Katherine to Broome


We did not get all the way to Darwin in one go. Stopped overnight at a rest area. A large grassed area and a lot of caravans there already, called Bridge Creek. Next morning to Darwin where we arrived at the Boomerang Caravan park. The Goedegebuur family had booked in there but were unable to get another night. We checked out a few caravan parks but it is the tourist season and most are booked. Finally found one and we even had a spot side by side. Next morning we had to shift again as they had booked that spot for someone else. Luckely they stuffed up the costing as it was $38 for two and $11 for each person extra. And with the Goedegebuur family with four children this would be very costly. We stayed with them for two days.
1 July. Northern Territory day. This is the only state in Australia where you can buy fireworks. It is only allowed for one day. The best place to see this was Mindill Beach. This spot is famous for it's night markets which are normally held on Thursday and Sunday night but in this case also on the Tuesday. The fireworks were spectacular and all the private fireworks must have cost a packet. We did not have a camping spot organised and normally this would not be too hard but there were people everywhere with fireworks. We ended up in the retirement housing from the priests we were with, when we worked in the mission 35 years ago. We had an appointment with Father Leary the next day. He invited us for a social function that night to bless the new house for the outgoing bishop. We also visited Gerry and Helen McCormack. They used to be our neighbours in Port Keats 35 years ago.

We were so busy that no photo's have been taken this week. 
We also spend a lot of time in the Centrelink office, because we had to inform them that we have tenants in our house so they can give us less money again. But this was not as straight forward as it seams. All the information we give them has to be backed up by documentation and that is difficult to do 3500 KM from home. It is now a week later and not sorted out yet.
We also caught up with Jaqueline and Robert which we met in Townsville and are sailing around the world already for seven years. We had a great time with them and spend the night in the carpark of the marina.
4 July. After we had morning tea with Robert and Jaqueline we were on the way again towards Katherine. I wanted to see the jumping crocodiles. We were too late for them and camped at the entrance. The crocodiles are wild but because of frequent contact with the tour operator they get trained to jump towards the buffalo meat he has on a string.

Sometimes 3/4 comes out of the water but my lens could not handle that.

The jumping crocodiles are in the Adelaide River which is on the way to Kakadu national park. We have been here before and decided not to go there this time as not much would have changed. After the tour coffee with a few Dutchies who happen to be on the boat also and on to Litchfield national park. We have also been here but this was at the end of the dry season. It is now a few month in to the dry season and there is a lot more water around. The camping area's were full so we just parked in a carpark and hoped for the best. Nobody chased us away. The views in the park were spectacular. A photo can not express the grandeur of the place.

    Tolmer Falls. Litchfield National Park.                                                        Florence Falls. Litchfield National Park.

The last stop in the park was Wangi Falls. This is the most popular spot. A large lake with a large rock wall over one side of the lake. A few waterfalls and pandanus palms all around. The water is a bit too cold for us but a lot of people are swimming.  After lunch and a sleep, in the bus again and driving towards Katherine. We spend the night in the same rest area as on the way up.

 Katherine sunset

7 July. Katherine.. The bus is using more fuel than when we started. We got advice from a diesel shop what might be wrong and found someone who could change the fuel filter for us but needed a cold motor. We were going to see him the next morning. Then off to centrelink to get our payments sorted out. They told us that the payment was cancelled due to the fact that the house was now an asset and we were above of what you were allowed to have. Here we also met Bart Goedegebuur again. After visiting the gorge we spend the evening with them in the caravan park but parked the car beside the garage for the night. It only took 20 minutes to change the filter and off we were again to the hot springs. I normally do not swim unless the water is warm and it certainly was here. Lovely clear flowing warm water. About an hour later we headed towards Kununurra.

Katherine hotsprings.

It is 500 KM to Kununurra and a two day trip. The morning after we arrive we have to be at the airport to meet Lies Schippers and Paul Dingjan. They lived in Townsville for a long time and we visited them four years ago in Tasmania. They live now in Halls Creek. They are in town to pick up Lies's two sisters who are over from Holland. We spend the morning with them and had dinner together. In the afternoon we walked through Hidden Valley. These are called the mini Bungle Bungles. Luckily it was not as hot as last time we visited this. Still as impressive as the last time.

Lies and Paul

We spend the night in front of the airport because we had booked a flight over lake Argyle and the Bungle Bungles. A seven seater plane and everyone had a good view apart from the two people on board who were as sick as a dog. The views were spectacular. Last time we drove through which we found more impressive.

 Bungle Bungle range from plane.                                                                                      Ord River from plane.

After the plane ride back to centrelink where I had to explain the whole thing again. We got a message later that they had made a mistake and our payment would be restored. After this good news we drove to the dam wall which holds all the water back for Lake Argyle.
We spend two days in the park overlooking the Ord River.
14 July:  On the way to Wyndham we saw the roadsign to El Questro resort. The Gibb River Road leads here and is generally 4 wheel drive only. But El Questro is only 60 KM from the highway and I decided to go there. The road was horrible for the motorhome. The oven fell out of the cupboard and I hit a plastic marker which smashed the indicator. Sometimes the bus shook like it was about to fall apart. The gorges and scenery are fabulous. We stayed here two nights. The only way we could see the gorges was to order a "taxi" as the road was too rough for us. This is 4 wheel drive paradise.

A good part of the Gibb River Road. Susan did not video when the road was too rough.

17 July.  Left El Questro in the morning and on the way back stopped at Emma Gorge. This is probably the nicest gorge of them all and only 2KM from the main road. In the afternoon to Wyndham. Half way to Wyndham is a rocky elongated hole with a steep path which lead to a waterhole at the bottom. Bottle trees everywhere. We spend the night here all by our selves.

The Grotto. The tree you see is a bottle brush.  The natives call it an upside down tree because the branches look like roots.

Wyndham is not very much. A harbour for cattle exports and the five river lookout. Last time we drove up here we pulled a 4 wheel drive and the trip was very slow. This time it went much faster despite our 7 ton weight. I had hoped to stay here for the night but no camping signs everywhere. We had to drive the same road back and about half way and 10 KM off the highway there is an unsealed road which leads to a billabong with thousands of different birds in it. It was well worth it. We spend the night at the Grotto again only this time we had company.
18 July. Off towards Halls Creek. The place has improved dramatically since we were here last. We got here on a Saturday and most places were about to close. There are a few things to see around Halls Creek and all involve unsealed corrugated roads. This means you clean the bus in the morning and at night there is a thick layer of dust on everything. Susan is getting very nervous from all the rattles and shakes. Halls Creek is an old goldmining town and I do have an gold detector. But it appears that the thing did not like all the shaking and is not working.
We are camping somewhere in the bush half way Halls Creek and old Halls Creek. Next night we stayed in Halls Creek caravan park mainly because they have the only dump site in town and you are only allowed to use it as a resident. There is not much to do in Halls Creek but on a Sunday it is completely dead. They have a beautiful sports field and swimming pool but nothing is being used.

 Heaps of fresh water crocodiles in Geikie Gorge.

Next day direction Fitzroy crossing. we had a stop for two days at a rest area. Mary's pool is a very popular 24 Hour stay. It is besides the Margaret river and the first night we stayed there there were 100 caravans and motorhomes. We spend another night here.
Fitzroy crossing has a very nice camp/resort. The town itself is a bit like Halls Creek. It's main attraction is Geike Gorge and as staging point to Tunnel Creek and Windjana Gorge. We took a boat tour to Geike Gorge. Impressive rock formations and heaps of crocodiles. After lunch we hit the road again and stayed at another rest area for two days. One day was for cleaning. We will never get rid of the red dust but one has to try.
Susan had said a few days earlier that she did not want to go to Derby but when we got closer she realised that it was only a 40 KM detour and we decided to go. There was not much in the town but spend the day and night beside the jetty. Derby has the largest difference between high and low tide in Australia. When it is full moon it can be 11 Metres difference. The sun is going down very fast in this part of the world.
Next day a visit to the Boab prison tree. A lot of Boab trees are hollow and because they can be enormous have been used as prisons. Mainly for the aborigines.

Derby wharf at high and low tide

 Boab prison tree.                                                                      This gives a better idea of the size of the tree.

Sunday 27 July. 220 KM to Broome. All caravan parks full but they have what they call overflow area's. We stay at the PCYC. Tucked away in a corner somewhere and still $25 per night. All we did in Broome was shopping, internet and spend a lot of time at Cable Beach. Every man and his dog is at Cable Beach for the sunset. because of the clear blue skies we having day after day the sunset is not very spectacular. The camels on the beach are always fantastic to watch sunset or not. We stayed two nights in Broome. The last day all afternoon at Cable beach till well after sunset and afterwards we drove 30 KM out of town towards Port Hedland.

Broome, camels at Cable Beach.