TUESDAY 14 AUGUST HOME VALLEY TO EL QUESTRO 60kms
After breakfast, son had a last – unsuccessful – fishing session while John and I did a slow pack up. We then headed off to destination El Questro, with son taking the lead and, after the Pentecost crossing, disappearing into the distance.
Between the Pentecost and the turn off to El Questro, the old and very bald tyre on the driver’s rear side, that had been our spare before the most recent wheel change, went flat. It had done a heroic job and, at least, it died in service. John had not expected it to last nearly as long as it had.
So, we did a wheel change. We were already mobile again by the time son came back, from ahead of us, to see where we had gotten to.
The track into El Questro was in quite good condition. The quite long ford of the Pentecost, just before the entrance gate, was about 40cm deep, at its deepest point.
ElQ was a very groomed and smooth operation now, and very much on the beaten tourist trail, with day tripper groups being brought by mini bus out from Kununurra.
M had gotten the Kingfisher private site, number 11 – up high, looking down on the river, with good room for all three of our rigs. It was an alright site, but with not much shade. This was a contrast to the site we’d had on our last visit here, which was right down at the river level, in a grove of trees and pandanus. But I thought that, given the popularity of the place, we had been lucky to get one of these sites at all.
There was a pit toilet within walking distance, too, which we shared with the next camp site, which we could not see or hear from ours.
ElQ was not cheap: $15 each for entry to the place, and $15 a head, per night, to camp. However, given the quality of their facilities, the infrastructure they have to maintain, especially the internal tracks, I thought those fees were fair enough. They did provide a variety of activities for guests to do, too.
We set up camp, had lunch, explored around the immediate camp area.
Took our shower gear and drove back to the Village, to have showers. There was a row of little single person ensuite style bathroom units – modern, clean, with hot water! I couldn’t remember the last time I had a warm water shower – long time ago!
Then we found ourselves a table on the groomed lawn area in front of the bar and reception area. This was really pleasant, under shady trees.
Happy Hour was from 5-6pm, when beers cost $3.50 each. We indulged. It was interesting, to sit and watch the other tourists.
I think son was quite taken with ElQ.
While we were at Happy Hour, two big hire motorhomes arrived. By the terms of their contracts, son said, they were not supposed to travel off the bitumen. However, from overhearing them talk – the men very boastfully – they had actually driven the length of the Gibb River Road, from the western end, regardless, and were quite proud of themselves. The water crossings of the Pentecost on the Gibb, and on the way in here, would have been well higher than their underfloor areas. The occupants had South African accents.
Son, who held a senior role with that hire company, was less than impressed. He noted their ID numbers, in order to track where they would be returned to, and he intended to alert the manager there about where the vehicles had been. They would not be getting their quite substantial deposits back, and those vehicles would be gone over very carefully for damage.
You never know who will be watching you!
We had quite a late tea. Time around the campfire again. M told us all about her trip into Emma Gorge, on her way here the other day, and the walk she did there. That is another part of El Questro that is more easily accessed by day trippers from Kununurra. She said it was too busy for her real liking. She had intended to visit Zebedee Springs too, but discovered that access was restricted to mornings only – the afternoons were reserved for tour group access.