Burton's Perth to Cape York Day 7 Friday 6 April 2012 Warburton to Yulara

Monday, Apr 09, 2012 at 12:32

Red Dirt Australia


The luxury of an electric kettle cup of tea, after all why waste our gas? The only neighbours left early on their way to Geraldton. They'd smashed their boat trailer on the Great Central Road (what would they have thought of the Gunbarrel?) and had to pay $1800 to truck it all to Perth. Cereal, showers, green tree frog in the toilets and a quick pack up.

Not much to say about the Great Central Road really. It is wide, mostly smooth gravel with very little traffic. Nothing was open on Good Friday. We tried Warakurna and Docker River with no success. Both had little signs offering to open and provide fuel for a $20 fee. No one was around though. Unfortunately Giles Weather Station was closed - we wanted to show the kids one of Len Beadell's creations. Docker River was very shabby with groups of people sitting around on the ground, rubbish blowing everywhere.

Just passed Docker River we pulled into a roadside stop that just happened to be Lasseter's Cave...oops nearly forgot. The kid's each had a place to research before we left and Jack had chosen the Cave. We wouldn't have been very popular if we'd forgotten to stop! A sign and an archway pointed the way so we donned hats and FOF fly nets before making the short walk besides the dried up river bed. Jack proclaimed "it's very small!" and we all wondered how someone could live in there for weeks....I guess if you were desperate, any port in a storm...

The next job was to pull out the now trusty Tanami Pump and empty the four jerries on the roof giving us enough range to make the Rock. The road from now on deteriorated significantly but nothing too bad. There was much evidence of water and we were later to find that the dark clouds and lightning strikes we'd seen over the last few days had dropped 22 mills on Yulara. Our neighbours to be claimed to have been struck by a bolt of lightning in their camper trailer also dumping collected water from their roof onto their son! Luckily no one was hurt.


Soon the very striking and almost spiritual Olga's or Kata Tjuta appeared like a huge sleeping elephant in the distance. The striking pinks and ochres of the dying day painted them in spectacular soft pastels highlighted by the muted olives of the bush. Plenty of mud and water crossings to keep my attention on the road. Then shock, horror - bitumen! Had to keep the speed down as we elected not to reinflate the tyres for the short run into Yulara. We started to encounter tourists and buses...quite a shock to the senses after our short bush isolation and one that wanted me to return there already!

The Rock appeared, slowly growing larger. We had already decided that we wouldn't be visiting these icons this trip as we had spent a lot of time walking around and doing the sunset thing last year on our way to Tassy. This trip had a different focus and thanks to the long drive we'd caught up on the schedule that we don't have, making up the time lost on the incredibly rough Gunbarrel.

Yulara was at its touristy finest, Britzes, camper trailers, caravans and tents everywhere - after all it is Easter! Luckily we avoided the overflow and managed to obtain a powered site to recondition the batteries. The left front LED indicator appears to have either blown or disconnected from its ballast due to a water crossings and is flashing at a hundred miles and hour - another job for the to do list. The weather here is great, coolish, around 28 with a refreshing breeze. No dust as everything has been dampened from the rain. Booking in at the Voyages reception was quick and efficient with lots of advertising and touristy blurb handed over. Cost us about $55 for us all and we soon were off to a powered site at the back next to some friendly Victorians. Marsupial mice kept visiting our camp, darting everywhere, probably used to being fed by European tourists. Long hot showers were our reward before the traditional fish followed by a treat....Connoisseur Vanilla Bean ice cream from our Evakool. Our 60 litre fridge/ freezer had been modified for this trip. Evakools' usually have inside freezer panels down one end only. On previous trips this had been insufficient to freeze everything in extremely hot weather. We always use this one as a freezer and the Engel in the Cruiser as the fridge. This makes some sense so that when we travel with just the Cruiser, there are always cold drinks and fresh food available. Evakool repanelled the complete fridge for us all the way around and this was the first time we'd properly trialled it. It has improved but my concern is that it uses more power than it should, it seems to be cycling quite a bit showing -5 amps on the Victron monitor? The modified Evakool still doesn't freeze properly down the far end. Oh well, soft serve Connoisseur Vanilla Bean isn't too bad!

Our planning should have allowed for more down time on this part and certainly more time allowance for the Gunbarrel. I can feel us all becoming more tired with the constant travel and overnight set ups. Unfortunately, the need to book ahead in Queensland and the Kimberleys has meant that we had to have some sort of schedule. We'll make for Boggy Holes today for an overnight and then make Palm Valley a day trip only. We'll use the extra night at Alice for a two night stop and stock up. Easter probably means that Palm Valley will be full with locals anyway.....
Mike & Amanda
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