A Travellerspoint blog

From Manning gorge heading for Ellenbrae Station

Further along the Gibb river track.

sunny 39 °C
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So, packed up and back on the road. Fellow travellers had started to warn that the road between Ellenbrae and El Questro was probably the roughest along the Gibb - we weren't quite at that point yet. From Manning gorge we travelled a few k's down the road and pulled in to explore Barnet gorge. A bit of a 4 WD track to get in there, and we arrived to see just one other vehicle. Only a 15 minute walk in the heat, to reach the lower gorge - a welcome refreshing swimming hole that had us cooling off. Buddy had an awesome time launching from the edge, swimming out into no man's land before turning to come back to us. His fitness has definitely improved throughout this trip, but hard not to wonder whether he stops to think that once he swims out that distance, he still has to get back! Nonetheless, the relief from the heat must have been fantastic for him. His tongue was hanging low as he stood briefly on the bank, panting madly, recovering from his efforts before launching back into the water. Chatted with another family after making our way back to the car - more travellers stories shared. Back on the Gibb, we eventually reached the Kalumbaru turnoff mid afternoon - oh... Which way to go? By now it's late in the season and the word around was that the road north was pretty damn rough, hard on vehicles, and there was little water at Mitchell Falls - was it worth the travels? We sat at the roadside stop at the turnoff - time for a late lunch....and decision time re: which way to go. Megan felt summonsed by the invitation of an as amazing burger with the lot at Drysdale Station. 50 or so k's of marked corrugation?....... A ranger vehicle swung past us, and alerted Steve to the fact that the bar light on the front of our vehicle was only just hanging on. On inspection, one of the metal brackets had simply sheared leaving the light hanging on at a single point. A temporary fix using some wire coat hangers and we were ready to move on. Decision - we opted to continue on the Gibb and head for a stopover at Ellenbrae Station. And so, on we went. The road surface was variable with short stretches of bitumen and then loose gravel with some sharp edged rocks. Taking our time, but the sun was getting lower in the sky.... Around 15 k's to reach Ellenbrae when.....aaaagghh....a flat tyre. We pulled over to see the left back tyre flat. Alas, the hissing sound of a tyre had us walking to the other side of UGG only to find the right back tyre deflating as well! A double whammy..... Team Hollowood kicked into overdrive. 40 minutes of daylight left, 2 tyres to change and another 15 plus k's to go. So glad we had two spares.... and four pairs of hands. A slow trip to Ellenbrae had us arriving soon after dark. We were kindly welcomed by Logan with his torch in hand. As they say, things come in 3's so we shouldn't have been surprised in that last 15 k's to have our UHF antenna flip off into the dark somewhere along the track. Not the time to go searching in the dark, so we left that one behind in the bush somewhere. So, all 3 hiccups accounted for.... bar light, flat tyres and lost antenna!! Not expecting anymore today. The following morning, Logan assisted by repairing one of the tyres, and we purchased a replacement for the other. We enjoyed a round of Ellenbrae's famous scones (very YUMMY) and the oasis of the homestead environment. A giant ~100 year old boab had only recently collapsed next to the main building, so we could take a look at the inside of it and there was some beautiful local artwork on display. A small shrinking waterhole near the campsite allowed us to cool off from the heat of the day. So where to next? That's another blog entry:-)

Posted by slamrs 03:32 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Lennard River to Adcock and Manning gorges

Gibb River road continues

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So, woke up, packed up and got on the road to explore the mighty Gibb River road. Road surface was fairly kind in lots of places, but also a few rough patches ( as you'll find out further down the track). The drive through King Leopold ranges told us that the decision to tackle the Gibb was a good one. Wow! Beautiful, untouched, undulating, rocky (no surprise). Planned destination for the day was Manning gorge, although such plans are floating and easily changed depending upon our daily discoveries. Our first turnoff was to Adcock Gorge. Just a few k's off the road, we found ourselves walking into a small treasure of a gorge with picturesque waterhole at the end. We came across two Perentie lizards - so fellow walkers told us! ( will upload a photo). At first we thought they might have been mates but when they actually came face to face, an aggressive head waving dance had the other shuttling away into the water in such a hurry! Another hot day but stopped for quite a time chatting with fellow travellers - 2 German girls, with UK and French fellas. Also a family from Sydney with 2 young toddlers - living on the road. Great conversations and stories told. - especially keen to hear from those coming from the other direction and their experiences of the road. Sydney couple had been up to Mitchell Falls and described the string of vehicles experiencing different troubles due to the corrugated roads. This bit rattles its way off, that bracket, antenna etc etc. From Adcock, we continued our way to Mt Barnet Roadhouse - yes Manning gorge sounded like the place to stay - fresh waterholes to swim in at both ends of the gorge walks. What else could we ask for?! And so, Buddy's fame started to be established. We were greeted by the Camp Manager's daughter, Maddy who expressed that all 4 of us would do the gorge walk in the morning as she was going to dog sit for us. And so it was. We set off from camp shortly after 6:30 am, heading into the gorge. We were closely followed by Maddy's 15 year old brother who introduced himself and transformed into an entertaining tour guide as we proceeded on the walk. Lots of local information that Brenton had picked up from Kimberley tour guides was at our disposal. Finally he led us down a rocky descent to Manning gorge. Whoa..... Refreshing after the warmth of the walk in. And so, the challenge was set. After a brief spell of fishing, Brenton challenged us to jump off the gorge rockface into the pool below. Are we nuts!! A Swiss traveller could be heard muttering 'that's dangerous'. Brenton leapt and splashed into the pool below. Next, a back flip - scored a 10. This kid had lived here for the dry season and survived this far. Guaranteed 13 metres deep he said - yeah, sure..... Caution wained and there we were jumping off. Megan took top prize as she jumped off the highest point. Couldn't say how high, but many metres and enough that when you look out over the ledge, you take an immediate step back thinking, " you've gotta be kidding" Next we see the Swiss woman jumping with her partner hand in hand:-). Daring fun had everyone laughing and clapping complete strangers.
We stayed a few days, particularly as Rory and Brenton got on so well. They headed off fishing the next morning and brought home a couple of sooty grunters. Buddy started to establish fame - welcomed into the camp waterhole by a bunch of touring kiwi farmers. We encountered people further down the track who would first greet us with, "where's Buddy?". Finally we decided to hit the road. Keeping drinking water cool was becoming a challenge, so we converted our pantry box for staples (flour, cereals etc) into an icebox. Great decision:-). One last pause to tap into Mt Barnett wi-fi for banking and school work submissions, and we were back on the road again. Standby for our next adventure. A lot can happen in a day - especially on the Gibb

Posted by slamrs 23:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Heading on to the Gibb River Road

Fitzroy Crossing, Tunnel Creek NP, Windjana gorge, a floating dead a croc and LOTS of fruit bats

sunny 40 °C
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Goodness time has passed. Travelling without an internet signal puts us on the back foot with blogging - some catching up to do. I'm sitting (Sue) in Kununurra library whilst Rory does some school work and we wait for our 2pm mechanic appointment to change two belts on the Prado. We wanted to do this before starting on our way to the Bungles and then the Tanami Desert to Alice Springs. It's around 40 degrees outside - the aircon in here is welcomed relief:-). A broken car aircon belt as we headed into Broome told us that our car service in Port Hedland should have perhaps included changing all the belts, despite what the mechanic had said.
So, some back tracking....we left Derby and headed to Fitzroy Crossing for a couple of nights. Great park, grassy, shady, and a pool. Steve and I did a solo trip to Geike gorge - well worth the effort in the warmth. The walls of this gorge are unique in their colouring and very recognisable in photos at the park. Tall charcoal walls with a wide band of white along the base - 'washed' by wet season water levels. We did a 5 k walk through the gorge - gave us our first good glimpse of fruit bats that are so prevalent in this part of the country. Gosh, they can make a racket of noise!!
From Fitzroy Crossing, we started our adventure toward the Gibb River road. Just west of FC, we hit the dirt again - stopped for a walk through Tunnel Creek NP - through the cool lengthy cave to find a couple of resident freshies in the pools at the end. Steve sat outside dog sitting (NP) and put the Foxwing to great use. On our return, we left the kids to make lunch whilst Steve and I trekked through. More bats:-) but nothing compared to Windjana Gorge which was further up the road. Our first night, we camped at Lennard River bridge - we were accompanied by a floating, deceased freshwater croc which lay on its back in the water - spread eagle with a mild accompanying aroma...... Next morning Steve, M and R headed the 20k's back to Windjana gorge. Quite pretty but lots and lots of overhanging bats that didn't mind their business hitting the humans below. The kids and I returned for sunset for an amazing sight - watching many many thousands of bats flying out of the gorge over the waterhole. Looking up, I thought I could have been in a scene from a batman movie - it was surreal - the sky was literally flooded with bats and they just kept coming. The attraction is to see the crocs line up in the water to try to snatch a bat when it came down for a drink. We heard a few snaps and splashes on dark, and saw a lucky escapee bat. Think the crocs might have missed out that night. Enjoyed the 20k drive home along the dirt in the dark. We generally avoid night time driving, but unavoidable this time. Rory went spotter in the front passenger seat and was great at picking up the many wallabies, cattle etc that stood in our path. The bats liked to follow the path of the car - not sure if it was the lights, but they'd fly in front of us dipping and weaving before diverting away. More magnificent boabs - we were on the hunt for intact boab nuts. These trees have just taken on a life of their own whilst we've been travelling in the Kimberley. All shapes, sizes and ages. Don't be surprised if we keep mentioning them:-). Will continue sharing about our GRR travels in another blog entry. Too many treasures to share in one hit:-)

Posted by slamrs 21:25 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

A little longer in Derby

Shooting at the Derby Gun Club

sunny 39 °C
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While in Broome I got a message from Aussie Post to tell me a parcel I had forwarded from Hedland had arrived. With the post office not open Saturday that meant staying the weekend or having the parcel forwarded once again. It had already taken a month to get here. This news was music to Rory’s ears as Mike had invited us to join them at gun club on Sunday morning if we were still around. Saturday was spent chilling out and socialising. A load of washing and replacing the reversing camera on the Prado were my efforts for the day. Megan and Rory chased around protecting an orphan chick from Buddy and his new mate, Sasha.
Sunday morning there was no chasing Rory out of bed!! He was up and ready to go. We had a great morning shooting skeets and then having a few shots at the rifle range. At a time when guns are very topical in a negative way it was good to involve both Megan and Rory in the responsible use of guns and how the sport of skeet shooting is very addictive! In the end it was Rory and I at the front of the pack. Overall we all surprised the locals with our scores for absolute beginners. Megan showed her weapon was the rifle with great accuracy with the .22. A great morning with Mike and A[ples and there club clubmates. On returning to camp it was a lesson in the care a firearms with Mike getting Megan and Rory involved in cleaning all the weapons.

It was hard to leave the next morning but the Gibb River Road was calling and it definitely wasn't getting any cooler. It's amazing how a camp that at first sight doesn't appear much, becomes so special because of the people you meet. there.

Posted by slamrs 02:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Whale Watching

A trip back to Broome

sunny -28 °C
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The sun was out again in Broome and Megan and I headed out to see some whales. The temperature was great, the sea flat and in no time we spotted three whales. A mother and calf and their escort. Apparently it is usual for a young bull to buddy up with a mother and calf to help protect them. Not a relative and from research observation, escorts don’t go on to mate with the cow. Anyway, they were happy to swim along close to the boat so we had quite a time watching them. We then found a young bull on his own but he wasn’t keen to hang around with us. Beautiful food and a time relaxing before we saw another whale off in the distance making a bit of a splash. We headed over to that position, taking about 30 mins and waited. We hadn’t seen it again since heading in that direction. The skipper was ready to go looking for another sighting when a large bull whale surfaced. Nothing flash to start with but then he gave us a 30+ minute spectacle of mainly tail slapping with twists and rolls and calls that sounded like someone doing a Donald Duck impersonation. After we left him we had a beautiful relaxing cruise back to shore where we met up with Sue and Rory for the ‘short’ trip back to Derby.

Posted by slamrs 02:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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