This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2007 Travels August 26


It was very damp in the mornings, here. Sea mist or dew? There was much condensation under the awning roof, which dripped copiously on the table and anyone trying to use same, for several hours in the mornings.

John had organized that we three would, in the morning, play Scroungers bowls at the Broome Bowls Club. It was pleasant enough. They started early, to avoid the heat, so there was still plenty of the day left, after.

After that, we went to the markets in China Town. Didn’t think much of these. Yesterday’s Courthouse Markets were far superior.

I had a quick browse in a beading shop in China Town. They had some lovely materials – very tempting, but I resisted.

China Town – John being bored while I browse shops….

We had a Subway lunch at the Paspaley shopping centre – named for the family that is synonymous with the pearling industry in northern Australia.

We found a brilliant art gallery in that area.  It carried a lot of works from local indigenous artists, as well as the general run of items geared to tourist interest. I bought a wonderful painting by Melissa Waina, from Kalumburu. It was black Bradshaw type figures on a red brown background. Very effective and “different”. Her father, Kevin Waina, was also a talented artist.

M bought one of Melissa’s works too. A bit smaller than ours – and cheaper too! She bought a soft toy blue heeler dog, for a friend. M already travelled with a similar kelpie toy sitting on her passenger seat.

I went for an afternoon walk on Cable Beach.

There were bad bush fires around Broome – lots of smoke obscuring the sunsets. Apparently the worst of these was a control burn that got away! Red faces somewhere!

We had tea from Zanders take away at Cable Beach. We walked there from the caravan park. It was quite a wait for our order, but M and John’s fish and chips were excellent, as was my calamari and chips.

It was lovely to sit on the foreshore, eating tea and watching the evening light on the sea.

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2007 Travels June 10


It had become obvious by the late afternoon, yesterday, that Sullivan Creek was not a suitable place for staying any longer. Too many people too close together. This is the trouble with half way decent low cost or free camp areas. So we packed up and moved on.

After only 16kms, reached the Victoria River Roadhouse. While John refuelled – $1.62cpl – M and I had a quick look around.

The campground looked very attractive and this would be central for walks M and I wanted to do. John was not happy that we’d “messed about” with last night’s camp, only to come 16kms today, before wanting to stop again.  However, we didn’t then know how good this was, or how unsuitable Sullivan Creek would turn out to be.

Our powered site cost $20 a night. The campground was huge and grassy, with plenty of shade trees. It was very pleasant – and not all crowded! There was some TV – but only one channel, relayed from the roadhouse.  

Victoria River Roadhouse camp

 Set up camp, then set off to do the Escarpment Walk, before lunch. Had to drive along the highway for a couple of kms, to get to the carpark, from which the walk started.

Walk goes up to the top of that….

This 3km walk involved climbing up to the top of the scarp. There’s that dreaded word “climb” again! It was quite steep in places. Taking photos provided an excuse to stop and rest my cramping calf muscles – always an issue on uphills.

Along the way were boards featuring some of the stories of the local aboriginals, that explained how rivers (and hence gorges) were made and how rain was made to fill these.

A local tree was flowering profusely at this time of year, and its brilliant yellow blooms were a distraction from the broader scenery.

There were excellent views from the top of the Escarpment, over the ranges, the Victoria River and associated gorges, and over our campground.

Victoria River and Highway 1
Highway, Roadhouse & camp complex, tree line of Victoria River below the escarpment

And what goes up must come down again…….

Just a little rest here…..

After lunch back at camp, we stirred ourselves again, and drove 10kms to the turnoff to the Joe’s Creek picnic area – 2kms along a gravel track. Here was the second walk we wanted to do in this area. This one was only a 1.7km circuit – however, distance is not always the  indicator of difficulty!  It just tells you for how long, roughly,  you are going to be in pain!

Escaprment of Victoria River valley from Joe’s Creek track

From the carpark, in the picnic area, the range rose in a tall semi-circular escarpment. It was worth driving in here just for that outlook.

Joe’s Creek valley – from part way up the walk track

Our path wound through the spinifex and scrub, and then  up a loose rock scree slope, through clusters of Livistona palm trees, to the base of the almost vertical scarp face.

The track along the base of the scarp wall took us past aboriginal art works on overhanging rock sections. One of the figures reminded me of the Lightning Man depictions at Nourlangie Rock in Kakadu. Another, an elongated being with a striped body, was similar to something we’d seen up near Kalumburu in the northern Kimberley. I found it interesting that there were these apparent similarities from across such a widespread area.

Then we descended back through some more scree slope and palms, and wound back to the car park, all the time with those imposing scarp walls encircling us.

Walk track, scree slope, palms
The black scar of a wet season waterfall

This walk had been very scrambly, in sections. John did well, considering. All of us were leg weary by the time we got back to the vehicles.

Since we were close by, decided to take the short 4WD track to the Old Crossing of the Victoria River. It was only in 1970 that the road bridge near the Roadhouse was built across the river. Until then, traffic had to use the Old Crossing – basically a rock shelf in the river. It would have been impassable for significant periods.

Old Victoria River Crossing

It is easy to forget how recently it really was that these regions were opened up to the sort of modern access and travel that we enjoy today.

Our final little sidetrack for the day was to drive down a road near the Roadhouse, that led to a place on the river where boats could be launched, into what was a long reach of the river. We had to walk the last part of this, not being sure if there would be room to turn our rigs around at the end. It was a narrow little road through very tall grass.

Decided to have another, lazy, day here, tomorrow, in this very pleasant spot. John was content to do so, being happy that there was some TV.

Both walks today were excellent, but neither had been easy. The clearly hotter days made exertion that bit more difficult. The nights were still cool, though, and we needed to change into long pants.

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2004 Travels September 1


It was the first day of spring. The morning was warm enough for us to go back to wearing shorts, which we hadn’t been in for days.

Through the day there was some fleecy cloud build up.

John had not set the alarm last night so we slept late. By the time we got up at 8.30am, the other campers that had been here, probably about six lots, had left.

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Morning at Warnurton camp

Went to visit the Art Centre, which had been promoted in some of the literature we had. It had a very impressive gallery collection of a representative sample of the art from the Lands and its associated communities. It made for really interesting browsing.

We sifted through the unmounted canvas art works they had in a pile, for sale. Bought three acrylic on canvas works. All very different. One had an orange background, reminiscent of the desert sands, and showed shapes and patterns representing a water hole and people meeting there. A multi coloured one represented foods, with flowers and ants. A somewhat larger one of predominantly purple, pink and black tones had patterns of shapes – I really loved that one. All came with provenance about the artists. We parted with $480 – very reasonable prices, we thought.

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One of our new art works

Had a very interesting talk with the lady running the Art Centre. She was quite adamant that the people had to be organized by whites, or nothing was achieved. She said that the local CDEP scheme was being made into a “must work for 20 hours a week” rule. Otherwise, no benefit would be paid. She was rather sceptical that this would work – said it would mean that even more of the teenage girls would get pregnant, to get benefit money that way.

But she felt that there were some positive aspects in the area – the people still had much “culture” and connection to the land. But they steal. Her view was that, despite all the car wrecks, indigines never die by the road, even though they do not go out equipped for remote travel. But four white fellows had died – she did not say over what time span that was.

We noticed that the fuel bowsers at the roadhouse were inside really heavy steel cages. No self serve around there!

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High security fuel bowsers

There were notices on the roadhouse doors – “No Kimbie, no enter”. i.e. no little kids with bare bottoms were allowed in. The circumstances that made such a notice necessary did not need  much thinking about!

Today was a much more leisurely day and thus very enjoyable. I think that even John had concluded that yesterday was too much!

We were able to doodle along, actually stop to take photos and to have some walks around.

John emptied the jerry can into the fuel tank.

The road was more corrugated.

We “lost” 90 minutes today, by going east.

Ate our packed lunch beside the road, and walked around, looking at plants and the scenery in general.

Saw more camels.

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I tried to take a photo that would be suitable to enlarge for our wall at home – of Truck, van and the “desert”. Actually, said desert continued to have lush growth and lots of flowers!

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Then, we came up over a low ridge and there in the distance was the Rawlinson Range. The country had changed from the dune type arid lands to a much more classic Central Australian appearance. It was wonderful.

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The ranges made the last section, coming into Warakurna, delightful.

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Refuelled at Warakurna Roadhouse – $1.50cpl. Filled the jerry can too.

We set up in the roadhouse camp ground – $16 for the night. The campground was alright.

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Warakurna camp

This afternoon and evening was much better. We were able to relax before tea and I could take my time cooking it.

Travelling corrugated roads had become very tiring and we had an early night to bed.

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