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A Gibb River Road wet seson trip report.
March 31, 2008

***What's Happening In The Kimberley?***

A (hopelessly) irregular e-letter with news, site updates and travel tips.
By Birgit Bradtke
Subscribe at www.kimberleyaustralia.com

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1 April 2008, Issue #007
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In this issue:

**A wet season trip report and... tyre pressures again.
** Destination Kimberley Guide Updates
** What's New?

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A wet season trip report and... tyre pressures again.
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I talk about tyre pressures on the website.
I talk about tyre pressures in the book.
Other readers have talked about tyre pressures.

Did it help?

On Friday I met two of my readers. They rocked up in a mud covered hired 4WD camper and declared they just had to thank me personally for the guide book, which was a godsend. (Their words.)

In the guide book I mention where I live, but you can't find me with that information alone. I am well hidden. Or so I thought. Ha! They just drove around until they spotted someone on the road and asked for directions. Through pure luck they happened to be in the right area and that person was on of my neighbours... So here they were.

Once I had recovered from my surprise I was obviously delighted by their enthusiasm for the guide and impressed with their determination to find me.

The guys unfortunately had very little time but I managed to quiz them a bit on their wet season impressions:

** They did follow the Gibb River Road from Broome all the way to Mt. Barnett Roadhouse, but there was no way they could cross the Barnett River. ("We couldn't even see the other side of it!") They promised to send photos.

** In four days on the Gibb River Road they saw four other vehicles.

** They managed to get into Tunnel Creek, but when driving out again they discovered that the road had been closed in the meantime.

** They managed to get into Windjana Gorge but there was just water and no visible path. No crocodiles either.

** Lennard Gorge was impressive but there was no path at all, just two metre high cane grass. ("Just like it says in your book.")

** They went into Galvans Gorge. It was a bigger excursion than expected because there was no path. (Notice a theme here?)

** They NEARLY got stuck on the way to Adcock Gorge but turned around in time.

** They got themselves bogged on the way to Middle Springs ("Black mud, just like you said in the book.") and discovered their campervan did not have the promised recovery gear on board.

** They thought Black Rock was awesome.

** They absolutely loved the trip, but want to come back in May/June 2009 to see the rest.

I don't remember if or where in the book I mention "black soil". Australian 4WDers would be familiar with it. The slippery and boggy mud (due to the high clay content) is not an issue during the tourist season, but it is during the wet. The pleasures of a wet season trip...

Yep, most our paths disappear over the wet, and unfortunately a few roads do, too.

Oh, the tyre pressure thing... Well, they also mentioned that they'd blown a tyre. The conversation then went something like this:

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B: (slightly furrows her brow) Ey?
J: Yeah, straight away, the second we hit the Gibb River Road.
B: (glances at tyres which look about right)
J: Yes, I know, I know. We didn't deflate them. Stupid. They are down now.
B: How much air did you have in them?
J: 55 psi
B: (throws hands in the air and changes the topic)
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If this could have been you, go and re-read the chapter on tyre pressures. Tyres are expensive.

Anyway, it was great to have a chat to people who weren't afraid to come up here in the wet season. J knows someone who used to work up here as a tour guide and who had told him, "If you want to avoid the tourists crowds and see the place at its best, go now!" So they did.

You could tell by the look of their car that they'd had fun and that it had been a real adventure. Good on them.

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Destination Kimberley Guide Updates
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One reader wrote in and asked if he can download an updated version of the guide book. He is not travelling until September, and not printing the book until then, and when he prints it he wants the latest version.

Of course you can! That's the idea and that is one of the benefits of an electronic book. It's always up to date.

You know from the newsletter updates if there have been big changes. If you feel you'd rather have an updated version to print, just email me. Include your original order receipt and I'll send you a link to the latest version.

There are no updates this time, but in response to another reader's question I dug up two useful links that are neither in the guide nor on the website, so I thought I'd mention them here. Would you like to know the exact tide times and sunrise/sunset times during your trip? You can check them here:

Tides:

http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/imarine/tide-predictions.asp

Why does it matter? Tides are obviously of crucial importance to fishermen, but not only. I mention tides at several places in the guide. For example, they matter if you are hoping to see the original dinosaur footprints in Broome, or the wrecks of the Flying Boats, if you are looking at any coastal walks, or if want to see the water rush in or out of the King Sound at the Derby wharf. Life on the coast is ruled by the tides.

Sunrise and sunset:

http://www.sunrisesunset.com/Australia/

Why does it matter? The sunset times may surprise you. The sun sets very early. And--as in all tropical regions--it doesn't sink slowly. It drops below the horizon and it's dark within 15 to 30 minutes. Dusk is not an hours long affair as it is closer to the poles. It's easy to get caught out by this if you're not used to it!

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What's New?
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There is nothing much new on the website at the moment, I only did some cleaning up and re-organising.

Unfortunately I had to update the page about the "Priceless Campsites" books.

http://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/camping-in-western-australia.html

These books have been out of print for a while. I am receiving more and more reports from readers who are unable to track them down. Most stores have run out now.

If you are visiting just the Kimberley it's not a big drama. You can find all those free campsites in Destination Kimberley.

But it's bad news for all those readers who are on bigger trips.

I do know similar books exist, but I don't know yet how good they are. I will do some research and reading to see if I can find something else I can wholeheartedly recommend.

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And that's all for today. By the way, it's fairly dry at the moment and last night it even cooled down! (To 23 degrees.)

You could be fooled into thinking the wet is over. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't. Let's see what April brings.

I still receive the odd email asking me when exactly this or that track will open.

The answer never changes. It depends on the weather. And--as they are so fond of saying up here:

"Only fools and newcomers try to predict the weather."


More from the Kimberley soon,
B. (Birgit)

Feedback:
http://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/contact.html

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(c) 2005-2008, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved. The Kimberley Guide is published by Birgit Bradtke in Kununurra, WA 6743, Australia. Reproduction of any material from this newsletter without written permission is prohibited.

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