Published: May 2nd 2010May 2nd 2010
Our trip has finally started, after getting to Broome yesterday afternoon around 1pm ish. YEE HA.
Flight from Sydney took 4.5 hours (should have been 5) but seemed a lot longer as we were squished into relatively small plane (737-800) coupled with domesticity of having to make a shopping list & menu for the first few days of our trip.
4WD is all good - Grant seems happy that it has "a lot of torque" and after driving for some of the way today, I agree that it can definitely move (4.5 litre, V8). So far though it's only had to cope with tar seal - its first test will be in a couple of days time when we take the unsealed turn off to the Bungle Bungles.
Highlight of the first night was seeing the "Staircase to the Moon" in Broome. This only happens about 3 days per month from April-September and occurs when there is a very low tide across the mud flats at Roebuck Bay. As the moon rises the reflection creates a "staircase to the moon". We managed to sneak into the garden of a hotel (all the locals said this was the best place
to view as it was up on a hill) even though officially the bars were closed due to a function, but none of the old foggies sitting around in the garden watching also, seemed to care.
This morning was spent picking up a few final bits & pieces for the trip in Broome (air pump, tyre pressure guage, some last minute extras from Woolies). Broome is by far the largest town in the area (even though only around 16,000 inhabitants) with the best facilities / shops so hopefully we haven't forgotten anything major that we might need.
Then a 4.5 hour drive (404 kms) to Fitzroy Crossing along the Great Northern Highway (tar seal). Grant ambitiously decided to set up camp chairs & table outside when we stopped to make sandwiches for lunch, but it was way too hot and we resorted to trying to staying in the shade in the back of the 4WD.
The road was rather uneventful - very long straight stretches with not too many bends, a couple of road trains, red dirt at the side with bush scrub and heaps of termite mounds. At some points, either side of the road, were "paddocks"
of termite mounds and according to our guide books these are very common in the Kimberley as there are over 100 different species of termites here. I drove the last 1.5 hours and was quite happy to have no traffic & bomb along on the tar seal whilst we could (on the Gibb River Road, unsealed, it will be way slower !!)
Tomorrow morning we head to a Geikie Gorge National Park which is about 15 kms from here and hope to see some of the fresh water crocs that are common there.
There are more photos below