On the Road to "No Where" and lovin it - Darren & Janet's Outback Adventure - Kununurra to Alice

Friday, Aug 17, 2012 at 17:31

Member - Darren M (VIC)

Kununurra to Alice Springs via Darwin & Ayers rock 23-7 to 17-8-2012

We have been slack in blog updating but it’s only because there is so much to see and do. This will be a condensed version of our travels since the last update.

The Bungle Bungles, we camped at Kurrajong camp ground and did all the walks over two days which included Echidna Chasm, The Palms, Cathedral gorge and a walk up to the lookout, the rock formations are amazing and a travelling family were doing there homework will taking in the solitude of Cathedral Gorge. The rear number plate bracket broke off the car on the 4wd trek from the Bungles to the highway, but thanks to the visitor centre staff and a persuasive friends (Rod and Belinda) who we had meet at Home Valley station the number plate including bracket and light were safely reunited with the car after 3 days at Lake Argyle.

Moving on from the bungles we stayed at Lake Argyle via Kununurra to pick up supplies (Grog). The swimming pool was rimless and overlooks the lake, so with a picture at the right angle it looks like your swimming in the lake, the Durack museum was a worthwhile visit as I (Darren) have been reading the book " Kings in grass castles" on our journey of these amazing pioneers. We topped our stay off with a sunset cruise in a wave piercing catamaran on the lake (no waves), the information about the lake and all the history, wildlife, food and drinks provided on this 3.5hr cruise was well worth the money. The cruise finished with nibbles and frothies and a swim for anyone game after sighting so many fresh water crocodiles, they are harmless so in I went, it was beautiful. Lake Argyle is currently 93% full which equates to 15 Sydney Harbours.

The next stop was Katerine and then onto Darwin. Staying with Wayne, Cherylyn, Calen, Sunday and Squidly at Humpty Doo was wonderful. Wayne arrived home Sunday night after fishing with 2 mud crabs to have with dinner. Our first night in a real bed after I don’t know how long was nice.

Monday, Janet, Calen and I spent the day at the Territory wildlife park where Janet was in the lagoon feeding the Whip Rays and Janet and Calen held an Owl after the birds of Prey display. On our way home we went for a refreshing swim at Berry Springs National Park.

Tuesday, Wayne and I were up at the butt crack of dawn to go fishing at Coroborre creek in his tinnie, after the fog lifted the day was beautiful and the salties were out in all their glory, basking on the river banks or taking a leisurely dip (this was not the place for swimming). We trawled the river for a couple of hours with no success then had a break for morning tea. This must have given the Barra time to wake up as Wayne caught 2 after this, one to take home and one undersize thrown back. Of course in true Wayne style you have to celebrate so our first green can was cracked. I hooked a Barra but it jumped off before making it to the boat.

Wednesday was our “Cherylyn Guided Tour” of the sights of Darwin. Wayne and Calen had the day off and came along.

Thursday, Janet and I headed to Crocodylus park where Janet held a baby Saltie (Its mouth was duct taped close). In the afternoon we visited the East Point war museum which is an amazing place and a recommendation for everyone to see. Mindal beach market was our night time activity finished off with dinner and frothies on the beach watching the sun go down.

Friday, the car was dropped off for a service and then it was off to the block to check out the progress of the house, it will be great when it is finished and a nice place to retire. While Janet and I were being given the royal treatment during the week, Calen was also practicing for her part in the school production as her first matinee performance was today (Friday) at the Darwin convention centre. After we all arrived home it was back to town for the evening performance, after dropping her off we had pizza in the main street and afterwards sat in the park with a couple of frothies looking like “long grasses”. The play was called “Cold as Ice” and Calen was a dancer, it was a great story, well done and Calen was terrific, like a true star she signed my program.

Saturday, Janet and I had booked a bus tour to the Adelaide river jumping crocs (Crocs in the Territory are like Possums and Kangaroos, once you have seen one the rest are all the same) and then over to Litchfield National Park for Termite mounds and swimming at Wangi falls, Florence falls and Buley rock hole. This was a fantastic day and the tour guides were great. After Wayne picked Calen up from her final performance we sat around having a few frothies as we were leaving the next day.

Sunday morning we were treated to Wayne’s famous BBQ bacon and eggs, after brekkie (about 11) the car was packed and we were on our way heading south to Katherine. Our time with Wayne, Cherylyn, Calen, Sunday and Squidly was very special and we can’t thank them enough for the wonderful hospitality, thanks guys.

Our mission now was to get to Ayers rock to meet up with the 4wd guys. We decided to spend 2 nights at Katherine and do the gorge tour, it was then a two day drive (600km a day) to Alice Springs, stopping along the way at Matatranka for a dip in the hot springs and Devils Marbles to look at some round rocks. Our overnight stop was at Banka Banka station. Arriving in Alice Springs we had 2 days before we had to travel out to Ayers rock. We camped next to a group of farmers from around Tamworth who were away for a month, they were a lot of fun to be around especially Richard and Faye, Richard (an older version of Andrew Cook) built his own camper on the back of the ute and wired in his dual batteries, he was a very clever fellow, however always trying to do improvements / repairs on the run much to the frustration of Faye. We shared frothies and stories each night or as Richard put it "talked a lot of bleep ".

At Erldunda roadhouse we meet up with the 4wd crew and travelled together to Ayres rock (Yulara campground). After setting up camp it was off to the the rock (now known as the pebble) to enjoy nibbles, frothies and watch the sunset. Our next day was to be a long one of hiking / walking, in the morning it was off to the visitors centre then the 10.6km walk around the pebble and in the afternoon it was the two valley walks at the Olga’s 7.9km. On the way back we stopped to watch the sunset over the Olga’s and washed the dust down with a couple of frothies. The next day we headed for Kings Canyon where we had a one night stay which meant that we had to do the "Rim walk" shortly after arriving at camp, another 6.6km and a killer 100m stair climb; however it was well worth as the sheer rock faces of the canyon were a spectacle to see. The sunset over Kings Canyon was not that appealing as we were stuffed from the drive and walk so we sat at camp and watched the sunset over the Landcruiser while enjoying a frothie, needless to say it was an early dinner and off to bed. Today we were supposed to camp at Boggy Hole, however it was decided (due to the track being in exceptionally poor condition) to head to Hermannsburg, check out the mission and head for camp in the national park at Palm Valley. Access to the national park was along a river bed and once there, the campsite was fantastic, we were treated to a 2.5m Brown snake making his way from the water in the river through the campsite and up into the rocks 80 metres away, he didn’t seemed to be phased by the myriad of onlookers and cameras. 2 resident dingos kept us on our toes as they were always on the hunt for food but otherwise harmless. That night we had a fire where we talked with other campers and Ian (Wally’s brother) bought out some marshmallows which his daughter brought home from New York especially for the trip, they were the size of approximately 6 standard sized Aussie marshmallows and sweeter. The group split up the next day, some doing the Palm Valley walks and others like us headed for Alice Springs where we will spend 4 nights in a luxurious cabin that has its own shower and toilet.

Janet has developed a tooth ache since leaving Darwin so a couple of dentist appointments have been scheduled while in Alice Springs. Apart from attending the dentist, we have been sleeping in til 9.00 as the cabin is dark, visited the transport hall of fame, the Old Ghan heritage museum, shopping, washed some red dirt off the car and just chilled out and stocked up ready for the next part of our journey which will be across the Simpson Desert. Tomorrow (Saturday) (Renee's birthday) is the Henly on Todd regatta which we will visit before heading off for Chambers Pillars and our next big adventure.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

J. R. R. Tolkien
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