Published: May 4th 2010May 3rd 2010
At Fitzroy Crossing campground, 2 May 2010
Rather uneventful day with more driving on tar seal from Fitzroy Crossing to Halls Creek.
Camp site overnight was great - Tarunda Caravan Park - with only 8 other punters besides us. Good, clean facilities - nice grassy area (at least in early May).
The old couple next door were towing a caravan from Perth to Darwin accompanied by their tabby cat. Dishwashing was made more fun by my bemusement at seeing our neighbour, walking her cat, Misty, on a lead round the campsite. Had to have a chat... apparently it is not that hard to train a cat to go on a leash and the cat also has its own toilet (with a door) that it uses (so much so that she rarely goes anywhere else). ... “cats are very intelligent you know”... had to agree and have a pat !! Did help that the cat looked like a smaller, female version of Mr Murphy. The cat even has its own perch / seat in the back of the car so it can see out as they drive along. The model prior to Misty was a Russian Blue that had endured for 14 years and said couple were known
Good shots from Grant
as “the people travelling round Australia with the Russian Blue Cat”. Wouldn’t have believed it myself had I not seen it with my own eyes !
Before leaving Fitzroy Crossing we went up to Geikie Gorge (approx 20 kms out of town) and had hoped to get on a 9:30am boat ride with the ranger through the gorge. Unfortunately our guide book had not mentioned that the 9:30am boat rides only start from June (in May the boat trips are only either 8am or 3pm). Instead we went on a quick walk on the river trail from the ranger office. It followed along the banks of the Fitzroy River down to a large sandbar area and whilst only 30 mins long, was enough given the heat (mid 30s) around 10am. Managed to spot a couple of freshwater crocodiles posing as submerged logs, which we got quite excited about. Lots of locusts / locust type lime green insects everywhere in all the scrub bushes beside the river. Sometimes they randomly fly into you in, what seems, a bit of a crazy un-coordinated flight pattern. Some cool photos of flood waters over the past 10 years or so at the ranger
Then more driving onto Halls Creek along the tar seal. More interesting drive than yesterday but still not greatly scenic (yet). Our trip is definitely an uphill trend in terms of scenic highlights, which should be better than having done the Gibb first & then come back on the tarmac.
Had a pleasant lunchtime stop at a rest place called “Marys Pool”. This turned out to be a small camping area with chemical toilets & toilet paper (bonus - as a lot of the rest stops are just long-drops minus any loo paper) and right beside a small creek with a small river terrace. Hung out in the van again to eat lunch and avoid heat of the day, even shutting curtains to try & stay in the shade. Went and checked out a couple of the cows grazing on the terrace by the river and managed to spot a freshwater croc basking in the sun on the edge of the creek water & mud bank (about 50m away). He was pretty cool - headed off back in the water, and then waddled out again. Looked quite evil when he went back into the water as with the
Walk to sand bar
binocs you could just see his 2 beady eyes & snout sticking out of the water. Enthusiastic bloke then appeared - from NSW but travelling round Australia the past 15 months “right through the centre, all around, now heading up to Darwin” to let me know Crocy had been around the day before when he was fishing. Luckily freshies aren’t supposed to be dangerous to humans although just before leaving 2 idiots suddenly appeared walking quite close to the river’s edge (maybe 10m or so) and I thought, rather you than me !!
Arrived Halls Creek around about 3:30pm ish. Great visitor centre with very helpful staff, where we sorted out our booking for Wed morning for heli trip over Bungle Bungles.
Halls Creek seems a much more substantial village compared to Fitzroy Creek and has a lot more facilities (takeaway, IGA store, a couple of other food stores, butcher, baker etc) whereas at Fitzroy Creek all that seemed to be open was the Coles Express / Shell servo. Checked into the only campsite in Halls Creek near the centre of town. Not that great compared to last night - very little grass, just lots of red dirt
- with what seems like semi-permanent caravans & road workers in utes & vans here also. The alternative was a caravan site at Old Halls Creek Lodge - 16 kms or so out of town - but decided the internet coverage of being in a town that actually had it was the way to go (... thinking Metallica tickets on sale tomorrow 8am WA time !)
Total kms : 335
Drive time : 3 hours 40 mins
There are more photos below