This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.

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2007 Travels August 14


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.

Pentecost River and Cockburn Range

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.

Pentecost ford at El Questro

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.

Looking into our camp clearing

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.

The walking track to the toilet

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.

Two aspects of the river beside our 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!

Row of little bathroom units at the ElQ Village

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!

Late afternoon light on the range by our camp

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.

Route from Home Valley Station to El Questro (on Zoom image)

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2007 Travels August 13


After a fairly early breakfast, I drove with son to Kununurra. He wanted to go for a drive and we couldn’t explore the local property. He also needed to be able to check his emails for work related stuff.

M left Home Valley at the same time as we did. She was going ahead of us, by a day, to El Questro. She had lots she wanted to do there; John and I had previously stayed there and there were some parts we didn’t particularly want to see again. We were hoping she would be able to bag one of their riverside “private” camp spots for all of us, when we joined her tomorrow.

We stopped at the Pentecost, to take photos at the ford, of the vehicles crossing – which had to go back and forth in order to be photographed. It was a bit old hat to me, but a great new experience for the other two.

Pentecost River crossing, on the Gibb River Road

In Kununurra, I directed us to the caravan park, so I could check on the van, while son caught up on his emails. I got a gas bottle filled. And luxury – I bought a newspaper! Yes, the world was still out there!

We did a quick sightsee around town: the spillway, the old Ivanhoe Crossing, the zebra rock gallery and the Argyle diamond shop. It was a pity the lad didn’t have more time than just the one week off work.

As we set off out of town to go back, there was much black smoke coming from the caravan park direction. The area behind the caravan park, close to the van storage area, was on fire!

We went back, in a hurry.

The park staff said that some of the locals had started a fire in the long grass outside the park, but the van would be safe.

To be on the safer side, I went down there and removed the lock out of the Treg coupling, to make it a bit easier, in case the van did have to be moved.

We left when the Fire Brigade was there and things seemed to be under control.

Home Valley Station bush camping area (Zoom)

When we arrived back at camp, son went off to the ramp to fish some more. John and I did some preliminary packing up.

The evening around the camp fire seemed rather strange without M there.

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2007 Travels August 12


John worked on the brakes. M helped by trying to decipher the notes he’d made, from the laptop manual. He seemed to have fixed them and was very pleased with himself.

It looked like, our previous service centre, when they were supposed to have properly fixed the brakes in 2005, had used pins that were the wrong length, and bent them to fit. This was certainly the case in the brake on the other wheel, that was partly coming apart, so he presumed it was the same on the one that fell apart here. That one remaining pin was definitely a different configuration to the one supplied to us now. We’d had trouble with their brake work on a previous trip too. Landrovers were such great vehicles, but it was so hard to get work done properly on them in Melbourne.

Son fished while the brake work was going on. He only managed to catch catfish, which annoyed him no end.

After lunch, when the work was all done, we drove back up the Gibb, to Bindoola Lookout – partly to test the brake work, partly so son could see the outlook from there, to add to his mind-blowing Kimberley collection.

We stopped off at the Reception/bar area and bought ourselves a beer each. Again, this was to allow son to soak in the atmosphere of the place. He used our GoCall card account to phone his estranged wife, to check if all was well. I gathered that he had some concerns about how she was managing her life and the company the children were being exposed to.

We spent a couple of hours round the campfire, after tea. Another great night.

I was really enjoying sharing this special area with son.

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2007 Travels August 11


Another hot day.

We pottered about. Basically, the day was spent waiting for son to arrive. His flight was due in Darwin about 1am and it was his intention to collect his camper from the guy that ran their Darwin branch, who would wait up for him, then head off in this direction.

Pentecost River, looking downstream at low tide

In the morning, we went for a walk along a track that went away from the river, somewhere back in the general direction of the homestead. We said we’d walk for 30 minutes, then retrace our steps. Exercise!

Son – K – arrived a bit later than I’d expected – about 5pm. I was very relieved to see the camper with its attendant cloud of dust, making its way along the track to us. Mothers always worry!

And then there were four….

K had been awestruck by the scenery, from the Victoria River area, onwards. He couldn’t stop commenting on it.

When John had told him, on the phone, that there were big salties sunbaking near our camp, son had scoffed at him. As soon as he got out of his vehicle, there they were, just lying around on the mud. He was totally amazed.

He had also asked if the fishing was any good. He had only been here about 15 minutes, when a couple of aboriginals who had come down from the station area, to fish off the nearby concrete boat ramp, hauled in a really big barramundi. K’s eyes were out on stalks! They kindly let him hold it for a photo.

After that, son was determined to try his own luck. He and John fished for a while, but didn’t catch anything.

Son had brought the brake parts. It hadn’t been easy. The courier service had let them down and he’d ended up having to dash across to South Melbourne to pick them up. But the effort of the Landrover place, to get them to where he could collect them, after hours, was excellent.

K also brought beer with him – great! We had been on strict rations for some time now. And fresh food – bliss! He had put together quite a thoughtful selection in Kununurra, apart from the list I’d given him. He’d included cooked chickens and salads. So we had a real feast for tea, with fresh rockmelon. It made a very nice change from fish!

After tea, we sat round the campfire and talked. K had really wanted to stay somewhere we could have a campfire, so he was happy.

He was amazed by the number and brilliance of the stars, which made us look afresh at the skies. We had begun to take the nightly display for granted.

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2007 Travels August 10


The river here was very tidal!

High tide in the Pentecost River at Home Valley

As the water receded and muddy banks were exposed, lots of crocodiles became evident, sunning themselves on the mud. They were of varied sizes, including some rather large ones.

Tide going out – two large sun baking salties

After seeing what lives in this river, here, there is no way I would ever be camping anywhere down near the river level. I knew that some travellers, intent on getting a free camp, pitched camp beside the Pentecost, just a bit upstream from here, near the Gibb River Road ford. I don’t reckon they would be doing so if they came here first, and saw what we can see, every day!

Another large croc across the river

The cattle that appeared and grazed by the river did not appear to be alert for crocs.

I wondered if any of these cows ever ended up as croc dinner?

It was a hot day.

John fired up his laptop and checked the Defender manual he had on a CD. Very useful that. He was almost certain he could do the repairs here.

M drove John back to the homestead so he could phone the Landrover people, to arrange for the parts we needed. They told him that component “never comes out”. Well, we had news for them. It was not a very helpful comment. They would courier the parts to son’s workplace at Tullamarine.

After all that was sorted, John tried some fishing – keeping a very careful eye out around him!

M and I did some washing. heated water on the campfire, washed the clothes in our plastic basin, then trudged up to the amenities block to use the sink there and the cold water tap to rinse same. We hung them on a line strung across between the uprights of the shelter.

Then I sat in the shade from a tree, admiring the views and the sunbaking salties, and doing some sewing.

Today was our wedding anniversary. We decided to live dangerously and drink the last of our beer – two cans each! M had bought a block of chocolate up at the homestead, while John was phoning, and presented it to us, so we had something to celebrate with! Chocolate was a real luxury in the context of our rather basic catering of the past few weeks.

Sunset on the Range was glorious!

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2007 Travels August 9


Conscious that we had a long drive – for these parts – ahead of us, we were up before 6am, and ready to go at 7.30. For once, we had to wait for M to be packed and ready!

We had a brief stop about 18kms south of Kalumburu, because John wanted to collect some more of the stones he’d seen there on the way up. He was convinced they were topaz. I thought they were just quartz.

It was a straightforward, but long and tiring day.

We passed through Theda Station, north of the Mitchell Plateau turnoff. It was a pity that the new owners had stopped allowing bush camping on the place – we’d had a great time camped there in 2000, and we still hadn’t gotten to see the really good Bradshaw figure rock art they were supposed to have.

Refuelled at Drysdale River Homestead. Still $1.95cpl. Refuelled ourselves too, with cold drinks and icy poles.

The Kalumburu road was rough in sections, with some bulldust patches south of Drysdale. It did not take long on that road for the grader’s work to deteriorate again. But the Gibb River Road was in good condition.

Gibb River Road ahead

We ate our biscuit and cheese lunch as we travelled, not wanting to lose time by taking a lunch break.

We stopped at the Bindoola Creek Jumpup lookout – it gave wonderful views of the Cockburn Range and the Pentecost River valley.

Cockburn Range and Pentecost River valley from Bindoola Lookout
Pentecost River from Lookout

Had actually made much better time than we’d anticipated, and it was only about 4pm when we arrived at Home Valley Station, a short distance north of the Gibb, by the Pentecost River.

Gibb River Road near Home Valley Station

This was a place John and I had not visited before, although it had offered camping and activities for travellers. In 2000, we had opted to camp at the nearby Jacks Waterhole, on Durack River Station, and that had been excellent. But, in keeping with the way things regularly changed  in these parts, Jacks Waterhole now no longer existed for camping after major damage in the 2002 Wet season.

Home Valley had been a pastoral leasehold cattle property, but was now owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation. The little research I’d done suggested that there were some good internal tracks and sights to see – and I was hoping that we might be allowed to go visit the Jacks Waterhole site too, also owned by the Indigenous Land Corporation.

The approach to the Reception area took us by a pleasantly green and grassed formal camping area. It was tempting, but we’d already decided to opt for their “bush camping” area, right by the Pentecost, a few kms from the main area. More “us”.

Home Valley on Bindoola Creek. Bush camp at junction of this with Pentecost River (Zoom)

The bush camp would cost $10 each, per night. As we booked in, the girl at Reception told us that all the usual activities and places on Home Valley were closed to tourist access! Really? This was either due to restrictions by the aboriginal owners, or due to the filming of the TV series “Outback Jack” which was happening somewhere on the place. She couldn’t, or wouldn’t answer my question as to which parts of the place were off limits due to filming and which due to closure by the aboriginal owners. So, there was nothing to do, except camp by the river, and fish.

Having arranged to meet son here, we could not really change plans.

In the event, the unexpected restrictions did not matter. As we were driving to the camp area, approaching the gate to it, the brake on the driver’s side back wheel of truck, died. We would not be going anywhere beyond camp, in the near future.

Under these circumstances, it was pleasing that the camp area had magnificent views to the Cockburn Range, and was right beside the Pentecost river, which was large and tidal here. We noted that the camping area was somewhat elevated above the river, and a bit back from the bank. It would not be impossible for a determined crocodile to reach the camp area, but it would be quite difficult. Anyway, we felt secure enough.

Pentecost River and Cockburn Range at dusk, from our camp

The bush campground had some shelter roofs – to give shade to campers – and a new amenities block with flush toilets and very nice – but cold water only – showers. There was even a washup sink/camp kitchen sort of facility there.

We were able to set up camp by a built shelter – pretty lucky, we felt. It was a bit dusty, though. Probably everywhere in the Kimberley was dusty by August!

We set up our camp, each side of the shelter. It would provide us with a shaded day time sitting area, when there was no tree shade.

Home Valley camp

John then investigated the Truck brakes, to see why there hadn’t been any as we approached the gate. It was fortunate that we’d been going slowly enough for him to coast to a stop before reaching the gate.

It seemed that pins had come out in one brake, and it had fallen apart. A pin was loose on the other side one. John felt he could probably repair them himself – if he could get the necessary parts. Then, we had an “Aha” moment – son was flying up from Melbourne late on Friday night.

M drove John back up to the homestead Reception/bar area, so he could make phone calls to arrange with son to get the parts from our current Landrover dealer, and bring them with him. It was too late in the east to phone the dealer today.

We were also running very low on beer. Had been having to ration our Happy Hour consumption to one can each! Son was asked to bring some from Kununurra.

I cooked the red emperor we’d been given yesterday. Wrapped it in foil, with some flavourings and cooked it whole on our little metal rack, over the campfire embers. It was excellent.

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2007 Travels July 25


We were up early and away a bit before 9am.

The tedious chore of packing up camp…..
Burning the last of the rubbish

We made good time to the junction of the Gibb River and Kalumburu Roads – the Gibb was in really good condition along there.  Passed the turnoff into Gibb River Station – not sure whether the road was originally named for the station, or the river, further on.

As before, encountered a couple of impatient drivers, towing camper trailers, who seemed to think that anything less than 100kmh was too slow! One of these took the opportunity of us slowing to cross a running stream, to race past us, showering us with stones. I could only hope that this creek was one with a big hole, or a big rock under the water…..Not this time, but his turn would come, nothing surer.

On the Gibb River Road – this is where sensible drivers should slow down!
Hann River crossing – maybe?

The Kalumburu Road junction was what passes for a major intersection on the Gibb. Since we had been here last, a rest area had been constructed – complete with advertising boards for attractions along the roads.

Corner rest area
Kalumburu Road ahead….

Took the Kalumburu Road north.

After only about 3kms, crossed the shallow ford of the Gibb River. As usual, there was water in the river. Just beyond the channel were piles of sand that had been cleared from the crossing after the Wet Season. Unfortunately, as usual, there were a couple of groups of people camped just downstream of the ford – despite clear No Camping signs.

Approaching the Gibb River ford
Gibb River upstream from the crossing

It was the same story again, at the Plain Creek crossing – more illegal campers.

Once over the Gibb River ford, the road became more corrugated, to the point where I described it as really badly corrugated for a section of about 20kms, south of Drysdale River Station. A grader was working on it. This was not necessarily all good, because past experience had shown that graders could bring really sharp stones to the surface – bad for tyres.

Originally, we’d thought we might camp at Drysdale River Homestead, or at the King Edward River, for tonight. But because we’d done the 170kms to Drysdale River in good time, John decided we would try to make it to the Mitchell Plateau instead.

Refuelled at Drysdale River Homestead – $1.95cpl. Bought some cool drinks and icy poles.

The corrugations were even worse, north of Drysdale. This Kalumburu Road is not as intensively maintained as the Gibb, and seems to deteriorate more quickly after grading, too.

About 100lms north of Drysdale, turned onto the Port Warrender/Mitchell Plateau track. Shortly after the corner, came to the deceptively easy looking crossing of the King Edward River.

King Edward River crossing (Zoom)

It is not very wide, here, but can be deep and rocky. It is actually this little-seeming crossing that usually determines whether the track to the Mitchell Plateau is opened. It is also in this area that there is very pleasant camping along the King Edward River.

King Edward River crossing

M went first, for a change, because she wanted me to take photos of her driving through the crossing. She took a fairly straight line and really rocked about, once dipping her nose under the water. For us, the water in the crossing was up to the door sills, and it was a bit rocky. John took a curving line to the left, for no other reason than the crossing seemed to have been graded that way. It was not as bumpy or deep as the line M had taken.

M crossing the river

We parked in shade near the campground here, to eat our packed lunches.

Further along the track – some 71kms – was another track junction. Straight ahead continued on to the turnoff to Surveyors Pool, and to  Port Warrender. (The latter part of this track was often washed out and impassable). We turned left, just beyond the airstrip that services the local aboriginal community, and the camps of commercial operators, onto the final 14kms to the Mitchell Plateau campground.

The track from the King Edward River was actually better than we had expected. There were some rough, corrugated and rocky sections, and lots of badly cambered corners, but we had seen it worse. The track was narrow, but the scenery quite varied. At times, it runs along ridge tops, and there were distant views through the trees. There were sections of the Livistona Palm species that were special to this area. There were lots of eucalypts in blossom.

We stopped in an area along the track that was signed as a designated wood collection area, and gathered firewood, tossing it up onto our roof racks.

Reached the campground at 3.30pm. It has taken us nearly two hours to drive the section from King Edward River.

RHS green dot is corner by airstrip; LHS green dot is campground. Track appears faintly between them.

It was a (brief) financial relief to be back in a National Parks campground. With our Seniors Concession Cards, it cost us $4.50 per night, per person. We could have a campfire in the cement fire rings provided; fires were only allowed between 4pm and 8am, and had to be properly extinguished outside of those times. This was, in the Dry Season, a very fire-prone area, and a long way from any fire fighting assistance.

Mitchell Falls camp

There were composting pit toilets, and a specified water collection point, in the creek near the campground. This point was fairly well upstream from the camping area. After we had set up camp, M and I walked across to check this out, and bring back a couple of containers of water to use for things like washing up.

I remembered from last time here, that the noise from the joy flight helicopters was very intrusive, but was pleased to find now that they seemed to be on some sort of curfew – no really early morning start ups.

We were all very weary after the long, rough trip in.

John was still fiddling with the kerosene lamp. He was now fairly sure he’d put something back, wrongly, last time he had it apart. In the messing about, he managed to drop it. The glass broke, and now there was definitely no functioning lamp!

Due to tiredness, and lack of light, we had a really early night.

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2007 Travels July 24


This morning M and John went off, in the Troopy, to drive and then walk to, the Barnett River Gorge. They had to drive the 7kms back to the Gibb, then east for 29kms, then 5kms on a rather rough track to the bush camping and parking area.

Manning Gorge camp area (Zoom)

The walk to the Gorge was only a km or so. Last trip, we camped in the bush there and did the walk, up over the sandstone ridge and down to the gorge. It was well worth doing. It was not as popular or frequented as some of the other good places along the Gibb, possibly because it was so close to Manning Gorge.

Barnett River Gorge
Down in the Gorge
Gorge wall – like a giant built a stone edging along the top!

I opted to stay at camp. My heel and ankle were both sore, and it was a walk I had done before. I made a damper and cooked it in the camp oven – the first time we had used it on this trip. The damper turned out ok, although I did have the oven a bit too hot.

I enjoyed pottering about camp. The always present crows provided constant entertainment.

Camp ground boab

M and John really enjoyed their walk to the Gorge. They enjoyed the damper, too!

In the early evening, drove up to the Roadhouse and phoned son. I had originally suggested that he try to manage meeting up with us in the northern Kimberley, at Honeymoon Bay. Being a keen fishing person, we thought he’d enjoy going fishing up there. However, he could only manage to get a week of leave, so that would limit how far into the Kimberley he could get. We decided that he would meet us on August 11 at Home Valley Station.

So that would set a time limit on how long we could spend in the section north of the Gibb – about two and a half weeks. That was alright – we had been there before, and it was enough time for M to gain a fair experience of that area.

It would be good to see the offspring again and be able to really assess how he was managing.

Kimberley Rose

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2007 Travels July 23


Made sure we got an early start today. The plan was to walk to the Upper Manning Gorge, with its Manning Falls. We wanted to get started on that before the day got too hot.

The walk track was on the far side of the river from the camp ground. We had two choices to reach it. We could swim across the waterhole, pushing styrene boxes, containing our clothes and gear, ahead of us. Or we could take a detour around the end of the waterhole, and do some rock hopping in marshy bits, and across some swampy sections – wet feet probable. This was what we chose to do – I was very reluctant to risk my camera by swimming across, for starters.

The swim route – from the far side, looking back to the campground

The walk to the falls was almost 3kms, each way. It was quite well marked – better than in ’93, when we had to hunt for the occasional tin can stuck on trees to show the way. It took a rather direct line, across a low ridge, rather than follow the longer, winding river course.

Walk track to Manning Falls

It was, though, not an easy walk. There were a lot of short up and down sections, the going was rocky and one had to carefully watch their footing. It was also open and exposed for most of the way.

Eventually, the track went down a small cliff – a scrambly descent back to the river. The Falls were not far, then. A very welcome – and beautiful – sight they were, too.

Manning Falls

There was a considerable amount of water coming over the falls.

There were some other people there when we arrived – not of the rowdy, show-off variety though. They eventually left, and we had the place to ourselves, which was lovely.

M and John rock-hopped and climbed to the top of the falls, to see what the views were from there, and to see what was beyond. They explored back up the river for a short way.

I wandered about taking photos, and eventually sat on a rock and soaked my sore heel in the cool water, waiting for the others to return. I debated whether to go for a swim in the very attractive pool under the falls- either in my clothes or stripped to my underwear. In the end, I just couldn’t be bothered. It was nicer sitting on my rock, listening to the sound of the falling water – almost meditative.

Looking downstream. The ridge the track comes down is back left

When M and John made their way back to my level, they didn’t want to swim, either.

We had intended for this to be a morning walk only, so after a couple of hours in the falls area, started back to camp.

Gotta go up there….
The way back…

The walk back was hard. The initial steep climb back up the cliff was a draining way to start back. The heat of the middle of the day, reflecting off the bare rock surfaces, made walking a chore. It was becoming very dreary by the time we started down the gentle incline to the camp waterhole. My heel was really hurting, and I’d turned my oft-sprained ankle again. Of course, the heel and the ankle were different legs, so I was doubly lamed.

M and John had obviously had enough, because they decided to take the easy way back and swim the waterhole. John was rather in two minds, because he does not like deep water, but still opted for it. I said I would take everyone’s cameras safely around the long way. I certainly didn’t fancy stripping to my undies in front of a campground audience!

M took the lead – and the styrene box of clothes – and John followed.

Elegant – not!

There was a rock outcrop almost in the middle of the waterhole, which broke the swim into two sections. John was happier when he’d reached that far.

Always an audience when it is least needed……

I waited to photograph the intrepid swimmers, before commencing my trudge back around the long way. So I arrived back at camp a little while after the others.

On the walk back, we had passed a couple of tour groups walking up to the falls – over twenty people in all – so once again we had been lucky with our timing.

Lunch was very late. We sat round, reading, for the rest of the afternoon and watching the crow display. The background noise of crow calls was ongoing, but pleasant.

Passed another enjoyable evening round our campfire. Being really comfortable in each others’ company helps.

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2007 Travels July 22


After getting going at a respectable hour, we drove back west along the Gibb, to Galvans Gorge, some 14kms from the Roadhouse. We’d passed the turn off yesterday, but had wanted to push on and get camp set up, before the afternoon rush arrived. Today, we were in the mood to linger…..

From the carpark, we had a walk of just over a km to the Gorge. Like the streams at Charnley River, the one here runs into the NW flowing Isdell River. Yet, just up the road where we were camped, the Manning River water ends up in the Fitzroy system, to the SW.

The walk, along a narrow track, mostly beside a creek, was pretty in its own right. The creek formed a series of little pools, where water lilies grew.

Walking track to Galvans Gorge

The Gorge itself was scenic, with a plunge pool beneath a water drop large enough to be called a  waterfall, rather than rapids.

Galvans Gorge

However, I thought we had been spoiled by our recent experiences, by having lovely places largely to ourselves. Here, there were maybe a dozen other visitors, mostly of the younger, backpacker variety, and the peace of the place was disturbed by the loud yells of those who were climbing up the Gorge walls and jumping off into the pool below. What is it about these types of people that they can’t just peacefully swim, without all the “look at big, brave me” behaviour? Gosh I was becoming a Grinch.

In the way of such visitors, we did not have to wait all that long for them to have been, seen, and then left for the next sight. So I was then able to get some photos and we could enjoy the place to ourselves for a little while.

Adcock Gorge, approximately 20kms further west again, was supposed to be even nicer than Galvans Gorge, but access to it was closed. It was on Mt House Station land, and the owner was fed up with the behaviour of previous visitors. I remember that, on one of our previous visits, despite the clear No Camping signs at both Galvans and Adcock Gorges, a large group had set up camp at Adcock Gorge, then had the effrontery to complain that the mustering activities of station staff were affecting their camp – and proceeded to try to interfere with the muster! It was after that episode that access was closed to all. Familiar story of the selfish few spoiling it for the majority who try to do the right thing. Though I had to say that the selfish few seemed to be in disproportionate numbers in the Kimberley, these days.

Gorge wall, Galvans Gorge

On the way back to camp, stopped at the Roadhouse. M and I’d had the foresight to take  a washing basket full of our dirty sheets and towels along with us. We put the load through the public access washing machine at the Roadhouse – the $2 charge was reasonable, we thought. Waited for the load to be done, then rigged up a line back at camp to dry these on. I did some other, smaller item, washing, too, in the plastic wash bowl, and hung that out too.

We’d also done some wood gathering on the drive back. Hadn’t done that since we were back at Keep River!

Had a lazy afternoon around camp. The local entertainment was watching the crows investigating around any camps where the people were absent. The Mt Barnett crows had definitely not lost their touch at “doing over” anything accessible that just might contain something edible. On our first stay here, in ’93, we’d watched this happening in the morning, as soon as campers departed to sightsee. I had put all food away in our vehicle, before we went off to walk. But I left out a plastic crate containing inedibles like a roll of tinfoil, mosquito coils, dishwashing sponge and green pot scourers, not thinking the marauding crows would have any interest in those. Believe me, it takes a long time to pick up 10 metres of tinfoil, in tiny pieces, spread over a wide area of campground!

We discussed whether this was an inherited, genetic, trait in these crows, or was a learned ability. We had done a lot of camping in places with crows, but had never seen such thorough and determined raiders anywhere else!

I went to the waterhole for a swim. Figured that if I had to venture into cold water, I would enjoy it more that way, than in a cold shower. It was one hell of a shock to the system, initially, but very pleasant once I acclimatized. M watched on from the bank. Coward!

It was really pleasant to have a night time camp fire again, and to sit around same, after tea, watching the stars and passing satellites.

The  lamp was still not working properly. It wasn’t fuel shortage this time. I wondered whether John had put it back together properly, at Mornington?