Archives for the month of: July, 2021

After a final swim at Cable beach we headed further north to spend the night at
Fitroy Crossing where a section of the caravan parking was set aside for those in isolation after travelling
from the Northern Territory. We were being ultra cautious so we didn’t venture to the facilities and used those
in the van only.
We are lucky here in western Australia that all we have to do is keep to social distancing rules and ping on the app outside shops so that we can be traced if there is an outbreak of Covid.
Before we left Fitzroy we drove 20kms to Geike Gorge or Danggu in the local language and did an hour’s boat trip up and down the gorge which was very interesting and a very peaceful environment especially when the boat’s engine was turned off so that we could just hear the sounds of nature. There were a few species of birds on the banks and swallows making their nests under the rocks. The change in colour of the rocks delineates where the water rises to in the wet season which reaches a considerable height. They have over 38 species of fish in the gorge both salt and freshwater types. The most unusual is the long toothed sawfish of which we saw none. There are small fresh water crocodiles which are not dangerous to humans as they cannot open their jaws like the very large saltwater variety.
We had practically no traffic from Broome to Fitroy crossing and none from there until near Doon Doon station where an old man in his caravan went very slowly and held up 2 large road trains and us who were following.
The landscape on the way from Warnum to Doon Doon changed from being long straight stretches with very little on the horizon to undulating and winding roads which were much more interesting.
The roadhouse at Doon Doon station is in the middle of nowhere so the stars were bright and beautiful at night with no lights to detract from them.
It was only a short drive, an hour and a half to the town of Wyndham. The caravan park was also divided in to those who were in isolation and others. It was a lovely peaceful, leafy park with an enormous Boab tree at the far end of the park.
We visited the Afghan cemetery off the main road and made our way up a steep road to the Five Rivers lookout which
was a spectacular place. I managed to get my drone up in the air for a short video which showed the vast amount of water in the five rivers converging around Wyndham.
We had to try the barramundi with lemon pepper pie which was delicious but passed on the crocodile pie. The cafe assistant said crocodile tasted like a mixture of meat and fish so it didn’t sound very appetising.
We only stayed one night in Wyndham as the following day was my birthday and we wanted to celebrate in some style. Unfortunately the only hotel in Wyndham had closed so we left the next morning for the short one hour drive first to “hidden valley’ very close to Kununurra for a bit of a hike up to two lookouts one over the town and around the interesting rock formations. After visiting the ‘Hootchery’ to sample their gin we went into Kununurra had an excellent fresh fish and chip lunch at the old pumphouse now a very nice restaurant overlooking the Ord River and we then checked into our Kimberleyland Caravan Park which was bursting at the seams with lots of children on school holidays. Thankfully they will be back at school next week.
Craig Maurice’s son and his wife Yuko sent us a voucher for a meal at the Kimberley Grand resort hotel and I had the best steak that I have had for years and Maurice had excellent fresh fish again.
The weather has been perfect for us 32-37degrees and sunshine with coolish nights, good for sleeping. We are spending a week here before moving slightly east to Lake Argyle


We left in our campervan on the 1st June for Dongara about 4hours north of Perth to meet up and have lunch with Ann a friend before staying for a few days with friends Adrian and Roslyn on their farm between Dongara and Geraldton.
It was getting colder in Perth and we wanted to head north for some warmth.

Our original plans of travelling dirt roads to Mt Augustus, the largest rock in the world were thwarted because heavy unseasonal rain which made the roads impassable. We camped at the Murchison Oasis where there was an unusual sight in the days that we were there of a large round disc carried by a helicopter which we were told was an airborne geophysical metal detector flown around the surrounding countryside. It was there that we were advised to make haste and take “Butcher’s Track” a 150km dirt road to the North West Coastal highway before more rain fell.
We were the only vehicle on the road and saw 2kangaroos, 2emus and a few sheep cross the track.
One car and caravan had been stranded and both were bogged for a week and the works manager was going to take a troupe out get them out of the mud. There were many many roadworks along the highway with improvements to widen the roads. It only held us up for a short time.

We could stay at the roadhouse of Wooramel before heading on to Carnarvon where we had more time and caught up with other friends who happened to be there, Maurice’s sister and brother in law and their friends and local friends.
The days there were sunny but with very strong icy winds which made outdoors very uncomfortable.
We progressed on to the 80mile beach, a beautiful stretch of coastline with amazing so called spring tides where the water disappeared for kilometres before coming back to shore.

This year unfortunately was to be very unusual weather wise. Our first month we spent in long trousers and
jumpers and it was only towards the end of June even 2000kms north that we could lose the jumpers and jeans.
The morning was cool and overcast with a few spots of rain on the 28th June, unheard of in Broome.
On our way north we stopped in the coastal towns of Geraldton, Carnarvon and Quobba station right on the ocean before we moved inland to Bullara station. We enjoyed the station stays more even though the facilities were not as numerous but the tranquility of the stations was very relaxing.

The normally brown landscape was much greener with many varieties and colours of grasses.
We spent one night in the city of Karatha which has grown exponentially since Maurice lived there in the 70’s. It rained all day and we made our way to Point Samson another small coastal town with the best Fish and Chips. In the 70’s and 80’s people travelled from many hundreds of kilometers away for their renowned Fish and Chips.
We were holed up in the van all day so made time to go the restaurant for lunch.

The poor wildflowers don’t know what to do and have started flowering months earlier than their normal blooming time. There were hundereds of caravans, 4wds, campervans and camper trailers all over the state with many from over east escaping their possible lockdowns. We have been luckier than most states and countries with avoiding covid cases and lengthy lockdowns in Western Australia.
One man we met had lost everything – house, cars and caravan in Townsville, Queensland last year when the river broke it’s bank. Another couple of people had vehicle problems which entailed sending parts of entire vehicles to Perth which was a very costly exercise. A lot of people with 4wd vehicles want to take the Gibb River road or the Tanami track which are very rough dirt roads with a lot of obstacles and that is where a lot of problems occur. A friend was travelling the Gibb river road and the vehicle ended up with a twisted chassis, could not be driven and ended up having to be trucked thousands of kilometres back to Perth.

On arrival in Broome it was extremely busy with every number of caravan, campervans and camper trailers in the town. All the Caravan Parks and every accommodation was at capacity. The normal town population of around 15,000 people swells to about 50,000 during the dry season from May to October. The weather then changes to the wet season where temperatures can reach 40 degrees with 80 percent humidity. A lot of locals go south during the wet season. We had a relaxing time walking to Cable Beach, seeing the beautiful sunsets and doing the Horizontal falls tour with Go Horizontal an amazing experience with excellent staff. The flight took 1 1/2hours followed by a boat trip for about 4hours travelling to the amazing falls and back again. It has been quite overcast and coolish in the mornings but the clouds lift mid morning and the sun comes out and the temperatures have increased to 27-30degrees which is very pleasant. Every other year it has just been hot and dry without the changes during the day.

Apart from tourism being the main thrust in Broome, Pearls are the next big thing with several large businesses having pearl farms nearby and many upmarket shops in town selling pearls. The largest pearl was found a few weeks ago and was valued at $155,000. We said that if anyone wore that pearl, no one would believe that it was real!

Cable Beach is iconic with it’s vast flat coastline and vast tides with beautiful turquoise water where one can actually swim during the dry season. Towards the wet the deadly Box jellyfish migrate here and the beach is closed when they appear. Tomorrow 2nd July we move to another Caravan Park in Broome for our last four days here as our present one was already fully booked months ago when we booked it.
(the pictures are shown in reverse – fighting with the programme to do a slideshow)

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