Published: July 28th 2012June 30th 2012
Leaving Kununurra east bound on the Victoria Highway, out first stop was the WA/NT border. We felt that after spending the last 7 months in WA it was only fitting at we acknowledge our eventual leaving of that state. With the quarantine inspection station only operative to catch ‘offenders’ taking fresh fruit and veges into WA, all we had on the way out of the state on the other side of the road was a big sign to mark the boundaries between the two states. Nevertheless, it was a ‘moment’ in our trip for a quick reflection on WA.
After our emotional stop, (Yippee we were out of WA at last!), we travelled on east with the Pinkerton Range on our left (north). Not long after we passed Newry Station we came to a sign that Trish had been waiting for, the turnoff to Bullo River. Bullo River is the station made famous by writer Sara Henderson. It was her home and from here she wrote ‘From Strength to Strength’, the story that documented her family’s struggle to manage the Top End cattle station after her American-born husband Charlie died in 1985. Her other
Bulloo River Station
Turnoff from Victoria Hwy.
best-selling books, which also drew on her experiences at Bullo River, were The Strength In Us All; The Strength of Our Dreams; In addition, Some of My Friends Have Tails; Outback Wisdom and A Year at Bullo.
From the Bullo turnoff it was on over the West Baines River, and shortly after, the East Baines River, before we arrived at Timber Creek. Timber Creek is on the Victoria Highway, about 285 km south-west of Katherine and is a popular half way stop between the Territory and Western Australia. In the 1850s, the explorer Augustus Gregory came across the site when travelling the nearby Victoria River. Once settled, the area became important as a port for cattle stations in the area until the 1930s when road transfer became the major form of transportation. Today the town has a population of 150 people. Fishing is one of Timber Creek’s biggest drawcards these days, with the magnificent Victoria River on the door step. Gregory National Park is Timber Creek’s backyard, covering an area of approximately 13,000 square kilometres, the Park is home to red-rimmed escarpment ranges, plunging gorges and some big boab trees, including Gregory’s tree.
Gregory’s tree is Located in
Gregory National Park, this large Boab tree stands at the base campsite of Augustus Gregory’s North Australian expedition, which was commenced in 1885 and bears many inscriptions from that time.
We decided to stay in Timber Creek as it was now getting on for 4pm. We had set up quite quickly and returned to wander the ‘street’ of Timber Creek, all 3 shops, including the pub before things all shut down for the night. It was in the Croc Stock Shop that we were told ‘you should do the Victoria River evening cruise, it is an amazing trip’. ‘Yes, we would’, I say ‘but we are leaving for Katherine in the morning and will not be here for tomorrow’s cruise which leaves at 4pm’. The reply we get is…’But it is only 3.30pm now! You still have 30 minutes to go for today’s cruise!’ We had not wound our clocks back when crossing the border into the NT from WA, we had gained 2 ½ hours! Pandemonium broke out as we paid, rushed back to the Trakkie to get changed and grab some stuff and then run back to catch the tour bus that would take us to our
On the way to Big Horse Creek, (a barramundi is colloquially called a ‘big horse’ up here), we were given a spiel on the history of Timber Creek by Neville (Tour guide) and he also took us via a few local landmarks which was great. Onto the boat and out into the Victoria River we head with Nev pointing out all and sundry to us. It was not long before we saw our first Saltie and then they just kept coming, in all sizes, this river is crawling with Salties! And we saw some big ones too, a few around the 5 metre mark made us all sit back and wonder at the size and power of these prehistoric animals. Nev all the time in control, was throwing out facts and history of the river and region whilst pointing out flora and fauna as we travelled down the river to the junction of the Angilarri river. It was here we were able to hop off the boat and onto a pontoon where we were presented with a lavish spread of hot and cold finger food, and plenty of it as well, whilst we watched the sunset over the
taken from Gregory's tree where he made his base camp for his Expedition of North Australia.
Yambarrin Ranges, just brilliant. This was a fantastic trip on an awesome river, the crocs were everywhere and made for something around every corner and Nev was a brilliant tour guide and host, just magic.
Timber Creek was a terrific stop, we stayed at Wirib Tourist Village, grand name, but it was Ok and had good sites and the amenities were better than others we have stayed at in the past. Don’t rush past this little town and definitely consider the Victoria River Cruise, it was in our mind, a must do and good value for money, as the brochure says, ‘A Tour to Remember!’
There are more photos below