Exploring the remote Kimberley by air - Drysdale Escarpment (Video)

Submitted: Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 09:15
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A couple of years back we were fortunate enough to spend a bit of time up in the remote Kimberley camped on the banks of the Drysdale River in country that was once Carson River Station. The land is now administered by the Kalumburu committee who issue permits to camp in the area.




It was truly an amazing experience to be camped in the shadow of the rugged Drysdale Escarpment. We took the opportunity to explore the surrounding countryside by boat, quad, vehicle, foot and fortunately for us, a helicopter. Local identity and bush pilot Butch Maher of Fitzroy Helicopters has an intimate knowledge of the area and while the principle mission of the day was to scout routes and cache supplies for a walk into the Carson Plateau, we also got an opportunity to see some of the amazing country from the air including the rarely visited Solea (horshoe) Falls. We also explored the Carson Escarpment and river in the vicinity of “Old Theda” Station where Butch grew up.

I’ve been a bit slack finishing these gaps in my travel journals but no more excuses. Here’s the first offering, a brief overview of our flights above the Drysdale River and the Drysdale River National Park (Carson Escarpment).

For anyone heading up that way this year, enquire about permits with Kalumburu. The camps in past the old Carson River Homestead and Bulldust Yard are worth the energy expended to visit.


Cheers Mick


This second video is one I hurriedly put together 2 years back and covers our exploration of the gorge opposite our camp in search of Bradshaw (Gwion) art.




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Reply By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 11:18

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 11:18
Mick, the video is great, but the chopper !!!

The dreaded Robinson R22. Be afraid.

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Follow Up By: greybeard - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 11:35

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 11:35
That'd be the big brother R44 ;)
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:09

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:09
Do they share the same lackey band that drives the tail rotor?
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:13

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:13
Note GB I was sitting by the door. If trouble had come, I'd have been flapping my arms and taking my chances lol. Jaydub did check the "Jesus nut" and reckoned it was OK. While his advice was comforting at the time, I realised later that his experience was somewhat dated (1968) and he usually had other things on his mind when he was flying in choppers regularly ;-)

Cheers. Mick
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Follow Up By: Gone Bush (WA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 17:32

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 17:32
In 2011 we had our second helicopter flight over the Bungles. The first was in 1994 and that was outstanding.

2011 was very boring by comparison, probably due to over regulation and OH&S.

Anyway, we still had seatbelt buckles that could unclip just by brushing our hands the wrong way over them. I commented to the pilot and his answer was that if the belts come undone, centrifugal force will keep us in our seats.

WTF?

He must have had a different physics teacher in high school to the one I had.

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Reply By: Michaeljp - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:57

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 12:57
Great videos Mick.
I had a few jobs to do on the Patrol today but i thought id check my emails first and see whats happening on Exploroz. I saw your thread and im now watching all your videos. Looks like ill be working on the troll tomorrow.
Thanks for sharing your travel videos with.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 14:36

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 14:36
Mate I can understand putting off the list of domestic chores on the fridge but putting off work on the 4by...struth! I must confess I go back through them occassionally myself, particularly if I want to hit myself with the reality stick to dispell any romantic notions I might have about slogging it out through the deserts lol.

I presume you're going through them on the Vimeo site. Most are embedded in blogs here on EO so if you want the story that goes with them, the link is usually at the bottom of the video description on Vimeo. Glad you're enjoying them.

Cheers Mick
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Reply By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 15:37

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 15:37
Mick the quality of your editting is improving with each vid and getting more professional. If memory serves me right I think you posted the second vid some time back.

You never did say whether you found the green ants? Found some and ate some once while at Katherine Gorge reminded me of the sweet and sour grass we used to chew as kids.

You choppering in to find the art reminded me of watching an old Malcolm Douglas video he did on searching for art.

Keep up the good work.

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:28

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:28
Dunc, did we ever find green ants...man did we find them, especially Vik. Very citric to the taste. Mean little bastards!

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Follow Up By: Member - Duncan W (WA) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 16:57

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 16:57
Know what you mean there. I got one down the back of my neck and got a real nasty bite stung like buggery.

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Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 16:15

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 16:15
We visited Drysdale Station and the Mitchell Plateau in 2010. A top place. We also took an extended ride over and around the Mitchell Falls plus almost all the way to Prince Fredrick Harbour where our cruise terminated and swung back to Derby. Stunning. But it was a Jetranger on that one.

The flight over full Lake Eyre in 2011 was in one of those little R44s. Now that was a top flight.

Funny thing is that on our ocean cruise along the Kimberley coast we were almost at the point where the helicopter turned back. Not planned.

Phil

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:25

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:25
Sounds Like a nice way to do it Phil. The helicopter and Bradshaw videos are taken at a location roughly 187 km north of Drysdale Station (about 84 km past the Mitchell Plateau turn off). Its a further 38 km east in along the Carson River to reach the area in which we are camped.

We headed back down to Mitchell Falls after this. That's when I lost the wheel!!!

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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 00:38

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 00:38
No good. But it saves wear on the tyre. Did you get it back.

Half way to the coast from Mitchell Falls.



Mitchell Falls



The Charriot: Just us and the pilot.



In the upper reaches of a small creek off Prince Fredrick Harbour



Our water cruise MVKimberley II. Only 6 passengers and five crew to look after us. Magnificent 6 star cruise of the Kimberley coast.



Gotta go back.

Phil


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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 00:40

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 00:40
Yes You did get the tyre back.

Phil
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 17:26

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 17:26
Great clips Mick.
Chopper makes it easy though :-)


Once you have seen a bit of that country, you can't get enough of it.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:18

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:18
There was plenty of walking to be had Peter don't worry about that! Rugged country alright. How old is that photo of yours?

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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:46

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:46
2006 at that spot and up to the King George Falls.
Back for some more in 2007.

World class stuff in there that few have seen and fewer ever heard of.

Cheers,
Peter
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Follow Up By: Peter_n_Margaret - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:55

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 18:55
Just watched your video of the broken wheel studs.

We broke a spring hanger pin (front of rear LH spring) a few km west of the Drysdale River NP sign, but I did not have a spare and had to make one. That took a bit more than 75 minutes :-).

Cheers,
Peter
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Reply By: Member - David G (WA) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:11

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:11
The usual high quality Mick and brings back a few memory's,I have to say that you have seen a bit more of that area than I have even though i was there when Butch his brother and sister with mum Pam and dad Bill were on Theda in 1973 , i recall taking their station stores and fuel up and bringing cattle out and spending a couple of days bogged in the Gibb and not one of you 4b mob turned up to help as matter of fact nobody turned up .

Happy Days.

Cheers Dave
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:36

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:36
Hey Dave, we made it as far as Kununurra in 1973. Stayed at the lakeside park that was then known as Kona I think. That would have been Old Theda in against the Carson River wouldn't it? I believe Butch is back at (new)Theda managing that for Cecilia Myers. Old Theda has been de-stocked with a view to returning it to its pre-grazing condition.

We need to sit down and write your book!

Regards to Pauline.


Mick
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:34

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:34
Good stuff Micky :)

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Follow Up By: Mick O - Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:37

Friday, Apr 19, 2013 at 21:37
Cheers Bud. You a proud new dad yet lol?
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Reply By: Member -Pinko (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 20:04

Saturday, Apr 20, 2013 at 20:04
Good stuff Mick
'You go where not many have gone before you'
It doesn't happen by accident !
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 11:23

Sunday, Apr 21, 2013 at 11:23
It's getting harder to find such places Stan. It takes a lot or planning and preparation and it certainly is not everyones idea of fun but it keeps a man sane and enjoying life ;-)

Cheers Mick
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Reply By: Member - Perry H (NSW) - Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 13:05

Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 13:05
Just a heads up for anyone wanting to reach the river from Bulldust Yard - you will need to walk it. We visited there last year & whilst the track to Carson River HS is fine and beyond the HS to Bulldust yard is ok, there is no track any further than the yards.
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Follow Up By: Mick O - Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 17:48

Monday, Apr 22, 2013 at 17:48
Hi Perry, we found that it's less than 2km straight line distance in to the Drysdale from Bull dust yard. You will largely need to make your own tracks in although we had about a kilometre of track heading in when we visited. The grass soon covers it though.

From the yard if you head a little east (about 131 degrees for 1.5 km, it's fairly good going (Dont cross those washaways at the yard, rather turn in east before them) At this point you can turn to the north (left) and there is a long clearing. It's a bit twisty through the trees initially but it opens out from there and we headed along it at a slight angle of 74 degrees or so for 700 metres. This put us on the sand banks along the river and we just picked our way in.

All part of the adventure.

Cheers Mick





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Follow Up By: Member - Perry H (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 08:53

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 at 08:53
Hi Mick,
thanks for the info, we hoofed it pretty much the same route as yours except for the last bit where we just followed the creek through to the river. We had 50k topo so were comfortable with our bearing.The only evidence of a track was a faint gap in the trees leading away from the washaway and it soon petered out. The washaways at the yard extend back quite a way now, probably about 6-700 metres back from the yards.
Happy travels
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