A Travellerspoint blog

6 Our Small Paradise and other things

sunny 30 °C

14th June
Mary, Brian and I set out, over a very stony track, to walk through the scrub to see the Durack Homestead that had been relocated from what is now the bottom of Lake Argyle, to a new, dry (!) place not far from the caravan park. It was really warm but we managed to see a number of different bird species (for us). Brian left us part way through our walk to see the view at some cliffs further along the track while we visited the museum/homestead. The Durack family had been pioneers in the Kimberley region for over 100 hundred years, and much of this is related in Mary Durack’s various books. Most famous is ‘Kings in Grass Castles’, but there are several others worth reading as well.
A Great Bower Bird had set up his ‘parlour’ just outside the house and he had attracted a possible ‘bride’ with his array of white objects that he had acquired from around the area. Very houseproud he was too!

There were many fascinating photos of the ‘olden days’ of this fascinating family. Try and read the books.
Mary and I trudged back, in the heat, made it back to camp in time for lunch, but somewhat concerned about Brian who had chosen a longer journey, however, he turned up in time for his lunch too!
Spent the afternoon relaxing in our temporary paradise.

15th June
Another day in paradise? Not quite as I decided to get up early to go fishing for barra at the base of the dam. Shortly after setting up on a rock somewhat higher than I figured crocs could reach I noted a croc lying in the water adjacent to some reeds – and looking at me! Not fazed I ensured that I could safely cast out into the main river flow and still keep my eye on his eyes. Soon I noticed the croc very gently edging closer and closer towards me. Still not bothered I kept fishing until I noticed it disappear under water and apparently headed in my direction. I decided that I needed a break from fishing for a while, so, walked up the boat ramp a safe distance (whatever that is with crocs!) and changed my lure – and waited. However, my ‘friend’ failed to surface, so after about 20 minutes I chose the highest rock to cast from and kept up my casting into the main stream. I was surprised by a noise just behind me in the water, and quickly turned to see the croc noisily swim away from only 5 meters away. I watched it’s movements for a bit and returned to fishing when it had moved far enough away.

Sadly, none of the fish offered themselves up for that evening’s meal, so, after warning another fisherman who arrived as I was packing up I headed back to camp. Now a bit more wary of even the freshwater crocs who normally are not a serious safety issue, but as our cruise boat captain said, any creature with that many teeth and that small a brain, don’t even think about giving the benefit of the doubt.
About 4pm we arrived at the freezing cold swimming pool to view the spectacular sunset across the lake with the red range of rugged hills as a backdrop. We chatted with a charming couple from Adelaide while we waited, and enjoyed the beautiful sunset by taking many photos.

16th June
Packed up and headed east (sort of) towards the small town of Kununurra. A small place and a bit of a wild west place, as we found out that evening when the hoons dragged up and down a few meters from our van as we tried to sleep. The supposed karaoke from the adjacent pub did not help either! Mary & I managed to get some copying done of our old itinerary, which, by now, was rather off tune by several days. No ANZ bank, so resorted to buying a few goodies from Coles store and getting a cash-out in lieu of paying fees at a ‘foreign’ ATM.

17th June
The four of us sat down to chat about the next stages of our journey, particularly concerned by the ’road intelligence’ from fellow-travellers, that Broome would be a problem in getting two powered van sites and at a reasonable price. Apparently all Ned Kelly’s relatives were alleged to now own the van sites and all the other money-making venues in town. One lady told us how she had forcefully informed the van park staff that she just wanted to stay the night, not but the @*)*&^&^%$ place. We soon decided on a date and preferred van park, however, the major van park told me that I could ring them at 8.30am on the day we wanted to arrive, and they would kindly tell us if there was anything available! Customer service is obviously alive and well in Broome in the winter. We found a reasonable place and booked and prepaid for four nights.
The other three decided to visit the Zebra Rock shop in the afternoon, so I decided to play nine holes of golf. It was hot, and the greens were actually blacks, there not being enough grass to make greens so we made do with fine black sand instead. Didn’t help my score though!

Meanwhile, the shoppers arrived back with tales of fabulous purchases of coloured rocks. Mary and I then headed off to the Coles supermarket and stocked up on supplies for the trip to Fitzroy Crossing, some two days drive sort of south.

18th June
Today we headed out, with Brian driving his car, towards the small and once famous town of Wyndham situated on the coast and the most northerly town in WA. It also had the same name as the town in which my dad was born, but that was in NZ. Brian and I were after suitable T shirts but they were a bit hard to find. We visited the old port area, and the very interesting local historical museum. There is something about these old historical museums in Australia because, along they share a common thread of a tough life in the 18 and 19 hundreds, each one has at least one unique event or tale to tell. Well worth the time to browse and be amazed at the hardships form the past.
Stopped for lunch across the road at Capt. Rod’s cafe (for want of a better description) and we really enjoyed the huge barra burgers that he specialised in. We decided that the lunch that we brought with us would do for dinner that evening. After having a look at the two shops that sold T shirts, we headed up the 350M Bastion Five Rivers Lookout. It may have been different from our first sight of the Grand Canyon from years ago, but this was one of the truly magnificent views in the world. The cliffs are almost sheer and discretion dictated that one did not go too close to the edge.

As its name suggests, it is the place from which we could view five major Kimberley rivers, including the magnificent Ord, join together into one large river (even in the dry season – I have no idea what the vista would reveal in the wet with massive torrents of water flowing) that went into the Cambridge Gulf, and so to the Timor Sea.
Apparently this site is the ninth best place in the whole world from which to view a sunset. (Who on earth has the time to calculate such trivia?).

Certainly the wait was worthwhile as all us tourists snapped away at the sinking sun. Hopefully I can get a photo onto this page quite soon (along with the one of Mary trying to eat her second massive barra burger).
As the last rays of daylight departed in ruddy splendour we descended the hill and topped up with fuel and a few souvenirs, and headed home in the dark.

Posted by psstevo 01:10 Archived in Australia

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