The Kimberley WA - Silent Grove, Galvans Gorge and dust, dust, dust to Drysdale Station.

Saturday, Jun 24, 2006 at 00:00


Saturday 24th June
The Kimberley WA

It was an interesting night with carnivorous critters terrorizing us all night violating our rubbish bags in search of meaty morsels. It hit our table first and I disturbed it about 2.30 a.m., the wee beastie scampering off into the undergrowth. Having realised that it was after the discarded meat tray in the bag, I tied the bag up and hung it high in a nearby tree. Not to be discouraged, the beastie then hit John and Jules rummaging through the rubbish bag tied to the bullbar of their car. It upended the empty wine bottles from the bag and scavenged the chop bones from last nights dinner then retreating to the engine bay of Johns car where it picked the spoils clean. From the little paw prints and its behaviour I’d say our visitor was a quoll or similar. It was certainly not a feral cat.

Breakfast was a simple affair of cereal and toast before packing up and leaving our little camp site for the Silent Grove Camp ground and the road out. Had several incidents where oncoming traffic was moving to quickly spraying us with stones. Thankfully nothing broken although I did watch one large rock heading our way in slow motion. I envisaged the canopies side window bleep tering but it missed by centimetres and hit the trailer. I was livid and expressed my views on Channel 40 in no uncertain terms. Next one I snaked the trailer to spray a few in their direction. Certainly slows them down!

The feature of todays travels, dust, dust and more dust, oh and a few rocks thrown in. Our next stop after hitting the Gibb River Road again was some 34 km north. On the very dusty road into Beverly Springs station, we payed homage to the Frank Hahn emblazoned boab tree. It has some significance in Kimberley history and we all feel richer for the experience, we just don’t know why. I’ll do some research and get back to you.Well enough of that.

The Gibb Road wound its way through the last of the hills and escarpments of the Leopold Ranges and across House Station. Its boundaries stretched some 51 km along the road talking in the Phillips range and several gorges such as Adcocks and our personal favourite, Galvan’s Gorge. On our arrival here we found a Geelong couple and their two kids in distress and obeying the first law of the bush, we rendered immediate and effective assistance. They’d hired a Britz Toyota Landcruiser 4x4 complete with roof top tent etc. Only problem was that their Hydraulic jack was stuffed making it very hard to change a tire. With a little drama for good effect, we got Johns jack out and had it changed quite quickly. A few anxious moments when the jack started to develop a lean to the rear but all was well in the end. We were hot and dusty as we farewelled them on the 14 km trip to Mt Barnet Roadhouse. The walk into Galvan’s is only a very easy 800 metres or so. The track meets the creek in a series of lovely little ponds garnished with native water lilies. You then wander up stream a short distance, past a couple of goannas sunning themselves nonchalantly on the waterside rocks and reach a sizeable pool with a spectacular water fall dropping lazily into it. It’s fringed with grasses, pandanus and large native fig trees. A very cool and inviting place for a swim.

On reaching a grassy area exactly opposite the falls, it becomes apparent that there is a second set of falls above the first guarded by a large Boab tree. All very picturesque and I couldn’t resist the temptation of a swim in the cool, clear waters. Very refreshing. From here it was only a short 14 km hop to Mt Barnet Station and Roadhouse/store. It’s had a big overhaul since I saw it last. Even the food was good so we scoffed a pie and some sundries for lunch and John took on some fuel at $1.999 per litre. We decided to skip Manning Gorge not wanting to pay the $15 per person visitor’s permit. It was then cruising down the corrugated Gibb through patches of bulldust, sand and rocky patches, fording water filled creeks to the Kalumbaru turnoff and then north again albeit on a road of infinitely superior quality.

We’ve camped the night at Drysdale Station. An interesting setup. We had visions of a dinner at the local Bar cum restaurant but one look at the menu and attached price list (all main course $35 each, entrees $16 and desert $10.) We had spaghetti bolognaise and a fire instead.

Had a bit of a chat with two carloads of people at the neighbouring camp (actually going over to steal the logs they had. Turns out they’re from Traralgon.John and Julie from Crosses Road (next to Stirling avenue Green belt) and Bridget and Warren (engineer at Loy Yang) who live in Moore Street 61 or thereabouts).

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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