Thursday, June 30, 2011

Broome May 2011

 Well after setting up , I decided that being Mother's Day perhaps it would be nice to go out for lunch. Having been to the Town Beach cafe on a  previous occasion and found it to serve quite nice food in a lovely setting looking out over Roebuck Bay. On consultation with Mike And Kerry we decided to make it a foursome. We had lovely lunch  and enjoyed a lovely bottle of wine to go with the good food and nice scenery.

 Me, Mike and Kerry

After lunch we went for a drive to the port and walked out on the walkway to check out the fishing action. There were quite a few fishing and we saw one large fish that had been caught off the fishing platforms. We  hoped to get an ice cream but were out of luck,

 The fishing platforms and walkway at the port

 Our time in Broome was rather busy as we caught up on a number of jobs etc that had accumulated on our travels. We also spent some time checking  our camping gear ready for  a trip to Cape Leveque at the end of the week. Lynn bought a large blue box to put on the pack rack so that the tent etc was handy in one place.

 Our spot in the caravan park was ideal as we were near the car cleaning and fish cleaning spots with a nice lawned picnic spot adjacent which meant we had the ideal place for sundowners with uninterrupted views over Roebuck Bay. The only problem was the midgies that were often about at that time of the day.

 Mike was very keen to go fishing so I volunteered to go with him. the trip wasn't terribly successful as I caught nothing and Mike only caught a couple of small ones. Launching a retrieving the boat on Cable Beach was a bit tricky with nasty little waves breaking just off shore and filling the boat both times.

 One evening we went over to Cable Beach to watch the sunset and see the camels. We were very surprised to find our friends from Darwin walking along the beach so they stopped and joined us for a sundowner.

Camels on Cable Beach

 Camels on Cable Beach with our Toyota in background
 When we returned from Cape Leveque ( see next blog) it was time for the first "Stairway
to the Moon " . This meant that there was a lot more tourists around and a Market was held at Town Beach each night it was on with the moon rising about an hour later each night.

 On the first night we walked down to the beach but found it was too busy so opted to join some friends who were in the other end of the caravan park and had a lovely view of this phenomena.

Stairway to the Moon by Lynn

Stairway to the Moon by Helen
 We really enjoyed our time in Broome and the friends we made . But it was time to move on and our next stop would be Barn Hill.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Kununurra to Broome Part 2

 From Halls Creek we headed west again but not very far only about a 100 klms to Mary Pool. We came across this lovely rest area a bit sooner than what we thought was  the distance and as we turned off we found a large water tanker was parked in the causeway picking up load of water for some road works further up the road.

  Me talking to the tanker driver
  Eventually he filled up and moved off so that we could cross over and find a lovely place to set up. The only draw back to this place was the prickles, they were everywhere.

 We found a lovely spot near the river bank and set up to stay  about a week. Kerry and Mike also found a nice spot but decided that they were only staying a few days. Lynn went off and got a load of fire wood after setting up so that we could have some camp oven meals especially as we had bought some beautiful cattleman's steaks from the butcher in Halls Creek before we left.  

The last time we were here it was late October and very hot about 40 degrees in the shade. There was no grass and the toilets left a lot to be desired. So it was a change to see lots of grass and a new toilet block

 We went down to the causeway in the afternoon for a swim and found that by hopping onto the lower side of the causeway and standing with our backs to the water we got a lovely shower as the water was flowing fairly quickly across the causeway.( see the white water in the photo)

 Later on when not so much water was flowing over the causeway and the tankers had stopped using the corner for filling up we found that corner was deep enough and protected , just right for a swim.

 While we were there a number of campers came and went, a lot only stayed overnight but some others stayed for a few days. At night there was probably up to 30 camps. Crossing to the rest area had to be timed while the water trucks were working as there was 2 tankers and they took it in turns to come and fill up. This process could take about 40 mins especially if the bigger tanker needed to fill up.

Eventually we had to leave this lovely spot and move on.

Departing Mary Pool
 Our next stop was at Fitzroy Crossing where we stocked up on some groceries and then continued on to Ellendale rest area. We had been advised that this was closed as it was being upgraded, so were pleasantly surprised that the work had been finished and it was open and complete with new toilets. We drove up to the top of the rest area and set up for the night being Friday night Lynn wanted to watch the Footy.

The next morning we wandered on again and were disappointed to see that the Lake camp area still had too much water to allow access. We had a morning tea stop at the Big Boab tree rest area . This is only a small area with no toilets so were pleased we had decided to stop at Ellendale. The rest of the trip to Willare was uneventful and then we turned onto the Broome road  but instead of going on to Broome stopped the night at Nullibubbica Rest area where we had a large bull for company and John and Marg arrived not long after us. They had been at Ellendale with us but had decided to go to Derby. Weren't very impressed so spent the night with us at the rest area.

Old Boab Tree
Big Bull

 We continued on into Broome the next day and booked into Roebuck Bay caravan park where Mike and Kerry were staying . WE had already discussed that this is the best park for water access and lovely views across the Bay. As the park wasn't busy at that stage we were able to choose a site almost at the back of Kerry and Mike.

Kununurra to Broome April/ May 2011 Part 1

  Although we still hadn't got our mail we decided that we couldn't wait anymore and it was time to move on. However before we left Kununurra we made a slight detour to the Banana place and bought some bananas and watermelon. This is a Christian Radio place and they sell fruit as a sideline.

Morning tea was our first stop at the rest area at the junction of the Great Northern Highway and the Wyndham road. We then continued down the road to our lunch stop at Turkey Creek ( Warnum) which we had in a lovely shaded area in front of the roadhouse. We treated ourselves to takeaway.

 Our  overnight stop for this leg was at Spring Creek rest area which is opposite the turnoff to the Bungles which were not open to driving traffic when we were there.We set up camp down by the river/ creek which was flowing quite well but the water level had obviously dropped considerably as the sandy bottom could easily be seen. Mike , Kerry and I went for a walk up over the bridge and then went down under the bridge and found a safe place to paddle in some fast flowing water that was surrounded by rocks.
Anywhere in the north I don't trust the water as you never know where the crocs are .

 Kerry having a paddle at Spring Creek
 Spring Creek
 Although we were first in and a number of travellers came in to check out the spot we only ended up with another 4 camps for the night .
The next day we continued on to Halls Creek where we  arrived fairly early in the morning  and fueled up the vehicles and ourselves before going to the Tourist Information Centre . At the Centre we were advised of a visit to the Meteorology dept who send up a weather balloon each afternoon and were happy to have tourists attend.

 We generally found the Centre very informative about the road conditions  and had lots of brochures and souvenirs,. As we planned to watch the balloon go up we booked into the caravan park  and set up the 2 vans so that we had one large shaded area between us. Kerry was looking forward to seeing the Wedding and the boys wanted to watch football being a Friday night.

 Old Engine at Halls Creek
 We duly turned up at the Bureau and watched the balloon launch before heading out to old Halls Creek . We decided to head straight out to the old township and then stop at the other places on our way back. We also thought we might go out to Sawpit Gorge but Mike and Kerry decided that they had had enough of the rough road and opted not to go.
 Preparing the Weather balloon for release
At Old Hall's Creek  we wandered around the ruins and also visited the old cemetery. The caravan park seemed to be operational but very run down with only a few permanents there.
 On our way back we found the road to Carolines Pool which was poorly marked but looked a nice spot.
There were a few backpackers making the most of the water for a swim etc and  2 guys having a go at catching some of the very small fish.
 We then continued to make our way back and stopped at China Wall before returning to the Park.

Caroline Pool

 China Wall
For tea that night we made a Curry each and then shared them . The men then watched their footy while Kerry and I watched the the Royal Wedding .

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Kununurra April 2011

 After our lovely cruise on Lake Argyle , it was time to move on to Kununurra.
We stayed at Hidden Valley caravan park and were pleasantly surprised to receive a seniors discount automatically. We have stayed here before and found it to be a reasonably priced park close to the shops etc but rather quiet and with a reasonable swimming pool.
 One of our main objectives for both Mike and Kerry and us was to collect mail which we had organised to be sent from interstate. Mike was waiting for a new keyboard and I was waiting for some wool to be sent.
However the mail had not arrived by Easter so we had to stay some extra time in Kununurra.

 We put this time to good use to allow us to see a few sights we hadn't seen before which included a visit to the Sandalwood factory where we had a wonderful mango smoothie. In fact we tried Mango smoothies in a number of places and still reckoned this place did the best ones. We also revisited Ivanhoe Crossing and found that  the water was still very high.

Floodwaters at Ivanhoe Crossing

Below Diversion Dam

 While staying at Hidden Valley we took the opportunity to take an early morning walk in the Hidden Valley national park which we accessed through the back of the park. This allowed us to visit a few places that were blocked off if you came through the main entrance,although we were not aware that this would happen before setting off.

Hidden Valley as seen from Caravan park

 Hidden Valley national park
 One day while Kerry was shopping she met a lady who runs a Kangaroo Rescue Centre and she invited us to visit and help feed the animals. The animals were mainly wallabies but some kangaroos and came in all sizes from small ones with hardly any fur to bigger ones that were nearing release. Out the back she had a number of animals that weren't for release as they were blind or impaired in some way that precluded their release. 2 wallabies were  wearing casts after having their broken legs fixed.

 Mike ,Kerry and owner feeding the wallabies

 one of the many orphans

 Nankeen Kestral

Baby sugar glider
 This is a voluntary operation that relies on donations from visitors. Her house was overflowing with all the orphan creatures. It was only a duplex unit but had a large backyard that was being utilized to the max.
As the photos show not only were there wallabies but also a sugar glider and a Kestrel. The owners also had 2 very large dogs that were extremely tolerant of all the extra animals that their owners were caring for. They had plans to move to 40 acres which I'm sure would ease the overcrowding considerably.

During our time in Kununurra we also visited the Zebra rock gallery and saw the catfish at the fish feeding area below the gallery. We enjoyed our time in Kununurra as we were ahead of most of the tourists but were disappointed to find a lot of attractions still closed.

Wyndham Day trip Good Friday April 2011

  As our time in Kununurra had been extended while waiting for mail we decided that a day trip to Wyndham would be a better option than moving there for a day or so. On the way we stopped at the Grotto and Mike and Kerry walked to the bottom but as Lynn is still having trouble with his knees we opted to walk around the top.
The waterfall at the Grotto

 Looking over the waterfall

 At Wyndham  we were greeted by the "Big Croc" which was built about 20 years ago and sits near the entrance to the town in a lovely park.

The big Croc
 We made the Five Rivers Lookout our next stop  where we got wonderful views out over the gulf . There was lots of water but we weren't sure if it was flooding or high tide.

 View from the Five Rivers Lookout
 Once back in town we found a cheap source of fuel as the local service station had diesel at 20cents cheaper than Kununurra and Mike found some nice barra.
 We then explored the Wharf area and visited the "big boab" before picking up the Barra and heading back to Kununurra.

 Big Boab

On our way back we decided to visit Parry Creek Farm . The road was very rough and boggy in places and the managers were waiting for the road to be graded so that access for tourists would be improved . We had a lovely time wandering around the elevated walkways alongside the creek with lots of bird life and even a small freshwater croc. We finished off our visit with ???? you guessed it a Mango smoothie which we had  in the shade on the upper deck looking out over the billabong.
 The walkway at Parry Creek Farm