Burton's Perth to Cape York Darwin to Kununurra 14 -19 June 2011 Day 76-81

Tuesday, Jun 19, 2012 at 15:09

Mike & Amanda


The drive to Litchfield was uneventful excepting for the caravans and campervans travelling at well below the speed limit. Here in the NT the marked limit is 130 kph with these guys ambling along at 80! Mind you with the Cruiser continuing to play up I'm nearly joining them! The solvent and clean hasn't helped the problem, it is still surging and having no power. It definitely occurs only after a couple of hours of driving and will stop if the car is turned off and left to cool for a little while, before starting again later. When we had a brief moment of reception Amanda phone Toyota in Kununurra and booked us in for Tuesday. I'll get all fluids changed, diffs, gearbox, engine and the fuel filter (if they can find it LOL). We chose the bitumen into Litchfield, a twisty, winding route, mainly because of the engine issue and also because we are over dust for a short time (don't worry, we'll be back to normal soon...). We arrived at the Wangi campsite early, finding it to be a twisty maze of circling bitumen, again with little carved bollards bays surrounded by bush. We jagged a great spot, later learning that they are in great demand with a constant stream of wannabes coming in all day. The solar panel was up as no generators are allowed. The shower block was close, just a short walk, the water solar heated, the showers equipped with the obligatory mossies. Wangi Falls are easy access, just a short stroll from the camp until you encounter a huge pool backed by twin falls plunging from very high up, the whole thing ringed by tall backing rock. Easy access means very popular and the place was packed, even day visitors from Darwin clogging this pristine spot. We dodged the elderly geriatrics, jumped over walking frames, and shouldered aside the blissfully ignorant unawares until we managed to swim in the cool clear waters. Kate and Jack discovered a deep spa like pool a couple of metres up the rock face, filled with very warm water...ahhh, bliss. The other falls cascaded down, us finding a snake sunning itself on the rock near the cooling splashes. We visited this pool a couple of times for a refreshing swim and a cleansing wash. The best time was early in the morning and late in the evening after the hoards had left. Definitely a great spot and the best swimming hole in the park.

The next day we visited all the attractions, the furtherest being the waste-of-time magnetic termite mounds. Once again the Parks people have built a little information bay, a fenced board walk miles from the mounds so that you can just about see three or four mounds some distance away. Years ago when I last visited you could walk amongst them, much more awe inspiring. Florence Falls was packed. It required a 154 steep steps to get down, a clamber over slippery rocks and finally a swim in a small pool, very difficult for the old and lame. The falls were quite impressive and we enjoyed a swim before taking the rainforest walk back. Buley Rockholes were quite pleasant, a series of rock pools joined by small cascading rapids and falls. Entry was a little difficult and the place was once again packed with backpackers and adventure bus tourists. The Lost City access track was 10 kilometres of dirt, not too rough leading to an uninspiring pile of burnt out limestone rocks, hardly worth the effort. To make matters worse the access track to Blythe Homestead had been closed meaning a backtrack all the way to the main road and then back down the Reynolds River track ( which is good fun). We visited the homestead, tackled some great water crossings and checked out Sandy Creek campsite which again didn't look too good.

The toilets were closed, blaming tourists for using too much water and each little bollard bay was full. We headed back and checked out the Reynolds River track which was gated closed and marked no entry. At Jim Jim we met a traveller who told us to ignore this and take the bypass round the locked gate which he'd made previously. He claimed the whole road was fine and the main river crossing no problems...which sort of leads to the question of why it was closed? To be honest though, both Sandy and Surprise Creek campsites may be attractive and remote, however they are just too far from Wangi and the rest of the park to come back and forth all the time. I think the best option is to jag a spot at Wangi, visit the highlights and leave, preferably via the Reynolds River.

We backtracked all the way to Katherine before driving along the bitumised Savannah Way to Victoria River, where we camped behind the roadhouse with 300 grey nomads. Every road side stop along the way was infested with dozens of caravans by lunchtime, many with small dogs even in the National Park sites. We were glad to move on, thinking we'd head off into the bush if we needed to as a better option.

At the WA border quarantine gave us a brief once over, surprisingly not even checking underneath for cane toads. The guy made some initial sounds about mud and seeds before waving us through...I had visions of another Tasmania, having to wash the car before they'd let us in.....

Lake Argyle Village beckoned, as we wound our way through the red cliffs, we could tell we were back in WA! Set up on a grassed area, swam in the infinity pool and waited for Pat and Jeff to arrive for their first 4WD holiday.

p.s. Pat and Jeff arrive at about 3pm and i spend Wednesday in town getting the sick Toyota looked at and several hours uploading this damn blog!

Mike & Amanda
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