Broome to kununurra

Monday, Jul 25, 2016 at 01:58


The purpose of this blog is to keep our friends, family and work colleagues up to date with our travels. PS Photos down the bottom of this blog.
Left Quandong (free camp north of Broome) having squeezed in the last bit of beach before heading into croc country. We then went onto the Gibb River Road (GRR) which was constructed as a beef road to transport cattle from the surrounding stations to Derby and Wyndham. It travels some 700kms through the central Kimberly and a 4wd with a snorkel is required (as it is a rough dirt road with many creek crossings).
Spent the next 2 nights bush camped at Lennard River Bridge, which is 20kms from Windjana Gorge National Park and a further 35kms to Tunnel Creek, and a good place to leave Zappa while we went exploring.Windjana Gorge walk is 7kms return with fresh water crocodiles sunning themselves on the banks, so we enjoyed the hike but were dying to be able to have a swim. At least at Tunnel Creek we could have a swim during our 1.5km walk underground.
Next day on the GRR we visited Galvin’s Gorge, and as it isn’t in a National Park, Zappa could do the walk and swim at the end as well. I don’t think many puppies get to do this. We had to miss Bell Gorge as we got a puncture (which is very common thing on the Gibb), so that was real fun changing a tyre on the side of a dirt road. Overnighted at Hann River, and setup camp right beside the river bed under some shady trees and well off the road (so no noise, except the silence of the bush at night).
Took a detour from the GRR and went up the Kalumburu Road. Had a look in at Drysdale station, and then spent 4 nights at King Edward River Campground, which is 83kms from Mitchell Plateau. It took 2 ½ hours to do the 83kms to Mitchell Plateau from our camp, as it was very corregated with numerous creek crossings. Most people spent a day doing car or camper maintenance at camp, from either the trip to get there or back from Mitchell Plateau. Went to Mitchell Plateau to see Litlle Merten’s Falls, Big Merten’s Falls and the spectacular Mitchell Falls, which is a 4 tiered waterfall – possible one of the best waterfalls in Australia. We took a helicopter thrill ride to the top of the falls and then walked back from the falls to the carpark. The falls were fantastic and the chopper ride was exciting, as the chopper didn’t have any doors, so I certainly did my seatbelt up tight. You could hear the roar of the waterfall for ages as you walked towards it.Mitchell Falls has certainly been one of the top highlightes of our trip so far, and it was worth the trip up. We also visited aboriginal art sites in the region, with the work dated as being 18,000 years old, which were also very interesting. The sites were well off the tourist beat, so we felt pretty special viewing this artwork on our own.
El Questro Wilderness Park was our next stop and we were lucky enough to get one of the secluded riverside camp sights located along the Pentecost River, and didn’t have to stay with the crowds in the main campground called Black Cockatoo. ELQ is one million acres and offers numerous natural attractions, so we got great value for money from our 7 days wilderness pass. We loved our stay at ELQ, and our activities included –
. ELQ Gorge – one hour walk one way through palm and fern-clad escarpments brings you to a swimming hole and waterfall,
.Zebedee Springs – thermal pools at the end of a short walk through lush tropical livistona and pandanas palms,
. Champayne Springs – a 2 hour walk one way along the Pentecost River to a series of clear pools and a thermal spring,
.Moonshine Gorge – which followed the creek mainly,
.Emma Gorge – one of the Kimberley’s most well known and spectacular gorges – one hour walk with some pools along the way to a hugh waterhole with a droplet waterfall enclosed on three sides by sheer cliffs, and
. Swinging Arms – the place where you have cold beer and wine at the end of a long hard day in the sun, so we visited this attraction a few times.
Arrived in Kununurra.Kununurra is home to the Ord River and Lake Argyle, and the Argyle Diamond Mine is in the region. Spent a few days doing much needed washing of clothes and bodies, having been bush camped for the past few weeks.Lake Argyle id just before the WA/NT border. We really enjoyed our time at this caravan park as it has an infinity pool with a view of lake argyle in the background, nightly entertainment (eg music, quiz nights or movies showing such as Australia and Red Dog), walks, kayaking and other activities (such as helicopter flights over the region, cruises – we chose the sunset cruise).
Lake Argyle was our turnaround point, having travelled approximately 6,200 kms.
As of 1 August we have now arrived at Quondong, a beach camp 45 minutes north of Broome, camped on a cliff overlooking the ocean where our main pastime will be watching the humpback whales migrate. We have now travelled 7,334 kms on our trip so far.
We will take our time heading home now (via Broome), so that we get there by the end of August. The ODO will be just over 10,000 kms by then.
Thanks for taking the time to follow us on our Top End 2016 trip.

Karen & Bernie
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