours in the saddle. They were tough guys indeed! The cook was a really important member of the team, as it was often said that a good cook made a good team, as men were always better and happier with good food. The cook and the horse taylor were also responsible for setting up the camp each night, packing it up in the morning, and providing tea, and hopefully shade for dinner (lunch).

Ian (as per the photo) even had a ride on a real life bull (it was a bit ‘stuffed’ though), and performed well without falling off.

For a free entry exhibition, with a ‘professional’ guide, this is a truly great facility, and it is pleasing to hear that they are getting increased numbers through. Anyone coming through Camooweal (and it is the only way across up here) should not miss this place.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011


We arrived at Camooweal on Tuesday and set ourselves up unintentionally at about the same spot we found last year. Camooweal is just over the border in Queensland and was a find for us last year so we made sure we had time to revisit this year and hoped that it wouldn’t disappoint.  

After lunch we went in to town which comprises the pub, two caravan parks a couple of petrol suppliers, and the Camooweal Post and General Store where we hoped to still find Sue and Graeme in charge. Last year they were so helpful with our voting and also served great coffee.  They are still serving great coffee and as a bonus, even remembered us!  We settled back into a routine of morning coffee and a chat, however this year they have a couple of rescued joeys and of course I wanted to cuddle one so “Kate” the Joey duly sat with me and dozed off after licking me and chewing my necklace and sucking her toe!

We returned to our camp and settled back into watching the birds, more of which we will do for the next few days.

Edith Falls

After we left Katherine we drove approx. 60 kms to Edith Falls which we had been told was lovely. The Falls are located within Nitmuluk National Park. We were directed to our site and with some (?) difficulty manoeuvred ourselves into this relatively small site.

Then we were off to discover the Falls which were absolutely beautiful as you can see. We had been told there were two walks, one 2.6km and the other an easy one kilometre and that was the one to take to get to the top Falls. We decided that as it was relatively late in the morning we would take the short option for our first effort and walk the longer one in the early morning the next day. So off we went thinking we were on the short loop only to discover that it was the long uphill route and it was a very warm afternoon. Fancy Ian who is the navigator making an error of judgement. Will wonders never cease. As you can see there was even a pedestrian creek crossing and I think Ian was rather hoping I would fall in so he was ready with the camera. Sorry to disappoint and also disappoint the other people who were watching!

However we did make it all the way round and were rewarded with the most beautiful view of the Top Falls, once we had regained our breath and had a long drink from our water bottle which fortunately we had brought with us. Unfortunately we hadn’t brought our lunches or bathers so it was back to the camp for lunch after which we had a long swim in the lower Falls.

We had booked for two days and on our return to the van after our long walk our friends Aaron and Shannon, Katelyn and Sam had taken up the site opposite us so we were able to tell them about our walk and after they had stopped laughing they decided to take the short walk! In the evening a car drove through the camp and an Indigenous lady stopped to chat to us about the area which is where she lives and to ask had we seen the frilled neck lizard represented in the walls of the lower falls. To be honest we had to admit we hadn’t but made sure we did the next day and we did see it then. She had her three young boys in the car who were far more interested in showing us all the things they had bought at the Katherine Show!

Our second day at Edith Falls was considerably more relaxed and we enjoyed three swims in the Falls. On the way down to the Falls I heard some rustling in the long grass along the path and glanced over to see a LONG brown snake disappearing into the bush. Hmmm! However I was very good and just casually (?) mentioned to Ian that I had seen a snake, which he didn’t but on seeing my face decided not to argue the point. There is so much growth and greenery everywhere we have been because of the long intense wet it seems everything is in abundance including the wildlife!

We can’t believe we have driven past the Falls on two occasions and not checked them out. It just shows what you learn sitting around a fire chatting with other campers as we did on this occasion. We are off to a roadside camp for a night a then into Camooweal where we had such a great time last year. Here’s hoping nothing has changed.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Gregory National Park and Katherine

We left Kununurra early on Tuesday and headed out towards Katherine planning to break the journey at a National Park along the way.  We also “lost” an hour and a half as we crossed the border which in some ways is good because now it doesn’t get dark at 5.30pm which means we stay outside longer and eat later.

We found Big Horse Creek Camp in Gregory National Park and stopped there as it looked very pleasant and was filling up fast so the decision was made. We paid $6.60 for each night so decided on two nights and enjoyed a walk down to the Victoria River which is huge and a very popular fishing spot for barramundi. In fact the crocodiles obviously do very nicely thank you as we saw half of a very large barra washed up on the riverbank. No swimming for us!

We met a lovely family with two young children who are travelling around Australia for twelve months and we enjoyed hearing their stories and learning of some other spots for us to visit. We lit a fire and sat with some other campers and really had a lovely night.

Then early on Thursday we set of for Katherine where we called into the caravan park which has the Hot Springs at its back door and managed to get one of the very last sites (again!). After stocking up for the trip ahead we went down to the springs which we had visited before and had a relaxing afternoon.

Of course there was great excitement in the park when flames started licking at the back fence and Ian was duly sent to gather photos for the blog.  It seems the fire may have been part of a burn off, official or unofficial still to be determined but the campers sure thought it was good! The trucks raced off after a short while as apparently a car was on fire a little further down the track. Gosh its busy!
The raptor hovering overhead is probably looking for something tasty which will shortly run out of the flames.  Apparently raptors have been known to spread fires by picking up buring twigs to place in other areas to flush out their meals! Very clever birds.

Our next stopping point we hope is Edith Falls which we have been told are beautiful so here’s hoping our camping luck holds out!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Kununurra - Lake Argyle

This morning we went on a terrific trip on Lake Argyle, the enormous storage facility for the Ord River Scheme. The drive out there, about an hour from Kununurra, is beautiful, and certainly gives you yet another perspective on the area. As you wind through the hills there is nothing to see then out of nowhere the water appears. It looks like you have come to the sea, but it is fresh water.

Our time started with a half hour video on the construction of the dam wall, and associated works which occurred over the dry seasons of 1969 – 1971. The work was completed on time and on budget for just $22m. The one thing that really stands out is the standards of the day, men working in the open with no shirts, no air conditioned cabs on plant, and cigarettes everywhere. So much so that when they ‘fired up’ the largest single non-nuclear blast in Australia they simply lit the end of the fuse with one of the bloke’s cigarettes. Fancy smoking on a site where they were developing a blast for weeks with hundreds of holes filled with explosive.

The dam itself is over 300m high, and wider than that at the base, with all materials coming from the immediate area, a core of clay, a barrier of sand and stone, and many thousands of tonnes of rock both upstream and downstream. The design capacity is equivalent to 21 Sydney Harbours, but at present it is way over full, and is the equivalent of about 42 Sydney Harbours, measuring about 55 km north to south, and up to 40 km east to west. Hard to get your head around really!

At last year’s audit over 35,000 fresh water crocodiles were formally estimated as the population, and there is a heap of other wildlife including short eared rock wallabies, whistling kites, black neck storks, spiders and snakes amongst many others. Some of the larger islands still have wild cattle on them, despite many rescue operations both when the lake was initially filled, and after subsequent dry seasons. Conservationist Harry Butler came to prominence after he set up a program to rescue wild animals from drowning etc when the lake was filling. It was known as the Noah’s Ark Program, and he continues to be recognised for his contribution through the naming of a cove and waterfall after him. However dingoes and feral cats on the islands have recently disappeared after suffering from high speed lead poisoning.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Kununurra - Mirama National Park and The Hoochery

Today we started out our day by washing the car and by the look of it we should enjoy a considerable improvement in fuel consumption having reduced the amount of dirt we have been lugging around. Our Prado can really say it is an off road vehicle now!

After that effort we went for a walk through the Mirama National Park which is directly behind the park we are staying in. It is only a small park but has beautiful sandstone ranges, cliffs and valleys similar to The Bungle Bungles but not as striking in the distinct layers we saw in The Bungle Bungles.

We undertook a couple of walks, one being a “Looking at Plants” which was really interesting as it gave us an insight into how the Indigenous community used these plants. It is really amazing when you look at a plant without knowing how important it has been and then read how it was used to make a shelter for a baby or as an antiseptic or a poison for fish.

The other walk took us to the lookout high above the township of Kununurra, which is sheltered by many trees and not really clearly visible, but gave us spectacular views.

Then we decided to go to The Hoochery where they make the only rum in Western Australia which we had visited briefly with Matt on Thursday and vowed to return to before we left. The barramundi was highly recommended and delicious as was the rum cheesecake and rum chocolate cake.  Yummy and well worth the return visit. We also purchased some of the rum liqueur to enjoy on our return. The liqueur is very much like our favourite from Bundaberg, if not better. The distillery is really sincere in using only local produce and even grows its own sugar cane for processing into molasses with a machine imported from Argentina.

After our very satisfying visit to The Hoochery we went onto another fresh food producer and bought some Chia seeds, berlotti beans and chick peas, all produced in the Ord Region.

Interestingly Matt told us that in 2011 7000 hectares is now under planting with Indian Sandlewood which is 45% of the available irrigated land in the Ord Region. The sandlewood looks really scruffy as it grows with a host plant which is difficult to distinguish unless you know what you are looking for.

Tomorrow we are off for a cruise on Lake Argyle that we are really looking forward to.  

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Kununurra Show

Today was a big day in Kununurra and one we had looked forward to for a while. Some weeks ago when we were planning (?) this part of our trip we decided after talking to Matt to be in Kununurra for the Agricultural Show and we were not disappointed at all.

We have been a fan of country shows for a long time and this one was really fun. We arrived at 8.30am not wanting to miss anything and not really knowing the timetable until we arrived. Whilst having a coffee at the CWA tent we marked our program for the day starting with the first round of the Kimberley Cook Off Challenge featuring two local girls and compared by a Perth Chef. The challenge ingredient for the first round was ruby grapefruit which is grown locally and is so sweet, nothing like the grapefruit we have at home. The challenge was to prepare two courses featuring the challenge ingredient in one hour and be judged by the guest chef and also with a couple of ring in’s from the audience. Lo and behold Ian was selected to be a guest judge and it was not a hard task for him at all as the dishes prepared were very tasty. Firstly he had chicken breast stuffed with spinach, brie and ruby grapefruit followed by a white chocolate and ruby grapefruit mousse.  Tough job, but he managed. Then there was kangaroo fillet marinated in lime and grapefruit juice served with a green and chick pea salad.  Again he managed and gave his considered opinion! 

After that wonderful start to the show we moved on to see the Art and Craft’s pavilion where there was a very good display of all things you expect to see but some really original categories such as ‘Collections’ some of which were really clever. One collection was of beanies, another shoes (really outlandish ones too!), another a collection of all things relating to a particular musical.

In the fruit and veg department Matt came up trumps with his green and red chillies and in the cookery section his partner Taneille also was successful with baking a slice that looked so good.

On the arena we watched a race between horse and a motor bike around a series of drums. The horse won very easily as their manoeuvrability far outweighed the motor bike but it was very entertaining to watch.

Also on the arena we saw a number of tug of war events with sizeable prize money I might add for the winning team so it was indeed taken seriously.

Also a very serious event (?) was the Lawn Mower Race which was much anticipated and much laughed at especially when a John Deere mower appeared out of the display area to join in the race. There is no such thing as bad publicity! How about the head gear – really stylish! These coloured wigs are really the thing to wear at the show so it seems.

However one event that really had us laughing was the Melon Olympics. We were fascinated to see a line up of melons in pairs having a piece taken out of the top sitting on a large sheet of black plastic which was being covered with soapy water. What followed was a very popular event seeing the competitors firstly having to hollow out the watermelons to fit on their feet before picking up as many honey dew melons before sliding down the plastic to the drums at the end and throwing their honey dew melons in. There were at least 50 kids competing and also many adults having a go.  Very amusing and the kids were very determined to get to the end also a couple of littlies whose melon shoes were nearly as big as they were had some helpful assistance from the judges.

Later in the day when it was almost getting dark as it does here quite early at 5 o’clock there was the Hay Stacking Competition which Matt had entered, or been told to enter. The object of this event is to stack a set number of hay bales as high as you can and then have a member of your team stand aloft this precarious construction to be measured as the highest within a set period of time.  The stacks were high and not too stable but stayed upright long enough for Matt’s team to be victorious.

The last event was the one we had anticipated all day. It is called the Kimberley Cowboy Challenge and Matt had suggested Ian should enter. Thank God he had the sense to think that was the sort of suggestion Warwick would make having in mind the hilarity this would cause everyone. The event commenced with starting in your swag, then when the whistle starts the challenge you have to get up, put on your boots and hat, roll up your swag and do up one strap. Then you have to have a wash by running over to a bucket and wash your face all over.

Having woken up you must have breakfast consuming all of a dry weet-bix and a glass of tomato juice without spilling or spitting or face the wrath of the judge, then load your ute by placing a 44 gallon drum on the back. Putting out the feed is next by rolling a bale of hay to a marked area.

If that isn’t enough this energetic farmer must then run and hammer two star pickets into the ground with the dolly using at least five hits before heading off to get a whip and knock a can off a 44 gallon drum.

Finally to signify knocking off after a long day on the farm, open a can of warm beer and drain it, again being careful to consume it all or have another for your rouble.  It was so much fun to watch but Matt could only manage forth this time but just finishing was a feat we reckoned.

Just to show that this show doesn’t take itself too seriously, in the schedule detailing the rules for the Giant Pumpkin and Vegetable Competition, the Rules of Competition were:

There are no rules

Bribery is encouraged

(Please see a committee member for the current rate)

A great day for all involved we thinks!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Kununurra - Wyndham

We are now settled in Kununurra and spent our first afternoon touring the sights of Kununurra with Matt Brann who is a friend of Warwick and Kate and is the ABC Rural Reporter in Kununurra. We were able to see the magnificent Ord Irrigation project, the distillery and a large Sandlewood project. We were able to put together a bit of a plan for ourselves thanks to Matt and will be able to revisit some of the places he took us to (especially the distillery!).

However, for our first full day we went out to Wyndham which is 100km out of Kununurra. We had met a couple at The Bungle Bungles and enjoyed a lovely evening with them and subsequently met them again shopping in Kununurra on their way from Wyndham, hence our decision to go there today. It is a small town now but has a rich history in cattle and mining.

Our first stop was at the Five Rivers Lookout. At 330 metres above sea level the Daharwi Range (or Bastion Range) provides a spectacular backdrop to Wyndham. We were able to see the five rivers that flow into the Cambridge Gulf, King, Ord, Durack, Forrest and Pentacost. It was incredible to see the 360 degree view of water with all the rivers feeding into one, together with the surrounding mudflats and ranges.

We then enjoyed lunch in the café in town before venturing out to The Residency which is the ruins of a house built but never occupied for the magistrate. It was never occupied according to the plaque partly because it was built in a very isolated part of the town and there were security fears for the magistrate because of the aboriginals! It was also stated on the plaque that the building was never stable enough to be habited as they used poor quality mortar in the construction.

We then went on to the Pioneer Cemetery where we saw the graves of a dozen or more men who died during the construction of the meat works during 1913-1917. It was very sad to see so many had died during the hottest months when it must have been unbearable working on the buildings. Unfortunately the meat works have now closed which took away a lot of employment from the town.

Then we went to look at the Dreamtime Statues which are enormous and beautifully crafted in bronze. We were greeted very warmly by a member of the Warriu family who proudly told us the history of the statues and even sang the traditional chant that his people used to the water snake to encourage water to come. It was really interesting and we were very glad to have visited although a little intimidated by the large congregation of indigenous people at first.

We then went to the Afghan Cemetery which contains the graves of the Afghan Settlers and cameleers (1890’s) who provided an important means of transport between the cattle stations and towns of the region. The graves are large due to the lead camel often being buried with its master. There was a sign at the cemetery written by a local asking visitors to please water the tree planted at the cemetery so we obliged!

Our last stop was a real surprise recommended by our friends Gail and David and was an Art Gallery which only had a humble sign on the road and an even more humble road into it. It was like a giant white bubble in the middle of nowhere and had very recently been converted from an artist’s studio into Wyndham Gallery. When we visited it had an exhibition of traditional indigenous artwork and also some beautiful landscapes as well as some lovely pieces of furniture made from recycled timber. We were amazed to find a gallery in such an inhospitable setting until we looked out the front of the gallery, and understood immediately how you could fall in love with the view and find plenty of inspiration.

The Bungle Bungles

We arrived at the caravan park at the entrance to The Bungle Bungles which has only been opened for 7 weeks. This is a new venture for the property owners and we’re sure will be a great success.

It is pretty hot and dusty there but they have put an enormous amount of effort into making it as hospitable as possible with a huge shade screen area like a circus tent decorated with a number of very large pots which would make beautiful campfire stews, the biggest fire pit which burns all day and tables and seats for everyone to enjoy either your own meals or enjoy one of the evening meals provided by the staff for $20.00. We had pumpkin soup and a delicious stew with rice and damper which was a very pleasant surprise.

We set off for The Bungle Bungles quite early in anticipation of a long and tricky drive in of approximately 2.5 hours with many aforementioned river crossings which Ian was looking forward to no end. As we left the caravan park at 7am two tour buses pulled out in front of us and acted as a guide for the first few water crossings which certainly made it a little easier. After a few crossings it became quite enjoyable, although the corrugated road was a bit bone jarring and some of the driving with many vehicles on the road a little challenging for Ian.  However the country as we drove through was just beyond description and made up for all the discomfort of the drive.

The Bungle Bungles are within the Purnululu National Park and it did take us about 2.5 hours to drive into the first carpark from where we were to start our walks. It gets pretty hot early so our start from the park at 7am was pretty good although earlier probably would have been cooler. We had chosen to do two or three walks which we felt we could do in the time we had allocated bearing in mind that we anticipated a long drive home.

Our first walk was the Cathedral Gorge Walk which is described in the helpful visitors’ notes as being a moderate three kilometre return walk with short steep slopes and narrow ledges. We were to allow one to two hours’ walking through striped domes, pebbles and potholes, towering cliffs and honeycomb rocks that lead to an amphitheatre. That’s where the notes stop and when you enter the amphitheatre it is the most incredible sight which made the walk all worthwhile. All along the walk we saw the beehive shaped cliffs which really look like they have come from some giant’s beehive and the colours are spectacular.

We had been told that in order to do a couple of walks we would have to ‘eat on the run’ or we would run out of time but lunch called and we were very glad to sit down for a break before taking on a second walk called the Echidna Chasm. This was described as a moderate two kilometre walk with a challenging short climb near the end. What they didn’t say was that the whole of the walk was through a river bed with rocks and pebbles of varying sizes. Very tricky and not one for those concerned with the stability of their ankles. However, the end result did not disappoint and we were very pleased to have done it. As we were leaving this walk a family were just starting and asked us if we were going to do the Mini Palms Walk ---- we were still able to speak and told them we thought we had seen enough!

Then came the road back with many cars still pouring in as we were leaving as you are able to camp in a couple of camps within the park which is a great idea if you are set up with tents etc. but as we aren’t we drove back through all the river crossings and just to prove it we submit for your edification proof. No, Peter, the fact that Suey really enjoyed the river crossings does not mean we need to get a snorkel for the car!

We arrived back at camp very satisfied and our car only slightly worse than the trip we had made out from Halls Creek so we figured we had done very well. We spent the night at the park and then moved ----- one kilometre to a free camp across the road for the day to recover and plan for our visit to Kununurra on Thursday.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Halls Creek

After Mary Pool our next stop was Halls Creek from where we go on to The Bungle Bungles. At first we thought we were just going to have a quiet afternoon in the van until we went to the Visitor Information Centre where it was suggested that we take a ‘drive’ around some of the local sights! It certainly was a ‘drive’ taking us over some fairly corrugated and pot-holed roads but revealing some beautiful country.

Our first stop was through a unique gate with a great innovative gate closer, we’re going to start something with these, they are fantastic and we have seen some very clever ideas. Beyond the gate revealed the China Wall which is a natural wall formed from a quartz vein and was spectacular.

On we travelled, the road not improving, but Ian enjoying more and more, especially the bits that said 40kmp when we could only manage 20!  We stopped at the Old Halls Creek township which sadly now is in disrepair despite a shelter being put up around the original Post Office which was made from mud and Spinifex. Can’t imagine the Postmaster had a comfortable working environment back then. We stopped and enjoyed Caroline Pool, Palm Springs and Sawpit Gorge before returning along the same route with Ian enjoying the creek crossings and holes in the road even more the second time. Some things never change. We drove past these cars which obviously need just a little work – anyone up for the challenge, you never know how good a Holden can look with a bit of work!

God help me in The Bungle Bungles which we have been told has 40 river crossings and take two and a half hours each way.

Mary Pool

After leaving Fitzroy Crossing we travelled on to our overnight stop only a relatively short distance away at Mary Pool on the Mary River. This campsite is well known and we were advised to arrive by lunch time so of course we were there by ten am!

Lucky, as there were already at least fifty other vans dotted along the site which was a little bit puzzling as this is a 24 hour only stop. Some people, if they had arrived on the same day as us must have been there at dawn so you can draw your own conclusion from that! We did manage to find a nice site and Ian decided to do one of his camp fire stews as he had been eager to use the new piece added to his armoury, namely the pot holder which worked superbly and delivered a great dinner which was the envy of many passing campers.

The scenery from our spot was lovely and we had a very enjoyable evening, by the end of the night there were at least one hundred campers. When we left at 9am there were signs that many campers had decided it was too good to leave (again!)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Fitzroy Crossing

We left Ellendale early having slept very well, no thanks to the alcohol imbibed the previous evening I’m sure and arrived in Fitzroy Crossing in time to have breakfast in the van at the Visitor Information Centre. We had thought of going to the Camp Draft and Rodeo but decided instead to take a Boat Cruise on the Geikie Gorge as the main activities begin with the Rodeo on Saturday and Sunday and we will be in Halls Creek then.

Good decision. It was breathtaking and we really enjoyed seeing well over 50 freshwater crocodiles lounging along the bank some “in committee meetings” of groups of four or five. There were many points along the way where we could see the high water marks as a result of the floods, and it must be really spectacular during the wet season. The average rainfall for Fitzroy Crossing is 537mm mostly falling between December and March.

Ellendale Rest Area

After we left Broome we drove along the Great Northern Highway to our stop at Ellendale Rest Area which is 125km SE of the Derby Turnoff and only 88kms from Fitzroy Crossing. All along the way we saw the magnificent Boab trees. At first we wanted to stop and take a photo each time, but quickly realised there were going to be plenty of opportunities. We arrived fairly early for a late lunch and to watch the Rest Area rapidly fill.

There are not a lot of Rest Areas in this part of the world and we are learning to get in early or suffer the consequences – usually parking very close to the road and eating everyone’s dust. Anyway arriving early enables us to get set for an evening campfire having collected wood along the way.  We were joined around our fire by a number of campers and enjoyed a very pleasant evening sharing tales, mostly true, although we did have a glass (or two!) and finished the evening with Bailey’s!