Kununurra to El Questro via Home Valley Station 18/06/2011-24/06/2011 by Mrs Kanga

Saturday, Jun 18, 2011 at 00:00


Day 64 - 18/06/2011

After breakfast we went straight down to the Kununurra Saturday Markets, quite a popular little spot, bought some lovely sweet bananas and some other fresh produce. From there we went in to town for morning tea at Kimberley Café, changed a bit since we were here in 2008, old bookshop side is nicely decorated with memorabilia and more tables with interesting photos and reading. Each table has a different theme, we sat at the El Questro Table which has photos and information about ELQ. Iced coffee and the berry and apple muffin was delicious. Next we went out of town to Stonecraft, they had a stall at the markets and we were keen to see more of what they had to offer.Gordon and Andrea picked a really nice stone carved crocodile, there were plenty to choose from. While the lady was wrapping it, she felt the tail crack. Instead of picking another one, because they really liked the face of the one they had picked, Gordon said he would be able to fix it, so she let them have it a lot cheaper. Always a bit perplexed by some of the animals they carve out of this Zebra Rock that is only found here. Could be wrong but a lot of looks like the rock has been sent to somewhere in Asia to be carved into Elephants, Eagles, Rhinoceros and other non Australian animals. Grabbed a few supplies in town before heading back to camp.Gordon and Adriane washed the cars while Andy and I had a go at the cryptic crosswords. Hamburger Night at the park, 5.30pm Saturdays, proceeds to charity. We joined over a hundred fellow campers for an excellent Kona Burger ($6.50)before heading back to camp for a chat with Neville and Sharon, a couple from Victoria that are working locally and living in their very nice TracMaster caravan. Neville is attempting to teach the locals Cert 1 & 2 in Construction with varying degrees of success. Getting cool again so they went back to their beautiful van which has both diesel heating and reverse cycle aircon, Adriane went for a hot shower and the rest of us retreated to Gordon and Andrea’s camper to play cards. They warmed the place up a bit by putting their cooker on for a while.Gordon won at cards again, he still thinks I cheat though.

Day 65 - 19/06/2011

Packed up and on the road out of Kununurra just after 8.30am. Pulled in to have a look at The Grotto. Don’t let the 140 steps thing put you off. Very steep and scary looking climb with no hand rails, but if you just concentrate on where you put your feet and not look down the cliff, you are rewarded with a lovely cool water hole at the bottom, not to mention some spectacular scenery. Back on the road to Wyndham by 10am through some spectacular landscape and Boab forests. Went through town and out towards the crocodile farm which does feeding daily at 11am, decided not to bother as we had seen enough crocs by now. Parked in front of the Wyndham Hotel and walked across the road to Mitchy’s Barra Bar to see what was on offer, as we were all getting quite hungry. Much more interesting menu than we expected from first impressions. Adriane ordered the Garlic Chilli Prawns with Vietnamese Salad which we all thought was a bit ambitious for his picky taste, Gordon went for a Barra Burger, Andrea a Bacon & Egg Burger and I had Avocado on Toast.Gordon & Andy washed it down with a coffee while Adriane and I had their freshly squeezed juices which were delicious. The food was excellent, Adriane reckoned his was simply sensational and were all well impressed with what we ordered. Turns out that the family that is running it have only been here a few months and try to use local produce where possible. It was certainly fresh and tasty and was a pleasant spot in the shade with brightly coloured plastic table cloths, cruisy background music and the Dockers being hammered by the Demons on the telly. Next we drove up the steep and windy bitumen road to Five Rivers Lookout. Outstanding view from the top, a must if you are coming this way. Topped up the diesel in town then headed out to Parry Creek Farm Tourist Resort. Very nice and friendly set up here, with plenty of grassed area for campers, pool, restaurant, camp kitchen etc. Had a walk around their billabong from the safety of their elaborate boardwalks because it apparently houses a 3m Salty. Had a quick look at one of their rooms ($115pn) and the very nice shared bathroom but decided to set up camp in the unpowered section ($15pppn). Unhitched the campers then drove out for a look at Parry Lagoon. View from the lookout, where there are ruins of the old Telegraph Station, is one not to miss.Cockburn ranges as a back drop to stunning wetlands and Boab forests. From the lookout we drove down the bumpy track to the wetland where there is a boardwalk and bird hide over the water so that you can view the plethora of birdlife up close. Back to camp and as it was Sunday, they offer an $18pp camp oven dinner consisting of a camp stew followed by damper and golden syrup. Gordon and Andrea had already started thawing out some prawns and we had quite a bit of fresh produce, so we made a very colourful salad and ate it in Gordon’s camper to keep away from the enormous ravenous mosquitoes. They even had a go at Gordon, which is quite unusual because he obviously doesn’t taste as good as Andrea. Took our chairs over to the camp fire because we thought they had finished eating and were now telling yarns. Turned out that they hadn’t, so we listened for a while and then left them in peace to eat.

Day 66 - 20/06/2011

Packed up and on the road well before 8.30am. Popped in to Wyndham to pick up a couple of things then out towards Diggers Rest. Stopped for a look at Moochalabra Dam picnic table and fire ring. Then on to some Rock Art where I managed to trip over a root in the path and land in a cloud of dust with a thud. Had the video camera in my hand at the time (not running), so both it and I were a little worse for wear, bit of bark off my elbow and the lens cover is jammed open. Better than being jammed closed I suppose. Moved on for a look at the Prison Tree, where there was a toilet, shame about all the graffiti carved in the tree. Got to Diggers Rest through a number of gates. Nice new ablution block but otherwise not quite up to what we expected from the brochure and website. For the same price per night for an unpowered site ($30) as Parry Creek Farm, the difference was like chalk and cheese.Decided to push on to Home Valley via the Old Karunjie Track. Took about three hours to get to the Pentecost River through some of the most stunning scenery imaginable.Pentecost River was a little higher than when we were here in 2008 but still no drama to cross. Got to Home Valley Station (HV8) before 4pm, in time to book dinner.River Camp was closed so we decided on an unpowered site ($32pn) because the powered sites were an extra $16pn! Very disappointed to find that all the horse related activities were “off the menu” because they were on or just finishing muster.Gordon, Andy and I went for a shower before dark, great looking ablution block but Andy’s shower was cold, not good when washing your hair. Had booked a table at the restaurant for dinner at 7pm but were getting really hungry so went down there about 6.30pm which turned out okay as they weren’t too busy.Gordon ordered the main sized Salt and Pepper Squid with Julienne Cucumber and Wasabi Mayonnaise ($27), Adriane the main sized Chilli and Garlic Prawns with Avocado & Mango Salsa($31), Andrea a Char Grilled Porterhouse Steak with slaw and chips($32) and I the Linguini Creek, Croc and Crustacean Combination of Crocodile, Prawns, Barramundi & Scallops tossed with Olive Oil, Tomato, Garlic and Chilli ($35). Luckily the boys also ordered a side serve of chips each($8) because the servings where very small, can’t imagine what you would get for the entrée sized serves.

Day 67 - 21/06/2011

Cool morning but soon warmed up. Put some washing on (3x$1coins) then went and booked for another night. Some of the washing came out dirtier than it went in, layer of mud settled in the bottom of the machine, bugger.Drove out for a look at Bindoola Falls. Walked around it, climbed down in it and Adriane swam in it. Bumped in to a guy at the falls that was from Liquorland Kununurra, he keeps people happy while waiting in the line at 5pm. He said that he took the photos of Bindoola Falls that we had seen at HV8 reception showing the difference there between dry and wet season when it is really pumping, would really be something to see. Found a potentially good fishing spot on the way back to camp. Looked over the itinerary again while Adriane went fishing at the Pentecost. Now that we can’t get up to Kalumbaru, we have a few extra days to fill before Derby and the Horizontal Falls cruise we have booked for the biggest tidal variation some months ago. Decided to book at least another night or two here before moving on to El Questro. Also paid $25 each for Adriane, Andrea and I to see the Horsemanship Show at 9.30 tomorrow morning.While up at the lookout, which is the only place to get Telstra phone reception, Andrea rang Discovery Park in Kununurra and booked us a night on 27th for us to restock before heading towards Wolf Creek. Relaxed the rest of the afternoon before heading back to the lookout for the sunset and to check our messages. Had one from Val our Real Estate Rep and one from Abbie our daughter. Val was hoping to get us an earlier settlement date and Abbie was giving us an update on her latest health issues. Andrea also checked back with home, a friend of her eldest son was involved in a pretty horrific car accident the other day so she was checking how he was getting on. Quite a list of injuries, including broken legs, ruptured aorta, punctured lung, ruptured spleen(now removed) and thirty something stitched in his head.Conscious now though and hopefully on the slow road to recovery. I caught up with most of the family while I had 3G coverage and arranged everything Val needed while Adriane went off to put his nets in.Gordon and Andrea went back to camp and I waited for Adriane to pick me up on his was back. Pretty surreal being alone in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, in the dark doing some internet banking and the like, while trying to avoid being eaten alive by the mozzies. After dinner back at camp we sat around next doors communal camp fire and swapped yarns. Mark had spent 18 months at HMAS Stirling so was quite familiar with where we are from. He and his wife now live in Palmerston near Darwin and assured us that the jets aren’t always that loud.

Day 68 - 22/06/2011

Adriane was up early to check his nets so I got to lie in till 7am, woo hoo. Had breakfast in peace then he returned with 16 Cherabin. Boiled them up, ready for dinner, then Adriane, Andrea and I went to the Horsemanship Show, while Gordon stayed at camp and read his book. It was very interesting and went until about 11am so we had an early lunch then they all went fishing at the Pentecost while I stayed back and plugged the laptop into a power point in the Dusty Bar and caught up on some blogging. At $5 for 15 minutes I won’t be using their internet connection though. Got chatting with a lady that had come from El Questro and got some info about camp sites, fishing and such. Went back to camp and found that Gordon and Andrea were back there having given up on fishing. Two of the Clydesdales had been harnessed up and were doing practice runs up and down the driveway. Late afternoon saw a queue of vehicles and trailers stretch from reception all the way down to the gate, turned our to be the Global Gypsies. After dinner we could hear there was some entertainment happening at the Dusty Bar so we went over to check it out. An Aboriginal guy from Wyndham band Rode Worx was playing guitar and singing a selection of songs from Eagles to Mental as Anything. Stayed for a while then moved over to the campfire near the pool where a didgeridoo player used to usually play but that doesn’t happen anymore until they can find a new player. Sat around and enjoyed the fire anyway and got in to a deep and meaningful conversation with a very passionate Aboriginal man called Ivan from Oombulgurri. Also met Diesel, one of the Traditional Owners of HV8.

Day 69 - 23/06/2011

After breakfast we checked at reception to see if we could hire a boat or canoe but like most things here at the moment, it wasn‘t happening, the Billabong still has to be checked for Salties after the Wet. So we opted for the 3km bushwalk out the back of the complex. A lot of it is through a rocky creek bed and generally inappropriate for the thongs and sandals the others were wearing so we ended up back in the Dusty Bar for morning tea. Pleasant place for a sit so Andrea and I went back to camp and grabbed our laptops to catch up on some more blogging, while Gordon went to read his book and Adriane had a look around for Mr Diesel to get an autograph on the postcard with his picture on it, that I bought from reception. Decided to order off their lunch menu and enjoyed their very good HV8 burgers and chips before finishing another crossword and heading back to camp. Saddlery Motor home we had seen at Jasper Gorge pulled in and set up shop. Having been inspired by JR's show yesterday, Adriane wanted a stock whip so I helped him choose one.

Day 70 - 24/06/2011

Got an early wake up by a noisy rug rat camped nearby. So we were packed up and on the road by 8am, from HV8 to ElQ. Got to El Questro early enough to score a private campsite. In fact we were given a choice of Kookaburra or Egret so we drove out and checked them out. Kookaburra was a nicely shaded spot near some rapids but a bit tight to manoeuvre two camper trailers so we went on to have a look at Egret. As we had been warned, Egret was quite sandy and hence a bit boggy in places. But there was a lot more room to manoeuvre, had a toilet near by, was beautifully shaded and the water was much deeper and wider at this part of the river. So we went back to reception and booked Egret for the next three nights($18pppn), paid our $10 bond (refundable on departure) and got our Wilderness Park Pass ($18pp). Set up camp and were nearly invaded by a large bull.Gordon managed to scare it off a bit, from the relative safety of behind a fallen tree. It continued to crash around in the bush around camp for most of the afternoon. Generators allowed so Adriane set it up and I got a loaf of bread going in the bread machine. Adriane had a bit of a go with his new whip (whipped his own ass) before opting for a less painfull activity, playing cards with Andrea and I, while Gordon got a fire going for the spuds, etc for dinner. After dark, Adriane put his nets in and spotted some croc eyes down river.

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