Norm's Big Trip 'Second Leg'

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 18:49
ThreadID: 32043 Views:2675 Replies:4 FollowUps:21
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I previously posted on the first leg of our next ‘Big Trip’(Gold Coast to Katherine via Innamincka and Birdsville). Now for the second leg which is from Katherine to Broome. Following Highway 1 all the way, with side trips to the great places along the way. Some friends will be traveling with us and towing a 5th Wheeler with an F250. We leave Katherine on 23 May and arrive Broome on or about 5th June (so about 14 days). From my searches so far (much of it on ExploreOz), things we plan to see and do are:

Timber Creek (camp at Big Horse Creek) Gregory’s Tree and possibly Max’s River Cruise; Kununura including cruise on Lake Argyle and a visit to Mirima National Park; Wyndham including the Prison Tree, The Grotto, Three Mile and Five Rivers Lookout;
El Questro for a couple of days (we’ll take the 5th Wheeler in); Bungle Bungles for a couple of days (5th Wheeler will be parked up somewhere); Hall’s Creek and a side trip to Old Hall’s Creek and China Wall; Fitzroy Crossing and a visit to Geikie Gorge. Don’t know about Tunnel Creek and Windjara Gorge (due to 5th Wheeler). If we miss them, we’ll do them on the way back via GRR). Derby including the Wharf, Old Derby Gaol, the Prison Tree and if the budget permits, a flight over the Horizontal Waterfalls. Then on to Broome. After a week in Broome, we have a couple of days at Cape Leveque and a couple at Middle Lagoon.

I suspect we have missed a few great places and things to see and do. What are they? What are your favorite camp spots along this road. Any other suggestions?

Thanks for your continuing patience and help.
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Reply By: Footloose - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:06

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:06
Not going to see Wolfe Creek meteorite crater ?
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:29

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:29
Don't think our friends would get the 5th Wheeler down there and it would mean dumping it again Footloose. If we were alone, we would go. One of the downsides of travelling with others, but there are lots of upsides to compensate.

Perhaps we'll go back one day via the Tanami Road. Great idea. Another trip required!
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:34

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 19:34
Fair enough. I know that each trip has its downsides. Not seeing the crater is one. You can be there and back from Halls in a day comfortably, but as you say there are other factors.
At least people are aware that it exists these days. First time we went, people would say Wolfe WHAT ?
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Follow Up By: Glenn (VIC) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 20:15

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 20:15
Hi Norm,

I agree with Footloose. You will be able to get to Wolfe Creek Crater on a day trip. I first saw it in 1994 and it is well worth it. Going to see it again this year and show it to my 9 year old son. From memory, we left Halls Creek first thing in the morning and were back in Halls Creek just after lunch. So if you get the chance, I second the motion of having a look.

Cheers

Glenn
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:07

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:07
Is there somewhere at Halls's Creek to leave the 5th Wheeler with reasonable security? Day light only so just needs plenty of people (of the right type) around I guess.
We probably have the time to do it.
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Follow Up By: Footloose - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:25

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:25
Geez Norm you ask the hardest questions :)) We had no problems inside the caravan park, not sure what the story is. I would say the police station...but....probably ok these days but they've had their problems in days gone by ..we were there after a riot etc and you would never have known it.
Anyone who's been there more recently might have some ideas ?
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:30

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:30
If the questions were all easy, we wouldn't need the wonderful depth of knowledge and experience available here on EO would we?
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Follow Up By: Glenn (VIC) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:33

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:33
Norm,

Are you staying at Halls Creek?

Cheers

Glenn
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:42

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:42
Not in the current plan Glenn, but we are flexible enough to change. I'm one who plans to death (probably comes from my years in the Army). I think it was Field Marshall Sir William Slim who said ' Time spent in planning is seldom wasted'.
But I also have a habit of replanning at the end of each day. All part of the fun.
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Follow Up By: Glenn (VIC) - Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:53

Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006 at 21:53
I hear you Norm.

The reason I asked was that you have said you will go out and look at Old Halls Creek. When I was there in '94, we came into Halls Creek from Dunmarra via the Buchanan Hwy and Duncan Road. The road from Old Halls Creek to Halls Creek was severley corrugated and the fifth wheeler may struggle on that. If you wanted to see Old Halls Creek, the China Walls, Caroline's Pool and Wolfe Creek then I suggest spending a couple of nights in Halls Creek. Back in '94 it was a real eye opener. The caravan park was nice and clean with a nice pool area, but we had a cabin on the back fence and I was kept awake each night by the women going to collect their men from the pub late at night. Hearing all the shouting and swearing and clash of fist against skin was frightening. I had worked in pubs that paled in comparison to the goings on there. In the mornings the cops would drive up and down the street, filling the divvy van full of locals, and taking them past the town limits for them to find there way back in in time for another night at the pub. I never fealt threatened or itimidated in any way, but as I said it was an eye opener. I hope things have changed a lot since then. On the plus side, it is well worth spending time there to see the sites. You never know, you may never get back there again.

Cheers

Glenn
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Reply By: Steve63 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 09:22

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 09:22
Hi Norm,
Tunnel Creek is well woth the effort. When we were there the road from the main drag to Tunnel Creek and Windjara was in very good nick, better than the GRR. Check it out with the National Parks or Local Police.

If you are going to the Horizontal Waterfalls make sure the tide is moving. They have huge tides up there but at certain points of the tide there is not much flow and the fall is a bit of a ripple.

If you are going along the GRR Mitchell Falls is worth a look though the road north from Mt Barnett Station can be very rough. The station its self has 2 camp grounds.

Steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 09:54

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 09:54
Thanks Steve. Yep, we will do Mitchell Falls (and Kalumburu) on the way back via GRR. That is 'Leg 3' of the Big Trip.
The Camps Australia 3 book says the Windjana Gorge camp ground is suitable for Big Rigs, so it will be worth checking on road conditions when we get to the area.

My current maps (Hema Atlas and 1:250k Raster) do not have Mt Barnett Station marked. Can you indicate where it is.

Norm C
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Follow Up By: Greiglin - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:21

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:21
Norm I was just reading Steve63's follow up, does he mean Drysdale River Station instead of Mt Barnett? There are two camp grounds for Drysdale RS, the main or "Minors Pool". Mt Barnett is near Manning Gorge not Mitchell Falls/Kalumburu area. You would see that on your maps anyway.
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:55

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:55
Yep Greiglin, I see Mt Barnett Roadhouse near Manning Gorge and of course know where Drysdale River Station is. That's probably what Steve means.
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Reply By: Greiglin - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:07

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:07
Depending on the condition of the road at any one time, in the late 80's we went from Derby - Windjana Gorge - Tunnel Creek - Fitzroy Crossing in a VH Commodore towing a Pop-Top caravan, only problem was the dust!!! Last time we went into Windjana was in 2004 and that was at the beginning of our GRR trip in our Kia Sportage and we were camping and we both thought that the road was worse, probably from a lot more people using it these days but still an easy drive. Also if you are going to Cape Leveque & Middle Lagoon both magic spots don't forget the "RID" as that area was the worst we have ever come across for mozzies (line up like it's happy hour)and sandflys and whilst in that area go out to One Arm Point. There is a great hatchery there. On your travel along GRR are you going into Old Mornington Wilderness Camp. The Dimond & Sir John Gorges are must see's. Also if the budget allows don't pass up a chance to go to the Horizontal Falls, one of the best things we ever spent our money on. Are you going into Mitchell Falls? If so, we advise to also take a chopper flight over them as well. Worth every cent, though nothing can beat sitting opposite the falls for hours. Just stunning.
Have a great trip. some of our pics are at: www.members.optusnet.com.au/~mishlin
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:33

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 11:33
G'day Norm,

I'd second that about the road to Tunnel Ck. Last year there was a guy in the old sedan (and pop up) making his way along this road albeit slowly. Also the Mitchell Falls were not flowing much last year and a huge fire had blackened the country side. Decide a flight from Drysdale was a good option - not bad and certainly worth the expense on its own. However if your heading to Kalumburu stopping at Mitchell may well work.

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:00

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:00
PS the Windjana Camp Ground is pretty big and probably would have no problems with the 5th wheel. There is a ring road around the camp ground so getting in and out should not be a problem, there were a couple of vans there when we were there.
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:24

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:24
Beatit, we are actually targeting Mitchell Falls and since we have come that far, thought we might as well push on to Kalumburu foar a look. No tinnie on this trip, but I might see if I can do a bit of fishing with the locals.

Greiglin, I had Old Mornington, Dimond and Sir John Gorges on my 'possibles' list. Your post prompted me to do some more research. They have now moved to the 'defenites' list.

We are trying to budget for a couple of chopper flights including Mitchell Falls and Horizontal Waterfalls. Apart from the budget, getting Kathryn (my wife) on board will be a battle. She is not a good flyer and so far has always refused to go near a chopper. She loves photography and seeing some great pics from the air might be starting to get her interested.
Some great pics on your page Greiglin. I've been to them before and shown Kathryn a couple of times. She can't wait to get the camera going herself.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:35

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:35
G'day Norm,

Sorry to hear no tinnie but keep in mind that George (if he is still there this year) at McGowans was only too happy to take visitors out in his tinnie. Nice guy and very approachable.

Just a tip on old Mornington - they don't allow generators - that is if your planning to use one.

And we also had flight sensitive participants in our crew but all appreciated the flight to Horizontal Falls (big sea plane - have a look below). The scariest flight is the little chopper at El Questro - was the best flight for me.



Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:39

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:39
PS,


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Reply By: Steve63 - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:45

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 12:45
Hi Norm,
The others are correct I did mean Drysdale. I was being a bit location dislexic. We spent a lot of time in this area and went to some great places. I was also going to suggest Mt Elizabeth Station that (if you ask nicely) gives access to the other end of Barnett Gorge and Hann Gorge.

Steve
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 14:50

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 14:50
And Walcott Inlet.
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 18:46

Thursday, Mar 23, 2006 at 18:46
Beatit, took me a long time, but I finally found Walcott Inlet and some directions (of sorts) to get there. Seems a serious drive and I don't have maps good enough to get there at the moment.

Have you been there. Sounds like a great tip.
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 08:32

Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 08:32
G'day Norm,

It was on the itenerary last Sept but one of our crew chickened out, to be fair they were having some trailer and car problems. So it is on my list of things to do next time. The Lacey's control access to this place but I was attracted to it by an article I read in my club marine mag some years back. It is a tough track but my enquiries suggested it can be done with a trailer. Have a look at their web site but be prepared to go if you look.

Bush track Safaries

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 10:14

Friday, Mar 24, 2006 at 10:14
That's the one where I got the directions (of sorts) I mentioned above and got me interested. Sounds great.
Probably not a trip I'd do alone. Would need two vehicles at least for safety I would think.
Perhaps we can tackle it together one day??
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