Monday, September 22, 2008

Catching up

I am trying to catch up on what has been missed! Having to good a time to be thinking about the blog.

Use the navigation on the left to read the days in order.

Will update more tomorrow......

Karratha to Nanutarra Roadhouse

Even though we were awake early this morning due to the constant flow of four wheel drives clunking over the speed hump on the road at the front of the van, it was no rush as we had a relatively short travel day and were only heading for a roadhouse that had little or no attraction, just a place to break the journey and have a sleep.

There was of course the dilemma of finding a new kitchen plug to replace the one that had been lost the day before and what a challenge it turned out to be. Three hardware stores and a plumbing store later and I still had no plug. I was told by a couple of these places that they had run out some time ago but had never bothered to replace them, even though others had been in and asked for them.

A surprising fact is that there are no caravan or camping stores that I could find and so I had to think of an alternative, but with no luck. At my last store, a plumbing supplier, they suggested I try the local boat store as they might have one. Guess what, they did and so I bought two so that we had a spare and hopefully avoid any further emergencies of this nature. Finally I could return with the prize in hand.

After breakfast and slowly packing up, it was in the car and off to our destination for the day, Nanutarra Roadhouse. This all occurred after taking twenty minutes to get the refund back on the gate key, which was actually never used as the system was broken. We were then on our way.

Not a really exciting road today, stopped on the side of the road for lunch, but it still amazes me how it is flat for along time then all of a sudden you are in the middle of rocks or a mountain range. This is a country of many different terrains that we are lucky enough to be experiencing.

After setting up at the roadhouse, where everything was twice the price of everywhere else we sat back and relaxed. Little did we know that about one hundred metres away was a very attractive river setting We went for a walk over the bridge and saw the rocks water reflections making for a pleasant place to sit for a while.

Whim Creek to Karratha

We were up fairly early and so headed off to Karratha for the night. We passed through Roebourne, an old historic town, but true to form kept on going till we reached our destination. This is a mind set we need to change to make sure we stop and look at things along the way.

We arrived in Karratha by mid morning and so went to the supermarket for morning tea and to do some shopping for the supplies required. We then headed off to the Caravan Park where we set up and had lunch.

I headed off to the Visitor Centre to find out what were the must do’s of the area and so we headed off to see the highlights.

It was off to Dampier, an absolute thrill for Cathy! We saw the big trains dropping off the raw materials, iron ore, that were then transferred to a ship and sent overseas to be processed. Of course we then buy back the finished product at a premium.

We had a drive around Dampier, a very industrial port that sends much of the mined products overseas.

It was very interesting to see the LNG plant where gas is brought in from the ocean bed, frozen and then sent to many Asian countries for the gas supplies. Each vessel that leaves sails with about ten million dollars worth of gas aboard that earns Australia foreign income. We went to see a display that talked about this process, another highlight for Cathy that was actually very interesting as it explained the process from under the ground to the arrival in the overseas ports.

We returned via Hearsons Cove, the location for tonight’s ‘Staircase to the Moon’ and made sure we knew where to go when we returned. After a quick walk along the beach and a splash in the water, we returned to the van for tea.

After tea we had a major emergency, well according to one of the travelling party anyway. We lost the kitchen sink plug! Oh dear what a tragedy! A simple trip to the tiny camp kitchen solved this problem and all dishes were washed and returned to the cupboards clean.

After this we headed off to Hearsons Cove to see the famous ‘Staircase to the Moon’, a phenomenon that only occurs three nights a month when all of the conditions are right. We had been advised that it should occur about 7:50pm and so we made sure we were there in plenty of time.

We sat and waited for what seemed a very long time and eventually the moon rose over the horizon and the reflection on the mudflats created the staircase. Something worth seeing once, but not something I would go out of my way to see again, a little overrated for me but the others seemed to enjoy it.

It was then back to the van for a goodnights sleep.

Eighty Mile Beach to Whim Creek

We got up this morning with the intention of packing up and heading off to Port Hedland for a night but our plans changed as the day went.

We left the caravan park and slowly headed towards the highway along the corrugated road taking it slowly so as to make it as smooth as possible. It appears that the road was graded this morning as it does not appear to be anywhere near as rough as when we entered.

Well, what can I say, we have been to Eighty Mile Beach and are in no hurry to return there. This is most probably the first, and hopefully the last place on the trip that it feels like we could have missed and not felt disappointed. I guess that you never know until you go. But once was enough.

We headed to Port Hedland with the intention of staying there a night before heading further south. I had expected the parks to be open from now and had not prebooked and guess what, the park we wanted was full. It was a quick drive around the area and then off to South Hedland to find another caravan park. I tried ringing several times but there was no answer. When we arrived, the sign on the door said that they were at lunch and had a mobile number to ring which we did and were told to find any site. After a quick drive around, it was clear that this was not much of a park and so we quickly decided to move on.

We had lunch, Macca’s, much to the kids delight and then headed off down the highway unsure of where we would end up tonight.

We stopped at Whim Creek, an old hotel that had been demolished by a cyclone years before but had been rebuilt to its former glory. From the stories on the wall, it was a fairly famous place and a regular stop for people travelling through the area. It’s main purpose now was for the miners in the area, providing accommodation, meals and entertainment for them.

The caravan park area had to be rebuilt, and I think that they really are not concerned about this aspect anymore as they are making their money elsewhere. They did however allow people to set up in the car park area, even providing electricity if required, all for free. We were able to use the toilet and shower facilities which were very clean.

Thinking we were settling in for a quiet night, we did not realise that it was the end of shift for the miners and so they were having a party night. They work two weeks on, two weeks off on a rotating basis. They had finished the two weeks shift and so it was party time until after midnight, how lucky were we. At least the music was not bad as they played all of the golden oldies!

So after a long day, we eventually got off to sleep.

Eighty Mile Beach

As I said there is little to do at this location apart from walk along the beach and relax. It was quite windy today and so it was not even that great sitting on the beach.

There was a small market with odds and ends and bits of craft on the foreshore this morning but very little worth buying. There were only about half a dozen stalls all selling similar things. I think that some of the people in the park use this as a way of selling there knickknacks or craft to get a little extra pocket money, not such a bad idea.

Well now for the fishing, it was finally about 1.5 hours before high tide and I was ready, along with a few others to head down to the beach for a chance to fish the beach for the available two hours. You guessed it, I did not get anything, but the only consoling factor was that no-one else did either. It sounds like that they are either on the bite and a lot of fish are caught, or nothing is about, which was the way it was today.

Well as for the rest of the day, nothing happened apart from watching the water go out again and then the trek to try and reach it. A walk along the beach and not much more to do.

Oh well, I suppose this is what holidays are about!

Broome to Eighty Mile Beach

We left Broome, much to the disappointment of some, and headed off to Eighty Mile Beach for a couple of nights and a chance to do some fishing.

We stopped at Sandfire Roadhouse, a service station that had been burnt down some time ago and has not yet been rebuilt. As a result, the services available are very limited and there is no real shop to speak of and there is no opportunity to buy anything. Too bad if you had planned to buy anything, even bread here!

It was then on to Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park, our stop for the next few nights on our way south. It was an eight kilometre corrugated road, we were aware of this before arriving but were unsure of how bad, or good, it was until we started along the road. As you are unable to prebook this caravan park, it was also a gamble that we would travel in and find it was full and that we had wasted our time.

Two kilometres in, it was a case of whether to turn back or not. If we were only in for one night I would not have gone in any further, but the fact we were there for two nights meant it might be worthwhile. It was not that the road was really that bad it was just a slow and careful journey to the park.

We arrived at reception and were pleased to find that there was a powered site available for us for the next couple of nights but I was informed that I had missed the fishing for the day. As it turned out, you could basically only fish one hour before and after high tide. It was when we finally saw the beach that I understood why, the high and low tide levels were very different. Almost a kilometre we think!

After setting up in the park, which was not too bad since we were so isolated, it was time to have a walk over to the beach to see what we really had in store. The tide was about midway and so the beach actually looked quite good and so we decided to come back after lunch.

When we returned, it was about another 500 metres out and so not quite so good. Instead of walking along the beach, you had to walk out to the water a long, long way! This kind of took away from the look of the beach as it really was not a place you could swim, a little disappointing especially after Broome.

Nothing much else today, well there is not much to do at Eighty Mile Beach!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Broome Day 3

The last day in town today so it was time to start thinking about packing and moving on. Cathy had really fallen in love with Broome and did not want to leave. As I have already said, I was pleasantly surprise with Broome and had enjoyed my time here.

After a quiet morning at the van, we headed off to the pool and beach for more swimming time and relaxed in the sunshine. It really is very tough here on holidays but someone has to do it and it might as well be us!

It would have been good to take the kids for a long ride along the beach, but because of the “Nude Republic” as Chelsea has called it, we were restricted in where we could go.

In the end we just spent the afternoon at the beach swimming and relaxing before returning to start packing for the next day.

Broome Day 2

When we woke, we could hear the beach calling us so Josh and I set off on our morning bike ride and rode along the beach for a while and then returned for breakfast.

We headed into town for while and had a look around the shops buying a few souvenirs and other things. We spent a while here before we had morning tea and headed back to the van before heading down to the beach for a swim.

Once we were all ready we all headed to the beach for a swim and relaxing morning on the beach. W had decided to take the car and maybe park on the beach while we had a swim but what we did not know was what we were heading for, A NUDIST BEACH! The problem was that the age of the people there was sixty and above! Not a pretty site at all. By he sounds coming from the others in the car, some squeals and gee whizzes, they were all in a state of shock and not sure where they should look. An education for all! Sorry there are no pictures that we can publish here as children are reading this blog!

We then made a quick exit and headed to the other end of the beach for a swim in a safer area. The water looked fantastic but was still very cold, it is still very surprising how cold the water is here.

We met Clive and Maria, from NMIT, this afternoon on the beach where they were relaxing in the sunshine getting a suntan. They have flown to Broome for a week to escape the Melbourne cold weather and enjoy some of the heat we have been experiencing for the last few weeks.

After a swim it was back to the van to get ready for the camel ride that everyone was looking forward to.

We arrived on the beach to find the camels all lined up and ready to go and after a briefing we were lined up beside our assigned camel ready for a ride. There are two parts to a camel ride that make it quite hard, the standing up and sitting down of the camel. If you have not done it before, it is quite a sharp jolt as the camel rises from the ground.

We had a ride for an hour as the sunset over the water. Our camels were called Cloud (mine), Jahill (Chels & Skinny) and Zarah (Cathy & Josh). It turned out that Jahill was the tallest and most fidgety of all the camels that we had and provided Chels and Skinny with some interesting moments. It wanted to overtake the camel Cathy & Josh were on and kept making noises and jumping around, quite amusing to watch.

We later went to visit Clive and Maria in their where they were staying and after a pleasant evening returned back to the van.

Broome Day 1

As Josh and I are early rises, we often head off for a ride or a walk for a while before returning to have breakfast. This morning was no exception and we headed off down to the beach for our ride. While we were stopped taking a photo to send to a few people, we heard someone calling Josh’s name. It turned out to be Mrs Moreland and her husband, the other lady who works in the office at the kid’s school, on their morning walk.

They were staying at another caravan park down the road, but are doing a similar trip to us. What strange places you meet people! After a chat for a while, we continued on for our ride before heading back to the van.

We eventually got moving with a drive around Broome to see the local sights. It was already mid morning and e wanted to be back for lunch and so it was going to be quick. None of us had been to Broome before and so it was all new territory for us.

We drove around to Ganthaeume Point, a place with amazing rock formations that meet the ocean. One thing that has really amazed us is the red soil, now when I say red, I mean red. I think it is even redder than the soil in the centre of Australia and what even makes it more amazing is that it finishes at the sand dunes, and turns to bright white sand.

We looked out to the ocean and surrounding areas from here and wondered around the rock formations for a little while.

We then followed a dirt road around the point and ended up at the wharf area and went for a walk along the jetty to see the boats that were in port. This was a customs controlled area and so we were not allowed to get too close to them. The water was still that amazing blur colour.

We had intended to head into town, but due to the late time, we returned back to the caravan park for lunch as we had promised Josh a swim, either at the pool or the beach.

After swimming in the pool for a while, we headed for the beach to have a swim in the water. It was still colder than expected but you still had to go in anyway. The water was an amazing colour and a pleasure to look at. After a swim, Chels and Josh decided to cover themselves in sand before having another swim to wash it all off.

We had decided to do the camel ride one night and fish and chips on the beach the other night. Due to the camels being booked out tonight, there was no decision to be made and it was planning for a meal on the beach.

We packed the chairs and table into the back of the car, rang and ordered the fish and chips and then headed for the beach. After collecting the fish and chips, we along with many others, drove the car onto the beach, set ourselves up and then had tea while the sunset over the water. Cathy had to go and buy some wine glasses, some Maison and juice for Josh so that we could all sit and pretend that were sitting sipping wine on the beach. What a very pleasant way to spend an evening! Chels & Josh even put on a show for us while we were there.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fitzroy Crossing to Broome

Time to move on to our next point, Broome and after packing up we were in the car and on the way.

While driving along the road, we saw a big hollow Boab tree, a good place for morning tea. We had seen some big trees already, but this one was the biggest we had been close to. When we had a look, the middle of it was hollow and we were able to climb inside.

Great I thought, another chance to lose the Mother-in-law along the way. After she had climbed in, I tried to get everyone into the car and drive away, but of course someone had to spoil this effort and had to help her out. The whole in the middle was big enough for everyone to climb into and have a look around.

We then headed off to Broome, unsure of what we were going to get as we had been advised that we were in the overflow area. I had booked this park about three months prior, and still got the overflow at this time. We were however pleasantly surprised when we arrived to find the site was equivalent to many other sites we had stayed in, not a problem at all.

After settling in and setting up, it was time for a swim in the pool, still chilly but not as cold as some of the others we had been to so we were able to enjoy some time in the water.

It was then time for a walk down to the beach to see what it looked like, not sure what I was expecting, but it was much better than I had expected with white sand and a lovely blue water. What did surprise me was that the sea water was cold, I had expected it to be a lot warmer than what it was. The kids had a splash and that was enough for today.

It was quickly back to the beach later to look at the spectacular sunset over the water, we said we would be back to see more of this.

Fitzroy Crossing

No real rush this morning as we had plenty of time to sit and relax before heading off to Geikie Gorge for a cruise up the Fitzroy River.

Well, sometimes you really do not know what to expect and this cruise proved to be one of those times that no expectation was there to be met. When we arrived for the cruise we met Colin and Marilyn again as well as Mrs Springs(Bev), the secretary from Chels & Josh’s school, and Ted her husband. We knew that they were on the road but this was the first time we had met up with them.

Back to that cruise, it went for about one hour, cost $25 and was well worth the money. Have I mentioned before about the great masses of water that we keep coming across while on this journey, only once or twice, well today is another great example of this. The amount of water we saw was amazing and when the guide explained where the wet season high water level mark was, it was almost too difficult to comprehend the amount of water that must flow

The rock formations were created by the flow of the water, mainly in the wet season. The wet season level was about ten to fifteen meters above the current level and carried a large percentage of Western Australia’s fresh water supply. This is really a big amount of water that flows in the wet season and would be worth having a look at when it was in full flow. The problem is that Fitzroy Crossing is often isolated during this time and is not accessible by road.

The same as many other places, there are a few jobs available in this town, including the Information Centre that was also looking for staff. I do not think that the family would think this a great place to move to.

Time for another freeze in the pool and then relaxing for the rest of the afternoon.

Life is really tough!

Halls Creek to Fitzroy Crossing

A very uneventful day today with a relatively short drive from Halls Creek to Fitzroy Crossing with not much to see on the way. This was a stretch without and roadhouses and so we were reliant on roadside toilets to get us through if required. We do not have an onboard ensuite and decided against buying a porta potty a decision we had so far not regretted. The only thing it stopped us doing was roadside stops, but I had not envisaged doing many if any of those along the way.

The first one we stopped at was at Mary Pool, a location that looked like a great roadside stopover point, until we saw the toilets; at least I think that is what they were meant to be. Skinny took one look and said that she was not that desperate. A lovely spot for those who have the facilities onboard.

The second stop was at a cliff road stop, again a great location with a poor excuse for toilets. Well someone had used as the smell coming from them was not very nice at all. A bit of a shame that these facilities are like this.

We then proceeded onto Fitzroy Crossing where we found the caravan park and some found the toilets even quicker. This was a good park in the middle of nowhere that provided all of the facilities we required. Josh was not to keen to stay here as it was Fitzroy crossing and he does not like Fitzroy, now the lions football club

There was one problem we found here though, well it was a problem for some. There was no channel seven or equivalent and so no Olympic Games coverage.

I drove in to town to get the bread for lunch to find out it was Sunday and the shops were shut, luckily I was still able to get some so we did not go without. The town is not very big and so one small supermarket was the only place for supplies. Apart from this it was the service stations on the main highway.

After lunch, the kids and I tried to have a swim in the pool to find out again the central heating word had still not made it here, the pool was very cold and so we lasted only a short time in the water.

I went for walk down the Fitzroy River, although there was very little water running where we were and no I did not see any crocodiles!

The rest of the day was sitting aback and relaxing.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Turkey Creek to Halls Creek

What a morning, we all got up very excited and could not wait for the helicopter ride. Josh was almost running over there when it was time to pay and go for the ride.

Cathy sat in the front, Chels and I sat on the sides with no doors and Josh sat in the middle and soon after we were all buckled up we were up, up and away! Chels and Josh could not control their smiles as the helicopter rose above the ground and headed of towards the Bungles. We had no real idea what was in store.

The pilot asked if this was our first time in a helicopter and when Josh answered yes, he said it was his first time as well! Nothing like a confidence boost as you are flying away!

We got a running commentary from our pilot, Woody, and heard about his stories and the area we were flying over. What amazing scenery we saw as we flew over. It was quite cold and very windy sitting on the sides with no door but the experience was breathtaking. We were able to ask questions of Woody and Josh took the opportunity to quiz him on what he knew.

I will let the pictures show you what we saw, even though they still do not do it justice, as it is very hard to put what we saw and experienced in words.

The helicopter flight lasted forty-five minutes and the time passed very quickly but the experience was well worth it. We still would have liked the opportunity to see and feel the Bungles but this was the next best thing. Something we will all never forget.

For the record, no-one was sick although Cathy did say that there were three times that she felt close to it. The pilot had told us to look at the horizon and this fixed the problem for her.

When we returned, Colin and Marilyn had arrived and so it was a quick pack up and move so that they could get their van in and depart for their drive into the Bungles.

Of course just after they left I found that we had a flat battery and so had to get someone from the service station to help us get started. I sorted this out at Halls Creek, where a new battery was placed in the car to prevent any further problems of this sort.

Halls Creek was an interesting town with an Aboriginal problem, we had been advised that Saturday night was party night and the locals fell asleep in the streets where they stopped. Luckily for us there was a game of footy in the afternoon and the footy oval was a fair distance from the caravan park. As this was the scene of the party for the night, we only had the dull thud of the music in the background until about 4:00am and it started again just after 6:00am.

It could have been much worse, the night before the party was across the road from the caravan park and the noise was very loud and went all night. Thankfully we missed that!

Kununurra to Turkey Creek

Waking up early was not too much of a problem as Josh’s body clock had still not adjusted and he was still operating on Northern Territory time. I was up and out the van not long after 6:45am and on my way to get the window fixed and then before I knew it was on my way back to pick up the family and the van.

It was in the car and on our way, towards Turkey Creek, the base from which we are to head into the Bungles. We were still undecided about driving in as we have heard many different reports about the condition of the road and whether it is too bumpy or not, we really cannot afford to be stuck here for a week.

As we could not pre book this park, we wanted to get there as early as possible to get a powered site as at this stage we were staying two nights. There was a small swimming pool and not much else to pass the afternoon away.

Skinny went for a helicopter ride over the Bungles, you can catch up with her about the details later. It had no door on the side and so there was a chance that she might fall out, I could be so lucky. The bad news is that she came back!

Our decision was made not by us, but by the people in the site beside us. When I spoke to them they informed me that they had been stuck at Turkey Creek for over a week and their car, which was at Halls Creek, was still not fixed and they were waiting on a part from Perth. Turkey Creek is a service station with a small caravan park on the side, not the place to get stuck.

We decided on doing the tour instead, but of course it was full and they could not accommodate five people. We decided that for the additional cost we would also give ourselves a treat and fly over the Bungles in the helicopter tomorrow. A new experience as apart from myself, no-one else had been in a helicopter and what a place to do it. We booked for 9:00am tomorrow.

Everyone was excited about the prospect of flying tomorrow and this appeared to alleviate the disappointment of not driving in. I am sure they will all cope.

I had booked in for two nights but was able to change the second night to Colin & Marilyn so they were guaranteed of a power site and we did not loose our money.

I went for a walk along the highway and looked at the local aboriginal community from the distance. It appeared quite large, with a school and other services available. You are not permitted into the communites, although I would really have like to go in and have a real look at what was available. They even had a community store, but again I could not get in to see it.

Back for dinner and a quiet night, well it is Turkey Creek!

Kununurra Day 2

The kids did some school work this morning, Skinny went to the shops and Cathy did some house or should I say caravan work! What did I do? Well nothing important that I can remember, must have been a little more relaxing.

After lunch we headed of to Lake Argyle, what a spectacular place this turned out to be. It has been mentioned before about the way you can travel through the countryside and then see a large mass of water, this was no exception. This is a very large mass of water that provides hydro power and irrigation to the area and although I cannot remember the amount of water contained, it is huge.

Cathy went as far as saying that this was some of the most, if not the most picturesque scenery that she had seen anywhere. The lake looked fantastic with the colour and the rocky surrounding making for breathtaking scenery. We saw the dam wall, that also signified the start of the Ord River and had afternoon tea here before heading back to town.

One car on the way back to the highway and it flicked up a stone and it hit the windscreen, not happy Jan! Although it looked like a good hit and chip, the damage was isolated and did not spread far at all. I was not sure of the chip could be fixed or if it was a new windscreen required, of course they would not have one in Kununurra and so were we going to get stuck here? Could we drive on? These and more questions ran through my head on the way back to town.

On arrival in Kununurra, we went straight to the windscreen shop to be told that it was a bad chip but could be fixed first thing in the morning before we headed off. I could be there at 7:00am and it would take about half an hour. With a sigh of relief we headed back to the caravan park to do a little packing before heading out for tea.

We again caught up with Colin and Marilyn tonight for a BBQ tea together, amazing that you have to come all of this way to meet people you know. Well at least they do live in Perth now and we do not see them that often.

After an enjoyable evening, it was back to our park and bed.

Kununurra Day 1

Josh was up very early, well it was one and a half hours later to his body but we still had a slow morning before getting everyone motivated and in the car to head for Wyndham, Western Australia’s most northern town.

We are now travelling on the edge of the Kimberley’s, a place I want to spend some time in the future. It is really a place that requires a four wheel drive, preferably someone else’s, and a tent or off road camper trailer to really get the best view. We did get a bit of a taste of the area in what we could see, only making me more determined to return.

Along the way we pulled in at “The Grotto” where we had to walk down 140 steps to the bottom where there was a waterhole that was also the site of a waterfall in the wet season. After sitting and enjoying the scenery for a while, it was time for the climb out and time to be on our way.

On arriving it Wyndham, we quickly realised that there was very little to this town and our choice of a chip sandwich for lunch was most probably not going to be a good one.

We drove to the top of the Bastion Range to lookout over the Cambridge Gulf, a place where five rivers drained. This provided a great view of the surrounding area, although a little hazy because of the many burn offs that were happening around the countryside. It was then back into town, if you can call it that.

There was nowhere to buy those chips and so we ended up at a bakery that was quickly running out of pies, and had every cake that contained cream for sale. Was not what we expected or wanted for lunch but was not to bad as an alternative.

Went into a general store and started talking to the owner, who said that Wyndham was again a growing area and a place where there was plenty of money being made. The problem was that little or no investment was being made by the owners and so things were looking run down. Left with little enthusiasm to return to this place but not disappointed we had been there.

On the way back, we turned onto the start of the famous Gibb River Road and travelled along the first five to ten kilometres of it. It is very corrugated and rough but still one of the roads that I want to travel from end to end one day. I can only dream of it now. After this short experience, the main road appeared to be very smooth.

Before we arrived in Kununurra, we took a turn off to what was advertised as a swimming hole but turned out to be a waste of time. We go to the first spring which was little more than a big puddle on the side of the road, the next one even worse and so we headed back for the comfort of the caravan park swimming pool.

Katherine to Kununurra

Left early this morning expecting a long day in the car as we headed towards Western Australia.

It is amazing the way the landscape changes as you travel along the road. It appears that there is nothing around and then, before you know it, there are mountains all around you. I know that it has been said before but we live in a very large country with many different landscapes to be explored.

We passed through the Gregory National Park, which looked like a place worth a few days visit next time. The rock formations were absolutely amazing and displayed many colours as the sun moved over them and we travelled through. We pulled in for a break at Victoria River Roadhouse and saw a sign that should have said under new ownership, but the word ownership was covered with wife and so read: “Under new wife” I found it quite amusing anyway.

We travelled onto to Timber Creek, again a place that looked like it was worth a visit in the future as we were still following the Victoria River in this area. Bought a loaf of bread here, frozen of course as all bread is in these places that we hoped would thaw by the time we were ready to stop for lunch.

We pulled in at a roadside rest stop where two coupled had settled in for a couple of days to eat all of their vegetables before they entered Western Australia, they would lose them at the border. Well we had to wait little while for our sandwiches as Cathy threw the bread around the van to try and separate the slices. I think that she thought by bouncing it on the bench, it would go into slices, but it did not work.

Through more ranges and then we arrived at the border where we had to declare any fruit, vegetables and honey. We had eaten everything before we arrived and so did not have anything to hand over. It is worth noting that they do an inspection of the car and van to check and see that you have nothing hidden away. We also gained one and half hours here, which was good a the time but also meant that it now got lighter and darker earlier, not so good.

I am afraid to say that the angry customer got what he wanted, well we got a site that we were happy with after initially being shown our designated site and expressing our disgust. We were then shown another site, little better than the first and then miraculously they found a very good site that was available for the length of our stay. We were very happy with this alternative and would have been even happier if they had given us this position in the first place.

After this initial aggravation, we were very happy at this park, The Kona Lakeside, which was situated on the side of the lake and gave us a pleasant view to enjoy for the next couple of days.

What was going to be a long drive had turned out to be quite an enjoyable drive with a range of scenery experienced on the way making it very interesting. The only disappointment was that they did not quarantine the mother-in-law and kids at the border; it was not for a lack of asking!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Darwin to Katherine

We had planned to travel from Darwin to Katherine and so expected it to be a rather boring day in the car watching the road go by. We were up and on the road but not in any real rush as we were not doing any sightseeing on arrival in Katherine as this was our second visit.

It is Darwin Cup today, and so the Territory, well at least the part we are in is all closed down for the race

It was boring until we came across another mass of water in the middle of no-where. On our previous visit to Katherine we had missed Edith Falls and so made a slight detour this time to see what it had to offer.

Well to our surprise, there was a very big car park, picnic area, kiosk and other facilities for the day tripper and the small camping area. The actual waterfalls were nowhere near as big as some of the previous falls that we had seen, but the swimming hole was massive.

It was a very warm day and we were all ready to jump into the water and cool off yet again. As it was a fair swim to the actual waterfall I was the only one to venture this far, everyone else stayed near the side, swam and cooled off.

It never seems to amaze us how such a big expanse of water or a spring can appear out of what seems nowhere and provides water, normally very fresh for the surrounding area. I think that there is nothing better than swimming in some of these waterholes and floating by the cliff faces, looking up and realising just how big it is and how small I am. This swimming has really been a highlight for me, I love the beach, but really do enjoy these places as well.

It was then into the car to complete the short journey to Katherine for the night before we made the right turn and headed for Western Australia!