Kimberley Trip Report - Part 1 (no more to follow)

Submitted: Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:22
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We left Melbourne about 5pm on Friday 13th May – a good omen for a great holiday we thought. I told Jen I would be home from work in time to leave earlier so she got the kids out of school early and was ready to go by about 3pm. I was naughty and did not get home until 4.30pm. I changed into my shorts straight away – you are not on holidays until you are wearing your shorts – and jumped in the car and we were away. Jen had done nearly all the packing. That night we motel-ed in Horsham!

The next day we drove from Horsham to Mount Remarkable National Park. It was a good day in the car but the South Aussies turned on the rain and Jen and I had an argument about what we would do that night. She wanted to find a cabin because of the rain and I wanted to camp in our Tvan. For once in our relationship, she let me win and we stayed at Mount Remarkable – remarkable as it was a long weekend and just as we pulled up the Ranger was rubbing out a name of someone who had cancelled their pre-booked campsite for that night – so we took that spot. Had a great night toasting marshmallows and sitting under the stars and still not believing we were away….and not a drop of rain.

Day 3 we drove to Coober Pedy – had a nice dinner in the pub and early to bed that night. Funny thing was the pub forgot the kids meals and they had to sit and watch us eat …Lachlan nearly died of hunger until we reminded the waitress and the meals were promptly delivered.

The drive from Coober Pedy to Alice Springs was uneventful. I was astounded that the roadhouse at Erldunda at the Uluru turn of had small signs up saying, “Sorry no diesel until tomorrow.” Thank goodness we had enough to make it to Alice.

Had two great days in Alice – went to Standley Chasm, Anzac Hill lookout and veged out for a couple of days – we had ‘done’ Alice and surrounds two years ago.

The Tanami Track was fairly uninspiring. We were pulled over by some locals who had run out of fuel and money and gave them about 10 litres from a jerry. Got stuck behind a road train for about two hours until he pulled over on the bitumen and we whizzed past. Camped that night in a lovely gravel put just over the W.A. border.

We visited Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater and walked down into the centre. Worth visiting if you are coming up the Tanami. Then we drove on through Halls Creek and on to Sawpit Gorge where we met up with EO member Melissa and her family. I would have to say what a pleasant surprise that was meeting them….. you know what she sounds like on EO….. well they are actually really really nice though they had just bathed when we arrived and we were all grubby … unfair advantage! I loved looking at Melissa’s drawers……. The camping area there was fantastic – much nicer than in Halls Creek.

We drove from Sawpit Gorge to the Bungle Bungles and spent two nights there. Camping area was not very shady though the Bungle Bungles were great. Particularly liked Echidna Chasm and Cathedral Gorge was just fantastic. Came across a poor lady with a broken ankle who had to be wheel barrowed out of the gorge by her guides….wear good shoes!!

Kununurra was a fantastic place to stay for five days… the drive into town was special for the big moustache (Wal) that greeted us. We stayed in a caravan park and loved the Triple J Ord tour, flight over the Bungle Bungles and Lake Argyle, the town, the shops, the people, the countryside, day trip to Wyndham. Camped down by the Ord for a couple of days and had some fun fishing…..managed to find some shallows to strand the boat and bend the propeller and did my hammie running from imagined crocs!! Beautiful river it is though. A local lady gave us a Barra to feast on – if only I had caught one!!

We hit the Gibb River Road – the whole length of the road was in fantastic nick. El Questro was really nice. We met an EO guy called Tim from NSW. We thought that it would be really commercialized but it is a commercial as you want it to be really….was worth having a look at. We all loved Zebeddee Hot Springs….(Am I the first EO member to have a bath with member Melissa?). El Questro gorge was lovely, Chamberlain Gorge great particularly the wasps nests near the aboriginal art.

We then went to Home Valley Station and stayed two nights – mainly because we became crook with gastro for a day and did not feel like travelling. Would have liked to fish the Pentecost – Paul one of the guys there caught a nice Threadfin Salmon.

Drysdale River was nice – did not meet Ann – we stayed at Miners Pool – a nice cool swim. The next day we drove on to the King Edward River – had a swim – great spot and then onto the Mitchell Falls campground.

The walk into the Mitchell Falls was fantastic – it was one of the highlights of the trip…the aboriginal art, the water, the landscape… it was great. The Mitchell Falls were great , we caught a chopper back and took the one hour coastal tour option.

We drove up to Kalumburu. Walking around the town we met a girl called Gloria who sold us some art she had done…a fine memory of our time there. We stayed at Honeymoon bay and enjoyed but there was not much shade because Cyclone Ingrid had trashed most of the trees. The owner Les took us fishing and the trip was sensational!!

Next stay was at Manning Gorge and we stayed there four nights… an awesome place to stay and swim with the kids – probably our favourite gorge to swim because we had tyre tubes to swim in and there was a big rock in the centre to sun ourselves.

Bell Gorge was just awesome – sitting in the water at the bottom watching the water cascade down the rocks and feeling that our lives are just such a blip in time compared to the millions of years that water had been carving out that Gorge. Watching people bomb off the sides and watching the kids ‘ski’ down the mossy rocks… a sensational time.

Windjana Gorge was great – just an amazing transformation when you walk thought the sandstone rock to the inner part of the gorge. Heaps of fresh water crocs to be seen. Tunnel creek was also a great place to visit. Went to Fitzroy crossing and to Geike Gorge and had a lovely tour on the boat. It started raining when we were at Fitzroy Crossing and the whole way while we drove to Derby.

Our trip up the Dampier Peninsula was great. Middle Lagoon was just sensational and I reckon that we had the best campsite – Smiths 1 – fishing was great and went crabbing for $20 and the kids were free. Cape Leveque was good but I reckon Middle Lagoon was better. Loved the hot bread from Lombadina.

We had a great time in Broome – camel rides, walking on the great beach, playing Frisbee, the Hovercraft trip. Unfortunately it all came to an end and we flew home. My parents are up there now driving my car and camper home and I am enjoying Melbourne and its 13 degree days with rain and drizzle……and work…

Twas a great trip. It was great meeting so many lovely people – particularly the ones that we travelled with – Melissa and Greg and Kerry and Jeff.

Did anyone read to the end??

The other stuff... my new Cooper STT's went well - they were the new ones just released...., my fridge slide broke a circlip, no other breakages.

Big Kidz
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Reply By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:35

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:35
Is that all, whats wrong with part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 etc etc.

And what about the stickers? we need to hear all about how many stickers were left in prominent places. LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:36

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:36
Forgot to ask, did the IFS hold up "OK" after your pre trip repairs?
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Follow Up By: Jenmcd - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:38

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:38
Now I bet you did not read it all!! The IFS held together. The car is still on leave - probably at Windjana at the moment with my folks. Hope that it is still holding together.
Andrew
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Follow Up By: Jenmcd - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:39

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:39
PS - I pinched Jen's computer and she has a log in of her own.... I never knew that!!
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Follow Up By: Member - John (Vic) - Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:46

Friday, Jul 15, 2005 at 22:46
OK Andrew you got me, I only glanced over it and posted a reply, struggling to keep up with all the reading I seem to do these days.
Promise I will read it in full in the next day or so.

Good to see you back safe, will have to catch up one day soon.
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Follow Up By: motherhen - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 22:20

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 22:20
Hey Andrew - you better check out your old posts and see if you have been given any cheek from an unknown forumite called Jenmcd!
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Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 09:25

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 09:25
Good one Andrew and Jen....Enjoyed every moment of your condensed trip report having been to most of those places in the 1980's and reliving the sights in my mind.

I have the 'old' style Cooper STT's and I have nothing but praise for them after giving them a thorough hiding in all kinds of terrain.

Was it worth the effort taking the tinny with you?
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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:25

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:25
We used the tinny for about seven days in the whole trip...probably not worth taking though I would take it again. Didn't cause much trouble up on the roof though it would have cost me a fair bit in extra fuel. Catching some golden trevally was worth the effort.

The new Cooper STT's went really well... not much wear and no punctures. No lugs fell off like what happened on my ST's. I remember you were a bit concerned about small splits on your STT's so I guess those splits were nothing serious.

Andrew
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Reply By: Brew69(SA) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 09:52

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 09:52
Great sounding trip guys. I thought UHF 18 was reserved for grey nomads grey nomads? :)
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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:26

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:26
Well...... barely saw any other folks than the Grey Nomads.
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Reply By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:37

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:37
GREAT to see the crocs didnt bite, or did they? I didnt read the post at all.

I find it easier to print the longer threads and read them in bed at night.

A question no-one seems to ask...
What'd it cost?
I mean other than the suff you guys already had.
What would someone need to have put away for a trip like you did?

$3,000? $5,000? $7,000?

You guys have got your heads screwed on. You'd have a good idea.
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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:30

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:30
Did you retire to bed with some A4 pages to keep you warm....my post could have helped you sleep. I have not done all the sums yet... still waiting for the credit card statements to arrive. I reckon the trip cost us between $5000 to $7000 - flight over the Bungle Bungles and the Helicopter trip out to the coast from the Mitchell Falls chewed though the $$$.

My head screwed on...... thanks for the compliment.......I will have to get Jen to read it as she is not so sure about me!!

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Member - iMusty (VIC) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 15:13

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 15:13
>My head screwed on...... thanks for the compliment.......I will have to >get Jen to read it as she is not so sure about me!!

I was actually talking about Jen but I thought I'd be polite to you : )
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Reply By: Glenn (VIC) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:56

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:56
Welcome back Andrew and Jen,

It looks like you had a fantastic trip, and really enjoyed the Kimberley Region...it is one of the greatest areas in Oz I think.

Can't wait to catch up and see the photos and movies..

ps...did Melissa have a great set of drawers Andrew? Did Jen whack you for enjoying looking at them so much?

Cheers

Glenn
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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:34

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:34
I snuck up behind and had a peep in Melissa's drawers .......G..........
Everything was there nicely arranged and you could reach in and put your hand on whatever you wanted. Jen thought they were great ... so much so that she wants a set so that she can arrange all her gear the same way.
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Reply By: Member - Rattles (Andrew R) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:58

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 11:58
Great to see you home safe and sound Kidz!

Sounds like you had a great time. I just keep thinking every day 'where was I this time last year?".

Catch up with you soon.
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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:36

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 13:36
Great to be home .... even if it is 11C outside at the moment and it is probably 30 in the Kimberley..... Would love to catch up sometime.
Andrew
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Reply By: Member - Toonfish - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:18

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:18
so de we seee a pic of melissa's drawers?
glad to hear you are all back safe
will catch up soon
cheers
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Reply By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:32

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 16:32
We met some nice people called "Marty" and "Bec" on our trip!! Where are you??????
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Reply By: Des Lexic - Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 23:34

Saturday, Jul 16, 2005 at 23:34
Glad everything went well and you enjoyed the trip. Shame we couldn't catch up on the way up but hopefully next time.
The Kimberly certainly is a great part of Australia.
Less than 2 weeks to go for us now.
Chhers
Elaine & Al
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Reply By: Member Eric - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 09:52

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 09:52
You come back from a trip and think, AHHH another number of places off the to do list. Then you get on EO and read these type of trip reports that add another page of places we need to see lol

The list is getting bigger .

Glad you are all home safe
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Reply By: Member - Kimberly Kruiser (WA) - Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 20:30

Sunday, Jul 17, 2005 at 20:30
Glad to see you all home safe.

The Moustache!!
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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 00:02

Monday, Jul 18, 2005 at 00:02
Hahahahahhaha - glad to see that someone had read the fine print!!
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Reply By: Lyds - Sunday, Aug 07, 2005 at 22:39

Sunday, Aug 07, 2005 at 22:39
Hi Andrew,

That was my GU you spotted in Broome. Sorry we didn't get to catch up. We were flat out for the few days that we were there so it would have been tough to do.

We were away for 9 weeks (Sydney-Broome) and didn't spot another EO sticker or wheel cover. Perhaps you're good at four leaf clovers too :-)

Anyway, thats a great report. We saw quite a few of the things you did and had a great time too.

I think the secret to travelling the Gibb is to follow the graders. We had a bumpy run up the Kalumburu Rd to King Edward River (what a nice spot) but the grader did some great work in the mean time to make the return trip much more pleasant. We didn't see Ann at Drysdale either, and I think some of the staff are sick of people asking for her!

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Follow Up By: Big Kidz (Andrew & Jen) - Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 at 13:14

Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 at 13:14
On the morning we were leaving thought I might have seen your car again at the Vacation Village Caravan Park were we were staying but had a plane to catch. Saw an EO wheel cover anyway!! Nice to follow the grader I bet. The corrugations were pretty rough up and back on to the King Edward river when we were up there.

Cheers

Andrew
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Follow Up By: Lyds - Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:30

Thursday, Aug 11, 2005 at 17:30
You are kidding, that was us alright - missed it by that much...

from what I remember we left Broome the same day.
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Reply By: Member - Gary W (VIC) - Friday, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:21

Friday, Aug 12, 2005 at 13:21
Great trip report - thanks for keeping the dream alive.

Gaz
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