Sunday, June 29, 2008

More of our Traveling Adventures

Monday 23rd June
Today hasn’t been a good day, with one thing and another... We have made it to Derby and had the back window fixed after lunch. Then Ray decided to stay the night here and get an early start onto the Gibb River Road in the morning. He was told about a great bush camp spot about 300ks out, so we’ll get at least that far tomorrow.
Tuesday 24th June
Got a very early start this morning... was good driving on the first part of the Gibb River Road. Lots of road work being done on the first 200ks, out to where the mines are being developed, (gold & iron ore) and then we hit the rough stuff. We didn’t find the campsite that Ray was told about so we kept driving to get to Silent Grove camp grounds. Pulled in there and decided to stay a couple of nights, as it is a great place to stay... Bell Gorge is also there about another 19ks further north. While we were setting up our camper, a fellow camper come over to our camp to ‘have-a-chat’, Ray got talking to him and asked where it was from (as you do). He said he was from Deni, and then Ray said “I bet you’re Bob Fisher?” He said with a very startled look on his face, “How do you know that?” After that, Nell was called over as well and intros went all round. Had a few drinks that night before tea, then the next night we had damper and beer for entre. Ray made a great Herb damper, and it turned out really good. Nellie wanted the recipe, but I told her she would have to get it out of his head... he just throw a bit of this and that into the pot and put it in the coals. On the Wednesday we went for a drive up to Bells Gorge, had to walk quite a way and it was pretty hard is some places, but it was well worth it. The falls were wonderful, we had a swim and the water was freezing, but so exhilarating and a ‘must’ when you have walked over rocky mountains to get there.
Thursday 26th June
Packed and off again, saying good bye to Bob & Nellie. They were going west and we were going east. More of the same, very bumpy, stony, corrugation, driving, as the previous day, but we are still enjoying it very much. Called into Mt. Barnett, to top up our fuel... $2.38 we only top up a bit to be certain we had plenty... We stayed at Ellenbrae station, it was bushing camping and they still wanted $10 pp, so we didn’t stay there any longer than the one night.
Friday 27th June
Arrived into Kununurra about 2.30pm, found this lovely caravan park called “Hidden Valley” and have booked in for a week. We have also caught up with Leonie and Leon Welsh, friends of mine from home, as some of you will know. They are staying here as well, we all went out to Lake Argyle yesterday and had a picnic lunch by the lower part of the dam.
Off to Wyndham today and did the tourist thing, had lunch at the Wyndham Hotel, (another feed of Burra) went up to the Five Rivers lookout, probably the best lookout we had ever seen, absolutely fantastic. We couldn’t get out to the wharf, as they have blocked it off from traffic, couldn’t get to where the old meat works were either as they are about to pull them down. It’s a real shame as it is one of the last of the frontier towns, lot of history. We saw a Boab tree this is supposed to be the largest still standing and it is over 2000 years old, we also saw the Boab Prison Tree, where they used to put up to 17 aboriginals in it over night, when they were taking them to be imprisoned somewhere else. All in all had a great day and good company, with Leonie & Leon. Off to bed now for us as we are very tired, after all our site seeing. So good night, hope all is well....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Good Weekend at Broome

Friday 20th June
We drove back to Broome today, to have a few days there with Helen & Daryl, before we go our separate ways. Helen & I had a great day on Saturday, wondered around “China Town” and checked out all the wonderful Pearl Shops. Picked out my favourite pearl; a beautiful 1cm golden pearl – guess how much? Just a little $15,000. But it was great to have a look at all the beautiful strands of pearls and the designer jewellery.
Saturday night we went out for dinner, decided to have Chinese for a change. You wouldn’t believe how much we paid for each dish... $30 – dearest Chinese I’ve ever had. After dinner we went out to the water edge of the town beach to see the “Stairway to the Moon”. Apparently this phenomenon happens each month, for only a few nights when the full moon rises and the tide goes out over the mud-flats and the reflection of the moon, just glistens. It only lasts for no more than about 15 minutes.
Sunday was another relaxing day for us all. Will be moving on tomorrow again, we are heading back to Derby to have the back window fixed. Ray got them to order it from Perth when we were there last week, so they will put it in while we wait. Helen & Daryl will be going south down to Port Headland, they are going to have a good look around the Pilbara area, and then go down south to Esperance then home across the Nullarbor.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Flying over The Horizontal Falls

The boys went fishing again this morning, they nearly got blown off the rocks though. It is very windy here today, so we really are having another very lazy day, I don't think I'll even go snorkeling, still hot though. Going back to Broome tomorrow for the weekend.
These pictures are of the Horizontal Falls, an amazing phenomena. The water ways and great ridges of rocks, are incredible. We also flew over Cockatoo Island, and the minning work going on there is huge.

Fishing At Cape Leveque

Helen caught a small Spotted Rock Cod, Daryl is helping her off the rocks with it. She was very disappointed that it had to go back... too small.

Ray's catch of the day was a small Blue Tusk fish, very pretty fish but he too had to go back... Daryl also caught one of these.
There were hundreds of these little creators on the beach, when Helen & I got sick of not catching fish we went rock walking, to see what we could find.
Such cute little Hermie crabs!!!

Windjana Gorge

Fresh Water Crocs at Windjana Gorge....

Some amazing colours is the cliffs of this gorge. Just take a look at the rock formation on top of this one... Great thumbs up, aye!!!
Here we have Helen Daryl & Ray walking out through the tunnel where we entered the gorge.

Cape Leveque

We have had a great day yesterday, Helen Ray & I went for a flight around the Buccaneer Archipelagos, over the Horizontal Falls, Cockatoo Island. It was just amazing... Then we went for a lovely walk around the rocks at low tide, I think I’ll have a go at snorkeling today.
Daryl, Helen & Ray have been fishing , they each caught some, but not big enough to keep for the frying pan unfortunately. They have a spectacular display of sunset here as well. The western cliff wall is all a glow of goldden/orange colour just before sunset...
This is the sunset...
This one is the sunrise the morning we went fishing of the rocks on the eastern side of the peninsula...
Will add more pictures after breakkie, please leave a comment when you're here, would love to know when you visit...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wild Flowers on the Tanami Track

This a really small Ant Mound, there are thounds of them all around. These are some of the wild flowers on the Tanami...

Hello from Derby

Well, I have finally found some time and service to add to my Blog... We are now in Derby W.A. and stopped for a couple of days while we catch up on some washing and car maintenance, etc. Have written everything for the past 10 or so days, so I hope you don’t get bored with what I write....

Tuesday 3rd June
Wow, what a night we had last night.... Dingos howling all night!!!! When we arrived at Beresford Siding we saw a couple of them while we were setting up camp. Then as the night wore on, we could hear them calling each other out in the bush; their howls seemed to be getting closer and closer. We thought at one stage they were even in our camp... In the morning while having bacon & eggs, there were three just off the edge of our camp, having a squabble. We thought it was a Mum with 2 young pups; they were very close just the same.
Beresford Siding was one of the main siding for the Old Ghan Railway in the 1800s. The ruins of the station building is still there as well as the water tank for filling the steam engines, also a huge water desalination tank for mixing water softener chemicals to the Bore water to eliminate some of the minerals, because the water was putting a crust inside the boilers, therefore making them less efficient to run.

Wednesday 6th June
After leaving this camp site we headed toward William Creek. On the way we called into yet another lot of ruins. This time is was the Strangways Station; this little community was set up with everything and the promise of great fortunes being made. They bought in 3000 ewes 300 rams and 40 head of cattle to set, and because the seasons were so good they imported another 3500 sheep. Then guess what happened? They lost over 2/3 of their stock due to the ‘fickle’ weather (drought)!!! The stone work and the quality of the buildings, was really something to see. There was a 30,000gal stone and buttress tank construction, and is as good today, as it was when they built it.
The stockyards were all built out of stones stacked on top of each other so neatly; they are still standing in position today. Daryl and Ray walked out to find the cemetery where there was a 32yrs old female and a 41yr old male, buried in 1901 and 1903. There is lots of broken relics just laying about, specially broken glass bottles. Rum and Whisky bottles; it was amazing how think the class was and all the different colours of it. There was more of the ‘mound springs’ around this area as well.
William Creek Pub was where we had lunch, Ray tried a “Lamb Rivermint Pie” also on the menu was Roo Kurry Pie and Emu Kurry Pie. Daryl and I decided to just have a plain meat pie and Helen had a bowl of wedges with sour cream and chilli sauce. It was a great pub though with a great publican who was also the man that changes the tyres and ran the garage beside the pub.
We made camp at Peake Hill Ruins; this lot were 19 ks off the main road (Oodnadatta Track). This used to be an old telegraph station. Ray has had some 4WD driving today; getting in and out of there. Another good camp was set up with Daryl’s help and guidance. Was a bit windy at first which made the fire smoky for a start, bit in the evening was pretty good. We had another lot of campers come in as well, who came over to share our fire and a bit of a chat.

Thursday 5th June
The next morning we travelled along the Oodnadatta Track to the “Pink Roadhouse”. And was it PINK!!! Everything was pink. We called in to have a look at the “Algebuckina” Bridge see photo, good camping spot here. On the way after lunch and we saw the “Painted Desert”; this is just an amazing piece of landscape. Photos do not do it justice... We hit the Stuart Highway about 5pm, fuelled up at Marla and pulled off the road to camp the night approximately 120ks from NT boarder.

Friday 6th June
Packed up camp and were on the road by 9.25am – overcast and cold. Stopped at Kulgera and got fuel, coffee, water; had some lunch at Stuart Wells. Camped out at Rainbow Valley, would have been an amazing sight had it not been for the clouds in the sky. Oh well, can’t win them all. It was supposed to rain over night, but held off until we were packing up when it started to sprinkle, by the time we got to Alice Springs it was really raining...

Saturday 7th June
Did some shopping in Alice and stocked up on supplies etc. Had some lunch, fuelled up AGAIN, and headed out of town towards the Tanami Track. Stayed 2 nights at the Tilmouth Wells Station/Roadhouse. We weren’t sure if we’d be able to get onto the Tanami Track as they had had a bit of rain. At one stage the road was going to be closed. Had dinner in the restaurant, quite a few people in there for dinner, lots of miners staying there, drilling for Uranium...

Sunday 8th June
Lazy day at the Roadhouse did some washing, watched the local folk come and go into the ‘takeaway’ shop – played computer games – lunch in the BBQ area, very pleasant. Dinner again at the restaurant, the word is that the Track was ‘OK’ but a bit slippery in some places at the other end. So we will be leaving in the morning...hhmmm.

Monday 9th June
Hit the Tanami about 9am, parts of it was sealed or graded, but wet in some places, not as bad as expected. Had lunch on the road and then arvo tea at Rabbit Flats – Ray has always wanted to come to this place, now he’s been there, he’s happy... Made camp about 5ks out of Rabbit Flats on the side of the road. We were all pretty tired and hot by the time we set up camp. Cooked silverside for tea, it was beautiful, not bad for “bush camping”!!!!

Tuesday 10th June
On the road again about 10am after a nice camping – Tanami was very rough especially after we crossed the border (W.A.) had lunch between the border and Billuluna Creek. Called into Wolf Creek, we walked up the side of the crater, well worth the effort of getting up to the top. Starting to heat up now, got into Halls Creek about 3pm. Then headed out to Old Halls Creek to camp. It used to be the town until they relocated it to where it is now. All that is there now are a few ruins and the camping ground of course.

Wednesday 11th June
Travelled the rest of the Tanami Track today, very rough and wet in places. Arrived at Fitzroy Crossing, had some lunch at the Shell servo, visited the info centre. Then we went on a boat ride up through the “Geike Gorge”. It was lovely and very pleasant in the hot afternoon. We went back to Fitzroy Crossing to stay at the caravan park; it was getting dark by now. We paid for powered site but it was far to packed out and couldn’t find a spot at all. Decided to camp on the grass on unpowered, then get refund in the morning, which we did with a bit of an argument.

Thursday 12th June
Ray has had another good day doing some rough 4W driving. We took the track from Fitzroy Crossing to the Gibb River Road, had a couple of gorges to have a look at. Tunnel Creek Gorge and Windjana Gorge. Ray walked right into the Tunnel Creek one and said it was magnificent. The Windjana Gorge was spectacular though. We were able to walk into it as well, but only had to walk along the side of the river. Saw plenty of fresh water grocs on the edge of the water, but the sides of the gorge was a wonderful display of colours. We then travelled into Derby, where we have booked into a lovely caravan park for a couple of nights. Moving onto Broome on Saturday 14th so will add more in a day or two. Going out to Cape Leveque Monday for the week...
Bye for now hope all is well...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Ruins of "Farina"

Had a quite day catching our breath, Helen & Daryl arrived from Burra about 3pm. I cooked a beef stew in the camp oven, in the communal kitchen in the park. After tea we had coffee around the camp fire and a young couple, Mitch and Ashlee came and sat with us to have a chat. They are travelling until they find somewhere they both would like to live.
We have just left Leigh Creek, driving north towards Marree, when we came across these ruins of this old town, called “Farina”. All across the South Australian desert area there are hundreds of these types of ruins. Where people have come out here to settle and do farming with either crops sheep or some cattle, and with the ‘fickle’ weather, even back then (1800s) found it all just too hard and they had to walk off their properties and go elsewhere. These once lovely old stone homes just left to erode away in the elements. “Farina” on the other hand was a small town; this is the "Underground Bakery" that is still standing...

On our travels along the Oodnadatta Track, we found a paddock of Metal Sculptured Art (ART???). They have been made of scrap metal of all kinds. An artist, Robin Cook from Melbourne comes out here nearly every year to make more pieces and/or fix up the broken pieces. He has used bits of metal from the railway and old cars, machinery etc. Quite amazing, and is right at home in this barrens landscape. We had some lunch there... cold silverside sandwiches and a cup of tea.

At Mound Springs Conservation Park, we stopped to have a look at the “Blanche Cup” and the “Bubbler” springs. The “Bubbler” was a bit scary, because it just looked like it was bubbling mud from the underground. This is where the aboriginal pulled a huge snake out of the ground, cooked the bloody big fella in the Blanche Cup, eat the snake and the throw its head away, and where it landed became another spring; – so the legend goes. The area all around the Bubbler spring is covered with these active mounds, which have huge area of crusted mineral salt deposits from the water bubbling up from the Artesian Basin.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Another Day on the Road

We had a good days travel yesterday. We had a look around Renmark and out-lying farms. Lots of grape and citrus orchids, between Renmark and Berri, it was very nice driving around the vineyards. They are all losing their leaves and will be in need of pruning soon. Leaving that area, we drove into some very dry mallee sheep country, lots of ‘Salt Bush’ about but there doesn’t seem to be much of any other kind of feed.
Couldn’t get over how the countryside changed as we came into the ranges, from Burra and all the way to Hallett. It is good sheep country there. We stayed the night at Hallett, camped on a nice green patch of grass, right opposite the “Wild Dog” Pub. We had a drink and dinner at the pub, then went to bed about 8:30pm again as it was soooo cold (again).
We packed up and left Hallett by 8:45am, arrived at Peterborough and did some fresh veggie shopping, then had a coffee at a quaint little coffee shop. Peterborough is a great town, very friendly locals and lots of tourists travelling through. The coffee shop was very busy, all travellers...

Arrived at Leigh Creek about 3:30pm, booked into the caravan park, need to do some washing... clothes and bodies. Having a lazy day tomorrow to wait for Helen & Daryl to catch up to us, they are at Burra tonight. The park has a lot of campers similar to ours in it, not sure where they are all heading. Haven’t got to chat with any of them of them as yet. This is the Aroona Dam at Leigh Creek...

Paid $1.90 for fuel at Hawker today.