Kimberley Caper Completed
Been there, done that – returned home last week from a wonderful trip into the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Not quite the last frontier, but still unique enough to leave us with hundreds of fine memories (at our age, being assisted by hundreds of fine photographs). As planned, Pig Pen and I traveled up to Broome to meet up with the SpareWheel who took the easy way – flying. I took my time driving, enjoying the trip over 4 days with several stop offs, including at Eighty Mile Beach, 360 kms west of Broome – a grey nomads paradise by all accounts.
We then traveled up the Dampier Peninsula for a couple of nights at Kooljaman at Cape Leveque taking an on-the-beach shelter – a fantastic location, ok snorkeling and just the place to test drive a hammock. We regretted only allowing 2 days for this area as by all accounts there are several good stopovers on the peninsula. We then returned to Broome for a couple of nights in a hotel to re-stock before travelling to Derby and then hitting the Gibb River Road. The visit to the Mowanjum Aboriginal Art and Cultural Centre was surprising interesting – and from there to Windjana Gorge camping ground for a couple of days.
We ambled eastwards over 16 days, more or less following the itinerary we had set out, which included
- Various Gorges
- Mt Hart Wilderness Lodge (not worth the side trip)
- Mornington Wilderness Camp (a long way off the track – but worth it – great restaurant)
- Drysdale River Station
- Mitchell Falls
- Home Valley Station (waste of time – shocking service, shocking food)
- El Questro Wilderness Park (a slice of heaven)
SpareWheel’s favourite was the upper Manning Falls, mine was Galvin’s Gorge. We left the Gibb River Road to head up to Mitchell Falls , over-nighting at Drysdale Station and then King Edward River for a couple of days. The final trip from there to the falls was just 78 kms, but this took 2 hours to complete. We walked to the falls, then took the 18 minute helicopter flight back to the car parking area – what a buzz!
Our last stop along the Gibb was El Questro station where we stayed 4 nights at a private camp site – a bargain at $40 per night for your own piece of paradise. El Questro is a good as everybody says it is and the staff are so friendly. There is so much to do with great gorge walks, hot springs, 4wd tracks and fantastic food in the restaurant and pub.
Then, after 1700 kms of dirt driving, we hit the bitumen again, and promptly got the only puncture in the entire trip – thanks to road works! On to Lake Argyle which again was a delight, especially the sunset cruise. Interesting facts – Lake Argyle has over 1000 sq kms of water, and was build 1969-1971 over 3 dry seasons for a cost of just $22m. Try doing that today!
The road into the Purnululu National Park (a.k.a. Bungle Bungle) as rough again, definitely 4wd only territory. Here we stayed 3 nights, walking the gorges and taking another helicopter flight – the best way to see it all and definitely the easiest. Then onto Fitzroy Crossing – Geikie Gorge – but the town is one to avoid. Finally we chilled for a couple of nights back on the Dampier Peninsula on the beach at Quondong Point.
The SpareWheel flew home from Broome, and I hit the road. A great holiday – away 5 weeks.
The score – 8691 kilometers, one puncture, one stolen sandal – dingo presumed guilty! Saw lots of crocodiles – but all good croc, no bad croc, but then we avoid the areas with salties.
Pictures tell a thousand words – and are easier for me than typing – Click on pic for larger image -Enjoy!