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Published: September 3rd 2010
The rock formations are impressive.
Halls Creek was seen as a stopover and indeed it was. We were told to consider other options as the town might be a little unfriendly. We did not find that and although the caravan park was all red gravel, we found it a convenient spot to stay.
The weather was warming and so the air conditioner was beginning to come into play. We love the warmer weather and are really looking forward to it.
The rig is going well. We are closing in on 20,000 klm in the car and 10,000 klm in the van. The car is due for a service when we get to Darwin.
As we said, Halls Creek is an overnight stay. We arrived early afternoon and after setting up we went off to check out the sights. China Wall
Just a few kilometers out of town on private property there is a tourist attraction known as the China Wall. It is a most unusual rock formation that looks like a miniature Great Wall of China. Old Halls Creek
On past the China Wall another fifteen kilometers, is the original location
You should try it some time!
of Halls Creek where gold was first found in Western Australia. There are a number of markers as to where buildings were and the remains of the old Post Office has been roofed over to protect it from the elements. It was made from mud brick derived from spinifex white ant mounds which was an unusual building technique even then.
If we wanted warmth, we certainly found it in Kununurra. We were assisted onto our lake frontage site. It was a real squeeze but we just fitted and boy it was a fantastic spot. It took us a good fifteen minutes to get out when we left but the stay made up for that. The weather was hot! In our six days in Kununurra the temperature maxed out at 38 deg on two days. So lots of water was drunk and we had to adapt very quickly. Humidity was high also so much perspiration was shed.
Kununurra is a relatively new town in the North West that was developed as part of the Ord River Dam project now known as Lake Argyle.
We knew it was going to be hectic so we took a day
Just out of Halls Creek you can see this unusual natural rock structure.
to check the town highlights out first. Ivanhoe Crossing
A lot of tourists love to ‘ford the Ord’ at Ivanhoe Crossing on the edge of town. It was the original crossing of the Ord River in the area. There is a wall that curls its way across the river and the water spills over it at a depth of 30-35 cm (a bit over a foot in the old days). A few X5’s have failed to make it as the air intake on them only adequately copes with 20 cm of water. We didn’t fancy buying a new engine so we were satisfied to take a photo. The Hoochery
On the northern outskirts is a rum distillery called the Hoochery. They grow their own sugar cane and make a number of rum based products. Cane grows very well in the area and there was an attempt to establish farms in the area. Productivity was excellent but the industry was abandoned because Kununurra was too far removed from markets and freight costs were too great. The Hoochery seems to be surviving and is well promoted for tourist visits. Rum is not on our lists of favoured drinks
Firebugs are a big problem in the north and west. The fires are left to burn out.
so the visit was quite short. You can do a tour but we had done that in Queensland. Sandalwood Factory Outlet
Kununurra has been identified as a perfect location for growing Sandalwood. There are thousands of hectares of trees under cultivation. Growth takes fifteen years and most of the forest in the area will not be harvested for at least another 5-7 years. The end product brings huge prices and it is expected that the industry will do very well as the major world producer, India, has wrecked its natural sandalwood forests.
The main use for sandalwood is in the cosmetics industry where the oil is used extensively. Other products such as incense and arts and craft items are a sideline. Zebra Rock
An industry has been forged out of a rock only found in a particular peninsula on Lake Argyle. It can only be mined in the dry season as it is under water during the wet. The rock has an unusual colouring that looks like zebra stripes through it. The sandstone colour has wavy dark colours through it. Those darker colours range from black to brown and green and orange. Most unusual. Local artists
Ivanhoe Crossing at Kununurra
The water is about 350 mm and flowing fast.
carve the rock and polish it highly for statues, jewelry and other nick knacks The Bungle Bungles
‘You will be picked up at reception at 5.15 am’. Oh boy! So off we went to the airport to board our plane (a twelve seat Australian built Caravan). The pilot had been up since 3.30 am checking the plane and then drove the bus to collect the tourists!
The flight was spectacular. We travelled along Lake Kununurra, the Ord River and then about seventy kilometers across Lake Argyle. On the way we saw a couple of remote cattle stations. We then entered Purnululu National Park and flew over the beehive formations. It is amazing that the area was not opened up until the 1980’s. The structures are so different. It was spectacular to see.
After landing we taxied up to the 4wd bus to discover that we were the only ones on the tour. So we had a personalized tour with Chris our guide in a twenty seat airconditioned bus. We headed off to one side of the ranges to see Echidna Chasm. It was amazing to see massive rock walls towering over us in all
Bungles rock formations.
the colours of red we see in photos and don’t believe. Along the chasm floor were lots of very tall palm trees and other lush vegetation. As we walked into the chasm, it narrowed and the rock walls seemed to get higher. By the way the temperature was in the high thirties so water was important and we kept sipping. After the chasm we headed back to the tour company’s bush retreat for lunch. Sausages and salad . It was great!
When lunch was completed we headed off to the other side of the Ranges. A longer walk awaited us. We walked along the Piccaninny Creek which had a dry rock bed. As time was with us, there was an opportunity to take a detour to a lookout that was not on the itinerary. The view was impressive. Returning back to the trail, we headed for Cathedral Gorge and it was stunning. At the end there was a huge amphitheatre over a large water pool. The acoustics were amazing. Voices drifted around as though amplified. Very pretty and very special.
We flew home as the sun was setting. We took a detour over the Argyle Diamond
Just below the diversion Dam in Kununurra.
Mine and that is huge. We saw lots of fires. At this time of the year it is too late for the slow cool burns that are managed during the early dry. These quick and hot burns damage the environment and are lit by vandals .
It was a long but fantastic day. El Questro Tour
We had heard and seen so much about El Questro Station that we just had to see it for ourselves. So we were picked up by a small 4wd bus at 7.00 am and headed out on to the Gibb River Road to do our tour. The road was very rough and we were glad we didn’t take our car out there. Parts of the road are now sealed and the plan is to do it all.
On arrival we were given morning tea at the Emma Gorge Resort and after that we went walking into the Gorge itself. The going was tough because the trail is over boulders and large rocks. On the way in we passed the Turquoise Pool and it was very picturesque looking down on the blue water. Emma Gorge ended with a large pool and
There are two to see.
huge rock walls covered in ferns. Waterfalls ran right around the pool but did not come down in torrents. It was more like thousands of droplets falling all the time. We were most impressed. Rhonda and a few others went into the pool and found it really refreshing. After walking back to the resort, we were bused to the homestead precinct for lunch. Barramundi and steak with salad and chips.
After lunch we drove to Zebedee Thermal Springs where we lounged around in warm rock pools and relaxed. If anything, the water was a little too warm. Next, we were taken back to the resort where safari style utes were waiting to take us to the Chamberlain River for a cruise through the Chamberlain Gorge. The cruise was great and at the end of the gorge we fed fish from the boat. Among the fish were Trigger Fish and a metre long Barramundi.
That rounded off a terrific day. We were ready for an early night by the time we got home. Ord River Sunset Cruise
The Ord River Cruise really appealed to us. The boat leg is 55 klm down the Ord to Kununurra Lake.
What a Mate!
This statue is outside the Halls Creek Info Centre. The man in the barrow was ill and he was wheeled over 300 klm.
We chose to do the first leg by bus up to Lake Argyle and then come back by boat and see the sunset on the way. Having flown over the area, the bus driver repeated much of what we heard going to the Bungle Bungles. However the drive was still interesting. We were picked up at 11.30 am so there was only a short time to look at Lake Argyle dam wall before we boarded for the cruise.
The boat had three 350 hp v8 motors powering it and was capable of 80 klm per hour. We had to cover 55klm so some of the journey was quite fast but felt very safe. The cruise was very informative and it was amazing how fast the water in the river flowed. The tour guide really knew his domain and gave us plenty to think about in relation to flora, fauna and the Ord eco system.
The boat dropped us off by nosing into our caravan park. We had about fifty meters to walk home. Our day was very enjoyable. Keep River National Park
We had heard about the Keep River NP and been told to check it
Rock walls surround you
out. So we did. It is just over the border into the Northern Territory about 40 klms from Kununurra. We went early as it was going to be a warm day.
When we arrived at the Rangers Office we found a lagoon at the rear. There were a number of wading birds around. Magpie Geese and other types of ducks were a little skittish so it was hard to take photos. We have decided we need a better camera. Maybe a digital SLR or one that will enable us to take good photos from a distance. John has given me some good ideas. He is a photographer.
In the park there are two camping areas and the points of interest are near each. We decided to go to the furthest point and after a draining 4.5 klm walk we thought ‘nice but not special’. By the time we got back to the first camp, we had revived enough to go walking again. What we found was really good. It was like a mini Bungle Bungles with similar low level rock formations. The visit was worthwhile after all!
A quiet expanse of water teeming with birdlife.
north of Kununurra is the town of Wyndham and it is home to the Five River Lookout. We were totally underwhelmed by the town but the lookout over the area where five rivers come to the sea was very interesting. Well worth a look.
John and Judy Simon told us that they enjoyed Parry Creek Resort Caravan Park and the nearby lagoon. On the way back from Wyndham we called in to check it out.
The caravan park was green and roomy. It would be well worth while to stay there for a couple of nights.
We wandered into the restaurant/bistro and had very nice lunch. After that we took a stroll around and found the creek was covered in white flowering water lilies. It looked really nice. We also managed to find the resident goanna and were taken back a bit until we realized he was friendly.
After that we went out to the lagoon where there was a bird watching hide. It was probably the wrong time of day but even so there were lots of birds in the area. It was
Argyle Diamond Mine
Home of the pink diamond
very peaceful and picturesque. There was plenty of water with lilies flowering. Most of the birds were sheltering from the heat of the day so there weren’t many photo opportunities. Another time perhaps.
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