Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Broome to ........? Broome

This morning we packed up Myrtle ready for her week in storage and packed the car for our drive up to Cape Leveque. We had just hit the dirt road and stopped to let some air out of our tyres and the little tyre pressure gizmo broke. So we headed back in town to buy another one - really need one for this journey. We had got a little bit further along the road and we got a call from my daughter Rachel letting us know that our little dog Zoe wasn't well and she was taking her to the vets. That set our emotions on edge and then I picked up a packet of bickies and the whole box emptied all over me and the car. A that point I figured something in the universe was telling us not to head up north today and maybe we should have the night in Broome. That way we could get the news from the vets as well. But what to do - Myrtle is in storage! What else book into a motel. So here I sit in a motel room at the Mercure Broome, which has blown the budget for this week, but at least we are getting our TV fix for another few months. So tomorrow morning will will head off on our Cape Leveque journey for the next week. I don't think I will have any phone or Internet reception for the week, so it might be a while before I do another post. By the way little Zoe is on antibiotics and has to go back to the vet on Friday. Thank goodness I have a satellite phone that I can call Rachel on Friday to check on Zoe. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Broome sights - some more than I expected!

Today was a very lazy old day, just sitting around enjoying the life we have chosen to live. But yesterday was a day of sightseeing, some more than I expected. We started the day by visiting Broome market. It sort of had a bit of a hippy feel about it. I just couldn't resist having a Sugar and Lemon Crepe from the crepe bus. It was so so yummy. Then we headed up to beautiful Cable Beach with it's white sand and the bluest of blue water. There is an area where 4WD vehicles are allowed to drive up the beach, so seeing we are getting a little bit more adventurous we decided to give it a go. There were quite a few cars up along the beach and we thought maybe they were fishing, so off we went. We got about half way along and we realized that there was no fishing going on. The reason a lot of people were heading up there was to sunbake, swim and walk around in the nude. Strange thing was it wasn't totally nude it was a mix of dressed and nudist. At first I was a bit shocked as I didn't expect to see naked men walking along the beach beside where I was driving. One of the downfalls was all the nudies were older than us, so there were no trim, taught and terrific bodies to admire. If I was younger I probably would have gone up there and sunbaked naked but I'm not to sure about walking along the beach. I'd love to hear your view, would you, have you? And if your wondering no I didn't take a photo!!
Off we head down the beach - I was a little excited.

Beautiful Cable Beach

Our day was finished off with a visit to the Broome Town Village Bar for a Sunday night roast and - get this - the Crab Races. The roast beef was very nice and might I say huge. For $18 there was enough food on one plate to feed two people. Then the crab races started - for $10 you got 6 tickets and if one of your tickets got drawn out you picked out your crab for that race. There were five races for the night and up until Race 4 we had no luck at all - none of our tickets had been drawn. Then our luck changed in The Crab Cup, Race 4, my ticket got drawn out and I got "Little Log CRABIN". I gave my crab a kiss for good luck and she was placed in the middle with all the other seven. The starting horn was blown and the little hermit crabs were released all heading towards the outer red finishing line. Some were going sideways, some retracing their steps but my little No.5 just headed straight towards me and reached the red line well before any of the others. Yay I won $150 - thank you little crab. The next race was the 5th and final race - The Fish Stakes. This time we were lucky enough to get two little crabs racing for us. By this time of night I think the little fellas were getting tired as they all took their time getting anywhere. I had eFISHent racing for me and even though he took his time he was still the 2nd little crab to get to the finishing line. Yay I won another $56. So overall we had a pretty profitable night. Don't worry I checked, the little crabs will be returned to the sea in the morning - although they may get teased about having a number on their back.

Crab Race No 3 guide.

And their OFF!! Sorry it's blurry but I was a bit excited as my crab was winning.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Broome"s Beauty

The last few days have been spent soaking up Broome's beautiful weather and sights. It is quite a commercial touristy town, but still has a very relaxed atmosphere. This morning we left the caravan park we were staying - Broome Gateway (without power) and are now in a park a bit closer to town - Broome Caravan Park, but also almost twice as dear. Even though the last one had no electricity I really enjoyed it. It was nice and remote, quiet and every night there was a huge fire in the huge fire pit and everyone sat around sharing their travel stories. It was quite funny on our second night there we were sitting around the fire and all of a sudden we found ourselves in a situation we vowed not to get in. Prior to leaving on our Aussie Adventure we watched a lot of caravaning DVD's and shows. A lot of them would show a heap of people (older than us) sitting around the camp fire, listening to poetry, singing and various other entertaining activities. We always said no we won't be doing that!! So on this night while sitting by the fire pit enjoying the fire all of a sudden someone started reciting poetry and then people started singing. Well Shane and I just looked at each other with shocked looks on our faces and tried to hold our laughter in. Yes we did sit there and listen but I must say I don't think it is my thing. The most well known beach in Broome is Cable Beach - named this when the underwater cable was laid between Indonesia and Australia. Cable Beach has been named one of the most beautiful beaches anywhere in the world. I haven't actually been to the beach as yet but I did get some shots from the distance.
Everyone prepares for a night around the fire pit

It wasn't long before the fire was blazing and the poetry was being told!!

Japanese Sunset Sky - amazing

Broome has the most spectacular sunsets

This little Magpie Lark was really infatuated with the bird in Shane's car mirror

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Derby to Broome

We arrived in Broome safe and sound yesterday. We were lucky to be leaving when we did as a lot of people couldn't get from Derby to Broome as the road was closed due to two raid trains having a head on collision on a one way bridge.  Apparently one didn't wait until the other was off the bridge before going across. Both vehicles burst into flames, so it was very lucky no one was killed although one of the drivers was injured. One of the road trains was carrying live cattle and we heard that about 20 of them had to be put down. When we drove over the bridge the council were burying something (I presume dead cattle) and assessing the damage to the bridge. But we are now in our home for the next four night. we are staying at a bush camp called Broome Gateway about 20kms out of Broome. It's really nice and peaceful, great amenities block, huge fire pit, lots of room. Only downfall it has no power, so I am writing my blog as quickly as I can. We decided to stay here for 4 nights to really just chill out before heading into the very busy Broome. Although last night we did head into Broome to see Staircase to the Moon. It was crazy there were so many people, but the show the moon put on was absolutely amazing. The natural phenomenon of the Staircase to the Moon occurs when the full moon rises over the exposed mudflats of Roebuck Bay at extremely low tide creating the optical illusion of a staircase reaching up to the moon. The staircase only occurs three nights each month between March and October. I am please with the shots I got but they certainly don't do  justice to this amazing sight.
The crowds to see the Staircase to the Moon were huge!!!
They all came very well prepared too.

The colours in the eastern sky at sunset were spectacular.

The Staircase to the Moon was an amazing sight. Next time I will set up my tripod.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fitzroy Crossing to Derby

We are now in Derby which is located on the tidal mud flats on the edge of the King Sound. It has the highest tidal range of any port in Australia and one of the highest in the world. Because of the huge range between high and low tide the jetty was built really high. The high tide in Derby can be as high as 11.8 metres, today it was actually 8.2 metres.
The town had its origin in the pastoral and mining industries. During World War 11, Derby was bombed by Japanese planes because the airbase and jetty was used by Australian forces. More recently, refugees are housed at Royal Australian Air Force Base Curtain, which is located south of town.
Derby has a population of approx. 4,500 people. Half of the population are Aboriginal Australians, with three different Aboriginal languages. There isn't a huge amount to see here but what there is here to see, we are seeing. It's also nice to stay in places where you can just relax around our little camp.
Something that has really grabbed my imagination up here in the north are the amazing Boab trees. The Boab tree is a major feature of Derby. It has been used as a street tree and many of the larger growing natural specimens have been preserved. One such specimen is the famous Boab Prison Tree which is located 7 kilometres from town. This huge tree is believed to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres. It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days. This tree belongs in Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings.
Prison Boab
Myalls Bore and Cattle Trough - the bore at this location was first dug in 1910/11. It replaced the original well that was dug in the early 1890's. The water from the bore has a rich mineral content and was reputed to have therapeutic properties. A bath house once stood near the trough. The cattle trough is 120 metres long and was built around 1917. The trough could handle 500 bullocks at one time. The water is now pumped into the trough by a windmill.

This is one big cattle trough!
Once again my day was completed by a beautiful Western Australian sunset.
So beautiful 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Darngku Gorge (Geikie Gorge)

This morning we were up bright and early once again. It wasn't really our choice, there was a coach tour camped in the paddock near us and they were all up at 5.00am for breakfast before they headed off. Now don't get me wrong I think if you have a laugh first thing in the morning is good medicine - but couldn't they have laughed a little quieter or waited till 6.00am Anyway it got us up early enough to head out and go for a 8.00am cruise up Geikie Gorge. As most people I thought Giekie was an Aboriginal word but it isn't. The gorge was named after Sir Archibald Giekie, who has never even been to Australian. So the process has started to have the gorge changed to it's Aboriginal name Darngku Gorge, but as with most governmental things it may take a while. I wouldn't say it was the best gorge I have been to but it was a lovely morning for a cruise along the Fitzroy River. Our guide was very informative and gave us lots of information to process.  Darngku (Geikie Gorge) is part of an ancient barrier reef that developed during the Devonian Period, around 360 million years ago. It is amazing seeing the level the river has reached in past floods. The thing that really grabbed my attention and imagination was the different shapes that had been worn into the rock from massive amount of water being swirled around.
The white line is the level of one of Fitzroy Rivers big floods.
The pinks are stains from the remains of algae. The orange is stains from iron oxide.

I just love the shapes that have been carved into the stone.

The Fitzroy River is also home to many many freshwater crocodiles and lots of different types of birds and fish.
My wings need drying !!
Yet another fresh water crocodile

Australian Pied Cormorant
The rest of our day was spent longing around,
talking to our neighbours and preparing to head of to Derby tomorrow morning.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kununurra to Fitzroy Crossing

Well I'm back online after a few days without Internet reception. Strange thing was that I still had phone reception and occasionally the Internet would float in because my emails kept updating but I couldn't actually get on the Internet. After leaving Kununurra we headed for the Bungle Bungles in the world heritage listed Purnululu National Park. Originally we were going to stay at the free camp but thought it best for the security of Myrtle that we stay in the caravan park as we intended to be away all day exploring the Bungle Bungles. The Bungle Bungle range stands 300 metres above sea level above spinifex covered plain and is dominated by the famous orange and black banded beehive shaped domes. Because of Shane's limited fitness we decided to walk into Cathedral Gorge as it seemed to be pretty flat. First of all we had to drive the 63 plus kilometres (one way) along a dirt, corrugated road. Other than the first half hour of bad corrugations the drive wasn't to bad. In total we had to cross 43 river crossings but as it is the dry season there was only water in five of them and out of those we only had to go into 4WD for one. That didn't stop me having a little heart attack at each lot of water we came to.
One of our river crossings
But eventually we got to our destination and headed off on our walk, which ended up being about six kms. It was a great walk but might I say (excuse my language) bloody hot, probably about 35c!!! Firstly we walked in a loop around some of the beehive shaped domes and then onto Cathedral Gorge. As we entered the gorge not only did the sight of the magnificent natural amphitheatre blow our minds but the temperature dropped by at least 15c.
Bungle Bungle Beehive shaped Domes

Cathedral Gorge
That night after our big day we had retired for the night and in the darkness outside we heard something outside the van. Thinking it was a dingo or bird trying to get into our rubbish bag Shane decided to get up with his trusty torch and check it out. He opened the door slowly not to scare the native animal away and came face to face with a cow. Yes a cow of all things - I'm not sure who got the biggest shock Shane or the cow. So that sent us into fits of laughter probably waking the campers around us.
Next day we were on the road again and decided (on another campers recommendation) to stay at a free camp called Mary Pool on the Mary River. This camp was really nice, right on the river (not that there was much water) and plenty of shade. We arrived around 1.00pm and there we a few vans already set up for the night. By the time the sun was setting there were probably 70 vans there for the night.
Vans streaming into Mary Pool for the night

Mary River - about 1/4 full

Our 5.00am alarm clock at Mary Pool
We are now in Fitzroy Crossing for three nights before heading onto busy Derby and Broome. There's not a lot to see in Fitzroy Crossing, but there is Geiki Gorge which is supposed to be pretty spectacular. We are checking that out tomorrow, but for today it is a day of lounging around doing not much at all.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kununurra Show

Before leaving on our Aussie Adventure back in May I had said that I would like to go to a country Agricultural Show and it just happens that this weekend is when Kununurra Show is on. All Shane kept saying was that he wanted a Dagwood Dog - for those uninitiated a Dagwood Dog is a hotdog in batter and on a stick. He was so happy when we walked in the gates and he saw the stand that was selling them, he was over there as quick as a flash. This show had all the attractions as any other show but a country show just has something else about it.

I think Clowns is the first side show game every child plays
Horse Jumping
Melon Races
BIG Pumpkins !
Shane was very excited about getting his Dagwood Dog


Friday, July 12, 2013

T.V and Pumphouse

As our visit to Kununurra is starting to come to an end, today was the day for housework (takes me so long NOT!) washing and preparing for our next destination, which we are unsure where that will be yet. But it was also the day to tackle the satellite TV dish, I wasn't going to let it beat me. And I am happy to announce it didn't, it took a while and with the help off a fellow camper we now have TV. Not that we will watch much on it but it's nice to have it just to veg. out sometimes. Shane's glued to it at the moment watching The Ashes.
I wasn't going to let this dish beat me !!!

Yeah we have TV !!
A couple of people had recommended The Pumphouse Restaurant & Bar for dinner, so tonight was the night to actually do my hair and get dressed up just a little and go out for a nice meal. We decided to sit outside but after being there for 30 minutes we thought we had made a mistake. There were millions of little bugs flying around everywhere. They were so bad we were considering not staying for dinner. But the owners turned the lights out and with the yellow lights on the tables it all but got solved the bug situation. Our meals were quite good but the desert of Apple Pie, ice-cream, cream and fruit was to die for.
Yummy Desert

Sunset @ Pumphouse Restaurant

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Today we went for the 100km drive to Wyndham. We had been told there isn't much to see there but as I say with everything - I would like to experience the nothingness for myself. Wyndham with a population of 800 is the oldest and northern most town in the Kimberley region. Established in 1886 as a result of a gold rush, it is now a port and services area for the East Kimberley region. The main export from Wyndham port is in live cattle to somewhere in the world and nickel to China. One location not to be missed is the Five Rivers Lookout. The Five Rivers Lookout is at the highest point of the Bastion Range (330m). The local Aboriginal name being Bahdarwi Range. The Five Rivers Lookout provides a spectacular view of the Gulf into which the rivers (Ord, Forrest, King, Durack and Pentecost) flow. I was fascinated how much salt lay in the areas where the water had receded in the dry season. I agree that there isn't a huge amount to see in Wyndham but its has a very interesting history.
Moving Nickel for export

Cattle waiting for export

Salt pans as far as you can see
These large bronze statues of an Aboriginal family and native animals are a proud reminder of the Aboriginal heritage of the Wyndham area. The family group of statues are known as the dreamtime statues. They were designed and built by Aboriginal families, traditional owners and descendants of the stolen generation.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Rum and Sandalwood

Today was another beautiful day in Kununurra, although I did have a minor hiccup in the morning (don't want to dribble on about it) that sort of set me back for a little while. But once I got things in perspective in my mind all was OK again. Anyway today was a day for a little bit of sight seeing. First it was off to the Hoochery - I know everyone thinks it has something to do with marijuana - but it is actually the Oldest Continually Operating Legal Still in Western Australia. They produce very high alcohol content rum. Shane had a taste and it nearly blew his head off. It was so strong (56.4% alcohol) his eyes started watering - ha ha it was pretty funny. Then it was off to Mt Romance - The Sandalwood Factory, which I was very interested in as years ago when my son Shane worked in Kununurra, he actually worked for this company (TFS - Tropical Foresty Services) on this Sandalwood Plantation. It was very interesting learning all about the Sandalwood, they also sell lots of products that contain the Sandalwood Oil - I bought a tube of hand and body lotion.
An interesting fact about these very slow growing trees is that they are a parasitic plant and require host trees next to them to provide extra water and nutrients by joining roots.
However, after the sandalwood is harvested, the host trees are useless, with new host trees being planted as new sandalwood is grown.

The Hoochery

Sandalwood Trees growing along with their host trees.

Backpackers enjoying Lake Kununurra -
don't think I would chance it here, could be Salties (Saltwater Crocodiles)!!

I also have to share my photo of the sunrise last Monday morning as we were leaving Lake Argyle. Pretty amazing hey?

Lake Argyle Sunrise

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Katherine to W.A

Yeah I am back on the grid after having no Internet or mobile phone coverage for a while. I was actually nice not to have all the electronic stimulation for a while. We are in Kununurra, Western Australia until about next Sunday then probably without reception again for a while. But my past week has been very enjoyable indeed.
Wednesday, July 3rd
We headed off from Katherine at about 10.00am for our journey to Victoria River Roadhouse. The park where we set up was really only a big paddock with connections for our electricity, but it had a really good feel about it. I went for a little walk along the old road (before the Victoria River Bridge was built) at sunset and the reflections on the river were beautiful. Down on the base of the bridges pylons a Freshwater Crocodile lazed away the end of his day.
Beautiful reflections on Victoria River

Just Chillin !

Thursday, July 4th
Victoria River to Saddle Roadside stop. This stop is as it sounds just a roadside stop although it did have toilets - drop toilets but at least toilets. If anyone doesn't know what a drop toilet its a huge hole that has a toilet sitting on top of it. They don't smell very nice at all, but they serve the purpose.
I didn't have to many high expectations about our stop as it was only an overnight stop. But I was pleasantly surprised, the rock formations were really good.
Amazing Rock face

Shoe Tree!!
Friday, July 4th
Saddle Roadside stop to Lake Argyle. First of all I was pretty excited to be crossing the border in Western Australia as it's the only state in Australia I have never set foot in. W.A have very strict quarantine regulations and you cannot take fruit, vegetables, honey, plants, soil etc. into the state. They even had us open the van and have a look inside. Not that we had anything as we already knew about the regulations. Just over the border we turned of to our first destination in W.A. I knew nothing about Lake Argyle before getting there, I just thought it might be nice to stay near a lake for a few nights. Wow - was I surprised when we got there. We stayed at Lake Argyle Resort, which is a great caravan park with the most amazing Infinity Pool I have ever seen. Lake Argyle is Australia's largest artificial lake and was born when in 1971 the Ord River Dam was completed. The Ord River dams provide water to over 117 square kms of farmland. The Ord River also generates power for the local community of Kununurra. We had  a lovely few days there but our last day would have to have been the best. At 2.30pm we set sail out on the lake for a sunset cruise. We learnt lots about the lake and the building of the dam wall. Saw lots of different birds, fish and of course some freshwater crocs. But to top it all of at sunset the skipper tied the boat to a buoy and some of us had a sunset swim in the lake. The depth was about 17.5 mtrs and it was about 24.6c which is pretty nice to swim in.
Lake Argyle Resort Infinity Pool

Common Rock Wallaroo - Euro

Big smile from a Freshie -  Crocodylus johnsoni

He's keeping an eye on me!!

Champagne time while floating in Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle seen from Space - Wikepedia
Monday, July 8th
Lake Argyle to Kununurra. So now we are here in Kununurra for about 6 nights to do a bit of touristy stuff but to also have a few days without to much driving. I was anxious to see Kununurra as this is one of the first places my son Shane came to work after leaving University. Haven't really seen much yet just some beautiful sunsets.