A very slow drive on the Gibb River road with the caravan, over heavy corrigated raods, through some river crossings and a bushfire that had been raging for over a month! We finally made it into El Questro, beautiful location with the campsite along the Penticost River. This was our swimming hole, which had a swing rope into the river, Bryce and I had lots of fun with that! Met a great couple here Matt and Renell travelling for 11months with their 3 children under 4yrs of age!! Ronnie joined me for morning yoga, nice to share my space and do some teaching again.
We visited Zebedee Hot Springs which is aways around 28 - 30degs. Not extactly the refreshing swimming you are generally looking for in this heat! It actually felt cold when you got out!! Never the less it was a beautiful spring of cascading waterfalls into various size rock pools.
The next day we headed to Moonshine Gorge, fun 4wd drive track to the car park. It had a huge pool at the beginning of the walk and a smaller one at the half way point (3.5km in). A challenging walk / climb in spots for Tom with his arm still in plaster, but well worth it as we had the water hole to ourselves. So we stripped off for a swim and stopped for early lunch beforewalking back in the heat of the day. this was made easier knowing that they was another water hole back at the beginning. Bryce and I snorkled and explored this huge waterhole while Mike and Tom had a rest in the Car.
Before reaching Wyndham we stopped at Parry's Lagoon and sat in the hide for a few hours. We were watching a flock of about 20 ducklings being lead around by some parents and trying to identify the huge array of different birds, when Bryce spotted a estuarine croc as it lifted it head to swallow a fish. We watched as it slowly moved towards the ducklings and then drop under the water out of sight. The ducks swam straight to it and with the camera ready, we saw the croc leap up in the middle of the flock. Ducks went in every direction and somehow the croc missed them all. Then if that wasn't exciting enough, whilst watching the croc unsuccessfully creep up on the ducks, a huge python thudded onto the mesh roof above, slid off and splashed us as it fell into the lagoon. It was quite a eventful morning.
Back on the road we reached Wyndham just before lunch, I think we were expecting Wyndham to be some amazing sea side town with huge rivers running through it! Obviously a bit naive as it was far from this, the sea must be still many km from the port so there is definitely no site of the ocean from the lookout. Nevertheless the views from five rivers lookout were spectacular, we could see 4 of the 5 giant rivers running into one gigantic river and the surrounding tidal flats, it is hard to comprehend the amount of water that must be flowing during the wet season. Port Wyndham was looking very tired and unloved, to put it politely, we didn't spend long there and Wyndham had some cool oversized sculptures that were fun. Overall a interesting place, but I don't think we would revisit.
Drove in late to Kununurra and happened to camp next to our New Zealand mates Bryan and Raewyn at Kimberlyland Caravan Park. Great park on Lake Kununurra which connects to Lake Argyle, spending 2 nights there, we did a afternoon trip with them to Lake Argyle, Australias largest fresh water lake, it was absolutely mindblowing. Then back to Kununurra to watch the sunset from Kelly's Knob lookout. The next day we hired some canoes and explored the lake before moving to the Big 4 Park further round on the lake. Had a tasty feed of Barramundi thanks to Raewyn's great catch, went to the Sandalwood Factory, Ivanhoe Crossing, watched an other beautiful sunset and tried our luck at catching a barra. No success we couldn't really find a spot that we felt comfortable to be safe enough from the bitey lizards. This place was a popular fishing spot and we saw many people doing some crazy things to get a good position for a fish!!!
Spent the evenings looking for freshwater crocs around the lake and toading!!!, which is collecting Cane Toads using gloves or plastic bags in a big bucket (yuk!), the park staff then bag them and put them in the Toad Freezer ready for Parks and Wildlife Ranger to collect.
Met a lovely couple Sandy and Collin and their 3yr old Alana, Sandy and I could chat for hours! heaps of fun they came toading one night and we all went hiking through Mirima National Park.
As we travel further west the termite mounds become fewer and smaller whereas the boabs become more frequent and bigger.
Made our way to Victoria River Roadhouse, friendly Aussie staff, cheap caravan park and surrounded by the rugged hills of the national park on the Victoria River. We did the escrapment walk and watched a fantastic sunset that made the hills glow red and orange, then left the next day bound for Kununurra. Stopped at Joe's Creek picnic area for morning tea, it was a huge natural amphitheatre surrounded on all sides by steep red rock walls that created the best echo that any of us have ever heard, magic spot! stopped at a bridge to look for crocs and barra. then Geogerys tree, where the explorers set up camp, made famous by the engraved giant boab tree.
Pulled over for dinner on the boader to finish the last of our fruit and veg, then after a quick car seach we arrived in Kununurra.
We had only planned to stay 2 nights to check out Katherine Gorge, but instead we ended up spending an enjoyable 5 nights. Spent a day at Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) doing a 6km hike and swimming, there are 13 gorges and they allow swimming in the first Gorge (supposedly Salty free).
It was quite an eventful hike, although it wasn’t particularly long it was very steep and extremely challenging, especially for Tom with his broken arm. We were not halfway when Mike rolling his ankle badly, after a rest he decided he was ok, so I carried the pack and we went on. We reached our destination the southern rock hole to find it was very low and stagnant and definitely not swimmable. So Mike thought we should follow the dry rock bed to the gorge; great idea except the rocks were huge so helping Tom climb and carrying the pack was slow going, not for Mike and Bryce!!
We finally made the gorge, great spot with a shallow sandy beach for Tom to play in and huge rock ledge for us to walk out on and jump into the crystal clear water. While Bryce and I were swimming and Mike was drying off on the bank, Tom yells “Snake!”, and a long dark coloured snake swam 30cm in front of Tom and onto the shore. Mike then tried to get a pic but it was too shy and slid into a pile of rocks. Then on the way back Tommy developed a stitch and I piggy back him for a while. We finally made it back and sat down for a well-deserved ice-cream and a swim at the information centre where I lost my sunnies somewhere in the Katherine Gorge.That night we all slept very well!
We did a great tour of the Cutta Cutta Caves, visited the Katherine Hot Springs and beautiful Edith Falls which is definitely the largest natural billabong that we have been able to swim in so far. We met a lovely New Zealand couple Brain and Raewyn, that we had a few happy hours with and a dinner together. We stayed another day for the boys to have their school lesson on line and made things to use up our honey because we can't take it over the WA border, honey chocolate cake for Brains Birthday.
Katherine has been a quite the adventure!
We loved Kakadu! We have heard people compare it to Litchfield and had mixed points of over as to which one is better, and we have heard people say you cant compare the two. We found them to be completely different, I don't think I could say I liked one more than the other. Kakadu had a feel to it that is hard to describe, a feeling of expansion and connection that I didn't get a Litchfield (maybe because we were having so much fun in the water falls). This may have been due to the superb ranger talks and the wide uncrowded spaces, or maybe because of the extra distance and effort to get there. I dont think it actually matters as we enjoyed them both equally for different reasons.
In a nutshell, for us I think Litchfield was the fun park and Kakadu the real outback.
We were in Darwin for just under 3 months and had settled into a comfortable routine, with me working, Mike schooling the boys and us all sight-seeing on my days off. Our caravan site had spead out and become bigger over this time and we knew it would be a huge pack up (2days) when we finally left. We ended up living in Darwin longer than we were at our new home in Hahndorf!
It was sad leaving Darwin, we have met some great people and made good friends. It was especially difficult and emotional for me, leaving my job was really hard as I loved it and everyone I worked with. They gave me a great send off on my last day. I had the oportunity to do the main reptile show where I fed a snake and spoke for about 30mins. I was given a beautiful farewell card that makes me teary whenever I read it, and some wonderful unexpected gifts. One which we have named Barry Crocca affectionatly called Bazza, and he will make the odd apearance in our pictures. Also had a night out to remember with some of the girls, to see a show at a gay night club in town called 'Throb'! heaps of fun, I woke up with a sore head and sore cheeks from laughing. I look forward to seeing you all again.
We had a visited to the Territory Wildlife Park and as you can see from the pictures, the boys have become quite the snake handlers. Mike loved hand feeding the whip rays and we watched a great bird show.