It wasn’t nice turning off before the Gibb River Road but it was a relief. The countryside started to change and there were fewer Boabs & more flat areas. The road was surprisingly quiet apart from the large semis loaded with mining related gear. We came across the first of many single lane bridges, some with no guard rails at all/The river beds are nearly all incredibly wide & you can see the damage done during the wet season with masses of big trees all bent over by the force of the water. We had to virtually stop for a herd of goats that decided to wander across the road.
Had a look around Hall’s Creek but there didn’t seem to be anything to keep us there for the afternoon so after looking for diesel – none available- we headed out. We had full Jerry Cans so no need to worry about running out. We reached this place about 3:00 and were able to choose our spot. It’s a very big area but campers and caravanners keep pouring in. Watching people set up is the night’s entertainment.
It’s supposed to be a 24 hour park but there is one feral encampment. A portaloo in a pop-up tent (facing every other camper & used with the door half zipped) doesn’t make you a super camper when you have big woofing dogs and gear piled up about you. It’s understandable that people would want to stay here for longer because it has a big riverbed, giant trees, toilets and space.
We have had to put jackets on tonight –with shorts and sandals of course.
Breakfast at Mary Pool Rest Area
Why I pay penance each night and wash my master's feet!
As is obvious we’ve come back into Kununurra rather than heading out further west. The mechanics at El Questro were great and told Alex to fossick through a big tin of bolts to find the ones he needed but after 2 trips back and forth he still couldn’t get the right ones so used various spacers to make do. Although he was dead keen to go across the Gibb River Rd Alex has agreed we’ll go via the Victoria Highway at least as far as Fitzroy Crossing.
We went to a couple of places tyring to get the necessary bolts and eventually managed to get some so Alex has fixed that problem. Of course we had to calm ourselves with a coffee and Mango Smoothie from The Wild Mango. When we came back here we had a stroll around the park checking things out then went down to a little landing area and weer gazing out over the water when we both became aware of a snout poking out of the water. There was a crocodile about 2.5m long looking at us. There is a sign nearby telling people not to feed any animals and that there are crocodiles about but it seems to us the croc gets fed there. Just before sunset we heard bagpipes and thought it was probably a backpacker but another camper ( enjoyer of wacky baccy by the smoke currently drifting our way) that the guy comes down every night and plays the sun down. The neighbours remind me just how many different people you meet when you’re camping and how the barriers are dropped. They came along the Gibb River Road, lost all the fixings that held the tent poles up, dust filled their storage area and they lost the mountings from their trailer brakes so they had no working brakes on their genuine offroad Desert Camper.
Problems with the computer tonight, I think it’s been traumatised by the corrugations.
My goodness, it’s way past our bedtime, the sun went down ages ago!
Our day started early because we needed to be at The Home Station at 7:10 (easy for us because we’re wide awake at 5:30) to get to Emma Gorge. It’s part of the El Questro group. The walk into the gorge was tricky because of the slippery rocks. The group we were with was friendly and easy going. I had a swim in the pool at the end of the gorge in the “refreshing water”. After that we went back to the dining area for drinks and fruit. Another couple joined us, the man was visually impaired through Diabetes and we certainly admired his guts and wit. We headed for Zebedee Springs ( named after the Magic Roundabout character) and everyone swam except our guide. After the swim we had a big lunch with Barramundi, steak, salad and chips then we headed for a boat trip on the Chamberlain Gorge. We saw one crocodile, several Rock Wallabies and plenty of fish. The best fun was tempting the Archer Fish. Alex got a big squirt in the ear but I escaped until the very end when I turned away and got a giant splat in my eye. There was a lot of talk about the various owners of El Questro which I’m sure we wouldn’t have heard is the gorge had still been navigable further along. Every tour we’ve been on people have been talking about the amazing amount of water that came down this year and there is certainly evidence everywhere from the “high tide” marks along the rocks of Lake Argyle to “log jams” in rivers and decaying matter dumped high up in trees.
We had a drink during Happy Hour while listening to an anonymous Blues singer who wasn’t satisfied with our applause so we came back to camp to be tormented by tiny creepy crawlies. I can’t face the thought of hours of bone shaking corrugations, I don’t want to keep going along the Gibb River Road, it seems to be an endurance test and I want to have a holiday. Everyone we ask seems to have a different opinion about which is the worst part of the road.
Me swimming in the "refreshing pool" at the end of Emma Gorge
Alex getting a massage at Zebedee Spring
The Ord River
Sunset on Lake Kununurra
Our "ensuite" at El Questro
Flood debris shows river height last "wet".