Aussie Adventures 2015- Gibb River Rd Pt 2 and Northwest Coast

Tuesday, Jun 30, 2015 at 00:30

Member - Muncey 72

The Silent Grove Camp ground is quite big with 2 areas to camp one with Generators and one without, good toilets and showers. Got up reasonably early to do the walk into Bell Gorge before the tour groups arrived, the start of the walk is very flat and easy which leads you out onto the top of the falls. The view is awesome and we could not wait to get down into the water. The walk down is quite steep and a bit tricky but the boys got down there like a couple of mountain goats. The water was lovely in and we jumped, bombed and swam for ages. The water coming over the falls was awesome with a huge amount of power that pushed you back. After a couple of hours the tour groups started to make there decent on the gorge so it was time to go. As we were walking back Alex slipped on a rock whilst crossing the top of the falls and fell in the water, trying not to laugh we checked she was ok. All good just a bruise on the knee for Alex and sore ribs from laughing for me and the boys. Got a fire going in the rings provided and Maz made some bread for lunch and some scones for afternoon tea Yum.
Got packed up and headed to Windjana Gorge, on the way you pass through the Napier Range which is an awesome rock ridge that rises out of nowhere and is in complete contrast to the rest of the landscape. Windjana camp ground has 2 sections and a day use area. Got set up and decided to do a short walk into the gorge to see if we could spot a croc or 2. The Gorge is part of a 350million year old Devonian Reef, you can still see fossils and the coral pattern on the rock. The crocs were everywhere all basking in the sun just like the pictures you see on the postcards. Some of them we quite big 2metres plus and others that the kids thought were really cute were tiny. Morgan now wants one as a pet! Watched the sunset from camp which lit up the Napier Range and the stars were amazing.
Whilst having breakfast we watched a bower bird build and decorate his nest it was so cool they are an amazing bird and the nest was pretty flash. We headed back into the Gorge to see the crocs again and do the longer walk further up the gorge. Again the Crocs were sun bathing in all their glory, the walk further up the gorge was ok no much really to see as you’re walking through the scrub alongside the gorge. The trail has also been shortened by 2 kms due to trail damage. On the way back though we did see another Bower Birds nest this one was like the Taj Mahal both ends was decorated in everything and anything that was white or shiny. The kids played the rest of the arvo whilst Maz and I done the washing. A heap of Double Barred Finches were playing in and around the water tap next to us, there faces look like little penguins.
Got packed up and drove the 30kms to Tunnel Creek. We had been talking to the kids about this place for ages and everyone was pretty excited, that was until Morgan got the torch that produced less light than a candle. He did perk up when I said he could use mine which was like a floodlight. The walk through the tunnel was awesome, you’re walking through the creek which is up to your knee in spots in the pitch black. There were no Crocs but plenty of bats, the roof was full of stalagmites. The Tunnel was 700m long with a small opening half way along, once out the other end we found some Aboriginal Rock Art which was good. Back through the tunnel I pretended a croc was near us and ran, everyone bolted through the water pushing their way in front. Great fun.
Had morning tea before heading off again on the Leopold Downs Rd to a free camp which we had heard about. It is on Wiki Camps called Mother Earth and is about 5kms from the Great Northern Highway. Great spot in amongst the Oscar ranges surrounded by all these rocks it was so peaceful and we found a huge cave which was full of Rock Art. Looking over the camp was a massive formation that look like Optimus Prime from Transformers. Got the shower set up and everyone had a nice warm shower under the stars.
June 17th had a great night sleep and got packed up. Alex noticed that the fridge was not working, a quick check found the 12v lead had been crimped which had blown the fuse in the plug. Changed the fuse and we were back in business. Decided to head to Fitzroy Crossing to see Geikie Gorge and get the rear shockie fixed. We had been hearing a knocking sound again from the rear of the car and when I had a good look the rear driver’s side shockie top mounting bolt has sheared off. Got to Fitzroy Crossing and checked into the Lodge Caravan Park, Lovely Park with green grass, camp kitchen and good hot showers. Went and saw the only Mechanic in town and got the car booked in for the next day. Went for a swim in the park pool which was lovely they even had banana trees around the pool. The kids had a game of tennis whilst Maz and I cleaned out the camper. Went to the bar at the Lodge for tea and to watch game 2 of the state of Origin. Had a great night with the locals they were getting very vocal, the manager cut off full strength alcohol twice through the night because it was apparently getting to loud. This did not deter the crowd as they just bought twice as much midstrength.
Dropped the car off at 7a.m and walked back to the caravan park with Alex. We all had a game of tennis which was very entertaining, the coordination gean on Maz’s side unfortunately has been passed on! The ball spent more time out of the court than in. Picked the car up all good they put a new bolt in the shockie mount and said luckily it had not worn through the underside of the car. Went through all the kids’ books and stuff we had bought along the way and boxed it up and sent it home. Told the kids they can buy some more books when we get to Broome. Drove out to Geikie Gorge and hopped on the boat tour which was at 4p.m. As we were the only ones with kids we got to sit at the front, bonus. The tour was really good, plenty of info and the colours of the gorge were awesome. The volume of water that goes down this river in the wet is the largest in Australia, amazing. Headed back to camp and Watched Adelaide V Hawthorn at the Lodge, again the locals were out in force, alcohol was again cut off to midstrentgh only. At one point one lady was in front of the TV shouting go pies! Walked back to camp, sat outside the camper looking at the stars and watching the dozens of Rock Wallaby’s hoping around, does it get any better than this?
Packed up early and headed to Derby only stopping at a rest stop for a cuppa, the rest stop was called the Boab and there was a monster of a Boab tree there must have been 1000 yrs. old. Got to Derby and checked into the Kimberly entrance a park for 3 nights. Great park pretty big sights and good showers and toilets. Everyone is pretty excited as we are off to the Horizontal falls to stay there overnight. The time finally came and we hopped on the shuttle bus to the airport, Alex got the co-pilot seat on the seaplane whilst Morgan and I had the back seats which had the most leg room I have ever had on a plane flight. The flight out to the house boat was 30mins and pretty cool swooping down into Talbot Bay and landing on the water was great. Dropped our gear off on the house boat in our allocated cabin and we were into the jet and blasting our way towards the falls, wow. The first falls was a 1 1/2meter difference between the 2 bodies of water and the boat cruised through this easy the next was a narrower gap with the same falls height. The water power was amazing the jet boat had to do 14 knots just keep its position. Whirlpools were being formed as the masses of water rushed through the gap the guide was saying that up to 4 million litres a minute pass through the gap! Back to the house boat for a quick swim with the local sharks albeit in a cage. They were about 3metres in length and were Tawny nurse sharks. Then it was back into the jet boat and a slower cruise up Cyclone creek. Once back at the house boat it was drinks and nibbles whilst the crew prepared the Barramundi for tea. The amount of fish and sharks around the boat reminded you not to fall in, the food was lovely with Morgan giving it a score 10/10. Everyone chatted and mingled as the night went on it was very relaxing and the sunset was magic.
Up at 5:30 as me and the boys had a chopper to catch, a 10minute flight over the bay which the boys loved. Harrison-Merlin, Myself-Iceman but Morgan refused to be Goose. It was great listening to them speak through the headsets to the pilot who of course was happy to be Maverick. Flying over the falls was so cool and gave you a better idea of the sheer size of the area. Back to the house boat and we were whizzed onto another jet boat and back up through the falls again this time we did not go through the smaller gap as the height was 2-3 meters high. The tides were 10 meter tides when we done the tour but they can go even higher. Everyone had a ball and would have done it again if we had the money. It was not cheap but if you are going to do one thing whilst up this way add it to your bucket list. Back on the houseboat it was time to say goodbye to the crew and hop back onto the seaplane for the journey back to Derby. What a 16hrs totally awesome.
The next couple of days in Derby were spent at the local pool, shops and wharf where everyone goes to see the sunset. Leaving Derby we stopped at the Boab prison tree, this tree was used to hold aboriginals on their way to the main lock up. There is an old photo there which shows aboriginals chained up with shackles around there neck and feet, quite confronting how they were treated back then. Cruised into Broome and checked into the Cable Beach Villas as Maz birthday is soon so thought this would be a nice surprise. The kids loved it and so did Alex, using every power point in the villa to charge all her appliances. Good to chill in brome for a couple of days, got the car serviced, done some shopping, swam and sun bathed on cable beach, stocked up on food and fuel $1:39 and had a lovely Thai meal at Sum Thai it was gorgeous and very spicy. I gave Morgan some of my Chilli Duck and he proceeded to drink 2 litres of water and every piece of cucumber left on the table. I also got a massage as my neck has been sore from driving, after the hour massage my whole body is now sore. Whilst getting a massage Maz and the kids went to the visitors centre where they were accosted by a local couple Moses and Collen who preceded to tell stories, sing and shout at each other, apparently quite a comical act.
After the luxury of the Villa it was back on the road and canvas as we headed north to Quondong Point. Had a look around here but could not find a spot we liked so we carried on north to James Price Point. Glad we did as we found a spot on top of a small cliff overlooking the ocean with no one else in sight. Go set up and headed down the beach for a fish, second cast got a lovely black spotted Tusk Fish over 400m that’s tea. Hooked a few Snook but lost them, was about to have a swim to cool off with the boys until we saw a 2metre shark cruising passed only a few feet from shore we also saw a heap of turtles and dolphins it was also another great sunset. Woke early and walked up the beach with Alex as it was low tide, the amount of shells washed up was amazing we spent hours looking through the rock holes even saw a couple of small Octopus. Had another fish but no luck this time but the sunset was again superb? Got a fire going and had marshmallows before hitting the sac. It’s a pretty unique place up here and to think it may be all a gas plant in years to come…..let’s hope not.
Back on the road again and down to Barn Hill Station for 3 nights, great spot overlooking the ocean similar to James Price Point lovely white sand with deep red cliffs as a back drop. The showers and toilets have no roofs which is pretty cool, showers are best used about 3p.m as after that they are freezing as the kids found out. More fishing produced Mangrove Jack and Moses Snapper, Harrison caught quite a few fish but Morgan did not catch anything and was getting a bit wound up. He later told me the reason he did catch a fish was because he was cold and shivering the rod was shaking and he could not tell if it was a bite or not! Met some lovely people at Barn Hill including a couple travelling with Monty there Kelpie, he was upset because he had lost his tennis ball in the ocean and whilst the couple are explaining this, Monty ducks into the van then comes out with throwing stick that the guy uses to launch his ball. We had a ball that we had found ages ago so we gave him that and he went crazy. On the Sunday night we had booked into to have the roast dinner that the owners put on at $17 a head. It turns out this is quite the social thing with at least 80% of the people staying turning up. (200+)With a local aboriginal family doing the music and karaoke it was a really good night. Some of the oldies can still bust a move or two. Travelled 12500kms so far.
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