FRIDAY 23 JUNE TIMBER CREEK TO KEEP RIVER NATIONAL PARK 211kms
We got up about 7.30am, but did not get away from the caravan park until after 10, because of talking to people.
We refuelled Truck and also filled the smaller jerry can, which we’d emptied back at Opalton. Fuel here cost $1.07cpl.
At the store, I bought four small yoghurts and a half litre of milk – cost $8.65! The cost of remote living. I also phoned home from the phone box at the Park and left a message about our planned movements.
The drive westwards was really interesting. We saw the very large Victoria River, off to the right, initially. It sure had grown in size from where we crossed it a few days ago! There was some fairly flat river flood plain country; we crossed the East Baines River, that we’d seen at Bullita yesterday. Further on were the several channels of the larger West Baines River, and after that we were into increasingly dramatic range country.
The turn off to Bulloo Station was just west of the West Baines River – Sara Henderson’s place and the setting for her books. The homestead was some 70kms from the highway – a long driveway!
We stopped at a parking area just past that turn off, for a coffee break. There were several other vans there.
Close to the WA border, and the Keep River turnoff, which is only a few kms this side of it, we went through a range of hills.
Turned to the north to go into the Keep River National Park, on a good unsealed road, with a couple of small creek crossings. About 3kms in, was the turnoff to the Ranger Station and Cockatoo Lagoon. A few kms after that there was a water collecting tap beside the road. Then about 15kms from the highway, we turned left to go into Gurrandalng camp ground, another 3kms in.
We loved the camp ground as soon as we saw it. It was a small, lovely area, a road circle constructed around some sandstone outcrops, with bays and pull in areas for campers’ rigs. It looked to have the capacity for maybe a dozen or fifteen rigs.
We parked by two other vans, making and end-to-end line of three, side on to the low log fence that enclosed the central area. The other two lots made us welcome – I think they saw us as “compatible” and preventing worse occupation of the vacant spot by them – such as the Whizz-bang type of camper favoured by overseas back packers, so called because of the noise made by the sliding door of the camper, especially in the middle of the night! The others had only arrived today, too.
The camp ground had a very spectacular sandstone ridge backdrop, complete with walking track.
There was a long drop toilet and some low tables and fireplaces, in the central area.
At the entrance we completed a payment envelope and put in the $5 a night fee, paying for four nights.
There was a lot of bird life around the camp area.
After setting up, I chatted to our neighbours for a while, then made soup – curried carrot – enough for three days or more.
John tried to fix the kero lamp, which had begun to play up at Opalton – with only moderate success.
Tea was soup, fried chops, potato, salads, yoghurt. I was not very hungry – maybe due to the heat?
There was a pleasant breeze, after dark.
Just on dark, an Oka 4WD bus of West Coast Adventures pulled in nearby and disgorged about ten campers. After a most unpleasant time with an AAT Kings neighbouring group, in the Bungles in ’93, we thought dire things, but they were actually very quiet and unobtrusive. I wish all tour groups were like that!
There were a few mozzies about.
The stars were brilliant.
We did not stay up late – back to conserving our power!