A Travellerspoint blog

Horizontal Falls Adventure from Derby

Seaplane, Talbot Bay, Horizontal Falls, our first helicopter adventure, the Derby Boab Prison tree.....

sunny 35 °C
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Wow, where do I start? September 1st - a day to remember. We arrived in Derby the day before and camped ten km's out of town at Mike and Apples property sitting a k or so off the beginning of the Gibb River road. The unseasonal rain we'd just experienced on our way back from Cape Leveque had resulted in the closure of some of the side roads off 'the Gibb' meaning you could start on your 600k + adventure but wouldn't be able to get into some of the gorges....so it's great that we had plenty to do here before starting the next part of our adventure. The drive from Broome to Derby showcased the beautiful boab trees in their many shapes and sizes - but unmistakable with their distinct 'look'. Day 1 in Derby - Steve, Rory and I headed off on our amazing 6 hour adventure to Horizontal Falls - north of here only accessible by plane and boat. Wow....sensational. Megan dropped us at the airport at 08:30am and took on Buddy duty for the day. We flew in a seaplane to Talbot Bay - a 40 minute flight over Derby, the massive mudflats and the untouched country north of here. Amazing scenery unfolded below....finally leading us to the turquoise waters of Talbot Bay and its surrounds. Tonia, our young pilot, executed a smooth landing on the water - with Rory as her co-pilot. Not sure if it was his good looks or height that gave him the front position ahead of more than a dozen others on board. Nonetheless, it was a bonus. The plane pulled in alongside the Horizontal Falls floating hotel and that was our base for the day. Literally seemed like we we're floating in the middle of nowhere, but the word 'paradise' certainly came to mind. Feeding of tawny nurse sharks, bat fish and trevally off the floating platforms, boat rides over the Horizontal Falls, a boat ride through the in-land sea and channels, a helicopter flight over the area, a freshly cooked lunch of Barramundi....what else could one ask for? The Horizontal Falls are a geological wonder where the tidal movements through a single narrow gap into in-land sea areas results in a drop in the height of water between two adjoining areas that are separated by grand walls of Kimberley rockface - the effect is surreal - 'horizontal waterfalls' as the water tries hard to race through the narrow gap, but the entry point just isn't wide enough to keep up with huge tides that are common to the area. Tides of around 10 metres - second only to Nova Scotia, Canada. At one point the tides equalise, the water stops flowing for about a minute or so, before it reverses to head in the other direction. This particular example of horizontal waterfalls is a one-off worldwide, as there are actually two such narrow entry points between 3 divided in-land sea areas. A double whammy! Pristine is a word commonly used in the advertising of this region, and you can truly see why. Seems so untouched and the inaccessibility of it, adds to this impression. The flight back to Derby took us out over the Buccaneer Archipeligo, more stunning turquoise waters, multitudes of islands, a Barramundi farm, and back over the mudflats and Derby jetty. Couldn't tell you how many nomads we've encountered who have done this trip and have unanimously chorused that it's absolutely worth every cent. We concur!!!
Day following in Derby, we dropped in to see the Prison Boab tree just outside town - some interesting Aussie history with indigenous Augtralians being remanded when enroute to their final destinations. It was accompanied by one veeerrrryyyy long watering trough - metres and metres and metres allowing for many thirsty cattle to be satisfied at the same time.
From there, we day tripped 200k's back to Broome, for Megan and Steve to go out on a 4 hour whale watching adventure to encounter the amazing humpbacks - I'll leave it to them to fill you in on that adventure. This has been a jammed packed adventure part of our trip - hopefully one of the best to come..... the Gibb River road. Gonna be hard to beat the Horizontal Falls though - we'll be sure to upload some photos soon. Love to all our friends and family XxxOoo
PS Rory is now re-enrolled at Loyola for next year. Did our Skype interview from Broome, scanned and emailed the paperwork including subject selections for Year 10. Goodness he sounds keen about it!

Posted by slamrs 23:10 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Gumbanan Bush Camp (Cape Leveque - Dampier Peninsula)

sunny 39 °C
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What an idyllic little spot out on One Arm Peninsula right up the top of the Dampier Peninsula. What could we do but chill out here! Rory lived on one end of a fishing rod. Sue and Megan sat in the shade looking out over the sea soaking up a whisper of a cool breeze. I meandered between the fishing and the shade. Too stressful!! This was our first encounter with heat and humidity but we didn’t feel too bad when the locals were complaining about it being around too early. We did fit in a drive to Kooljamin, Cygnet Bay pearl farm and the Whale song café (it was closed when we got there ☹ ) Although we didn’t catch any ‘keeper’ size fish, we did score a gift from our neighbour who had caught more than he could manage.

Packing up to leave after three nights we were saturated with sweat in 30+ degrees at 8:00 am. Then we drove down the road towards Broome looking at the building clouds. We stopped at Beagle Bay to look at the historic church and sample the wares of their bakery. The church was locally built early last century and adorned with pearl shells everywhere; the altar, the Stations of the Cross, the windows and even the floor. It sounds a bit garish but it was really quite beautiful with an interesting history.

On the road again south and light rain began to fall. Surely not! Then it got heavier and by the time we were back on dirt (100ks of the 200k trip), it was belting down. Tonight we’ve camped out of town at the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse and set up in the rain!! Sitting under the annex looking out at the rain Sue said, this still seems so familiar. We really hadn’t expected to see rain like this up here. Neither did the locals!!

Posted by slamrs 06:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Broome and Cape Leveque

Finally travelling as a family again

sunny 33 °C
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After returning from Karijini with our fractured rear windscreen there was pressure on to leave as we intended on Sunday morning. We’d thought travelling in a Toyota Prado would ensure we could get any parts easily but alas with a ring around on Friday afternoon, there was no rear window to be found. It appears the demand for parts is for late model Toyotas. At just 10 years, ours is ‘old’. Not to worry, they sent the screen up from Perth. It arrived Sunday morning and was fitted by lunchtime. We hadn’t been too optimistic that this would happen so we’d organised to stay another night in Hedland. So it was only a 24 hour delay in our expected departure.

We made our way up the highway towards Broome. A quick stopover to look at 80 mile on a very windy day then on to a 24 hour stopover near Lagrange, about 200 klms from Broome. Wow, jam-packed with caravans, campers etc. mostly heading south to get away from the heat.

We set up camp in a caravan park in Broome – There didn’t seem to be many options for free camping and only 2 places that would take dogs. Very busy place too. As soon as one camper would drive out, another would come in. I’m sure it reminded Sue of cubicles in an emergency department!! ☺ We took in Cable Beach, Pearl Lugger history, and of course pearl shops - a little out of our price range though. Rory caught up on some schoolwork in anticipation of heading away from Wi-Fi signal. It’s a real juggle for him to get enough work done and submitted so he can relax and enjoy the times when we are out of range or our days are too full to allow school work. He’s doing pretty well though.

After a couple of days in Broome we were keen to get up to Cape Leveque for a few days. We have to admit to feeling a bit pressured to get onto the Gibb River Road with all this talk about it getting too hot very soon. Though there’s hot and then there’s HOT!

Posted by slamrs 06:04 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Karijini

sunny 31 °C
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Monday morning, (15 Aug), off to Karijini. Leaving Sue behind again ☹ but this is her final week working so we’ll all be back on the road together by next week ☺

It’s about three and a half hours driving into Dales Gorge Campground. We checked in, set up camp and went off to find our friends. This place must have one hundred camp sites scattered throughout the bush. We went for a walk to Dales Gorge and found a lookout viewing down onto the ‘Circular Pool’. And look who’s down there! Well we thought it looked like Bart, Nicole and the kids but with the distance (not just my old eyes) we weren’t sure. So Rory just sprinted down the 400 odd steps and across the gorge floor to confirm our sighting. Then back up those 400 steps back to us!! I’m sure I used to be that fit!!

Another lovely evening with Bart, Nicole, Emily and Jack. Not so late this time. Back to ‘bush’ time bedtime. We agreed to trek together the next day, expecting to do some easy grade walks for Emily and Jack. Not a chance – Grade 5 hikes at the top of the list!

We headed off early the next morning for the 50 klm drive across to Weano and Hancock Gorges. One of those 4wd tracks that come with warnings about how bad it is only to find it in good condition with a fair bit of corrugation. First trek on the list – Hancock Gorge at the end of Weano Gorge. Not a long climb but it involved wading through water, climbing rocks and the ‘spider’ walk to Kermit Pool - Spectacular rock formations and colours with an icy swim at the end. We climbed out to have some lunch and then it was off to Handrail Pool - A trek that concluded with a traverse through narrow crevice with water running along its skinny base. The crevice then comes to a sudden steep end as the water cascades down a five-meter waterfall into a large pool where the crevice now opens into a chasm with walls 20+ meters tall. Another swim was required – colder than the last Brrrr !!!! By the time we climbed out and made the drive back to camp it was teatime. Another great evening together with the kids playing hide and seek via torchlight (my 15 and 18 year old included!!). What a great catch up – Good work friends become good friends in this environment.

The Wunderlichs headed off toward Coral Bay the next morning so we headed back into Dales Gorge intending on spending the morning there. Down 300 odds steps that led to the waterfall, then a short walk on to fern pool a beautiful tranquil setting in amongst giant trees with their roots running down rock faces finding any little crack into which they can take purchase. We decided it was too early for a swim so we trekked the length of the gorge to find Circular Pool. So much to see; so many photos, none of which does it justice. We were told Circular Pool was too cold to swim in so that was enough to guarantee we’d take a dip. The consensus was it wasn’t as cold as Handrail Pool but it was certainly cold!! We trekked the length of the gorge again back to Fern Pool via a swim at the waterfall and then a swim at Fern Pool. Much warmer water and such a great atmosphere had us staying for much longer than intended but what the heck we didn’t have to be anywhere else.

The following day we left Dales Gorge and made our way to Tom Price, a real oasis of a town in this very dry, red environment. We’d have loved to spend longer here but Hamersley Gorge was calling. It’s at the northwest end of the Park. We camped nearby and made a trek into the gorge that night and returned in the morning too just to see it in the different light. You’d think after the spectacle of the other gorges in the Park and what we’d seen at Millstream, Hamersley wouldn’t hold too many surprises. Of course it was another entirely different environment with more jaw dropping rock formations that you could look at all day, both in wonder and to see the changing colours.

Friday morning and time to get back to Sue and Hedland. An expensive drive home as we shattered our rear windscreen and less than 5 minutes later a roadtrain went past and put a big star in the front windscreen. We replaced the rear screen ($600) but we’ll leave the front one to get a few more cracks in it before changing it over.

Posted by slamrs 03:28 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Back in Hedland for the week.

Getting ready for Karijini

sunny 30 °C
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Back from our adventure into Millstream it was back to ‘city’ living for a week. That gave time for getting the car serviced (ouch!!), tyres rotated on the car and trailer, another LED light strip replaced – The plastic holding the lights has become brittle after many years of use. Fortunately I happened along a 5 metre reel of lights for $15 back in Melbourne. I brought it along in case! The same reel in the shops up here is $100+. Its allowed me to replace two strips of lights so far. We also bought some PVC strips to fashion support backing for the new strips of light. Just to reduced the severity of bending them when packing up etc. The week closed out with a visit from a couple of work friends – A couple ☺ - Bart and Nicole with their two beaut kids Emily and Jack. A Saturday night BBQ; a few beers; a red (or 3) and plenty of stories and yarns from each families travels. They’ve travelled from the opposite direction, through the centre and across the Gibb River Road. Unfortunately we’re all used to early waking and the kids particularly, so it was an early morning. A leisurely pancake breakfast cooked by Megan and then it was off for a harbour tour with the Seafarers Association. Getting up close to the ships was great. From the water you can see how vast the Port is and just how many ships they handle at any one time. All worked in around the tides as the port isn’t very deep so they can only take loaded ships out at the top of the high tide. The low tide is utilised to bring the ships into port. Bart, Nicole and the kids headed off towards Karijini. Megan, Rory and I will catch up with them there when we head in the next day. One more week of work for Sue ☺

Posted by slamrs 02:20 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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