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Reader Photos and Kimberley Trip Reports, Safe Driving on the Gibb, Mixed Bag
October 11, 2010

12 October 2010, Issue #027

In this issue:
  • Reader Photos and Trip Reports
  • Safe Driving on the Gibb
  • Mixed Bag

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Hi everyone!
After long last I made it back home to Kununurra, a few days later than planned.

I spent the last weeks with my family in Europe and the flight back was cruel as usual. (37 hours door to door with no sleep whatsoever.) I am still a bit jetlagged, the brain just isn't functioning quite the way it should, so if any parts of this newsletter don't make sense, blame it on that!

Luckily the Kununurra weather is being very kind to me, welcoming me with overcast skies and even some real rain. It's a lot cooler than what I had braced myself for. And of course there are mangoes galore. That always helps :-).

Things in general are quiet though there are still a few intrepid travellers around, braving the increasing heat and humidity and the occasional downpour.

Thank you to all the people who have contacted me in the last weeks and months with thank you notes, trip reports, and with your invaluable little updates and suggestions for improvements to the guides.

Updates have been incorporated, suggestions have been taken on board, and trip reports and compliments very gratefully received. Your information and motivation helps more than you know!

Reader Photos and Trip Reports

Rikke from Denmark has contacted me to show me her gallery of Kimberley photos. I was so impressed with the quality of her images that I asked her if I can share the link with you, to which she agreed.

I had meant to add the link to the last newsletter but totally forgot! Sorry, Rikke, and thanks for reminding me.

My forgetfulness has advantages also: you don't need to learn Danish now, Rikke has used the time to add English captions for you. Well worth having a look:
Rikke's Kimberley Photo Gallery

I also had a some great trip reports submitted on the website. As you know, it's been an odd season as far as the weather is concerned...

Conquering The Gibb River Road And Mitchell Plateau With Two Young Kids

Our Muddy Adventure Down The Gibb May 2010

And another adventure: Stuart shares his experiences on the Karunjie Road:
Cockburn Ranges Alternate View (Karunjie Road)

Note that Stuart describes himself as an inexperienced 4WD driver. The Karunjie Road is a heck of a lot rougher than the Gibb or the track into the Bungles. So if you are still wondering whether you can take on the Gibb or not, you certainly can! Just follow the proven recipe...

Safe Driving on the Gibb

When you read through trip reports and comments on my website site you soon note a common theme. (I mean besides the "awesome, fantastic etc. theme".)

Again and again people write: "We lowered our tyre pressure, we lowered our speed, we had no problems whatsoever."

If you own Destination Kimberley or have been on this newsletter list for a while, then you know that I harp on and on and on about this. (And I will certainly bring it up again at the start of the next season.) For good reason!

Not only will this advice spare your tyres. It can save you much worse. (No, I'm not talking about replacing your shock absorbers.)

Traffic on the Gibb River and Kalumburu Roads is increasing every year, and so is the number of accidents. This year has been bad again. People like to blame it on the roads, but accidents do not happen because of bad roads. Accidents usually happen when people don't drive to the conditions.

Inexperienced drivers worry about the 4WD driving, the river crossings and the really rough tracks. But the biggest risk for inexperienced drivers (and also for many who consider themselves experienced) lurks on those "good" roads, the well prepared, wider gravel roads, the reasonably smooth tracks.

Many travellers are on tight schedules (another thing I harp on and on about) so they are tempted to put their foot down whenever the road allows it. And they forget, or simply can not imagine, that a car on a gravel road will behave very differently from a car on a bitumen road once you hit the breaks or try to turn a sharp corner.

There is also this persistent myth that on corrugated roads you should go fast to make the ride smoother. Well, the ride may be smoother when you barely touch the tops of the corrugations, but you also minimise your traction. And with that you minimise your chances of staying in control of your vehicle if you encounter something unexpected.

The most common reason for accidents is that people lose control over their vehicles on corners or because they need to break unexpectedly. (The number of push bikes on the Gibb is also increasing, and they don't leave a tell tale dust cloud...)

There is nothing inherently dangerous about the Gibb River Road. Drivers, however, can be.

Drop your tyre pressures because you don't want to change them. (It makes the ride smoother, too.)
Drop your speed because you don't want to be in an accident. (It protects your tyres, too.)

Countless Destination Kimberley readers have negotiated our Kimberley roads and tracks without any problems whatsoever.

You can too!

Mixed bag

This question just came in:
Bungle Bungles from Warmun/Turkey Creek in one day
One day is nowhere near enough for the Bungles. We all agree on that.

Still, people sometimes do drive in and out in one day. (See for example the last comment here: Emma Gorge to Bungles.)

I wouldn't mind getting more views on this, and I am sure other time strapped readers would appreciate it as well. If you have "done" the Bungles in a day, can you share your experiences with Jackie?

And if you have other experiences or beautiful photos to share, don't be shy and go ahead!
Share your Kimberley Adventures here

Meredith wrote to let me know the link to the Main Roads website isn't working any more. Thanks Meredith.

The new link to get the Kimberley Road report from Main Roads is here.

David and Pauline wrote to let me know that maybe I should amend the Derby chapter in Destination Kimberley as they witnessed a tourist with a handline catch a one metre plus and very fat mulloway at the jetty. (Thanks for writing!)

In the guide I make a tongue in cheek comment about the fishing "ritual" at the Derby jetty, mentioning that I've never seen anyone catch a fish here.

Well, this is the second fish readers told me about since I published the guide two and a half years ago. It's not as hopeless as I make out!
But I think for now I'll leave the comment in there ;-).

In the first week of October a group of WA photographers (including Christian Fletcher, David Bettini, Paul Theseira and Nigel Gaunt from Broome) visited James Price Point to photograph the site of the proposed gas plant - since we could lose this area if the land is compulsorily acquired by the Barnett government.

According to Barnett this is an "unremarkable" bit of coast.
The photographers beg to differ.
And hopefully they will be able to communicate that to tens of thousands of people who do not have the chance to come up here and see for themselves.

The story aired on ABC Stateline last Friday night and it's now online. 8:20 minutes to catch up on the latest in the fight over James Price Point and, ultimately, the Kimberley. Well worth watching.

The organisers are preparing for a photographic exhibition and awareness campaign in Perth, so if you are down there a) look forward to the exhibition (date and venue to be decided) and b) help spread the word.
Thank you for your support.

And thanks everyone for reading and writing!
I promise newsletters will become more frequent again now that I'm back home :-).

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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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