As we left Kununurra heading towards Broome we only spent 2 nights free camping as the temperature was rising to nearly 40 degrees and we were looking for aircon and a swimming pool by then, anything to cool the body temperatures down! We did find one great free camp though, high on a ridge top overlooking a valley so we got a good breeze there, albeit a hot one.
We met a young mum and her 4 year old daughter who are travelling on their own in a car and caravan. It's amazing the people you meet and the number of us gypsies that are out there.
We stopped at Fitzroy Crossing for a couple of days, making good use of the pool and also doing the Fitzroy River Gorge cruise.
We didn't know what to expect as most of the rivers we have crossed in WA have been dry river beds. The landscape really changed as we crossed the border though, noticably greener but dry river beds, go figure! and lots of Boab trees.
The Fitzroy still has plenty of water in parts due to a dam created by another river flowing into it during the wet season.
The cruise was only for an hour but that was long enough as there was no shade from the sun and very hot. The scenery was spectacular and in places, even better than Katherine Gorge. So rugged and beautiful. We are beginning to realise our photography skills are sorely lacking as our photos are not coming close to doing justice to the views.
After Fitzroy Crossing it was on to Derby, a sleepy little town well known for it's dramatic range of tides that differ from 1 metre to 11 mitres high. Sadly we were there at the wrong time of the moon when the tides were not that different but still good to see.
We visited the "Prison Tree" which was used as a makeshift cell over night and got the key of the local museum to explore, being careful not to wake the old aboriginal guy who was asleep on the deck.
Next stop Broome and meeting up with our friends Bob and Ellen who are also travelling on the road. They are having major car trouble with their car now in Perth, 2500 kms away to be fixed. Oh well! Not much you can do but go with the flow! And there are worse places to be stuck without a car.
As we had arranged to meet Bob and Ellen in Broome, we had already pre booked the "Horzontal Falls" trip. A day trip which although very expensive ($795 each) was well worth it and when broken down, we thought, value for money.
Our day started with a 5.30 am pickup and taken to the airport where we boarded a seaplane which took us over some amazing landscape and landing out near the falls at the floating pontoon about an hours flight away. Then while breakfast was being prepared for us we watched the local sharks being fed. We could have swam in a cage beside them but although really safe, we declined as we could see just as well if not better from above.
After a beautiful breakfast we boarded a boat and were taken for a leisurely drive around the inlets while we waited for the tide to rise and start roaring through the falls. Then "game on" as we speeded through the falls, not once but several times. They are called the horizontal falls because of the dramatic water levels as the tides come in. David Attenborough described them this way in one of his programmes and they really are amazing. Apparently the larger of the two falls is over 50 metres deep at it's highest tide and a million litres of water A SECOND pass through it. At one point the boat was doing 30 kms an hour and we were not moving.
Then back to the pontoon for another drink and said goodbye to the half day trippers. Now as the tide was still rising and the water swirling, the space between the rocks was getting smaller. It was into another boat now, much narrower and faster this time! Again we were racing through the falls and doing major doughnuts around the rocks. Great fun and just a bit scary!
We then re-boarded the seaplane for a 45 minute flight over the Buccaneer Archipelago out to Cape Leveque. Yet again, words cannot discribe!
First stop on landing was a short trip on Bigfoot (a large 4 wheel drive bus) to the Hatchery, where we inspected large tanks full of all kinds of sea life. Next, boarding the bus, we were taken to the Kooljaman resort for a lunch of barramundi, chips and salad (very good) before a tour of Cape Leveque. Again, so remote and such beauty. We felt really privileged to view and explore this part of Australia. In the great scheme of things, we are 2 of a small percentage of people who can say they have been and experienced this amazing place.
The day is not over yet! Although we were heading home by this point. Bigfoot had a 250 km drive home along a rough unsealed road stopping off at the Church of the Sacred Heart at Beagle Bay. An imposing brilliant white church with an interior beautifully decorated with mother of pearl shells. We were then served afternoon tea of soft drinks, fruit and Lamingtons from the back of Bigfoot before homeward bound. The rest of the journey was relaxing, if somewhat bumpy, watching a DVD or snoozing for some as the long exciting day was catching up with us. We arrived back at the caravan park at 5pm so a full on day. Was it worth it? Definitely YES.
We timed our visit here in Broome to coincide with the full moon and tides which also meant we were here for the "Staircase to the Moon" where as the full moon rises, it's light reflects on the wide mudflats at low tide. Again another of nature's wondrous shows. We couldn't get a photo to come close to what we were seeing but I'm hoping a young lady we met will email me one of hers. She had all the gear and looked to get a couple of good shots. (Maybe in our next entry)
We like Broome, it's a laid back town, neat, clean and tidy and fairly unspoilt, (but expensive) We're not in a hurry to leave yet, we still have the camel ride on Cable Beach to fit into our ever so busy schedule! So until the next entry, more sun, sea and sand, it's a hard life!!
Ellen & Bob O'Loughlin Even though we are friends with Mandy and Chris,we can only say that Mandy inparticular has a way with words because every word that she said was oh so true.These are places not to be missed as you journey around this great country.Keep up the blog Mandy so Bob and I can remember where we have been and where we are going!