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Important Bungles camping update and other updates and reader emails
June 03, 2012

3 June 2012, Issue #038

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In this issue:
  • A Few Quick Updates
  • Emails from Fellow Travellers

Hi everyone,

I have a couple of important updates.

1. Bungles
If you want to camp in Purnululu National Park, not only CAN you book ahead, now you MUST book ahead at least 48 hours.

(They have been lenient with reinforcing this, but once they get really busy, which will be very soon, they will be cracking down on this.)

The road fee however has been removed.

2. Bully's Camp
If you want to camp at Bully's Camp on the Dampier Peninsula, give Jeff a ring first to see if he has managed to resolve the water issue. Last thing I heard they had cut him off from access to the bore, and without water he can't run a camp, so he's had to turn people away. (It's been a while so hopefully it's been resolved.)

Last thing I heard there was no sign or warning about this at the turn off. It's not such a long drive in but still a nuisance. Of course for Jeff more than anyone!

3. Charnley River
Shortly after Charnley River had let me know that they would not be able to offer accommodation this year, they wrote again, saying that they managed to free up the former manager's residence, which was the old bunkhouse, which had been renovated, which they now use as a guest house. Some meals will be available, too.

And they have a new website:

Emails from Fellow Travellers

I received this email and thought I'd share the warning as is:

"Hi, firstly thanks for all your information. It certainly helped us when planning our Kimberley adventure, which we completed in June 2011 - seems so long ago, but the memories are still so vivid - we had a great time.

I would like to sound a word of warning for fellow travellers hiring 4WD campers to check that the tyres supplied are suitable for the rigors of the Gibb River Road. We had 4 flats in one day across the two campers in our group!

Fortunately only two out on open road which we managed to fix with help of fellow road travellers. The other two fortunately happened as we rolled into campsites.

We had an enforced stay at Mt Barnett Roadhouse when we discovered, contrary to the map, they do not have tyre repair facilities and by this stage had no more spares.

We had to retrace our steps (using one intact campervan) to Neville (what a gem he is) at Imintji Roadhouse who just shook his head when he saw the "townie" tyres Apollo had put on our campervans.

No probs getting Apollo to cover costs (thank goodness for taking top insurance cover) and following a complaint to them about their negligence in not providing appropriate tyres we did recieve a refund of one day's hire.

On our return to Broome where we had hired our campers, the agents though sympathetic did not seem particularly bothered. I do however, feel they as agents should bear some responsibility to send vehicles out appropriately set up with dirt road tyres - they certainly knew where we were going.

My point in forwarding this info is that you may wish to include it in your very comprehensive info site.

Despite the flats, we had a great time, it was all part of the great adventure and if 4 middle aged gals can do the Gibb River Road - anyone can with a bit of planning and a sense of humour!

Keep up the good work! Kind regards, Menna

Thanks for writing, Menna!

Here is another warning and reminder to always travel to the conditions. As you know, I harp on incessantly about this in Destination Kimberley. For good reason...

"My husband and I find your book an excellent source of information as we travel the Kimberley as we have done during the past three years to visit our daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren at Derby.

Last year (2011) later in July and early August we travelled the Gibb River Road, including the Mitchell Plateau. The roads were very corrugated as it had been so wet that season. The Kalumburu road had only been graded once for the season up and back on one side - in fact we felt it was worse than the Gibb River Road. The section from the Mitchell Plateau turnoff up to Kalumburu had only been opened for the first time just a few days before we went to the Mitchell Plateau.

We travelled according to conditions and had a trouble free trip, unlike a couple of German tourists who lost it on a corrugated corner and ended up launched on some rocks on the side of the road north of Drysdale station.

They were shaken but we were able to jack the vehicle up and with a snatch strap pull the rocks out. (There was another vehicle that pulled up and helped with pulling out the rocks.)

The German boys had been in Australia for some time but always travelled on bitumen. When we asked them how fast they were going they said that they slowed down to 80 kph from the 100 to 110 kph they had been travelling on the bitumen roads. Far too fast on the type of road we were travelling and certainly a danger to others as well as themselves.

They had broken one shock absorber and the other was damaged but they still wanted to go to the Mitchell Plateau so we are not sure how they got on. We often think of them as they told us they had not been on dirt roads before and had rolled the same vehicle on its side a couple of days previously.

It is amazing how fast people travel on such roads. I think if people could see the underneath of their vehicle as it vibrates so violently they would slow down. It's no wonder some people have trouble.

The Kimberley is an amazing place and we hope to see a bit more of it again this year. It is so vast. Like you, one could spend years exploring it. I am not a real adventurous person but there are plenty of places to go without being too extreme in where you go.

Maybe we will see you on our travels one day.

Thanks Fay!

The Gibb River Road still has that reputation of being dangerous, terrible on tyres, destroying cars etc.

As those emails show, it's not the road which is the problem.
Follow the advice in Destination Kimberley, and you will be fine, just like thousands of other readers who had no problems whatsoever and in the end wondered what all the fuss was about.

Obviously I have to share the following email, too:

"Hi, have unsubscribed because we successfully completed our transit of the Tanami Road.

Following your advice we pushed on despite each "visitors' centre"  saying, "you can't do that without a four wheel drive".

In the end we took to asking their advice AFTER we had completed this and other legs of our journey using our Honda CRV minus back seats and with adequate cans of fuel. We found this more than capable of visiting places such as Rainbow Valley, Wolfe Creek Crater and Hamersley Range National Park.

Our travelling is over now seeing that my wife and I are both octogenarians and not able to afford prolonged tours any more. Thanks for your true advice, Lester

Octogenarians in a Honda CRV showing the visitor centre staff how it's done...
Lester, with that email you absolutely made my day!

And that's it for today

Now go out there, see some great country, enjoy the trip and be safe!
(PS.: You might want to take a warm jacket, too. Last weekend saw the coldest temperatures in over 10 years :-).)

Talk soon!

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(c) 2005-2012, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved. The Kimberley Guide is published by Birgit Bradtke in Kununurra, WA 6743, Australia.
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