Kimberley Born and Bred

Submitted: Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 07:40
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As every one knows a lot of people travel through the Kimberleys each year and at different times with different travel plans, much the same as anywhere else in Australia i suppose. I would just like to offer my help to anyone who has any questions or would like some advice on anything in the Kimberleys. Was born in Derby and have lived in the Kimberleys my entire life, from Wyndham to Broome so i know enough of the place to help out a bit. Any thing you wanna know i will be happy to give you some advice or if i dont know i will do my best to find out for you. If you havent been yet come and see what your missing out on, Barra fishing is the best of anywhere. (And so are the Mud Crabs.)

Happy Travelling
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Reply By: Cape York Connections - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 07:53

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 07:53
Have the Duracks still got land in the area.

All the best
Eric
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:30

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:30
Nah dont think so mate,
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Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:48

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:48
ERic


I think that the last decendants of the Duracks, namely the McDonald Family, still have pastoral leases out there near Fitzroy Crossing. One of the stations may be Fossil Downs. Maybe someone else could throw more light or have more info.


Cheers
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Follow Up By: Cape York Connections - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:33

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:33
Thanks the Duracks are an amazing family and very tough.
They originally had land around the Goulburn area in NSW.
I spent 12 weeks renovating a farm house next door to the once property.
Apparently they drove there cattle from there to I think it was EL Questro (I stand to be corrected)
I think there was also a documentary made about the family.
Could have been called kings in grass castles.
But that could be totally wrong.

All the best
Eric

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Follow Up By: Member - Matt M (ACT) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:40

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:40
Eric,

I wasn't aware of the documentary, but May Durack's book 'Kings in Grass Castles' is a pretty fascinating read.
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:23

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:23
Yeah the mini movie/ documentary is also called Kings In Grass Castles. And they actually droved cattle to Argyle Downs which they founded back in 1885 i think. The original homestead and station is now under water due to the damming of the Ord River for Lake Argyle. A very tough family and absolute legends to the people of the land. All of Mary Duracks books are well worth a read. True Blue Aussie yarns.
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Follow Up By: Member - Ian W (NSW) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:14

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:14
Yep,
The Duracks kicked off from Goulburn NSW.They originally raised a little capital from a somewhat dodgy scheme of "claiming" land that was valuable to adjoining landholders then walking away for a fee. However there is no taking away from their magnificent feat in droving their stock from souht east NSW to the far north.


Ian
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Follow Up By: Cape York Connections - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:50

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:50
OOPs replied in the wrong section
I have done some searching and it was on the ABC.
Australian Dynasties.
It was about 8 parts and about famous Australian families.

all the best
Eric
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Reply By: Willem - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 07:56

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 07:56
Good on ya Tukka.....it is always good to get local knowledge of an area one wishes to visit.

It would help very much if you became a Member of this Forum so that Members may be able to contact you privately via Members Message and also so that Members may see your email address in your profile if you wish to display it there.

The Kimberley is a great place and I have visted the area on 3 occasions over the years.



Cheers
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Reply By: Member - GRANT HID(NSW) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:32

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:32
Hi Tukka,
I'm heading up at the start of august,Driving to broome then up to cape Leveque on to derby then across.We want to do some fishing while we are there.Can you recommend someone that runs a good service either in broome or derby.May be we can toss the red meat and fill up the freezer with barra and crabs.

Thanks
Grant
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:37

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:37
At the start of August it would be very hard to find a barra but there will be plenty of Blue nosed salmon and Threadfin salmon around, plus the usual off shore species. There are a few offshore charters that are very good but if looking for some creek fishing or chasing a barra then recommend Snag A Barra fishing charters. For crabs the best bet is up the Dampier peninsular around Cape Leveque. Ther are a few places communities along the coast that do Mud crab tours finding and catching them by hand. Quite fun and interesting. But if you have a boat then around Middle lagoon is pretty good. As for Derby tours i couldnt really tell you a lot or give any recoomendations as have never been on any there. The fishing along the Dampier peninsula should fill your freezer mate, im pretty sure there is a Fishing charter out of Cape Leveque or One Arm Point.
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:48

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:48
I would recommend going to Lombadina and booking a charter out of there with the local boys if reef fishing for bluebone and trevally is your thing pretty sure they also do mud crab tours aswell. Mudnunn is also another top spot to go on a Mud crab tour or for a feed of oysters. The local tour guide is Vincent Angus and he is known as Mud Crab Dundee around these parts.
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Follow Up By: Cape York Connections - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:48

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:48
I have done some searching and it was on the ABC.
Australian Dynasties.
It was about 8 parts and about famous Australian families.

all the best
Eric
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Follow Up By: Cape York Connections - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:51

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 08:51
OOPs replied in the wrong section
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Reply By: Duke Pathy - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:43

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:43
G'day Tukka,
Thanks very much for the offer of advice and local knowledge! We are heading up via Exmouth & Broome to do GRR, will probably be at Derby about mid May. Main roads currently have the GRR closed between Mt Barnett and Home Valley, is there any local news about how long it will take to open this section? Is the track to Mitchell Falls likely to be open by late May? Not sure of how long the grading process takes!

Thanks in advance,
Craig
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:51

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 15:51
Yeah the Gibb should be open by then as its the Durack River apparently thats keeping it closed, but that should be down by then. As for for the road into Mitchell falls no one knows i dont think the grader would of reached it by then so it will be one hell of a road, maybe even impassable. They have started grading from Imintji to Mt Barnett but so they could get there in time. Depending on the condition of the road as it was a very good wet for the East Kimberley this season, so getting the road up to scratch may take a while. I dare say the Derby end would be done up to about Mitchell Falls turn off or near abouts and the Wyndham end should be fairly good by then also. But nobody knows about the actual Mitchell falls road and how long that might take. Surely they would have it done by then or too many people will miss out.
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Reply By: Andrea11 - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:57

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 12:57
Tukka

Thanks very much for your kind offer. We are hoping to Travel the Gibb River Road from Kununurra through to Derby and hopefully up to the Mitchell falls. We will be towing at single axel caravan though, just wondering if it would be possible to do it with the caravan and if there is Petrol avaliable on the Gibb River Road at all? We will be carrying enough fuel for 800ks but if we want to do side trips we will need to refuel.

Thanks once again
Andrea
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:03

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 16:03
Is it Diesel or petrol your after. Plenty of both if you have range for 800kms. Mt Barnett, Drysdale Station and Imintji Roadhouse( Diesel only). Though i would hate to see the price per litre. A tip if going anywhere near Wyndham, cheapest fuel in the Kimberley. Kimberley Motors which is also the Tourist Information place, sometimes 10-20cents cheaper then Kununurra (only 100kms away). As for the caravan im not too sure as i dont really know much about how tough and rugged caravans are, is it an off road version or just a black topper. I probably wouldnt if its not bulit for the conditions though if you arent heading till mid year when the road is pretty good then as long as you take it easy it should be ok. I really havent had any experience with caravans or camper trailers, though i do know alot of so called off road camper trailers fall to pieces along the Gibb. Not a good thing after you fork out alot money for them.
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Reply By: EaglePatrol - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:25

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:25
Other than the major camps Middle Lagoon, & Kooljamin do you know of any cheaper (for Self Contained) camping options on the Dampier Peninsula? August 08
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:36

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 18:36
Im really not to sure of the prices sorry mate, i do know there is a few other places along the peninsular that provide different levels of accomodation. I think Lombadina also has some cabin type accomodation, but Mudnunn, Chile Creek and La Djadarr Bay also have accomodation facilities.
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Reply By: Member - Kim M (VIC) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:44

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 17:44
Tukka

If you see Sam Lovell or Billy Forester around, say gidday for me.

Regards

Kim
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Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 19:55

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 19:55
Tukka,
You are a naughty boy as there is no such thing as the Kimberleys it is the Kimberly----Iwas corrected on this a few years ago.It is great to see you offering advice to others as there is so much to see and do in that area.I worked in that area in 1972 and was part of the survey team that established the bridge across the Fitzroy River at Fitzroy Crossng.Things have changed a lot since then but still great country.
Bush camp

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Follow Up By: Harry - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 21:50

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 21:50
Well then you better tell Hema the same thing
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Follow Up By: mowing - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 14:57

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 14:57
What! you mean there is not more than one? LOL
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Follow Up By: Member - andrew B (Kununurra) - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 16:17

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 16:17
Ther is the east kimberley and the west kimberley....it may be getting a bit like the "you from Queensland", "nah mate, north Queensland ay"

Cheers Andrew
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Reply By: Motherhen - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:10

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:10
Hi Tukka

Thanks for the offer.

I sought info on the Kimberley last month, as i am planning a trip there this winter. I quit work - last day today - so we can for once holiday in winter and see some of the best places while we can still walk.

In thread 55689 i asked

"Looking for the 'mustn't miss' places, and best out of the way camping spots (preferably big rig accessible).

We have been to Karijini and Millstream-Chichester in the Pilbara, seen Broome as a sleepy village and now an overcrowded metropolis, and experienced the tides at Derby, but have seen very little else of the Kimberley.

What did you enjoy the most?"

I got a few replies, but would welcome more, particularly local knowledge. I know we will have to share regular camp spots at major tourist attractions such as Mitchell Falls, but hope for a few tips of secluded places that we can get into with our rig (F250 and 18' Bushtracker). Also you may know of less publicised spots which are equally as appealing as those publicised world wide and overcrowded come July.

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:59

Thursday, Apr 24, 2008 at 23:59
What route are you looking at taking and how long do you plan on being in the Kimberley?
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 12:19

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 12:19
Hi tukka

My questions here form part of my research on where we will go; certainly GRR, Mitchell Falls, possibly Kaumburu, and anywhere else that sounds good. Time frame is anything like from when we get there (probably June/July) to when we want to move on or it gets too hot. It is a long way and a lot of fuel to get there, so worth spending the time to see the best spots.

Our holiday plans are always; follow the road that feels right when you get there, and learn about more good spots from the travellers you meet.

If we take a wrong turn, we haven't been there either, so we are seeing something new just like if we'd taken the planned turn.

Do any areas require permits?

Thanks

Motherhen
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Follow Up By: tukka - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 16:29

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 16:29
Excellent i would say that Mitchell falls are a must, the beachs out od Kalumburu are also worth a stay for a couple of days or more, plenty of fish. The entire Gibb road is excellent and a must see. Also along the Gibb the Pentecost River is a great place to stay for a couple of days, especially if you like barramundi. El Questro has a lot of things to do and heaps of places to see but comes with a price. Great tours though. Emma Gorge is well worth the hike but very cold. Around Wyndham and Kununurra there are plenty of things to see. Wyndham has 5 Rivers Lookout, Marlgu Billabong, Prison Tree, The Grotto, Crocodile Farm and Diggers Rest station which is about 40kms from town along the King River Road (Karunjie Road) past the Prison Tree and Moochalabra Dam. Well worth a visit if you like peace and quiet and wanna catch a fish or go on a horse ride. Kununurra has plenty of tours, Lake Argyle, Ivanhoe Crossing and many other places to see close to town. Cape Dommett is about a 2-3 hour drive or so from Kununurra up to the coast and is a beautiful place to stay a week or so. There are plenty of places to see and many places to stay i cant really think of them all. Its pretty hard to get a camp away from everyone else too as most places fill up very quick once they see a van or car set up somewhere. I am not to sure about the capabilities of a big F250 towing a camper but all the places i listed you will get there easily while there are millions of other places you might have trouble. Parry Creek Farm would also be worth a visit just out of Wyndham not far from the Marlgu Billabong which is absolutely packed with birdlife. If you wanna know anything about Wyndham i lived there for 23 years and i absolutely love the bush around there, never got bored of it. too much to see
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 16:46

Friday, Apr 25, 2008 at 16:46
Thanks tukka - a few new ones to add to my list.

Mh
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Reply By: Motherhen - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 11:22

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 11:22
tukka, you've got me thinking now.

Which is the best direction of travel on the GRR - do most people do the Derby to Wyndham direction?

What would be the best way to way to see all the best stuff? A big loop of GRR and back on main road?

Mh
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Follow Up By: tukka - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 15:08

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 15:08
I think most people do travel from Derby to Wyndham yeah, only because majority come from the south and not from the NT. Really the only thing you will miss out on if you dont take the highway is Wolfe Creek Crater and the Bungle Bungles, but they are pretty magic places that you shouldnt miss. I must say the highway from Broome to Wyndham/Kununurra is a lonely and rather boring drive until you get to the other side of Halls Creek. But from there on its an excellent drive through the hills. It doesnt really matter which way you travel really i myself would probably do the highway from Wyndham/Kununurra down to Derby stopping off at places along the way(Wolfe Creek, Bungles,Windjana & Geikie Gorge). Then head on up the Gibb to Mitchell Falls for a few days then on up to Kalumburu for a few days fishing. Then head back (plenty of places along the way to stop and swim or camp) making sure you have a night at the Pentecost river and maybe even El Questro. If you wanna catch a barra then the Pentecost (100 metres from crossing) is a good place to have a go. Try catch some mullet if you have a cast net, if not throw some red meat on a little hook in and try catch a little Perch or Bream and use that as bait. Use a 6/0 to 8/0 hook and try and keep the little tacker alive. Then just kick back with a coldie and relax.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 15:24

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 15:24
G'day tukka

Not having fished for Barra before, we were wondering what to take - thanks for the advice.

I noticed Leopold Downs Road between GRR and Highway. Is this a viable route? Is it a private station road or a public road?

I should spend more time on the farm book keeping and less on the map book looking!

Mh
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Follow Up By: tukka - Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 19:34

Sunday, Apr 27, 2008 at 19:34
Fishing for barra you will need either a handline with 60lb - 100lb line or a medium sized rod with about 15lb line and preferably a small length of around 12'' of 80lb wire trace or leader. No need for sinkers especially with live bait as it will kill them. And hooks of about 5/0 minimum to 8/0 maximum. 7/0 is my personal choice in suicide style. This set up will be sufficient for fishing across the whole top end for all species. A rod would be preferred but take up alot of space. Dont bother carting around a cast net just carry some small lines with some small long shank hooks and try catch bait with that. While not as good as live mullet barra will eat anything when up in the freshwater. Just watch the crocs.

And yes the Leopold Road is for public use it links the Gibb with the Great Northern Highway, this is the access road to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge. Fairly corrugated track i think it takes around 2-3 hours to cross. So with a trip to Tunnel Creek and Windjana it would probably take a full day to cover comfortably.
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Reply By: Member - Alexander M (NSW) - Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 09:02

Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 09:02
dear tukka

We are heading to the Mitchell Plateau at the end of May Via the Tanami - Is it possible to take The Tablelands Track to hook up with the Gibb River Road ? -We are travelling in a Isuzu NPS 300 with Super Single Tyres.

Any advice would be much appreciated
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Follow Up By: tukka - Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 13:22

Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 13:22
Im not sure what Tablelands track you mean? The Tanami turn off is just south of Halls Creek so you would need to either travel north towards Wyndham to get to the Gibb or West to Derby.
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Follow Up By: Motherhen - Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 13:37

Thursday, May 08, 2008 at 13:37
Hi tukka

Alexander's mention of another road to travel on aroused my curiosity and i have the map book out.

It appears he would need to either:

Via Mt Amherst Road, track to Neville Gorge, One Tree Palm Gorge, Tunganary Gorge, meet the Springvale Landsdowne Road, travel west for a short way onto the Tablelands Road which then meets the Mornington Road and on to the GRR.

Alternatively head from Halls Creek on the Highway to the Springvale Homestead road, and take either the track via Tunganary Gorge, or the Springvale Landsdowne Road to meet the Tablelands Road.

These are all lines and dotted lines on my map and i have absolutely no idea what these roads and tracks are like. They are not direct options at all, but may traverse some interesting country, as i am sure all tracks through the Kimberley do.

Motherhen
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