Aus Update 13 - Katherine to Broome (including the Bungle Bungles)

13-Sep-2006

10th September 2006- We have decided that it is too hot and we need to head south.  We stayed Friday and Saturday in Katherine and we went to the Katherine Church. There was a visiting trainee Minister, two members and four visitors including us.  There is apparently 26 members in the community they just don't go to church much.  It is a new church with everything that goes bang and whistles, it is rented to the Baptists on Sunday.  We started out on Sunday with our sole purpose being to get to the border.

Where we stopped for lunch a helicopter took off (was more exciting at the time).  And here is some pictures of the view from the car.  Also the Victoria River.

Then of course was the Border.

Just after the border we met the lovely quarantine people. We were prepared this time.  WA has pamphlets they give out liberally before you get to the border so you know exactly what to expect.  But try as I may I could not get the guy to crack a smile, he was even courteous and told us about the time change, but still no smile! Oh well, small quest unsuccessful.

Kununarra was a short distance from there so we stopped for the night.  We had a quick look around the town the next morning. The area is agriculture, farming and mining, including diamonds. Unfortunately we didn't stop for any of those.  The Ord River runs through, with a dam in Kununarra forming the lake.  Here is a picture of the dam, it has the Victoria Highway going over it on the way out of town.

11 September 2006 - We headed south on the Great Northern Highway.  You could spend months in the Kimberly Ranges, there is so much to see.  It is known as having Western Australia's "signature landscapes".  We have opted to move on to the cooler weather south of here.  We stopped at the Bungle Bungles.  It was very difficult to find out any information on these, but we had found out that the road in was rough.  100kms north of Halls Creek, there is a track that goes 53kms across Mable Downs Station into Purnululu National Park, where you find the Bungle Bungle ranges.  Funnily enough they have a speed limit of 50km/hr on the road in.  When I asked Chris if he could drive a little slower (as you do) he informed me he wasn't able to get to 50km/hr (although I am sure he was trying:-).

Here is a side story for Mum and Dad. I met a girl, in Alice Springs who grew up in Cygnet.  She was travelling with her partner (who grew up in Franklin) to the Bungle Bungles, her Mum was working there.  We ran into this girl and her partner again in Kununarra.  When we got to the information center in the Park, I recognised this girls mum because they look alike.  We got to talking and would you believe she has lived in Huonville for the last 5 years, she comes up here for the tourist season, and she knows you both through Southern Carpets.  I found out so much information about her I don't remember the important stuff like her name. I know she made curtains, or owned a curtain making business or something.  Anyway, point of the story, it is a small world.

We went for a walk into Catherdral Gorge and then on to the lookout on the Piccaninny Walk.  This place is really incredible.  It is very difficult to put into words the unusual beauty of the place.  You can't frame the whole scene in your camera either.  Here are some photos from this area, nothing like being there!


Driving in to Dome area.

Paula standing in a small part of the ampitheatre at the end of the Cathedral Gorge.

We then went on to the Walanginjdji Lookout to watch the sunset.  It was really amazing, the place has this quiet stillness about it with such rugged mountains all around, it is rare and very beautiful. Some photos of sunset.

We stayed at Kurrajong Campsite, with I have to say the nicest long drop I have ever experienced, with complimentary frogs to keep you company while you visit the little room. As pposed to spiders, frogs I can handle. Besides that, the stillness again, and the night sky was just amazing.  

12 September 2006 -  We walked the Echidna chasm before driving out to the main road.  You can't describe this place.  Firstly there was this Palm that when you brushed up against it it made the most unsual sound,sort of like the skin of a drum (for a living palm it is unusual).   It is the Livistona palm and it is all around this chasm. A photo...

Now the Chasm...again photos just don't do it justice, here are some photos.  You walk up a rocky dry creek bed and the cliffs around you get closer together. Now when I say cliffs I mean gigantic mountains either side of you.  Add the still quietness of the place and WOW.

We headed out of the park after the Chasm.  The lovely road out which took us longer than going in.  The car developed some extra noises on the way out.  These roads are just so rough. Anyway about halfway out Chris did some investigating under the car to ensure that nothing was about to fall off or any major damage.  Now I have to mention at this point that we have noticed during our trip screws just fall out of things, I am convinced that one day soon on one of these roads the door is just going to fall off.  Chris assures me that it wont (or at least he hopes). So back to what happened, Chris will give the actual details later I will give you the female version of what he told me.  A nut jiggled loose at the back of the petrol tank, thankfully still there though, which put pressure on the front bracket that was holding the petrol tank to the car.  This continued pressure caused the tank to fracture in turn causing petrol to flow freely, and thankfully to the amount of mud caked on, the flow was a slow pace.  There wasn't much we could do there so we headed to Halls Creek, where we found a auto place.  They told us to patch it till we could get to a bigger town to get it welded.  So here is a photo of Chris patching the fuel tank with some stuff that looked like gum (where is Macgyver when you need him!).

So decision time, there were two other places we wanted to stop at on the way to Broome but both were on 4wd tracks and we decided to get the fuel tank fixed instead.  We sort of need both tanks because autogas (LPG) is scarce out here.  We got on the road and stayed the night at a rest stop 78kms out of Fitzroy Crossing.  There was a beautiful sunset and sunrise.

Just as a side point, Western Australia is known for it's wild flowers, thousands of species of plants the whole length of the state.  Apparently people come here just for them.  Some are in bloom here and I have to say the paddocks and the roadside is beautful.  All the grasses are flowering or gone to seed as well and there are some amazing colours just in those.  I tried to take some photos of them.  Taking a photo of a whole field was a little tricky as we were driving along the road, the perfect shot went past so many times.

13 September 2006 - We started out early, only because we were awake early, and we arrived in Broome by 2pm.  We have found a place to weld the tank tomorrow.  Chris has removed it and cleaned it up, he will drop it off there tomorrow morning.  My first impressions of Broome, the earth is an amazing red, deeper and brighter than anywhere else we have seen so far. The Indian ocean is incredible turquoise colour.  Very beautiful, hot, and very humid.  We will stay here for a couple of days, and we are deciding whether to go back up to the Gibb River Road and see some of the sights we were going to see on the way down here. Sorry I haven't taken any pictures in Broome yet.