Broome & Co: An adventure with Ronn & Sandy
Broome, Western Australia
The long anticipated arrival of Tara's parents was finally happening. After packing Judy up and gathering everything we needed, or should we say everything we thought we needed (we pretty much took everything), we put the old girl into storage for the two weeks. She tried to make us feel guilty but we were air conditioned bound so that soon subsided.
After checking into the cabin and setting everything up it was off to the airport-which wasn't very far…Right smack bang in the middle of town actually. We parked the car and headed to the arrivals gate (more of a room than a terminal) but we couldn't site them. The other travellers kept filling off but no Sandy and Ronn- they were backseat bandits on the plane so took forever! Eventually off they came and after a quick baggage claim we were off for a late night of chatting…and chatting… and even a few drinks!
The next morning, we had to start by showing them around beautiful Broome, well actually Woolworths (to which we visited everyday-sometimes twice a day!)
The adventures really started on the second night, with sunset drinks and nibbles on Cable Beach. Larry loved it down there, driving along the beach looking for the prime position checking out the camels. We still keep saying the Engel car fridge is one of our best investments. That night it provided us with ice cold beer, chilled champagne and wine, but someone left Sandy's Bacardi back at the cabin… Whoops! There was still plenty of time for us to make up for the lost drinks… And that we did!
Ronn and Sandy used the beautiful surrounds of Cable Beach for their morning walks. Tristan and Tara on the other hand just discussed the idea of getting up early and pounding the pavement… Yeah it didn't happen! But hey we made up for it, between strolling around the weekend Courthouse markets to the Jetty to Jetty walk…the race was on between Tristan and Ronn as to who could get the most steps.
After talking to Dave (back in Margaret River) we decided we couldn't leave this wonderful place without seeing James Price Point. It just so happened that Ronn's sister in-law Mary (who we also stayed with in Perth) was in Broome at the same time so jumped in for the ride. Larry was all geared, full of passengers and ready to tackle the red sand, corrugated track to 'Paradise' as Dave called it. As we drove up the track it resembled more of an oversized table drain rather than a road, with its steep high walls. You could only imagine the water flowing in the wet season. After a long (and slow!) 55km's we were there. Bright red sandy cliffs pushed down to the sand beaches at the waters' edge. It was the brightest of blue water. Almost as if someone had adjusted the colour levels on photoshop. A picnic lunch was had with hundreds of whales breeching and playing in the sea just in front of us… A truly untouched and wild place.
A few days later it was again time to explore the surrounds of Broome. It was into Larry we all went ready to explore and show Sandy and Ronn the surrounding towns. Although Broome feels like it has everything (which it does), you have to remind yourself that it is an outback post and is very remote. Adjoining towns are hundreds of kilometres away. Fitzroy Crossing was our first stop and our overnight stay. We visited the historic Crossing Inn, but with wire cages locking the bar and a definitive list of names on a whiteboard under subheadings such as: 'Life Ban', '6 Month Ban', 'Banned between 3pm and 6pm', Tristan and Ronn decided it may get a bit rowdy and decided not to stay for a beer. The adjoining art gallery of students work from the local high school was brilliant.
The next morning we were off again… We wanted to give Sandy and Ronn a taste of the mighty Gibb River Road. Tunnel Creek was the first stop, but the road had just been graded… Ah heaven! After a tough climb down into the tunnel, we were off and exploring this magical place. For Tara and Tristan it was their second time here in a fortnight, but it just got better. We didn't see any of our fresh water crocodile friends, but some bloke mentioned a brown snake cruising around the entrance, let's say Tara was rapt!!! The drive through this wonderful part of the Kimberley gave Ronn and Sandy a taste of what we had experienced in our adventure along the Gibb River Road. Wild brumbies, eagles, crocodiles, Boab trees in their natural environment, we all just loved it. Next stop Windjana Gorge. One of our other favourites. The fresh water crocs were still packed into this tiny body of water waiting for the next big rains to come and wash them down stream. The massive escarpment walls were as bright and vibrant as ever. After a walk through the gorge, it was off to Derby for a look at the Boab Prison Tree and the Art Gallery. Along the way, Tara wanted to show her parents how well she could drive manual… turns out she picked the worst part to drive and gave up after the treacherous section of road. In her defence, it was pretty bad. After a long day we arrived back into Broome well after the sun had gone down, but we did get to see a beautiful sunset whilst driving back. And guess what…. there was still time to run into Woolworths for some groceries!
The Broome Cup was upon us on the Saturday, so we all got done up for the big day. The local bus was the obvious way to get out there and have a bit of fun. The dirt track was new for 3 of us (not Ronn as he had been to the Birdsville Cup the year before!) The funniest part was watching old mate in the landcruiser dragging a sheet of concreters mesh over the surface to dress it for the next race. Just shows that they don't over complicate things in Broome. Tristan had a bit of a win with the bookies scoring $100 bucks on one horse, but the heat was getting the better of Tara. All in all, a good day was had by everyone!
Cape Leveque was on the to do list. People had mentioned that it was one of the worst roads in Aus… They weren't wrong. Sandy, rocky, uneven, corrugated. You name it, it had it. After 90 odd km's we reached the sealed section of the Dampier Peninsula. One Arm Point was a bit of a letdown. But the pristine red cliffs of Cape Leveque were well worth the drive. An untouched piece of paradise. The church at Beagle Bay was something else. Built out of a range of different shells from the surrounding areas, it was truly unique.
As the two weeks were almost up we needed to have one last pub crawl through the town starting at Murphy's Irish pub. Tristan and Ronn couldn't believe their luck when they saw they were serving Kilkenny on tap. Then over to Matso's where the girls ordered cocktails. Up the hill to the Mangrove (one of favourites) for another drink in their garden overlooking Roebuck Bay. We finished our crawl at the Roey (Roebuck Hotel)… or what we thought was the Roey. Ronn left us at the pub to go check his lotto tickets, not too long after we received a phone call. "Come to the sports bar, don't be embarrassed". Tara then started racking her brain. What has happened… has he fallen? Got into a fist fight? It was then when we walked into the actual 'Roey' we were greeted by two Girls working the bar in little more than their lacy lingerie with Ronn grinning from ear to ear. Tristan and Ronn weren't complaining one bit…
To end our two weeks in Broome, we went on a Whale Watching cruise- what an encounter we had. At one point we had a whale bang up against the boat as he sprayed his mist on us. What an experience is was to see the whales frolicking, breaching and tail slapping in their natural playground.
It was a highlight of the trip to meet Sandy and Ronn in one of our favourites spots. To show and share such a wonderful part of what has so far been such a brilliant time in our lives.
Thanks Sandy and Ronn…. We had an absolute ball, and hope you did too!
** In the lead up to the Gibb River Road, we spent a few nights in Broome. Whilst planning, prepping and packing, we were able to take some time to witness the Staircase to the Moon. What a spectacle! We were mesmerised as we watched the moon rise from behind the mudflats. We were lucky enough to see this 3 times during our time in Broome, one of those being with Ronn and Sandy on their last night!