SUNDAY 2 JULY KUNUNURRA
It was a clear day that reached about 30 degrees.
We decided to do some exploring beyond the irrigated areas. After being at Keep River National Park, we were curious about the Keep River further downstream, so set out to try to go there. There was a track on my map that went to “Spirit Hills” and beyond that to “Legune” – in the NT, north of the National Park.
Drove out the Ivanhoe road again, to buy some more grapefruit, which we did at a farm gate stall.
Then we came back into town and went out the Weaber Plains road, past the sugar mill. The irrigated area extended for quite a way out there, which was good to see. Since all that effort and expense has been put into developing the infrastructure, one wants to see it well utilized.
Much of the irrigated land was in sugar cane – big farms, with much new machinery.
When the Ord Scheme was first developed, it was envisaged that the main crops would be rice and cotton. However, as happened at Humpty Doo in the NT, magpie geese took a massive liking to the young rice, passed the word around about this new food, and descended in great hordes, and that was the end of that idea! The cotton got some sort of grub. Since then, fruit growing – and to a lesser extent, vegetables – has become the mainstay, and sugar cane too, supplying a local sugar mill. The sugar growing industry is dependent on there being a nearby mill as the cut cane does not lend itself to transport over great distances. As we noted in Queensland, in 1998, in the sugar growing districts, there are lots of sugar mills and they are not that far apart.
It was a gravel road for most of the way to the Keep River ford. We crossed back into the NT to get there – no quarantine checks on the border there! No signs to mark the border there!
Once we got close to the river area, we passed several other vehicles – all seemed to be parked where they could fish, or be looking for same. Being a Sunday, they were probably out here from Kununurra. It was not a place that most tourists would think to venture.
Some men fishing near the ford told us there was a big saltie croc, upstream of the ford, and a smaller one hanging about downstream. We were actually not all that far from the sea, here, so their presence was not surprising.
The river ford was not a particularly attractive place, so we did not stay there long. Turned around, then took a side track to the north, to a tributary creek, and ate lunch there, looking at birds.
While we were out there, John tried to radio phone friends from home, who had left us a message on the mobile, last week. They were travelling in these parts, having tacked some extra leave onto the school holidays.
We drove back the way we’d come. It was quite a decent day’s outing, with some really spectacular range scenery along the way. We did 148kms.
Tea was chops, potato, tomato.
After tea, had some phone calls with family members.