ELQ to Halls Creek via Warmun 25/06/2011-01/07/2011 by Mrs Kanga

Saturday, Jun 25, 2011 at 00:00


Day 71 - 25/06/2011

After such a warm sunny day yesterday, we were surprised to wake to complete cloud cover. Adriane checked his nets and found five Cherabin. He boiled them up to have later.Gordon and Andrea went in to ELQ Township and put some washing on (3 x $1 coin). Adriane and I met them there and had a look at the Art Gallery and talked to David Byard the resident artist. Very interesting fellow, has come here for the last few years from his home in the Snowy Mountains. He highly recommended the Bush BBQ Buffet on every Saturday night, so we booked our places for 6pm tonight($38pp). Went to explore some of the points of interest. Even though we had done Saddleback Ridge lookout before in 2008, we opted for another look, up the steep 4wd track to the top. Next we made our way across a wide rocky crossing where we got our first view of the Homestead, ELQ’s most exclusive accommodation built on top of the Chamberlain Gorge. Although we hadn’t seen this section before, it was fairly evident that the flooding in the wet had done a lot of damage. The lady at reception had told us that the only thing that saved the Homestead, had been a giant Boab tree getting washed down and stuck under the overhang. This apparently provided protection from the whole thing being washed away. The Homestead isn’t usually visible to plebs like us, but not only was it visible from this side but we could also see it from the road to the Jetty at Chamberlain Waters. Branco’s Lookout was open but the access to the water and Pigeon Hole was closed. We could see a crocodile on the sandy bank below the lookout. A lady at the lookout had come to see the devastation from the flood compared to when she had been here before. She pointed out and explained where there was rocks and bare ground had been covered in trees and bushes. We saw a Merton’s Water Monitor sunning itself on a rock at the side of the Jetty where you can hire boats ($110 for half a day) or go for a cruise. Sad to think that if they can’t stop the Cane Toads, then these and many of the other lizards we have seen, will all be gone within a few years. Drove down to have a look at Explosion Hole which was as far as we could go in that direction. Adriane was hoping to get to Windy Gully to see some Rock Art he had heard about, so he enquired back at reception about a possible chopper flight. They said they would find out and he should check again tomorrow. As we were going in to the township for the BBQ, we decided to take our stuff in and have our showers there too. Glad we had booked the 6pm sitting because it got progressively busier as the evening progressed. Plenty of delicious food though and entertainment provided by Col Fitz on guitar and later banjo.

Day 72 - 26/06/2011

Fine and warm today, back to the usual blue skies. Bacon and eggs for breakfast for a change then in to town to check on the Windy Gully flight, turned out that it is not currently accessible even by helicopter. Decide on a hike up El Questro Gorge. The drive in required a couple of river crossings one of which was quite wide and deep at the far end. It posed no problem for us but a couple of vehicles opted to park and wade through.The gorge walk itself involved quite a bit of rock hopping to make it to the Halfway pool. At that point a swim is required to continue any further.Gordon and Andrea decided to wait there with our gear and Adriane and I pressed on a bit further to see a piece of rock art. The art didn’t turn out to be much but there was another beautiful swimming hole that we had to ourselves. There was water seeping out of the cliffs and it tasted awesome. The tiny frogs seemed to like it too. Made our way back to the township with quite an appetite so decided on lunch at their restaurant. Lovely spot overlooking the river and swimming hole. Some of the local birdlife kept sneaking in to try and steal some scraps. Back to camp and had a walk around Brumby Base ruins. Between the white ants and the floods, it didn’t have much chance. After dinner that evening, we all went for a walk up and down the river bank with our torches as Adriane wanted to show us the wildlife. There were fish jumping, we could see a few barramundi with the reflective eyes and the one set of croc eyes that had multiplied to two sets last night, was now half a dozen!

Day 73 - 27/06/2011

Packed up camp, grabbed our $10 bond back then popped in to Zebedee Springs on our way out. A few muddy patches to walk through before getting to the bubbling pools. Adriane and I had one of the upper pools to ourselves for a while, just perfect. Got a massage from the cascading warm water before heading back to the car park to get changed. Straight back to Kununurra to set up camp and get some washing on. Then in to town for a delicious lunch at the Kimberley Café before stocking up at Coles. Their delivery truck had broken down so had to pop in to IGA for some mushrooms then back to camp. Caught up with some phone calls as we are back in mobile phone coverage again. Chatted with some fellow campers and Exploroz members Chris and Sue, who have an excellent blog going at rosscomp.com.au. While sitting quietly having dinner we heard a huge crash and thud at the other side of our Tvan. Dashed round to have a look and found that a large palm frond had come crashing down. Turned out to be just where Chris had had his sat dish the day before. Brett the maintenance man came the next morning to remove the frond that had managed to impale itself on a sprinkler.

Day 74 - 28/06/2011

After breakfast Adriane went to wash the car while I packed up the van with a little help from Andrea. Left Kununurra and back on to the Great Northern Hwy on another beautiful fine, warm, sunny day. Saw a large flock of Black Cockatoos flying overhead as we turned off towards Halls Creek. First stop though was for an early lunch and a bit of fuel at Warmun Roadhouse. Diesel was $2 per litre so we only got $40 worth to see us to Halls Creek. Bit of stuffing about because you have to pay for the fuel before you start pumping it. Asked at the roadhouse about George and Isabelle Martley and they phoned ahead and directed us down the road a bit to the Community Store.Isabelle made us a cup of tea and showed us some photos of the mess their store was left in. Then George escorted us around because there are signs at the entrance threatening large fines for any unauthorised access. Hard to imagine what it was like when the water came through but the resulting devastation was obvious. Many dollars being spent on new and refurbished housing and roadworks. Although the residents aren’t due back for a few days yet, the place is a hive of activity with workmen all over the place. We were privileged to be shown the devastated Art Centre and meet Gary there and hear some stories. Bid George and Isabelle a fond farewell and were back on the road by 1pm. Checked in to the Halls Creek Caravan Park just before another Tvan pulled in behind a 100 Series Landcruiser. Turned out to be a brand new Muranji and Adriane later got talking to the owners Freda and Ray from Sydney. They are also Exploroz members. They have had some serious dust problems with their van, not to mention a window that leaked water before they left home. They unfortunately didn’t know about it until the resulting water had turned everything in the camper mildewy. Tracktrailer of course came to the party and rectified the issue but now they will need to look at the dust issue. Adriane drove up to the Coles Express to fill up on diesel ($1.689pl less 4c with a discount ticket) but they only had one side of one pump working so it was bedlam. I walked down and met him there then we went for a look in most of the shops. Found stainless steel coffee percolators that are normally about $70 in most camping stores, were on special in IGA for $19.95 so I grabbed one of those because our enamel kettle is developing a bit of rust.

Day 75 - 29/06/2011

Woke to a fine warm day and headed out towards Wolfe Creek on the Tanami Track. Condition of the track varied from corrugated, rocky, windy, bumpy and the like. Before long, Adriane noticed something and pulled over to find the rear drivers side tyre rapidly going flat. There was a sizable hole in the tread and he barely managed to get the jack underneath before it was down on the rim. Between Adriane and Gordon, they worked like a regular pit crew to have us back on track within ten minutes. Got to Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater before noon and took the short rocky walk to the rim and I went part way down inside the rim but was obviously going to be the only one so I took a bit of video footage then climbed back out. There seems to be a track going through the middle, up the other side then around the rim because we could see others walking. Seeing how small they looked gave us a bit of perspective to how big the crater is, apparently the second biggest of its kind in the world. Made and ate lunch under the shaded picnic tables at the crater before heading back to town for the 50% off clothing and footwear sale at the Retravision store in Halls Creek. They had quite a bit of good Ariat gear, I picked up a couple of tops and a coat before heading back to camp.

Day 76 - 30/06/2011

Warm and cloudy today, put some washing out then hit the rough and corrugated road to Sawpit Gorge by 9am. Less than 10km down the track, we stopped to let some air out the tyres. While I was taking the valve cap off the rear passenger side tyre I noticed a Tek screw head sticking out of the tread. Adriane unscrewed it a little and air started leaking out. Rather than dig through the bowels of the Troopy for the tyre plug kit, he opted to change the tyre for the only remaining good spare on the back. No sooner had we arrived at Sawpit Gorge and about half a dozen vehicles from the Geelong 4wd Club pulled in. Had a bit of a wander around the picturesque gorge area then decided to go back to Palm Springs for a look around as the place was really crowded now. There is an abandoned homestead on one side of the track and a nice waterhole the other. Just as we arrived, a large Merton’s Water Monitor promptly slid off his log in the sun and disappeared into the water amongst lots of tiny fish. We were soon invaded by the 4wd Club again so we moved on to the Old Halls Creek Caravan Park to see if we could get some lunch or an ice cream.The sign on the way in said it was for sale, and we soon found that lunch or anything else for that matter, wasn’t going to happen. This place is obviously way past its former glory. Had a quick walk through the cemetery and a look at the other monuments and ruins about.Next we had a look at China Wall before heading back to town for some bread, Bakery had run out but will have fresh available tomorrow. Back to camp for some lunch and a hunt on the internet and phone for some new tyres. BF Goodrich All Terrain T/A tyres to suit the Troopy seem to be in very short supply up here. Adriane spotted a Conqueror camper pulling in to the caravan park and it turned out to be Gary, the nice guy we met in Seisha up Cape York who tried to teach us to use a throw net. He had just come up the Tanami Track and completely destroyed both shockies on his camper, he also had some dust problems with it. We spent the evening catching up on each others travels since we had parted over a month ago.

Day 77 - 01/07/2011

Packed up early and said goodbye to Gary and our fellow campers. Grabbed some last minute supplies from IGA and may have got a job at the rodeo on the weekend selling clothes and cowboy boots. Just got to the bakery as they opened at 8am for some fresh bread and a couple of buns. Hit the road soon after eight so that we would get to Fitzroy Crossing Lodge early enough for a camp spot (tried to book the other day when we heard about the rodeo but they don’t take bookings. First come first served. Usually full by 1.30 -2pm.). Got Telstra 3G coverage about twenty ks out from Fitzroy Crossing so caught up on some calls and texts on the way in. Soon got set up on a couple of powered sites ($31pn) had a cuppa then made lunch. Went in to town to fill up on diesel ($1.689pl less 4c with a voucher), cheaper at the Lodge if you had no voucher. Next to the Visitor Centre for some info on the Giekie Gorge cruises ($28pp for 1 hour). Grabbed a Camps 6 book for $50 then went down the road to the shopping centre for a quick look. Drove out for a look at the rodeo, main events kick off over the next two days apparently so we had a bit of a wander around and watched the end of the camp drafting before heading back to camp via the camping/hardware store. Had a relaxing afternoon and evening reading and computing while listening to the evenings entertainment up at the Lodge. Warm and cloudy all day today.

Tempus Fugit

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