Couple of Beach days.
Another day another Sunday. We get down to the local China Town, this time to take in the fight between McGregor and Mayweather at the local pub there. We called the big Irish pub in town who said they were not showing it. The time difference has stuffed us up as the fight is on but it is in round 5 already and it’s easy to see who the winner will be, though its hard to say you have lost when collecting millions of dollars for second place.
Fight over we take a walk round the shops but not much going on, must be Sunday trading hours. so we return to camp and head for the pool for the afternoon.
We get back to the van and speak to Ann Marie next door, you will remember she is in the travel business and we hit her up with regards on where to stay in Cape Leveque, we will drive up there on Thursday and stay overnight. We won’t be taking the van though as the road up there is a 220 km, strictly 4×4 only, made up of mostly red dirt and is corrugated for over 90 km one way. We will have to drop the tyre pressures this time To 25 or the Pajero will be shaken to pieces. Anne Marie gives us the good oil and we call her suggestion and secure the last spot at a place owned and operated by the local Aboriginal people. Cape Leveque was one of the reasons we made Broome a stop on this part of the trip. We sink a nice bottle of red and watch the local wildlife roam around and we witness our first kangaroo fight not sure which one was victorious but was fun to watch. Tomorrow we will do it tough and spend the day back at Cable Beach. We reckon it will be really quiet as all the poor souls will be back at work.
We have an easy 220 km drive to Broome so we have a lazy up and there are quite a lot of people moving on as well going by the noise just before 6 am. Anyhow we have a light breakfast pack up and head off to fuel up. Tank full Kaz goes in to pay and the guy in the station is from Dundee, Scotland and is having a year in Australia and has to work for six months doing anything, after which he can travel around for the second half of the year.
Back on the road and we have the usual traffic hazards of cows in the middle of the road which we get past without killing anything.
A bit further up the road there are a couple of cows who were not so lucky and are lying on the side of the road waiting for the council person to drag them off in to the bush to provide a good meal for some of the other wildlife.
When we arrive at our new home we can see some other people we have met in other parks and we all decide things are certainly much quieter. That was not to last long though, a bit more on that later.
We have a curry lunch get set up then we head off on a tour of the town, before heading out to the famous Cable Beach which is like a lot of Australian beaches, stunning, long, with beautiful water colour and not a lot of people on it. Amazed to see 4 x 4’s being allowed to drive on to the beach, park up but they have to ensure they leave before high tide. It was funny to see a non 4×4 ute with some drunk idiots on the back of it driving on to the beach, it would be great watching them explain to the police what they were doing. We will certainly return here for some beach sunsets and picnics etc. there are also three camel ride companies on the beach so we might get on that as well.
We leave the beach and head back to base and as usual get in the pool to cool off. We are in luck as there about 5 people around both pools but only 2 swimming and no kids. This will definitely be a daily visit in the late afternoons.
Interestingly one of the couples next to us have been living in here for a number of years. They own a house in Sydney but no longer want to live there and both of them work in Broome. He is a carpenter and the boss is in the travel industry.
Swim over and showered it’s sunset drinks time where we are joined by a whole bunch of Wallabies, Kangaroos who seem to appear out of no where along with Ibis and a heap of other scavenging birds.
The park has some amazing homes on wheels and our Wee Journey looks a little out of place next to these mansions.
We are in luck here as when we did the TV scan to pick up Channels it finds 39. That is a record number and means we can watch the Geelong game and we do remember that it is on 1 hour 30 minutes earlier due to the WA time.
Next to the park again is the local speedway track, we had this this before in Katherine and it was quite noisy. Well this time noisy does not do this racket justice as you would think these cars were circling our van as they are so loud. Once the Geelong lesson was over for GWS I walked over to the track to see what was making all the noise. I walked in past the ticket office which was empty, up to the oval track and it looked like little midget race cars with huge engines screaming round the track.
Ir reminded me of some redneck racing we had seen whilst in the US. I gave it five minutes and did not see one lap completed without a safety car on the track as someone had spun out. The racket went on till local time 9.30 and peace was restored.
Last full day in Derby today as we will leave tomorrow where we will drive to Broome and we will be there for a week at least. Today we have chilled out after yesterday’s exertions. We do however get our bikes off the caravan which is only the second time we have used them on this trip.
We cycle down to the wharf on a which is flat and easy. This only takes us about 15 minutes as there is not much to look at as we cycle. One side of the bike trail is wide open land and was used a long time ago to hold cattle before they were shipped live to Indonesia amongst other places but now this land is just a wide open damp paddock as the the exporting is done elsewhere. We do however get a reward of a milk shake in the wharf cafe. The tide is out and are not allowed on the pier due to deliveries but we will come back later for tea and sunset viewing when the tide will be back to high again. We cycle back and then it’s another shower and off to the Gibb River road to see some more Aboriginal art then off to another busier gallery which is really quite good and is run by a guy who used to be on the telly with Don Burke back in the day. The town of Derby has quite a few Boab trees and a famous one is the jail Boab Tree. This tree was used in the town to tie up Aboriginal slaves who had been marched in chains a ridiculous distance before being sold and or shipped overseas. The tree is as ugly as the vile trade it served but is still standing as a mark of the history of the town.
The pic below shows a slightly better tree.
High tide arrives and we are back at the wharf which mis now totally deep in water where this morning it was dry. Also where the wharf was quiet it now heaving with loads of people enjoying a cooler temperature and awaiting the sunset in chairs with wine, beers and nibbles the sunset arrives and it is of course stunning. We get the camera out and try and capture at least one good pic then it’s over to the wharf cafe. The same one from this morning and tonight is fish n chips for tea carry out style although not wrapped in paper anymore.
We have a Sons Of Anarchy night and watch a few more from series two then lights out ready to move our house on wheels to Broome and the Western Australian beaches.
There are no bad experiences on this trip but some are more memorable than others. Today’s trip is one such example.
We are up and on it, showered, breakfast and double checked everything we are taking with us. Our transport is picking us up at 8.00 am and taking us to the airport where we will board a sea plane for our flight to the Horizontal Falls. Today is not cheap and we do worry it will be money well spent but everyone we talk to insists that it is a must do experience.
We are picked up dead on time and are at the airport in no time. No booking in or security, it’s walk straight on to the Tarmac and after a safety demo we take our seats and taxi to the runway. Now call us stupid but we had no idea that a seaplane had wheels and takes off like any other plane. The flight lasts about 30 mins and flys over the Buccaneer Archipelago with some amazing views and lands wheels up on to the beautiful waters of Talbot Bay where the pontoons are located. It reminds us a bit of the Barrier Reef set up but this is very much high end and it shows. We are given a warm welcome with tea, coffee and water in addition to fresh fruit whilst we are briefed on how the day will pan out. We have opted to do the day tour but there is an option to stay in the floating rooms available and spend the night there with all food drinks and entertainment provided. Just off to the side is a huge French cruise ship who’s passengers are taking helicopter flights.
First we will swim in the shark cage. Yes, shark cage, where as the sharks are fed we snorkel next cage along. These sharks are wild and visit every day for an easy feed. Amazingly, or maybe not we are the first to don snorkel gear and get in. The sharks are huge and we grab the GoPro and do some filming both on top and below the water. We then get changed ready for our first ride of the day in a 900 HP jet boat (fastest boat in the Kimberley) which as it sounds is ridiculously fast but need to be as the water in the falls is a cauldron. We were given advice by someone we met a while back, that we should sit at the very front of the boat and and soon as we done our life jackets we make sure we are first on and we grab the front as planned.
The Falls are created by both outgoing and incoming tides which meet at a large and an extremely small opening in the rock and as this happens chaos ensues in the water as both tides fight for the same spot. The water here is 40 metres deep and is as chaotic below as it is on top. Today we are very lucky as the tide times are in our favour and we will get to go through both gaps which only 10% of people get to do.
With everyone ready and hats removed the pilot nails it and this thing takes off like a drag racer and we are doing 90 km an hour on water. We then bank round and do some hoon type manoeuvres then we come to a stop facing the large opening before once again we are flying in to a cauldron of water with huge rips and sinkholes that are capable of pulling this huge boat below the surface according to jet pilot. We now find out why the boat has to have this huge power as it fights to get back out and in to the semi calm water ahead. We race in and out of this part three times and it’s a blast. That was the easy one apparently and we gun it toward the much narrower gap and if the other one was scary but fun, this is right on the edge of crazy. The water is doing the same as it was at the large gap but in a very much reduced space which creates bedlam and there is a very short window for this part as when the tides settle down there will be a three metre drop and the boat must be on the high side or a chopper would have to come get us because as powerful as the boat is, we are not jumping three metres high. Once again we do some fast laps then crazy guy takes us in to the centre of the gap and sits there controlling the boat for photo’s. The tide is now creating the drop and we get to the upper end thankfully but he the takes us back to the chaotic water and reverses in to the now raging waterfall and the engines are screaming on full power stopping us being sucked back in to and under this torrent. We take the chance to get a pic over his shoulder and then we are glad to be hooning again as we make our way back around to now do a calm sail around the magnificent waterways. The rocks here are billions of years old and were apparently nearer Madagascar a long time ago. The rock looks like it has been forced in to an almost vertical aspect from what would be the usual horizontal plane. There is even rock formations that look like they are waves frozen in time. We get around and see the huge mangroves where our usual friends the crocs hang out but we don’t see any. We also get round to Cyclone bay where the latest addition to this amazing set up is moored. A huge boat complete with helicopter on the roof along with sailing and fishing boats. This can be hired for 24 hour stays with all these toys and pilots at your disposal for as long as you can afford it.
The sun is beating down on us and the heat is intense so we are quite happy to be returning to the pontoon where a barbecued Barramundi lunch awaits us on the top covered deck. Little did we know that we are about to eat what is the best cooked Barramundi ever and there is just heaps of it along with salads and all that other good stuff.
As usual we are the youngest amongst our party and so pig out on second helpings of the Barramundi. There are sea planes arriving and taking off constantly, choppers doing the same, jet boats and even jet ski’s flying around as this place is going off. No sooner did our last inhale of fish hit our stomachs we are called back on to the boat for more of the same manoeuvres except this time the small gap is not available not sure how but we managed to keep our lunch intact and fly around like kids for a while before we get back to the pontoon to clean up, have some water, take some pic’s and wait for our plane which duly arrives to take us back on a different course via King Sound back to Derby airport where we are returned to our accomodation. We get cleaned up and head for the local pub two street away and sink a cold on or maybe two. We then head back knackered and sit out having watched yet another sunset on a fantastic day.
*A wee note just to say that the words and pictures here can in no way get close to describing today’s trip*.
Got a big drive today as we need to be be in Derby by Wednesday as we are booked on to the Horizontal Falls trip on Thursday. We get up and off early as the drive is about 500 kms. And as usual we split the driving and Kaz is the morning driver who get's the pleasure of getting us to Fitzroy Crossing.
At the Crossing we visit Geikie Gorge which for us is a pretty sad place, there is an obnoxious weed that is killing all the trees meanwhile the rangers we seen were busy raking up leaves. We thought they might be better spraying this weed and or digging it out or well at least have a go at fighting the bloody thing. We did a couple of walks but the vibe was not good and we thought with our long drive ahead that we shouldn't have bothered.
We then visited an Aboriginal refuge shelter for women who now produce art works using mainly fabrics. Shame to see these women who have been treated like crap by idiots. Bit of a downer this town so we fuel up and get back on the road.
I now have the pleasure of driving to Derby where we will stay for 3 nights. The road is long and feature less and the signs saying "Dosey drivers die" makes sense. Adding to the fun is that practically from 10 am it has been mid 30's to 37 degrees by the afternoon and crazy bright sunshine to drive in to so HOT. We figure that we will drive a good bit of it then stop and grab a wee lunch but bloody hell, there are not many rest areas. finally a stop arrives and we get in scoff our lunch then get back on the road from hell. The oasis of Derby appears and in we get to the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park our home for the next few days. The two guys who own and run this place are very good and the welcome they provide is reassuring. We get set up and straight in to the showers and get the road grime off. Tonight we are treating ourselves to chicken tikka Masala, Rice and garlic nan thank you. Oh and mibees a wee refreshment. The evening is short and as we have a real busy day tomorrow and we are knackered as we hit the hay early.
Bit of a noisy night last night, as like all road houses this one is pretty close to the highway and there were a few cattle trucks thundering past. We are up early and on the road by 7.15. Today we will do about 400 kms and will split the driving as we head south on the Great Northern Highway past Halls Creek. This will take us halfway to Derby where we need to be by Wednesday as we are booked on an all day trip on Thursday to the Horizontal Falls.
The road is pretty busy a mixture of both livestock and dead stock roaming around. Some on and others close to the road. We have horses, brumbies, cows among the living with kangaroos, wallabies and a cow on the dead stock side. Kaz proves herself adept on this slalom course and avoids them all. We arrived in to Halls Creek and plan a longer stop than usual with a decent coffee at the information centre and also to fuel up. This place is not gonna make it on to TripAdvisor it seems to be regional Aboriginal town but might be a good base for touring. We grab some info, check out the shop and grab a couple of coffees which are not the best.
Back on the road and after an uneventful but hot drive of 36 degrees, we arrive at our overnight stop of Larrawa Station, this is a working cattle and sheep station and is 4 kms off the main highway on to a corrugated dirt road. This place is very cheap at $20.00 a night including water, showers, toilets and a camp kitchen. We go o the station house to pay and Barry is originally from Geelong West, worked for Faggs and was with them when they became a Mitre 10. He now lives in Queensland and has been at the station for 2 months in a care taking role. Barry tells us of a swimming hole on the property and it’s only 1 km across the property. As it is hot we decide that it is too good to miss and set off for a cool swim. Well ffs, Baz needs to rethink his distances coz that walk is more like three kms and the water hole is the low end of a dried up river bed. Worse than that we now have to walk back again in searing heat. We semi march back and in to a cold refreshing shower which we should have done instead of the long walk we just suffered through steaming cattle shite. Do I sound happy, lol.
We have a couple of bottles of water each and cool off as the sun sets over the station and we have the now usual starry night before we turn in.
Leaving day heading to Kununurra which will is one of our shortest drives and Kaz has lucked on to today being her turn to drive. Luck was not on our side yesterday. As a huge full size but converted to sleep in arrived loaded with a German tour group. The thing was like a transformer and seemed to have even the tourists travelling in the bus helping to put the thing together with poles and beams and a huge curtain covering one side of it. They managed it though and we were pretty impressed. That was until this morning at around 5am when the bus was being taken apart again and people were talking as if they were in Burke street Melbourne at 4 pm. The entire camp was now awake due to the sound of steel girders and poles clattering to the ground without a care. We decide to get up and join the chat about the noisy bus but then get on with packing up and getting on the road. Today we are heading to Kununurra where we will grab some supplies.
We hit the road back out on the single track road we came in on and in no time we have reached the highway and get to Kununurra. We treat ourselves to breakfast at a local cafe and our phones start to chirp telling us we have phone service for the first time in ages. Then it’s off to the local information stop for the good oil as we head west. Loaded with maps and info it’s back in the car fuel up and we decide we will depart the town and head for Derby but this will take us a few days and we reckon we will get there on Thursday. We are using WikiCamps a lot as we travel and it has been really good for getting up to date feedback on places and has worked out well for us every time. We luck on to another Roadhouse which is about 200 kms south of the Argyle Lake Resort we started at and it’s feedback is really good so we decide we will stop there good or bad as the heat is really up there today and we could do with getting out of it.
We arrive at the Doon Doon Roadhouse and its the usual petrol station with a padock out back with camping which is free amazingly and tons of room for vans and motor homes of all sizes. We can have an unpowered site for free!! But we opt for a powered site with water for $12.50 per head which means we can run our aircon as long as we want. The people here are very good and easy to deal with and we have no trouble getting set up. We will stay here for just one night and head out early and avoid some heat but not too early as the roadkill games will be running just after day light. We have been lucky or our roo shoes are working as we have only smashed one Kangaroo and it was already dead on the road but the nose was sticking up and it got clobbered as we drove over it. A noise that takes a bit of getting out of your head.
We decided we would get some exercise today and got our boots on and headed across the road from the camp where there is a relatively easy climb which takes us high above the lake and we get a great view of the dam and the ord river which is on the opposite side and contains more salt water crocs so no swimming in there for us. We get to the top all to easily and on our return decide to get the car out and drive across the top of the dam then go down to the lake for a swim. It is absolute bliss and the water temperature is just perfect. Later on after we have eaten we get down to the bar and it’s open mic night tonight. A few brave souls get up and then a few more obviously deaf people get up until a young dude from Canada called Nelson takes to the stage and he is just amazing both on the guitar and also sings his own songs with some style, sass and attitude. He had a sort of David Byrne of Talking Heads thing happening. If he was selling cd’s we would been at the top of the line. The guy did four songs and made all the rest seem a bit dreary with a heard it before sort of vibe. We left soon after but wished Nelson was on all night. Quote of the night was when Nelson came of stage and a girl asked him him if he had performed before, DOH. What do you reckon luv?