Having left Broome feeling very upbeat and being most impressed with this slice of paradise in the Kimberley, we eagerly awaited our next adventure. Well, Derby was quite a contrast and then with the first real rainfall for the whole wet season pouring down I guess our spirits were slightly dampened. Yes we experienced nearly 30ms of rain overnight and of course the atmosphere was heavy and quite humid. The famous mudflats were muddier than usual and the town looked quite sad and tired. However, Derby is the gateway to many wonderful Kimberley adventures from flying over the Archipelago and viewing the unusual horizontal falls to taking a cruise through areas quite remote but very beautiful. Our choice was a little different. We did go watch the tide rise and fall at the Derby jetty and also visit the Boab jail which has quite an infamous past. The Boab tree is shaped like a rotund bottle, and believe it or not it is hollow inside and because of this it is difficult to tell the age of these monstrous trees. Nevertheless, many are supposed to be thousands of years old.
After lunch one day we decided to drive to the
Skye and Estelle
On the Derby Jetty.
Gibb river road turn off, not that we were going to take on such a challenge but just drive some of the way and experience a little of the adventure. Due to the rain most of the road had been closed so we drove only for the first seventy kilometres or so. Plenty of water lying everywhere and so a little four wheel driving was required. Quite a number of travellers were looking forward to going the whole 700kms but had to cancel due to the road closures. There are plenty of other adventures to be had and there is always another one just around the corner. Having caught up on washing and restocked on a few food items it was time to resume the journey onto Fitzroy Crossing. Derby was just a three day stopover, time to see the tides, explore a little of the history and celebrate Mother's Day with breakfast at the Wharf cafe - delicious. The Fitzroy Crossing Lodge We decided to have a two day stop in Fitzroy crossing hoping that we may visit some of the gorges and Tunnel creek but due to the flooding in some areas the roads were still
The Boab Prison Tree.
Some very sad stories associated.
closed. However, we did manage a cruise down Geike Gorge. Quite spectacular and apparently this gorge was part of an inland sea many thousands of years ago. The Fitzroy river runs through this gorge and the growth is quite tropical with lush palms appearing on the sides of the cliffs. The colours in the rock faces are rich in many shades of brown and Oker. Apparently there are many crocodiles that live in the waters but thankfully we saw none. Just cruising along and listening to the stories really makes one be awe inspired by this wonderful kimberley region. Lots of rock wallabies living on the sides of cliffs and many species of birds and reptiles all sharing the various caves and crevices. El Questro After a short stay at Fitzroy crossing and a stop over in Halls Creek, it was on to El Questro! Ole! In all, we travelled about 300 or so kilometres and over some rough terrain towards the end of the journey. We left the great northern highway and once again found ourselves on the Gibb river road. Thank goodness only for about sixty km and then on the road to El Questro Station.
Now this road is not for the faint hearted and rather bumpy and very corrugated with a few stony creek crossings to boot. Seventeen kilometres of adventure in order to reach this slice of paradise in the middle of the Kimberley. Yes we had the caravan in tow and I was a little concerned that there maybe some breakage. However, I was pleasantly surprised and our careful packing etc certainly paid off. Well, what a lovely spot with much to do and see. Horse riding, four wheel drive tours and gorge cruises awaited. As we have a four wheel drive we did some exploring for ourselves and discovered some beautiful gorges, lovely little billabongs, hot springs and yes the majestic homestead. The hotsprings were amazing and set in the depths of a lush tropical forest at the foot of Zeberdee Gorge. A bathe in these springs was most therapeutic and just plain self indulgent. Yes the boat cruise on the Pentecost river which flows though Chamberlin Gorge was another not to be missed event. Again we were given Champagne and canapés at the end of the gorge as we watched Barramundi, Catfish and other fish species swim around. One
surprise for all on board was the performance of the spitting fish. I kid you not, and were they cheeky. As the guide explained, these fish are not trained,in fact they have humans well trained. For every afternoon when the cruise boat meanders down, these little fish begin spitting water at you to remind you to feed them. Of course fish food is supplied to all on board. Trouble is they don't know when to stop and continue pot shots at you all the time you are there. Once again the scenery was superb and I have come to realise that all the gorges in the Kimberley are unique and show nature at its best. Unspoilt, clean and breathtaking. The bird life, reptiles and marsupials just thrive in such a natural environment and we should never take this for granted. Having experienced some very special vistas, it was time to taste the local produce. So on the Saturday evening we experienced a barb-be-que on the station. A magnicent buffet with barramundi, chicken and beef featured on the menu with a variety of salads all prepared by the chef and served by the staff on the station. Absolutely delicious! This was
The Boab Tree
Another one along the way.
followed by fresh fruit and and some sweet treats just to round it off. We were also entertained by performers who drop in and keep the weary travellers amused with anecdotes and musical renditions. After a few very enjoyable days, once again it was time to pack and move on. Having been on the road for six weeks now we are becoming quite proficient at packing and preparing for the next part of our journey. We are almost becoming Gypsies! In some ways we pack and the excitement builds as we move on to our next adventure.
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