KATHERINE

KUNUNURRA

EL QUESTRO

PENTECOST RIVER

 

 

Day 5

Sunday 18th July
 

 
  • Victoria Highway - Victoria River
    Victoria River Roadhouse
  • Latitude    1536'57.77"S
  • Longitude 131 7'43.67"E
  • Kuwang Lookout - provides a panoramic view of the northern face of the Stokes Range
  • Latitude    1544'27.73"S
  • Longitude 13041'50.05"E
  • Latitude    16 2'48.86"S
  • Longitude 13022'59.96"E
Day 6

Monday 19th July
 

 
  • Timber Creek 
 
  • Keep River National Park - Aboriginal Art
     
  • CAMPSITE - Keep River National Park
  • Latitude    1548'17.85"S
  • Longitude 129 6'13.59"E
     
  • Latitude    1552'31.31"S
  • Longitude 129 3'4.59"E
Day 7

Tuesday 20th July
 

 
  • Keep River National Park - Walk into the National Park
     
  • CAMPSITE - Keep River National Park
  • Latitude    1548'17.85"S
  • Longitude 129 6'13.59"E
     
  • Latitude    1552'31.31"S
  • Longitude 129 3'4.59"E
Day 8

Wednesday 21st July

 

 
  • Western Australia / Northern Territory Border
 
  • Kununurra - Supplies - Maps
 
  • Lunch in park near the Ord River - Kununurra Diversion Dam
  • Latitude    1547'29.88"S
  • Longitude 12841'58.03"E
  • Intersection of Victoria Highway and Great Northern Highway 
  • Latitude    1552'6.30"S
  • Longitude 12822'19.57"E
  • Intersection of Great Northern Highway and Gibb River Rd
  • Latitude    1550'2.75"S
  • Longitude 12818'41.95"E
  • CAMPSITE - beside the King River - Solar Shower - Campfire
  • Latitude    1555'0.02"S
  • Longitude 12811'24.56"E
Day 9

Thursday 22nd July
 

 
  • Zebedee Hot Springs - Livingstonia Palms
  • Latitude    16 0'48.25"S
  • Longitude 128 1'28.72"E
  • El Questro - Visited public area
 
  • CAMPSITE - near Pentecost River
  • Latitude    1544'29.96"S
  • Longitude 12752'0.52"E (Approx)

 


Day 5


Sue and Peter left the caravan park ahead of us.
We kept contact with them using the CB sets as we headed for WA.

As I had never seen anything like the huge, ancient ranges we passed through, I was very impressed.
Julie was driving so I was able to take in the amazing scenery.

Peter had been reading a lot about the areas we were to travel through and therefore turned into spots he was interested in.

Victoria River
was the first.
 
We pulled into the Victoria River Roadhouse situated beside the river. To me at the time, the river was just another river with a bridge. Later I realized just how massive the river could be, as I saw amazing pictures of the flooding in the area on the TV news.

The surrounding ranges certainly took my eye.
The escarpment we drove alongside after we left was amazing. Huge boulders clung to the side of the escarpment as if about to fall.
The colours were vivid oranges through to cream, scenery I had only seen in travel books or on calendars.
 
We seemed minuscule in relation to our environment, like ants must feel as they crawl between huge rocks.

The next stop was Kurang Lookout.

From the lookout you can see the Stokes Range in the south. The information panel told of the aboriginal interpretation of the area.

We drove past an intersection with the Buchanan Highway, a highway later in our trip we would travel on, unbeknown to us at the time.

Further ahead we turned and followed the Bullita\Timber Creek Road into the Gregory National Park.
I was wondering where we were heading - as the road became very narrow and grassy - but eventually we came to a roundabout where we setup camp for the night.

A walking track led away from the roundabout. We followed it and in the distance was a white substance like a lava flow. I now know it to be a
Calcite flow. The link is to the pictures taken by buglady02 on WEBSHOTS
Thanks to her I was able to locate the area we visited.

At the camp I erected a long wire antenna between some trees and attempted to contact a friend - who was interested in our progress - in Hervey Bay on Amateur Radio, but had no luck.

That night was the first night of the trip we had our meal around a campfire.
 


Day 6


We backtracked and turned west again and passed through Timber Creek.

We drove on until we reached the turn to the Keep River National Park and began looking for the camping area.
Before we found it, we noticed a track that was leading to a "point of interest".
After walking to the top of a hill in the heat, we were pleasantly surprised to find a rocky outcrop that overlooked a vast area.
 
The rock was formed like a circular window. On the "ceiling" were aboriginal drawings.

It was very sheltered from the elements and it was easy to imagine the people of times gone by sheltering from the torrential downpours and watching the flood plains below.
Also easy to imagine, was what was done to fill in time while waiting for the weather to clear - drawing on the surrounding rocks.

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I no longer have pictures of a lot of this trip, therefore I searched for a site that captures really well, what I saw.

Here is the link.

Many thanks to the fantastic site for the use of the links.

We eventually found the camping area and decided to stay overnight.
The camping area was well set out. Campers parked around a fenced off circle. Toilets and fireplaces were inside the circle.

We all had our evening meal together at one of the fireplaces.
 


Day 7


Sue, Julie and I set off along a track leading away from the circle. I took my video camera and spent most of the time trying to capture the size and colour of the rock formations.
I haven't been to the Bungle Bungles but according to people we talked to, what we saw was like a mini Bungles Bungles. This link shows this.

The birdlife was very audible all around. I took video of a group of Black Cockatoos chattering away as they fed on the grass seeds on the ground, not far off the track. I thought they would take fright and fly off, but they weren't worried by me and just kept a wary eye on me as they ate. Their shining black feathers occasionally lifted to show the rich red underneath.

If ever I get the chance, I would love to return.

We camped overnight again, after returning weary and hot from the walking.
 


Day 8


The Western Australia / Northern Territory Border wasn't much of a drive from our overnight camp.
Julie knew of the thorough search they made of vehicles and earlier had cooked as much of the prohibited food as possible. Containers that had previously carried prohibited material also had to be disposed of.
The staff at the border were very friendly and helpful but also did their job well. Julie didn't like disposing of certain containers. Seeing we were from
Queensland, they asked if we would be returning by the same route and if so, when. After she told him we would be, and in the next couple of weeks, he suggested they store the containers and we pick them up when passing through. She willingly took up their offer.

We saw the turnoff to the Ord River dam, Lake Argyle but weren't going there at this stage of our trip. We had thoughts of going there on our return.

Not long after, we saw the outskirts of Kununurra. We called into a shopping centre for a few supplies, after looking around the main streets.
I had bought a
GPS of the era, a Magellan GPS 300 , which only showed your position in Lat and Long. To use it you needed maps to refer to. I'd rung from Townsville and was told the maps I required of the Gibb River area etc were available in Kununurra. While Sue and Peter did their thing, we acquired the maps and had them plasticised.

As it was around midday we found a park and toilets near the Ord River by the Kununurra Diversion Dam, and had lunch.

After lunch and a rest we set off again. We turned right at the intersection of the Victoria Highway and the Great Northern Highway and headed North towards Wyndham.
At the
Intersection of the Great Northern Highway and the Gibb River Rd, we turned left onto the reason for our trip, the Gibb River Road, leading to the Western Australia coast at Derby.
The surface then turned from bitumen to dirt corrugations.
According to our briefing, it was supposed to be a very isolated, remote, rough road where you needed a 4WD vehicle and all sorts of communications and camping equipment to survive.

We soon found it WAS
a very corrugated road but I have to say that during my life as an electrician, I had travelled over many similar roads to farms in the South Burnett area of Queensland in a Holden Panel Van.
4WD vehicles were very few and far between in those days in the 60's and you did what you had to do, with the vehicles you had.

No doubt in and immediately after the "wet", before it's graded, the road is TOTALLY different.
At the time of year we passed through,
July/August, as far as needing any or all of the abovementioned equipment after a breakdown or whatever, as long as you were able to stop one of the huge number of other  vehicles, mostly 4WD, that roar past towing trailers and sometimes caravans, you would certainly have no trouble surviving.

I WAS pleased though, to be in the air conditioned, sealed cabin of the Mazda Bravo 4WD. It made for a very pleasant driving experience.

At the King River, Peter and Sue turned left off the road and looked for a camp for the night. They found a spot for their caravan and started a campfire.
Julie and I set up our tent and lay the
Solar Showers out to heat in the sun.

We all ate around the campfire until the night became cold.
Back at our tent, in the dark, I threw a rope over a sapling and pulled a
Solar Shower up.
We took turns to shower in the cold air.
The air was so cold, steam came off Julie's body in the glow of the small fluoro light.

We then snuggled up in our double sleeping bag on our first night on The Gibb River Road.


Day 9


 

Below are the views that greeted us when we woke after our first night camping on the Gibb River Road. Sheer magic.




 
 

Our campsite was a way in off the road. I walked back along the track to the road and listened. In the still, crisp, morning air, the only sounds were of tiny birds alarmed at my presence.



I thought how lucky I was to be in such a beautiful spot and wondered how many other humans had stood in that same spot since time began.

 

We cleared up at the campsite and drove on until we came across a turn to  El Questro Homestead
El Questro is on the eastern perimeter of the Kimberley and runs for approximately 80 kilometres into the heart of the region.
We followed a track into El Questro homestead where there are facilities for day visitors. We had a hamburger and drink and a look around. We weren't allowed to go into the areas used for holidaymakers.

The best part of our visit to
El Questro, was Zebedee Springs (Picture thanks to El Questro website above). After driving back towards the main road we noticed the sign. We parked the vehicles and followed a path through fairly ordinary bush towards a large, orange, rocky hill. People already there were winding their way back past us and told us about how beautiful it was up ahead.
We came across a large, shady stand of
Livingstonia Palms. Further up the grade we came across a series of thermal pools.The water temperature reduces as it cascades out of the pools formed among the rocks and trunks of the palms. Kids and adults played in the water. It really was a beautiful spot.
We cooled off in the refreshing water, knowing up ahead there would be a lot of dust and not a lot of places to remove it.

During our trip we followed the information from a guide book called

The KIMBERLEY - An Adventurer's Guide by Ron & Viv Moon.
 
The guide book has very accurate trek notes.
Just near the
Pentecost River, the notes took us a few kilometres off the main road.   
 

 

 

 

With a bit of 4WD driving, we found a track that was steep and rocky but eventually led us to a spot by the river.


As it was getting towards sundown, we had to find a camp site.
Because of the crocodiles that inhabited the area, we also had to find a
safe spot.
 
We meandered along the track beside the river till we finally found a suitable camp site.

Peter tried some fishing but had no luck.
Later in the day I walked to the river's edge and stood taking in the peaceful surroundings.
The river was dead calm, the sun was setting, and I could see what looked like small bow waves, similar to those made by the bow of a canoe - in the centre of the river - quite evenly spaced.
Looking through the binoculars, I saw what was causing the waves.
They were caused by the heads of
crocodiles, slowly working their way up the river as the tide came in!
I could just make out the snout and eyes on some of them.

We certainly made sure no food scraps were left out during the night! 

 


 

Above is the campfire we made after setting up camp - about 30 metres in from the banks of the Pentecost River.

 

To the left is the workhorse of our trip, the Mazda Bravo, at our campsite beside the Pentecost River.

The only problem we had with it was one slight cut in a tyre that was so insignificant we left it on until we arrived back in Townsville, which was really amazing as the corrugated road shook the vehicle and everything in it, including us, continuously.

Also seen is the great tent we used. Very easy to erect. One centre pole and a few pegs around the perimeter of the tent and it's up.

 

   

Last Updated : 29/01/2012 04:35 PM +1000