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What happened to the June issue? May, June, July, rain, photos and reports...
July 16, 2010

16/17 July 2010, Issue #026

In this issue:
  • What happened to the June issue?
  • May/June/July 2010 - Rain, Reader Photos and Trip Reports
  • Gregory National Park returned to Aboriginal owners

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After long last I am game enough to send out another newsletter issue...

What happened to the June issue?

As most of you will know from my website, I have been on the road myself for quite some time. And as usual, internet access is patchy.

I had spent some time and money to make sure that I'd be able to get my laptop online on a regular basis. I had been promised a lot. And as usual, the reality looks very different.

On top of that my computer time in general is very limited.
It's not that I didn't find the time to put a newsletter together, I could have.

But I know that whenever I send one I need to spend two to three full days dealing with the email flood it triggers. And I never had a chance to take those days off to dedicate them to a newsletter response.

And if I don't keep my inbox at a reasonable level, then I can't see the urgent mails (e.g. from customers who have run into technical problems) with a glance, in the little time I usually have.

It appears the guides and websites have become too popular!!!

Customer support has of course first priority, so that's why you missed out on your June issue. Sorry!

Usually, by this time of the year, things start to quieten down anyway. Most changes happen over the wet, and most people do their planning between January and May. Once everything is open and the roads dry out there seems to be much less to report.

However, this year mother nature did not comply with this nicely established routine... (Never, ever count on nature doing so!)

May/June/July 2010 - Rain, Reader Photos and Trip Reports

Just as everything had dried out and the last roads had opened, the wet season returned with a vengeance, messing up many people's travel plans. It wasn't just a little out of season rain, a few days of unseasonal weather leading to isolated short term track closures.

No, it was a full fledged return of the wet season for two weeks at he end of May, something that I don't think has happened before on this scale. (People who have lived up here for much longer than I have, please correct me if I'm wrong.)

While the Gibb River Road remained open, the DEC had to close access to all their national parks again.
(Mind you, there is a lot more to the Kimberley than the big name parks, and those of my readers who own Destination Kimberley still had many options...)

It was a disaster for people on the road, for the tourism businesses who desperately need every day of the season to make ends meet (seasons are short enough as it is) and also for the farmers in the Ord Valley (a friend of mine is considering to throw in the towel altogether after this season's losses wiped out what he'd built up in ten years of hard work).

Of course such unseasonal rain has an aftermath. Even once the roads had opened again they were in appaling condition giving many people a very hard time, especially those towing vans or trailers.

Although I know there were many people who were hit harder by the weather than any travellers were, I really felt for everyone on the road who got caught out by the rain.

And as if that wasn't enough we had more rains and floods in the West Kimberley in early July with people stranded left, right and centre. If anyone had told me that kind of rain and flooding was possible in July, I likely would have called them nuts.

It's never been possible to make any predictions whatsoever for the wet season or for when it ends. It appears these days the dry season is becoming just as unpredictable... Unreal!

I was particularly delighted to receive a few emails and two great trip reports from people who were in the middle of the first floods but didn't let the rain get them down and decided to make the most of what they had been dealt.

A Muddy Gibb River Road Adventure
Five Weeks Throu The Kimberley

Does anyone have details and photos from July?

Here is some good news if you have been thinking about submitting a trip report yourself:

In the past you could only upload one photo. If reports are published with additional photos, like this great one from JD and Lise from just before the unseasonal rain...
The Kimberley Are Absolutely Superb
...then it always involved additional emails back and forth. You had to send me the photos and I had to add them manually.

But my webhost just made some upgrades and now you can add up to four photos to your submission without my help. Just like Eva did in her two reports:
Top End & Kimberley June/July 2010
Cape Leveque - I Wish I Stayed There More
Click on the thumbnails to switch out the top photo. Very slick. I'm glad this is finally available.

So if you've been thinking about sharing your experiences with everyone else, now is the time!

Um, and good luck with the weather in the coming months everyone...

Gregory National Park returned to Aboriginal owners

On May 13, after more than 6 years of negotiations, Gregory National Park was handed back to its traditional Aboriginal owners in a ceremony conducted at Jasper Gorge. As has happened with other parks that have been returned to their traditional owners, the name Gregory NP will be replaced with a local language name: Jutpurra.
The Park will be leased back to the Northern Territory Government for 99 years.

Will the change of ownership lead to changes for tourism in the park? Only time will tell.

You can read more about the handover here:
Historic handover helps complete the circle.
Aboriginal people get back park.
(Sorry, old, broken links removed.)

A last little suggestion: a good way to keep up with reader submissions and questions I answer is to regularly check the "What's New?" page.
In future I intend to utilise that handy software feature a bit more to get out important updates in between newsletters.

For the web savvy amongst you there is also an RSS feed for the "What's New?" items. You find the buttons below the navigation on the left.

(For the not so web savvy there is a little question mark to click on that explains what RSS is and how to get started. Don't let the word "subscribe" confuse you. Subscribing to the RSS feed has nothing to do with subscribing to the newsletter.)

Ok, this is it.

I am here in front of my computer for hopefully at least the next day or two, so if you have updates for me, trip reports, or any questions of interest to other readers as well, hit me with them!

(And please be patient if it takes me a while to get back to you. When on the road it's always a bit hard to predict what will happen exactly.)

Thanks everyone for reading and writing!

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(c) 2005-2010, 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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