Kununurra and Home Valley WA (East Kimberley)

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July 25th 2019
Published: July 25th 2019
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Man is it dry. And hot. And dusty.

We are currently on our second day at the Home Valley Station, camping on the side of the Pentecost River. It is hot. And blowing. And Dusty. WIth the mix of dust and smoke (from burning off nearby that has been happening everywhere we go up here) it creates for a strange haze against the otherwise clear blue sky.

As we have made our way along the roads for the past few days we have heard that the majority of the Kimberley is bone dry and I must say that the first 60km odd that we drove in has proven those statements correct - not even a dribble across the “water” crossing at the Pentecost at full tide. It is a bit of a disappointment as part of the attraction to the Kimberley is the waterfalls and swimming holes. Travellers and staff (at Home Valley) alike have all said that there are no waterfalls to be seen and that a lot of the water holes and billabongs are either dry or stagnant.

Not to fear though, we have mulled over initial plans and thought we had come up with a ripper - forego the middle part of the Gibb River Road and instead drive the Carson River Track, more towards the North, and come out at Kalumburu. At least that is what we thoght last night. Today we discovered that the land can only be driven with a permit and the gernal public cannot obtain them. The only option is to join a tagalong driving tour that is approx. $3,000 per vehicle for ten days so that ruined that.

Back to plan A, continue along the Gibb River Road for a while and head up to Kalumburu past Drysdale Station. It looks as though we’ll skip a few of the traditional landmarks like Mitchell Falls as there are no falls to be seen and the forecast for the next umpteen days is hot and sunny. We decided that we’ll likely arrive in Broome before our booked and paid for campsites so we’ll instead spend some time up at Cape Leveque and may even venture South of Broome as well. Not to mention that Kalumburu is quite close to the coast so we may spend quite a while up there. Plus we may spend additional time going to Lake Eyre and taking the families to some other spots that we saw on the last boys’ trip e.g. the Burke and Wills dig tree, Inamincka, etc.

We had planned to stay at El Questro station last night but trying to get sense out of the people on the phone to see if there were camp sites available was very frustrating (telling me to book via the website when the website said to check wigth the people on the number I had just rung (???)) and then finally finding out that it was $131 per night made the decision easy. Not to mention that the dry conditions had again taken away some of the attractiveness to heading in there.

We spent the previous few nights in Kununurra which is quite the town. Friendly people. Including another butcher that was up for a chat and had some fantastic produce. We went out to Lake Argyle, that was a bit low, but was still amazingly huge. They breed Barramundi in the lake and use the water for irrigation and there was a beautiful day-use area on the low side of the dam wall that was awesome. Right next to the river that flowed in a big canyon towards the town - the sort of river where you could jump in an inner tube, lie back and take in the beautiful sites the whole way in.

On Thursday we went to a stonemason out of town - Zebra Rock. They had some fantastic gear and we were able to watch one of the fellas at work grinding away making something beautiful out of a lump of rock. Not far from this spot we saw the greenest crop of corn I have ever seen, no doubt a beneficiary of the Lake Argyle irrigation as well as plantations of Sandlewood. You’ll need to look up how Sandlewood is grown as it is quite weird. A parasite that uses the root systems of other trees to live. In the arvo Nathan, Phil, Tony and I headed down to the Ord River to try our luck fishing. No luck. But relaxing all the same.

The agricultural show was in town on Friday, which was to be the day we left, so we packed up and headed into the grounds only to find out that it didn’t open until 12 midday, like the pubs.

Instead we decided to take a dirt track up to Wyndham for a look on our way to the Gibb. On the way we stopped at a couple of rivers that, believe it or not, had water in them. At one of these, eagle-eyed Tony spotted the first croc for the trip, basking in the sun onthe opposite bank. I’m sure he will not be the last we see. Needless to say, the kids opted to not take a dip in this particular river!

Tonight there is live music and they are showing the AFL (hopefully Essendon v North) and the kids will likely inhabit the nearby pool once more while the parents sample some of the local delicacies at great expense!

Tomorrow we are aiming to head to Drysdale River station to stay at the Miner’s Pool which is right on a part of the river that a) is currently flowing and b) is safe to swim in. Looking forward to that and to getting closer to the coast.

Additional photos below
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26th July 2019

Burke and Wills
Where is the he Burke and Wills tree? Send a photo won't you

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