When Cam and I traveled back 1999-2003 W.A. was the only state we never made it and now we have finally gotten the monkey off our backs!
The land scape was not what I was expecting. The escarpments (our new word of the week) were amazing. It felt at times like we were in Arizona (not that I’ve been there), going from flat plains to all of a sudden hills with big cliff faces, I was pretty amazed by it, as was the rest of the gang, except Sprout, he was chilling out in the aircon under my seat, his usual spot in the car.
We spent a night, free camping at the base of one of these mighty escarpments. It was 40°+ when we pulled up and thought the temp might drop at least 5-10° but there was no relief. The temperature barely budged, it was cooler outside the van than in! It gets so hot out here that the guide posts literally melt!🥵
We decided to give the generator a whirl. This relieved us, but only until we turned it off to go to bed. Within minutes it was hot and sticky again, this made for an uncomfortable nights sleep.
It was the following morning we crossed the boarder. With a big cheer and a photo at the crossing sign of course, we went through quarantine and headed for Lake Argyle, a man made lake built for hydro electricity.
Pulling into the van park, the view was already great, but from the infinity pool was even better. We decided not to camp the night as the fees were a little $$ but we were able to unhook and drive down to the dam wall and around to the boat ramp where we could have a swim. Thinking we would relieve Sprout from the heat, we chucked him in for a swim and within minutes of this he found himself a nice patch of red dirt to roll in 😫. Not real smart on both behalves, as he got thrown back in, washed off, dried and put straight back in the car when we were ready to go. He was a nice shade of orange for a bit.
Arriving in Kununurra, we decided we needed power for the aircon and went straight to a caravan park to set up.
So off we went to do the touristy things starting with Ivanhoe Crossing. The water floods over the road, so only making it 4WD accessible. Cam had a quick unsuccessful fish on the road, while we croc watched and then took a quick drive over to the other side through the water.
We went in search of a shop that had the infamous Zebra rock, which is mined locally. It’s one of the only places in the world where it found and the rock itself just looks like ceramic that’s been painted on. The jewellers in town was open and not only did they have some, they also had the very rare pink diamonds pricing from $2000 (not even set in a piece of jewellery) up to $880,000😳. This diamond was no bigger than a match head and again not set in a piece of jewellery. Apparently the better the colour the more valuable the diamond. I left empty handed but maybe a Broome pearl might be better 🤔.
The Hoochery was pretty cool, it’s a Rum distillery, bar and cafe, it’s very rustic and we tried a few types of rum, one being an aniseed flavour, which neither of us wanted to sample after the previous week of drinking ouzo 🤮. The lady insisted that we try some so gave us one for free. We politely tried, but I could feel it sitting in the back of my throat trying to swallow it down!
They also grow sandalwood trees and make a lot of products from it, a very productive town Kununurra is.
The following day we were off to the Bungle Bungles and were very lucky to be able to stay at the caravan park just off the road heading in. It was closed for the wet season and was the only place we could have a dog . We made contact with the caretakers who let us camp for the night (especially after Cam mentioned he was a gas fitter, funny how that seems to change the dynamics a lot, needless to say he done a bit of work there) and plug into power allowing us to leave Sprout in the van, he needed the aircon, it was to hot just to leave him in the van, even with the windows all opened and being a National Park we couldn’t take him in.
We unwillingly got up at 2am to try to make sunrise. A 2 hour trip in there and on a rough road we wanted to allow plenty of time as the sun would rise at 4.50.
Driving off in the dark at 2.30am it was very quiet until we had our first flat tyre. After a quick repair, in pitch black dark, we were off again, well not for to long because within another 20mins we hadi another flat ☹️. Luckily Cam is always prepared, he fixed that puncture aswell with a little assistance from myself and had us back on the road. Luckily both punctures were in the same tyre. We nearly turned around and went back as the tyre was not looking the best. We had a spare but if that punctured aswell we’d be in trouble. One more try and thank god we did. We made it just in time to see the sunrise, not exactly where we were hoping, good thing we left early.
We really enjoyed it, especially Echidna Chasm. The walk in was narrow in some places and the scenery was picturesque, even though it was just rock wall either side of us. The height of these walls made you feel so tiny in comparison.
After a careful drive out, tyre half flat and needing another bit of inflation we made it back to the van, hooked up the van headed down the road to another free camp, up on the cliff of an escarpment, it was a beautiful view, wasn’t it Cam 🍻⛺️👭🇩🇪.
We saw many Boab trees along the way, but nothing like the jail Boab tree in Derby. It was where they used to chain the aboriginals on their travels to prison. It was quite sad the way they were treated. There was also a 120 metre water trough, built back in the early days to water the hundreds of bullocks in the area.
Derby was not our cuppa tea, so we continued onto Broome to set up camp for a few days.
Coincidentally, friends from Sydney were there holidaying, so it was great to catch up with Gazza, Lea and of course the very cute Eden. We watched the sunset on Cable Beach, very iconic with the camels walking past.
We toured around Broome, but probably our favourite place was Cape Leveque, the water was like a bath and so blue. We saw Dolphins, turtles, fish and sharks swimming within a metre of the shoreline 😬, the only thing we didn’t see was a croc. There had been a sighting the day before however.
Cygnet bay pearl farm was worth a look, we had a coffee and swam in their infinity pool. We were also lucky enough to meet Bruce Wiggin, the last aboriginal born on Sunday Island and the owner of the land that was past onto him from his father. A bit of a character, he told us next time we’re up that way to come stay with him and bring our dog 🐶.
We swam at the Cape, found heaps of Cowrie shells and there was barely a site of another person, one good thing about traveling off peak. It was magical.
Our return trip was an interesting one as it had poured with rain before we left. It was like a river flowing down the middle of the road. It would’ve been ok if it wasn’t a red dirt road that was now looking like a mud run 🤗. Someone was a little unimpressed as they had just washed the car but it was a little bit fun and I was giggling a little 🙊.
With a last minute decision, we packed up on the Monday, after getting the car serviced, deciding to start high tailing it to Exmouth, there was surf and someone was hanging out for it.
We drove off late arvo, heading in towards a storm, a little daunting, but pretty cool also. On one side of the road it was a beautiful sunset, however the other was dark clouds and an awesome lightning show and finally a bit of rain.
We arrived in Port Hedland…………what can I say………….. best I say nothing.
Our next free camp was beautiful, on top of an escarpment, the view was amazing and we enjoyed the nights air, chilling with a nice cold beer, not a care in the world.
It was another early start to the day, for a couple of reasons, the first one being trying to beat the heat in at Karajini National Park and the other smuggling in an illegal immigrant into the park by hiding him into the van. There were no kennels close by and we didn’t want miss it, mind you he’s not the best stow away, as every time anyone goes the near the van he barks his head off!😫
There were some beautiful swimming holes and Hamersley Gorge was one of them. Cam and Marcee went for a quick dip and we all had a quick look around, jumped in the car and off we drove, phew.
We filled up at Tom Price and had our biggest drive of the trip so far, heading to Exmouth about 700km, probably about 8 hours of driving, with a few stops along the way. We were welcomed by Paul at his home and enjoyed a nice refreshing beverage, well deserved I reckon. The girls coped very well, but the ipads did assist us in that.
So here we are in Exmouth, we’ve been here for nearly 3 weeks now and have had a ball, but too much to include in this post. So stay tuned and hang around for our adventures in Exmouth/Ningaloo Reef area.