Monday, September 10, 2012

The Nomad Chronicles V

On the way to Wyndham we visited The Grotto.  It was a little like The Blowhole near Pt Campbell but with a path down the edge to a deep pool at the bottom.   It must look spectacular in the wet – like a lot of things we have seen.  

The caravan park at Wyndham had lots of shady ghost gums and an old boab tree reported to be 2000 years old.  The old town (port) has a lot of old buildings.  Many seemed to be owned by Pixie who operated the bricabrac shop & knew the Laxtons from Warrnambool.  The museum was full of information about the meat works, pioneering & the bombings during the war.  The tide peaked at 7m that day.   The fisherman were complaining because of the muddy water.   

The port exports some nickel & live cattle.  Iron ore is carted in road trains with 2 super dogs & a B double (to make 4 trailers).  They cart 24 hours a day from 60 kms north of Turkey Creek to a stockpile next to a conveyor that delivers to barges.  The ore carriers must not be able to come in to Cambridge Bay.  The small freighter was above the wharf when we arrived & well below at sunset as the tide went out.   Nice barramundi at the pub for lunch.  Saw the sunset from the look out where you could see the 5 rivers (Orde, King, Forrest, Pentacost & Durack) and lots of tidal flats.

The drive south was more scenic than we expected.  The highway was flanked by quite high ranges.  We were surprised to meet Lyn Turner(fellow nursing trainee) from Warrnambool, while having lunch at Turkey Creek (Warnum).   The 56 km. drive into the Bungle Bungles (now Purnululu world heritage are) was quite challenging with about 5 water crossings, sharp ridges & a lot of corrugations.  The first part is through Mabel Downs station.  Then we had another 12 kms to the camp site which share a water tap & toilet with 4 other sites.   It is then another 26 kms to where you are able to be in the actual Bungle Bungles – but well worth it.  We stayed 3 nights and walked to the Cathedral Gorge and around the Domes on the second day.  

In the afternoon we braved a 30 minute flight.  The small Robinson helicoptor had no doors & we were told to divest ourselves of anything that could be sucked off or out of our pockets.  The pilot must have noticed that Cally’s knuckles were white & her eyes were closed tight for the first 5 minutes.  He said you just ride it like a motor bike.   That was a bit unfortunate because the first flight we had tried to organise from Wyndham  was aborted because that pilot fell off his motorbike!   

The next day we walked the Echidna Chasm where the conglomerate nature of the Bungle Bungles was more obvious.  It was well worth the effort to see such a unique geological wonder close up.

After the slow trip back to the highway we made our way down to Halls Creek where the annual rodeo was in progress.  We had a quick look in but it was the kid’s gymkana this afternoon.  We missed the camp drafting & would have had to wait to see the rodeo events.  We drove until we saw a kangaroo at sunset so pulled into Larrawa Station camp ground.  They run 900 head of cattle at 1 to 100 acres but needed the extra income from a nice camp ground for travellers.  They had hot showers, flushing toilets & fire places.  When all the young African Mahoganys grow it will be very good.  

Fitzroy Crossing is a much greener town than Halls Creek.  The Information centre was closed (being Sunday) but we did a little shopping at a nice new IGA that had good produce at reasonable prices.   We had lunch at Geikie Gorge & did a little exploring.  The cliffs are not imposing but have interesting colours.  We decide not to wait for the cruise but pushed on up the road to Tunnel Creek as there is a good camp spot in an old quarry along the way.  The first few kilometres had a side track that had turned to bull dust & needed 4wd.  Apart from a few more soft patches the road was good.  A few others are reading from the same map so we are not alone.   

It is a little like camping in the Stoney Rise, as we are sited between lots of grey outcrops.  It is part of the Leopold Ranges.   There is a small chasm where we are able to dip a bucket to get what appears to be good water.  All the kids that went for a swim seem to have made the return journey past our camp so there can’t be any crocodiles there – hungry ones at any rate.  The day time temperatures are back to 23 – 25 degrees.  Mornings require a jumper for a short time.

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