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We swim anywhere!

In the wise words of Hanky the Christmas Poo: ‘Hooooowdy Ho!’

We are in Kununurra WA after spending 6 days doing the Gibb River Road. But let’s start back to… Cape Leveque?

We drove along a shit of a road from Broome to the Dampier Peninsula and turned up to Kooljaman Cape Leveque caravan park to be told there was no room at the inn. So we drove up to Cygnet Bay and checked into a cute little campsite a couple of kilometres from the main reception/pool/reception.

The next day we drove back to Kooljaman Cape Leveque, determined to swim at the iconic beach. We paid $35 to access the beach in our car so we made the most of that by soaking up the sun (a little too much), drinking apple cider and swimming until our skin macerated.

We were keen to get going to start the Gibb River Road so after two nights at Cygnet bay, we zipped along to Derby arriving in 39 degree (celsius) heat. So what did we do? Checked into a cheap motel with an air conditioner and swimming pool just to relax and ‘luxuriate’ before we headed off again!

Our first stop on the Gibb River Road was at Windjana National Park where we visited the start of Tunnel Creek; a tunnel and creek in the pitch black. I say the start because we clambered over the rocks to the entrance, stood oohing and aahing at the striped granite and dark green pool of water while the buzzing of bees filled the entire cavity THEN realised that the one and only torch we brought along with us was almost on the blink. We had searched for Tim’s powerful headlamp but couldn’t for the life of us find it so we settled on sharing the torch. Tim was still keen to give the tunnel a crack with the dodgy torch but I envisioned us sitting in thick pitch blackness waiting for a good samaritan (AKA a tunnel visitor with light) stumbling across us. So we erred on the side of common sense and turned back.

That afternoon we visited Windjana gorge which is home to heaps of freshwater crocodiles. I forgot my camera so you’ll need to take my word that I counted at least 40 freshy’s floating around in the gorge.

The next day we drove to Silent Grove camping area and set up in a circle of trees. The campground (like Windjana campground) had flushing toilets and hot showers which was fantastic. The next day we visited Bell’s Gorge which was gorgeous.

We use a big plastic tub filled with a squirt of woolly wash and water and the corrugations of roads act as an agitator to ‘wash’ our clothes. As we were hanging out the latest knotted mess of clothes, Tim reached into the bucket of murky water and pulled out his headlamp, dripping but very clean and smelling of eucalypt! Miraculously the torch, once dried and sweet-talked, actually works again!

We decided we want to spend 4-5 days in Lake Argyle so zoomed along the corrugated road to arrive at Home Valley Station to spend the night before the piece de resistance of El Questro Station. Home Valley Station was nice but nothing much there. We camped at the riverside camp about 4km’s away from the main area. Saltwater crocodiles inhabit the Pentecost river and we were told to camp on the west-side of the camping area. We unfortunately (or fortunately?) didn’t see any salty’s but the next day saw too much of bitey ants absolutely bloody everywhere! Standing to wash the dishes resulted in bites until I got absolutely fed up and declared we would pack ‘all this shit up now and get out of here’. Well, in the time it took Tim to have a shower, I had finished packing up the camper trailer, reversed the car and hooked it all up ready to get the heck out of there as soon as Tim’s squidgy thongs hit the dirt. Tim said he should have taken a few bitey ants to let loose at future camps so he can sit back while I flit about packing everything up!

We wanted to check out El Questro Station and see if it was actually as great as what we had been told. We paid $120 for 2 nights unpowered camping and what they call a ‘Wilderness Pack’ which gave us a weeks access to all gorges etc on El Questro Station. The campground was beautiful with tall trees and plenty of space. We set up our camp and went for a swim at a ‘croc-free’ area of the Pentecost river.

The next day we were up early to visit Zebedee thermal springs which are only open between 7am-12noon. The springs were beautiful and quite intimate with a sign in the carpark saying ‘If the carpark is full, the springs are full so come back later’. Tim and I found a nice deep little pool and sat in about 25 degree celsius water.  Small waterfalls tumbled over the edge and a few people climbed higher to other rock pools.

After Zebedee springs, we went straight to Moonshine Gorge where we had a wonderful swim and met some great people with whom we chatted while floating around in the deep green water. There was a sign warning of fresh-water crocs inhabiting the area, however they were turned off by the sight of so many people in bathers so they hid the entire time!

In the evening, we drove up to pigeonhole 4WD lookout and watched the sunset which was just beautiful. Every Saturday night, El Questro holds a ‘Gourmet BBQ and live entertainment night’ which we attended. It was great and really laid back.

We were told about a place called The Grotto which was apparently amazing so we went up there before Kununurra however it must be better just after wet season because the gorge had all but dried up. We are now in Kununurra in a cabin enjoying having a TV and couch before we head off to camp in Lake Argyle!

Goodnight!! xoxox

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Dongara to Meekatharra!

As Kevin Bloody Wilson once sang ‘I’ve been everywhere man, I’ve been to Meekatharra Meekatharra Meekatharra…’ and here we are in…Meeka-bloody-tharra.

It’s not bad, I’m not saying it is. We’re just spending the night here because after two nights of no phone reception, Tim and I had to speak to each other and that was weird. So I read a shitload of my book and Tim contemplated the complex issues of the world, like ‘Could he swim in the dam if he doesn’t put his head under the water’ and ‘Should he really have to flip a coin to empty the chemical toilet seeing as Rachel kind of agreed to be in charge of that’.

So we left Dongara AKA Port Denison on Thursday 23rd August. It was an uneventful pack-up until Tim got in the car to drive off, handed me his bathroom key and asked me where mine was (we had been issued one each). I declared that the one he gave me was mine and he had lost his. Adamant the key was his because he ‘had it in his pocket the whole time’, I searched for mine then remembered it was in my pants pocket of which I had put in the plastic ‘washing machine’ bucket, filled with water and woolly wash and Tim had hammered down the lid for a few hours of on the road agitation. We spent another 15 minutes while Tim prised the stubborn lid off the bucket, cursing me and my lack of checking pockets ability under his breath. Key retrieved from a sodden pocket and me murmuring a ‘sorry’, both sets were returned and we were on our way.

We got up to Geraldton to stock up on some vacuum sealed meat from a friendly butcher called Mick Davey Butchers (hit him up at 165 Marine Tce, Geraldton). There he told us about Wurarga Dam which is a cool place to camp.

I’d never been to Geraldton and in my little haven’t-been-further-than-Perth brain, I didn’t realise how big it actually is. And how cool it is. However we didn’t stick around long because we were determined to ‘go bush’ and get as far inland as we could.

So after stopping in Mullewa (99km east of Gero) for Tim to ring his Dad to check on the cat (she is fine) and his sister to check on the dog (she is being a brat) we went onto Stockman’s Pool to find a geocache then onto Wurarga dam!

I made damper for the very first time in our camp oven and it came out perfectly! we had some with our tea then I had it toasted with peanut butter for breakfast.

24/8/18: We had a great sleep. Tim placed the chemical toilet outside overlooking the side of the dam out in the open so using the toilet at night gave us a ceiling of stars! I even watched a shooting star in the middle of the night while on the throne!

We went for a walk around the area and came across an old railway bridge long since abandoned. We appreciated the solid construction and engineering of it. We had a drive along the bush tracks then onto one of the main roads to a demolished homestead.

In the afternoon I had a read of my book and a snooze. When I emerged, Tim suggested we play with the drone for the first time, so we got it all ready, I read the instructions (albeit very briefly) and I got it up and flying. And that’s where the fun ends. Anyone who knows me knows I am too impatient to thoroughly read instructions and as such, once the drone zoomed into the air and away from us, I got frazzled and couldn’t figure out how to make the drone stop ascending and return to base. Further and further it went into the distance until it was just a speck in the sky! I started hollering to Tim “I can’t bring it back! How do I bring it back!?” with Tim replying “I don’t know! You’re the one who read the instructions!”. We watched helplessly as we lost sight of the drone and chased it along the red dirt in a last ditch attempt to somehow magically use the controller correctly for it to zip back and land safely. In a panic, I thrust the controller at Tim who marched onwards where we had last seen the flying dot. I skulked back to camp still wearing my slippers which I, for some reason, thought would be perfectly fine to wear while flying a drone in the Australian Outback.

Tim returned some time later and said the drone battery had gone flat only 600m from where he was so we headed back the next day to look for it. Unfortunately the drone has succumbed to the desert and despite our efforts to search, we left empty handed.

Leaving Wurarga dam, we went through Yalgoo, Cue, Mt Magnet and have now arrived in Meekatharra before we do the trek further north to get to Karijini national park and to the home of my birth, Tom Price.

Stay tuned!

P.S Tim emptied the chemical toilet because, in his words, he couldn’t be bothered with the ‘hoo-hah’ performance of me gagging and carrying on if I did it. Not that I would do that…!? My time will come!