Friday, 21 May 2010

Kimberleys

All good things must come to an end and after hearing an unseasonal report for rain we headed off back down the road after a quick visit to the mission and haircuts all round. And boy did we make the right choice. Have a quick look at the video and I'll tell you all about it next time...
video

Mud

video

Photo Old Boab

Photo Queen Victorias head.. can you see it?

Photo Bush car wash

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Photo Love this shot..well done Kym

Photo Fuel station

Photo Work. Kalumburu mission

Out back

We turned of the Gibb river road and headed North. Stayed at some beautiful spots along the way and made it to the Mitchell falls National park, still just about in one piece, the day after it had opened. Two nights up here and a days hike out to the falls, check the photo's. The walk was definitely worth it. Then upwards some more along a track that wasn't officially open, to an outpost called Kalumburu mission. We were only the third visitors in this year! The place is cut off for 6 months each year and only gets it's provisions when the boat from Wyndham can make it. The mission store is run on a voluntary basis and we got chatting to the new couple who had only been helicoptered in 5 weeks ago. Paddy and Rhonda from Melbourne who seemed very excited by the fact we were from Somerset rightly so when it turned out they rented a cottage in Broadway 5 miles from our house and enjoyed dinners and beer at the pub we met in!! Now tell me it's not a small world.

It was here in Kalumburu (actually MacGowan's campsite just outta town) that I finally learnt to fish, or the fish finally learnt to bite my hook? First night a Queensland mackerel that, after a filleting lesson from Matthew, went in to a Thai fish curry. Next day Matthew (on holiday in their Landcruiser from Melbourne with wife, Isobel (from Leeds!) and two great kids) took me out in his little boat and I caught, in order, a Trevally, a Cod, a Perch and two Sharks. All went back in as not really big enough exept for the sharks which went in because for Karmic reasons I couldn't possibly eat one. That evening off the rocks a big trevally which also fed the couple next to us. Next day three trevally, one makerel a whopping queenfish which I dropped!! and a beautiful big rock cod which everyone was grateful for. Offers started coming in for my lure and everyone wanted to fish off "Gary's rock"!! Ha ha!

Photo Cod

Photo Shark!

Photo Kalumburu sunset

Photo Curry

Photo Mitchell falls

Photo Mitchell gorge

Photo Mitchell falls

Photo Mehrton's falls and gorge

Photo Pump!

Photo Aboriginal art

Photo Aboriginal art

Photo Way Hey

Photo Dunny!!

Photo Dawn Drysdale river

Photo chilly morning

Photo Got to have a fire.

Photo Cowboy!

Gibb River road

Supermarket madness in view of the fact that we were heading off down the Gibb river road and we wouldn't be seeing another shop for some days. We turned off the tarmac at Wyndham and a week later and 700km we're back on it. It was awesome. Stop one was the Home Valley station, a cattle station about the size of Somerset. It's now owned by an Aboriginal cooperation and is used to train the indigenous people how to work and run a station so we didn't mind paying to stay there. It was also used a fair bit in the film Australia with Nichol Kidman and Hugh Jackman if you've seen it (we haven't!). Here we saw our first Salty. Fishing in the tidal river it just emerged and legged it across a mud bank in to the deep bit and I can tell you if I never see another one I won't be dissapointed. They are clever buggers and even follow humans habits so you never visit the river in the same place each day, you camp 50m inland and never leave your rubbish bag outside the car.

The river crossings were no problem, no need to check the depth as they all have markers on them and 'cos it's almost the "dry" they never got above wheel hight. The corrugations though are a different matter. You feel like your teeth are gonna fall out and everythings blurred 'cos your eyeballs are wobbling. There's no speed that's comfortable but the general theory is that the faster you go the easier it is, the problem with this is that on a single twisting track with the occasional 4x4 coming the other way it's difficult to do much more than 30mph. And the dust.. flippin heck the dust.. it gets everywhere, it's very fine and it's very red so after the second day we are sligtly pink.

Photo Drysdale river

Photo Cockburn ranges

Photo Pentecost crossing

Lake Argyll

Lake Argyll holds more water than Sydney harbour but wasn't very exciting, well not nearly as exciting as the fishing at the bottom of the dam. Kym as usual got the pick of the bunch, a decent sized bream. But no sooner had she hooked it than I spotted a crocodile making it's way towards us. The fish didn't want to give up and the crocodile was getting closer. In the nick of time Kym dragged the fish out and stepped away from the bank just as the croc arrived. It was a "freshie"! Apparently the "salties" are the truly dangerous ones but bloody hell this thing was 6 foot long and had teeth and we weren't taking chances. It was our first fish big enough to eat so between us we managed to kill it gut it and cook it and it tasted of mud. yuck. Talking of wildlife we had our first snake experience here as well. Sun was down, beers in hand sat in our chairs when one just very casually slithered past me!! Slightly freaked out Kym then asked me if the stick lying next to her was a snake, yes it bloody was! Two in 10 seconds and we spent the next half hour crouched on our chairs making lot's of noise. Thank God we climb up into our tent.

Photo Alan and Faye

Photo Welcome back to the world of litigation

Photo Not this way then

Photo Crikey!!

Photo Muddy dinner

Photo Babes 'n fish

Trippin

Timber Creek roadhouse, 1 fuel pump, 1 bar and one young scouser working there. Kunnunarra was slightly bigger and even had a supermarket. Here we met Alan and Faye an older Australian couple who do as so many older Australian couples do and spend their time driving around Australia from caravan park to caravan park pulling behind them their 5 star accomodation, they've even got a washing machine. Both had haircuts and Faye was over the moon to have someone show her how to put her photos on her lap top then on to her face book account, while Alan and I talked and talked and talked. He's classic Australian and comes out with some beautiful metaphors that had me in fits. Talking about the Nullabor plain "mate, it's flatter than a ciccada's head" and about how famous he is for rabbiting on "mate, I could talk underwater with me mouth full'a marbles". Brilliant.

Photo Cool...

Photo Boab trees

Photo Termite mound

Photo Termite mound

Photo Whangi falls

Photo more falls

Parks

Some people may wonder why we didn't visit Kakadu, two reasons, most of the 4x4 tracks to the waterfalls were still closed (due to the wet season) and they've just started charging $25 per person to enter. Katherine gorge again was all a bit slick and a bit expensive for us so we turned West and headed for Gregory national park which was also closed! Along the road there are plenty of 24hr free campsites. Basic but bloody handy when you just want to get a few miles done. Obviously some are more pituresque than others and these tend to be well known and slightly abused, but we haven't found any of them yet. Onwards and for the first time actually heading back which was confirmed when we reached the WA border and had to wind our watches back 1 1/2 hours!

Photo Incy wincy....

Photo Florence falls pool

Photo Florence falls

Photo Not even funny!!!

Moving on..

It's so good to be back on the road again! It's not a big update because we want to keep moving but briefly since leaving Darwin; We headed South to Katherine where they play country music 24 hrs a day from a tanoy system along the one main street and you have to have I.D to buy alcohol even if you're 70. On to the Litchfield National Park which was small and beautiful, swimming in the rock holes and under the water falls was a highlight, listening to some bint from London bore the three guys she was with to death all evening was the lowlight.