1st June 2017–Kununurra Day One

Distance: 4 km
Fuel: 33 L

Up before 6am presumably because, being on the edge of a time zone, the sun rises unreasonably early. Anyway I showered, washed yesterday’s clothes, had brekkie etc while most people were still asleep.

170601 003 Kununurra Town Caravan Park

At a far more reasonable hour drove into town to the Visitor’s Centre where a helpful lady booked me on a flight to the Bungle Bungles with a walking tour of Cathedral Gorge. Pretty pleased with that, there is also a chance of a helicopter ride when I get there (hoping and clutching my credit card). Actually I thought it was another seaplane ride but reading the brochure it is a normal plane and we land on a dirt airstrip in the National Park.

While I was in the shopping centre I also bought, wrote and sent postcards to all the usual suspects as I had a coffee and a vanilla slice (haven’t had a vanilla slice for years).

As I will be away all day tomorrow filled the car up with fuel too.

The main event today was a cruise on Lake Argyle; the bus picked me up at 1pm and drove half a dozen of us to the lake. On the way it stopped for 15 minutes at the Argyle Downs homestead. This was the original house built by the Durack family when they first started grazing in the region in the mid 1800s. It was dismantled when the property was to be flooded by the dam and rebuilt on higher ground.

170601 009 Argyle Homestead170601 013 Argyle Homestead170601 010 Argyle Homestead

The cruise itself was so so. Everybody else seemed to enjoy it but personally I thought it was a bit dull, no dolphins just a few freshwater crocs, some short eared wallabies, the odd wallaroo and lots of water. The dam wall itself is made of locally quarried rocks and clay there is no concrete except in the pump towers.

170601 051 Lake Argyle Cruise

170601 075 Lake Argyle Cruise170601 026 Lake Argyle Cruise Short Eared Wallaby170601 037 Lake Argyle Cruise170601 042 Lake Argyle Cruise Walleroo170601 054 Lake Argyle Cruise170601 062 Lake Argyle Cruise Fresh Water Crocodile170601 066 Lake Argyle Cruise Fresh Water Crocodile170601 072 Lake Argyle Cruise170601 080 Lake Argyle Cruise170601 089 Lake Argyle Cruise170601 115 Lake Argyle Cruise Sunset170601 118 Lake Argyle Cruise Sunset

Just before sunset some of the passengers went swimming in the lake, the water temperature is 26’C.

There was one redeeming feature – two cans of free beer. Yes, I know it is me but cruises and water don’t excite me much.

Statistics

It has been six weeks since I started on this trip so time for some statistics (you know… those things made up on the spur of the moment) rounded to the nearest whole number.

Total Distance travelled: 10995 km
Fuel Used: 1099 litres
Fuel Cost: $1510
Accommodation Cost: $1384

29th May 2017–Derby to Fitzroy Crossing

Distance: 308km
Fuel: 58 L

Was out early buying fuel for the journey to Fitzroy Crossing and was on the road by 7.45am.

Easy drive to Fitzroy Crossing  where I arrived about 11am. Found a Caravan Park right next to the IGA store, Checked in and the lady told me that there was a boat tour at the Geikie Gorge at 4pm.

The Geikie Gorge is only just over 20km from town and that sounded a good idea so at about 1pm I took off for the Geikie Gorge National Park. Of course I arrived in plenty of time for the boat trip, originally I had intended to suss it out and return later but there were a number of walks at the park so I decided to try out a couple – I was carrying plenty of water in the car.

History: Geikie Gorge is a reef from the Devonian Period (250 million years ago?) when the area was a sea. As I understand it it is limestone from a combination of algae and coral.

Anyway my first walk was in among the reef formations. BTW this is a story where too many rocks are just not enough.

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Then it was a walk along the side of the Fitzroy River to the sandbar and the Margaret River. (In case you haven’t working it out yet Fitzroy Crossing is so named because it was a place early settlers could get across the Fitzroy River).

170529 035 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP170529 038 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP

Here you can see both the start of the sandbar and where the Margaret River joins the Fitzroy to the left of the sandbar.

170529 041 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP170529 044 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP

These were not arduous walks being about a kilometre or so each but the path was mainly soft sand (silt from the river flood) which made it hard going. They were well marked.

Suddenly it was time for the boat trip…

170529 055 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP Boat Trip

170529 056 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP Boat Trip

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These are birds nests made of mud and saliva stuck to the underside of overhanging rocks.

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The dark areas of the rocks are oxidised limestone while the light areas show where the river comes to at its peak. The limestone is eroded and scoured by the river. The ranger’s pagoda roof has been under 2 metres of water and it is not an insubstantial structure perhaps 5 metres high and many metres above the current water level.

The crocs are Freshwater Crocodiles much smaller and less threatening than the Salties further north, the river is quite safe to swim in they don’t attack humans.

This rock island is sacred to the local aborigines and is the only place where swimming is not allowed.

170529 093 Fitzroy Crossing Geikie Gorge NP Boat Trip

The boat trip finished just as the sun set so the drive back to town was at my least favourite time of day (for driving). As it happened I had to stop several times for wallabies with all the road sense of a two year old but I didn’t hit anything and got back safely.

I decided I didn’t want to cook so I went looking for a restaurant… Nope! the only food was at the servo but I really wanted a meal so I just bought fuel for tomorrow.

The diesel here is $1.43/L compared to $1.52 at Derby – how does that work?

24th May 2017–Broome Day Three

Distance: 30 km

My temperature estimates yesterday were a bit off – Day 32’C Night 19’C.is more like it.

This morning I was shocked to see clouds so I took a picture of them.

Smile

170524 002 Broome Cloud

Went to the Visitors Centre this morning to book a cruise if one was available for today. I was lucky and booked a sunset cruise on Roebuck Bay. They would pick me up at 1.40pm at the Visitors Centre.

As it was only 9.30am I had plenty of time to do other things. I returned to Chinatown for a coffee and time to plan the rest of the day.

170524 007 Broome170524 009 Broome Star Cinema

The Sun Picture Gardens is an open air cinema, the oldest in the world, built in 1913. It is still in almost original condition.

Next up was a visit to Broome Museum because it had a display about the pearling industry and the attack on Broome in WWII. Normally I avoid small town museums because they tend to be just like visiting my Grandmother’s or Great Aunts’ houses but as country museums go this one was quite interesting.

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After the museum I had a look at the Pioneer Cemetery and Town Beach complete with mangroves.

170524 023 BroomeTown Beach & Cemetery170524 024 BroomeTown Beach & Cemetery170524 028 BroomeTown Beach & Cemetery

In a day when one cemetery is never enough I also visited the Japanese and Chinese cemeteries. One thing I learned at the Broome museum was why there are so many Japanese and their descendants in Broome – it is all to do with pearling – the White Australia Policy and the notorious English test was not applied to Japanese pearl divers however they and their Australian born descendants were all interned during WWII.

170524 030 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries170524 033 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries170524 034 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries170524 036 Broome Chinese and Japanese Cemeteries

Zoomed back to Chinatown for lunch I thought there was a Thai restaurant there but I must have seen it somewhere else (I’ll find it tomorrow). I could only find one Chinese restaurant among all the cafes and bars so I had lunch there – to be fair after I had eaten and was leaving the area I saw at least two others.

170524 041 Broome

Went back to the caravan park for a shower before the cruise. At the back of my camper was a lizard – he scuttled up a tree.

170524 045 Broome Lizard

I was only waiting at the Visitors Centre for five minutes before the cruise bus arrived. We picked up the rest of the passengers before driving onto the beach next to the wharf. A launch came from the boat to pick us up.

170524 048 Broome Sunset Cruise

…and drove right up the beach.

170524 049 Broome Sunset Cruise

I’d never seen anything like it but the bloke reckoned he bought it ten years ago.

The cruise was quite interesting (in my opinion all cruises I have ever been on go on far too long. Water can only hold my interest for so long). We did see plenty of Snubfin Dolphins, some Flatback Turtles, a Hammerhead shark, a Dugong and some fish – the first photo is Batwing Fish (or something like that). I have lots of photos of empty water but these are a few with something visible.

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170524 098 Broome Sunset Cruise

170524 095 Broome Sunset Cruise

The turtles, shark and dugong got away.

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It was a sunset cruise…