We arrived at Kununurra to find that the Kununurra Agricultural Show was on in the showground right opposite our caravan park.So after settling Annie in we headed on over to check it out.Apart from all the agriculture machinery exhibitions and stalls it also had clothes and jewellery stalls and a few sideshows such as shooting corks out of guns, throwing ping pong balls into clowns' mouths, rolling coins down chutes in the hope of pushing a load of coins over the edge.It had a right old fashioned feel and felt like Scotland a few centuries ago - just joking, but certainly back in the 1950s.There was also a game for the kids where a huge slippery plastic sheet was liberally sprayed with washing up liquid: the kids had to gouge the insides out of water melons, wear them as 'slippers' and try to walk down the length of sheet carrying rock melons which then had to be hurtled 20 yards into a drum.As you can imagine it was all pretty chaotic and wet, but innocent, fun.There was also a horse riding competition involving horsemanship skills and a cattle auction.Perhaps we should explain a little about this area.First of all the Kimberley area is home to many massive (million acre plus) cattle stations.Traditional British breeds here have been crossbred with Brahman's because of their resistance to infection from the local tick and suitability to the climate/environment.So the auction was of Brahman crossbreeds and the horsemanship competition was relevant to the cattle stations where horses are used for mustering (although helicopters and now used a lot because of the size of the stations).So what about the slippery melons I hear you ask?Kununurra is only 30 years old (it's a really nice, tidy new town with a population of about 6,000 in the wet and 15,000 in the dry).It was established as a result of the damming of the OrdRiver (one of Western Australia's great rivers) to irrigate the vast plain on which it sits in order to create and sustain an agricultural industry.Melons are one of the most significant crops here along with sugar cane, pumpkins, chick peas, sandalwood etc etc.There's obviously a glut of watermelons when they can use them as 'slippers'.As we were cooking our meal, there was a fantastic firework display and everyone rushed out of their caravans to watch.From the amount of incendiaries going off it's clear that Kununurra isn't short of a few bob.Later on, the sound of live music attracted us over the road for a few stubbies. It was mainly full of good natured young folk enjoying a few beers and bopping to the music.It was good to see lots of Aboriginals also out enjoying themselves suggesting this is a fairly well integrated society.This was busy and exciting week for us. It was also a tiring week because we had to get up by 5am four mornings running! One of the biggest things we'd been looking forward to was a visit to the Bungle Bungle (Purnululu National Park).When, about 10 years ago, Keith and Karen showed us their slides of their travels round Australia the one thing we spoke about but was missing from the slides was Bungle Bungle.Its existence had only recently been revealed, although it had been known to the local Aboriginals and cattle stockmen.The story of how it became well known is quite interesting - so look it up.Our first early start was our pick up for our flight to our camp in the (Bungle Bungle) National Park, which took us over LakeArgyle (more on this later) before flying over the Bungle Bungle range to see the beehive shaped domes.This gave us a taster of what was to come.Thankfully we managed to squeeze in a bit of tasty cooked brekky in camp before we were whisked off by our tour guide Brett on a full days ground tour.There were ten of us: Stephen and Angela from Brisbane, John and Marie from Perth and their daughter Naomi currently teaching at Halls Creek, Kevin from Spalding (north of Adelaide), Phil and Kerry from Woy Woy - Spike Milligan's birthplace.They were a really fun bunch to be with.First stop was a 5km walk to Mini Palms Gorge which, although not really taxing, involved a walk up the creek (which in the wet would be impossible) and a lot of scrambling over large rocks and squeezing between huge boulders (large people beware).It was good to be able to see the many wild flowers, plants and trees of the area.Angela in particular was an avid plant spotter and because we both had the same camera Eric offered some tips on getting the best shots.After a few beers and a delicious meal that night it was off to bed by 9pm when the generator's switched off (National Park rules).In any case we had to be up by 5am to get to the airstrip for a thrilling early morning helicopter flight over the Bungle Bungle.We'd been advised that this was the best way to see the range.When we booked this trip two or three weeks ago it was only East Kimberley Tours who were relaxed and flexible enough to book it for us and fit it in to their own, very full, itinerary.Brett drove us over to the airstrip where he handed us over to Joe, our pilot, who led us over to a helicopter without any doors (we actually knew this in advance so were well wrapped up against the early morning cold).This was our second helicopter ride on our travels in Australia so we knew how to compensate for the movement of the copter as it banks and rolls.It was an exhilarating 30 minute flight giving us the most wonderful views of the gorges, the domes, sacred places where only Aboriginals are allowed to walk and the striking banded colours of red and black (see photo album).Back to camp for another quick but yummy brekky then it was off for the main attractions on the ground - a walk up Picaninny Creek and into Cathedral Gorge. We said goodbye to our companions who'd opted for a one night stay and headed back to camp for another night in our tent. Before another pre-9pm rendevous with our beds we managed to squeeze in a few drinks with Brett (our guide) and John, a pilot who had the envious task of flying Italian honeymooners on a multi-destination trip around Australia.(John's from Ceduna and his hairdresser is the same one that cut Eric's hair when we were there back in April.We understand that after Australia the honeymooners fly on to other destinations across Asia and the Pacific - beats a wet weekend in March in FortWilliam!)The Bungle Bungle is truly magical:the colours, the formations, the atmosphere, the light, the warmth, the plants all combine to make this something not to be missed.Also we were both amazed at how vast the area is and how much higher the domes are than they appear in photographs.As a further sense of scale Paul, joint owner of the tour company and camp, was driving in with supplies for later that week. He left Kununurra at 5pm and arrived at midnight! The following morning it was another early start for our flight back to Kununurra in the usual single engined Cessna which again gave some stunning aerial views of the Bungle Bungle.This time we also flew over the massive superpit of the Argyle Diamond mine, which is one of the largest in the world. That's the nearest Margaret's going to get to a diamond!The rest of a day was spent catching up with household chores as the early mornings were taking their toll.So, the next morning it was up again at 5am, this time for a day's flight over the inaccessible northern Kimberley and its coastline.KununurraAirport is extremely with masses of little single engine planes taking off and landing all the time and, surprisingly it is totally unmanned.When Margaret asked where the air traffic control was situated we learned there wasn't one!!It's all done by the pilots themselves communicating with each other to ensure that everyone knows where everyone is - and it seems to work.Taking off we headed north and followed the OrdRiver to the CambridgeGulf and the Timor Sea.We flew over the set where Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman are currently filming 'The Australian' (shame we can't hang around until next week when they're doing auditions in Kununurra for extras ……….. "Alas poor Bruce, I knew him well……..!)Oh well, that's life on the road.There were some wonderful views of the northern coastline before landing in the Aboriginal community of Kalumburu, a day and a half's drive from Kununurra, where unfortunately there have also been recent accusations of child sex abuse.It was established by a Catholic mission, which had to move from a nearby place called Pago because it was too susceptible to cyclones.The mission is a very picturesque place in what seems to be a relatively affluent settlement, but it's untidy with lots of litter and rubbish lying around.The mission was built back in the 1920s of beautiful local stone with the help of the Aboriginal community.Some still help in the mission but most don't.It was sad to learn that none of the current community is helping with the building of the new museum - and we understand that some of the elders are also disappointed that his is the case because they have great pride in having been involved in building the original mission.As you'll know from our comments in previous blogs the welfare system seems to be at fault. Interestingly, some really nice new houses have been built (at a cost of around Aus$500,000 due the cost of transportation to this most remote community) but it seems that they quickly become ………………..It was then off to fantastic views as we flew over first the KingGeorgeFalls then the MitchellFalls before landing at Drysdale Station for lunch.This is a working cattle station in the middle of nowhere.The airstrip here is a rough red gravel surface, as are all the others except Kununurra.This was also an important (self service) re-fuelling stop and it was reassuring to see large drums of aviation fuel and Scott, our pilot, dipping his dipstick into the fuel tanks in the wings to check levels.Drysdale Station was an oasis in the wilderness with a bar, restaurant (sort of), beer garden, shop, camp site and petrol - this was the dearest diesel we'd come across at $1.98 per litre.No much wonder when you think of the distance - while we were there we saw two large road train fuel tankers (it's often the case that petrol stations even in towns on the main highway run out of supplies).On the way back we followed part of the famous Gibb River Road, which is the shortest distance between Derby and Kununurra at about 700 km, but unfortunately (for us anyway) is most unsealed.On Friday we needed a different kind of stimulation so we had a great meal out at Boab Bookshop Café (where we managed to acquire the latest Harry Potter on publication day).Earlier in the day we'd spotted a sign for live music that night at the Hotel Kununurra so sniffing it out we moseyed along to check it out.It was good to bump into Kevin from our Bungle Bungle trip and have a few drinks with him.The band was quite a basic pub type band but they thumped out a few good tunes that got us up on the dance floor.Eric got Theresa, an Aboriginal woman, up to dance - little did she know what she was in for as he leapt around like he normally does.But he did suffer later that night after giving it laldy to an AC/DC number!Silly auld goat!Margaret, too, suffered a wee bit after too many G&Ts then, when they ran out of tonic, Gin & Bitter Lemon.This is the first time in nearly a year that Margaret has been 'spirited' away.Eric was also pleased to come back into contact with Matso's beer from Broome.So we hobbled, staggered, hirpled and hiccoughed our way back to the caravan park.Saturday morning we went to the market and sampled and bought some Boab Tree tubers, honeycombe and locally grown spices.We were also trying to look to ways to try to save money and, as Eric had trimmed the back of Margaret's hair a couple of weeks back (he made a good job), it was time to get her own back.Out with the clippers and it was a quick No 3 all over.At first glance it was a bit patchy but a few more wheechs across the scalp and it doesn't look too bad.Eric's happy with it though - thank God he cannie see the back!Nearing the end of our time in Kununurra we had one last must do trip.This was a trip 55km upstream on the OrdRiver from Kununurra to LakeArgyle and the dam.When we got up in the morning we both confessed to not really looking forward to it - we were all tripped out - but it turned out to be really excellent.This, the first part was undoubtedly the best bit. The scenery, the birdlife, the crocs, the flying foxes and the fast flowing waters made for an exhilarating three hours.Even when we stopped for morning tea we spotted a baby crocodile (a croc-ette?) sunning itself on the reeds and some huge spiders in their even huger webs waiting for today's home delivery.LakeArgyle dam was built to ensure that Kununurra and the OrdRiver irrigation system had a constant all year round water supply. The dam has created an enormous inland lake about 45km wide by 709km long which contains 21 times the volume of SydneyHarbour.They are definitely not short of water here, although almost all of it falls within the wet season.We also visited the Durack homestead which had been moved to preserve it from drowning in the lake and which is now a museum.The Duracks were immigrants from Ireland who became a major pioneering and influential family in the area, and who had lobbied the Government for years to build a dam to support an agricultural industry. Mary Durack is a well known author (died in 1995) who wrote many books, fact and fiction, about life in the Kimberley.The afternoon was a very interesting and informative cruise around the northern part of the lake where we were treated to more sightings of more birds, crocs, fish, scenery and a beautiful sunset.