North Kimberley Day 25 - Pentecost River to Drysdale River

Monday, Jul 16, 2001 at 00:00

ExplorOz - David & Michelle

Day 25 - Monday 16/7/01
Start - Drysdale River
Stop - Kalumburu
Trip Odometer - 238.7km
Stopped time - 2.35hrs
Moving average - 60.2km/hr
Moving time - 3.57hrs
Max speed - 6.33hrs

Although we were camped at the Drysdale River, which is a few kilometres past Drysdale Station, we all wanted to backtrack to see if we could purchase alcohol and to meet up with Anne (after previously exchanging emails regarding road conditions for ExplorOz) and to just have a general look around. It was here that we learned that someone had winched back the roadblocks and removed the sign that Anne uses to keep campers off the Drysdale River. There is camping further along the eastern edge of the river at a rockpool on the station called “Miners Pool” or you can camp on the station with full facilities, green lawns, bar, good hot food etc, but as I told Anne, were weren’t to know as we were just following the guidebook. Mareki from Jacks Waterhole also was disappointed about errors in the Kimberley Adventures Guide book – but as I told them, it’s the same with all books – they’re usually out of date the day they hit the bookstores and that’s why ExplorOz works, because the internet can be updated daily.

As you can imagine, we have focussed on work a fair bit out here. Talking to people, distributing flyers and stickers as well as recording our track logs on GPS that we will have available for download within our new trek notes at the end of this trip. Keeping the computers and software running is a bit of an effort – we are concerned that the corrugations may affect the hard drives as we have to have the computers running to be able to interface the mapping software with the GPS unit. So far, all has been pretty smooth – however occasionally, OziExplorer has crashed and we haven’t noticed which means we lose the track log, but its simply a matter of downloading the data from the GPS unit back to the laptop. Both ourselves and Colin are recording in this manner so every few nights we network our laptops and run backups of one-anothers computers in case one machine does have a permanent failure.

Between us we have 4 computers – each vehicle runs a laptop specifically for track log recording, whilst a second computer is for work/correspondence and is only used when we have mobile phone service to pickup email.

When we eventually left Drysdale Station it was midday but we anticipated about a 3 – 4 hour drive to Kalumburu. Before we left however, we began collecting “fines” from ourselves as “swearing tax” to fund Leah’s schooling. They way we’re behaving this trip we think we’ll have the next 15yrs paid off before we get home! Unfortunately, it is likely that her first word uttered may turn out to be some form of blasphemy…

The track north from Drysdale Station to the Mitchell Falls turnoff was rather more straightforward than we had anticipated. After everything we’ve come through to get this far, this was just another bit of track but with a lot of wet creek crossings. The conditions varied considerably, and up this way conditions can change daily depending on how much traffic has passed through between grading and how early/late in the season you are travelling. For us – we encountered numerous creek crossings, some no more than wet the tyres, whilst others were about as deep as the top of the tyres. There was a lot of traffic on the road and in fact the major concern was the passing traffic. Again, we found most travellers were towing either camper trailers or small boats.

It took us 1hr 25mins to cover the 103km from Drysdale River to the Mitchell Plateau turnoff. There is a large clearing and plenty of trees for either a lunch stop or if your desperate enough to camp besides the road, you could easily camp here. It is well signed here with distances to all the areas of interest on either the Mitchell Plateau Road or further north to Kalumburu. At this point it is still another 103km to Kalumburu.

We continued north at Carson Creek, about 20km south of Kalumburu found possible camps besides a beautiful flowing river with a decent enough crossing to get a good washdown!

We arrived into Kalumburu a little before 4pm, just in time to arrange our permits. The community office closes at 4pm but you can also get your permits from either McGowan Island or Honeymoon Bay camp grounds. There is no real stress about this permit – in fact we found the community office to be well organised. You will be asked to fill in an official form with your home address and details and for $25 you will get a sticker to put on the windscreen of your vehicle for the duration of your stay. You will also get a 4 page info sheet with useful info and a mud map.

This info should be more readily available to people before arriving so our trek notes for this region will include detailed visiting and planning info.

About the only thing the map doesn’t tell you is how far, or how long it takes to reach the camps… be prepared, the tracks are a bit narrow, sandy and slow and it will take about 35minutes to reach Honeymoon Bay (the furthest camp) – the signage also isn’t that great!

We have heard from all sorts of sources that Honeymoon Baby was the place to visit so made the effort to get there, even though it was the furthest from Kalumburu and it was nearing sunset. Actually, we were quite disappointed on arrival. Local kids were crawling about the place, which looked like a dump and it looked nothing like we’d expected – no beautiful coastline, just dusty camps at the top of a hill with a distant view of a rather ordinary bay. But, it was late, we were tired and we agreed to reserve judgement til the next day.
David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Always working not enough travelling!
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