Kalumbaru - worth the trip?

Submitted: Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 22:15
ThreadID: 102307 Views:3204 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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Planning to head up that way in July.
Dinghy on the top of the camper trailer.
Doing a few days at Mitchell Falls - still tossing up whether to tow trailer all the way in or leave it at King Edward River campground - any advice please????

We WERE then planning to head north to McGowans at Kalumbaru.
Please - any advice?
Worth the trip??
Dry town????
Anyone been there last year - how strict does "dry" mean????
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 23:42

Sunday, May 19, 2013 at 23:42
Hi Blitto

We only spent a day at Mitchell Falls and decided we had time to return to the caravan and King Edward River campground rather than camp at the Falls Car Park campground. We did not see any point in towing up and back on the corrugated road.

Certainly our three days at Kalumburu and camped at McGowns was most enjoyable. The Mission Tour was a real highlight. We went fishing from McGowans and the fish we caught and ate there were the nicest of anywhere. You can only catch what you can eat whilst there, so a lot of fish went back on a fun day out fishing.

Yes, it is a dry community and to ensure no 'sly grog' sales, you should not have any alcoholic drinks in your possession when you arrive. However there were people at McGowans enjoying a few drinks n privacy.

You are welcome to look through My Blogs (2008) for more about what we did and saw.



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Reply By: Member - Peter S (VIC) - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 00:09

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 00:09
Hi Blitto

I,m heading up there myself in about 5 days going to Broome first,then up the gibb river road, hope to get out to welsh point from Mitchell falls for a few days,then go up to kalumbaru.Was there about 10 yrs ago really enjoyed it ,great fishing I will have a tinny on top of the cruiser and towing a quantum camper.We camped at honeymoon bay last time.We had no trouble enjoying a few evening beers there last time,I think as long as your discreet about it you won't have any trouble.

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Follow Up By: PhilD - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 04:49

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 04:49
I have fished out of McGowans 3 times in the past 8 years. The fishing is brilliant, but you need to know the marks, or be able to find the bommies and lumps on a sounder. A GPS and sounder makes a huge difference up there as there is a lot of useless ground, but when you are in the right place you will catch a huge number of fish, hence the catch and release policy. The oysters are great too. You sometimes need to go a distance eg 40 Kms in a day, so a tinny can be limiting if it is windy. There are grounds close in to the camping area, but the others are 6 to 20 Kms each way.
Walsh Point used to be sand fly haven, and a poor camping spot, but that is a few years ago, so something may have changed. You need to travel some distance from there to get to the reefs. The track in has been a shocker full of washouts for the last 5 Kms, so I don' know if things have improved.
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Follow Up By: Michaeljp - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 13:42

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 13:42
Gday Peter,
Before you go up to Welsh Point make sure you have midge proof screens on your tent and plenty of "Bushman" repellent the one in the red can. I was up there about 5 years ago. The first night i was eaten alive, the 2nd night i camped way up on the hill behind the beach and had a peaceful sleep.
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter S (VIC) - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 23:18

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 23:18
Thanks michael I will take that on board,I know from past experience at other locations how anoying the midgies can be so Ill have plenty of spray we me.

FollowupID: 789738

Reply By: Members Pa & Ma. - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 11:28

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 11:28
Hi Blitto,

McGowan's Island is just beaut. It was run by a very nice family. They sell fuel there too.
We went into Kalumburu on a chaotic day. The volunteers were changing over.
We went up to McGowan's & lunch at Honeymoon Bay.
Honeymoon Bay is very exposed & windy.
McGowan's has good facilities & is lovely camping we stayed the night & thoroughly enjoyed it. The little crabs come in at night & get over every thing , they do no harm & exit it the morning.
Honey moon Bay is very basic.
Take care, safe travels Ma.
AnswerID: 511438

Reply By: Rangiephil - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 13:02

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 13:02
I was unimpressed with both McGowans and Honeymoon Bay for different reasons.

McGowans was full of fishermen with several generators running, and the main generator was right near the camp spots. The setting was nice and they looked like they cared a bit but I don't need deulling genes all night.

Honeymoon Bay when we arrived had a teenage girl, the daughter of the owner racing around the campsites in an old 80 cruiser with no windows and no muffler. The main residents were long term in enormous vans again with generators. It may have been OK down on the beach but overall the feeling was not great. I suppose if you are a keen fisho , then both would be OK.

We ended up staying at the Mission campground behind the petrol station and it was great with nicely grassed areas and clean amenities.

Regards Philip A
AnswerID: 511440

Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 14:25

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 14:25
We were virtually on the on beach beyond the main campground at McGowans. Nice and quiet and a short walk back to the amenities which were at the time basic donga style with cold showers (water was warm enough during the day) as the camp had suffered storm damage some time prior and amenities had been destroyed. It was a beautiful spot.


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Reply By: Member - eighty matey - Monday, May 20, 2013 at 16:51

Monday, May 20, 2013 at 16:51
G'day blitto,

Kalumburu and McGowens Isalnd were one of the highlghts of our Kimberley trip last year.

Kalumburu is a really good Community. The Mission and museum are worth having a look at. Don't turn up at lunch time because they have a siesta every day.

McGowens is a bit pricey for the facilities you get (cold showers and use your own toilet paper) but the location is hard to beat. Plenty of good fish if you are quicker than the sharks. Stacks of oysters.

The trip up past Honeymoon Bay to the old abandoned Pago Mission is a good drive. Plenty of history and isolation to be had.

If you take it easy it, and you have a strong trailer, the trip to Port Warrender/Walsh Point is worth while. It's easy to launch the boat at the end of the road. We camped up on the hill and had no midgees. There's a dunny up there but it's not maintained.

The road in is not real bad but it is rough for a bit in the last four kms.
The corries before you get to Mitchell Falls is probably harder on the trailer than anything else.
The road to Kalumburu can't be done in a hurry and gets rougher the closer you get to the Community. It is a nice area to drive through and some decent size vans make the trip.

I'm itching to get back up there.

Hoo roo,
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