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Kimberley News: Some small updates and reader feedback with useful info.
September 05, 2017

5 September 2017, Issue #057

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In this issue:
  • Updates
  • Reader Feedback
  • Camp Oven Recipe

Hi everyone,

Long time no talk! It has been quiet around here. "Around here" of course meaning solely my office, not so much the waterfalls, campgrounds, walks and other tourist attractions.

One reader emailed me recently, concerned whether she is still on the newsletter list, because she had not received anything for two months now.

I always send out newsletters MUCH more frequently during the first half of the season. Once the season is underway, the roads dry, all businesses up and running and everything has settled down, there just aren't many changes or updates to report.

If you are ever wondering if you have missed an issue, just check the back issues page! All newsletter issues are archived there.


Having said that, I have collected some smaller updates over the last months.
(I added them to the guide books as soon as the information became available.)

The Department of Parks and Wildlife has undergone a structure and name change again. They like to do that every couple of years or so, it seems.

What used to be CALM or the DEC, or more recently the DPaW, is now the DBCA (Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions).
The Parks And Wildlife Service is now a part of the new DBCA.

Whatever :)

What's more important to you is that they have increased the access and camping fees for WA national parks!

As of September 1, 2017, a day pass costs $13 per vehicle, a holiday pass $46, an annual pass $92, and camping is $13 for adults and $3 for children.
(Geikie Gorge boat tour prices have remained the same.)

For other details, concessions etc see their brochure.

Another little update is in this article.
(Thanks, Richard, for the heads up.)

Yeeda Station has restricted access to some parts of the Fitzroy River (including Tumblegoodiron, p. 110 in Destination Kimberley), after becoming royally fed up with the bad behaviour of many fishers and campers.
And who can blame them!
You now need to register at the Willare Roadhouse and collect a key to get access.

The affected areas are popular fishing locations and the restriction probably affects the locals more than the tourists. I am including it here mainly as a general reminder.

To quote owner Jack Burton from the article:

"We are trying to run a cattle station and it's just really frustrating with the lack of respect people have with leaving gates open, leaving rubbish, cutting new roads everywhere, so we want to stop it getting out of hand."

Many of the places covered in my guide books are on private property.
The owners don't HAVE to give us access to their waterfalls and gorges!
We have already lost enough great camping spots due to such issues.
I know my readers are all well behaved, but these little reminders never hurt, right?

Stick to the existing tracks, leave gates as you find them, thoroughly put out your camp fires and take your rubbish with you.
Bonus points if you take other rubbish you see as well.

"All we're asking people to do is have a bit of respect for the fact that they're visiting our property and we're trying to run a business there."

Monica has been in touch with an update she made to Destination Red Centre.

It does not affect your travel plans, so no need to re-download. Instead I am including the information here.

In the extensive chapter 12 ("ABORIGINAL PEOPLE: Their History, Lifestyles & Visiting Communities") the section about "Attempts to right the wrongs" has been amended to include information about the recent historic "Statement from the Heart" that was issued by the First Nations Referendum Council at Uluru in May.

If you have not heard about it in the media at the time (and if you are overseas you probably haven't) then you can get some background information from this press release.

If you don't know what the Referendum Council is, here is what Monica writes in Destination Red Centre:

First Nations Referendum Council
Back in December 2015, Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition, Bill Shorten established a Referendum Council to seek the views of First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island) peoples. The Council held months of discussions all over the country and then reported back. When asked what constitutional recognition means to them, First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island) peoples told the Council they don’t want recognition if it means a simple acknowledgement, but rather constitutional reform that makes a real difference in their communities. They spoke openly and honestly about the challenges facing their communities and how they wish to proceed.

Here is the statement that they issued at Uluru in May 2017.

Reader Feedback

Below are some excerpts and examples of emails and other messages from my readers, sharing their experiences and containing tidbits of information that you might find useful.

Hi Birgit. 
I hope you're well and enjoying the dry season. I just want to say thanks for all the work you've invested into the Destination Kimberley eBook. It was a great help during our time in Broome, Dampier Peninsula, the Gibb and Purnululu. I enjoyed the honesty of the experiences you shared in addition to all the details you covered. We had a wonderful time in the Kimberleys and were able to get to almost everything. 

We saw the grader on the Kalumburu Road (between Drysdale & King Edward) but it made no difference. The road was still a shocker. Hardest corrugations ever. Our fog light fell out!! Hehehheee. Crazy. Otherwise the rest of the Gibb was fine (in comparison to the Kalumburu Road). 

We were on the Gibb from 1st June to the 11th. 

Thanks again for all the information you put together. It was invaluable. 

Tania & Bruno

Hi Birgit

We recently completed a 3 week self-drive tour of the Kimberley in May/June.  We had purchased your “Destination Kimberley” e-book and it was so useful.  I wish I’d read it in greater detail when we were planning our trip, although my friend only had 3 weeks leave so we couldn’t have fitted anymore into our time.

You are absolutely right when you say that you don’t need to be a 4WD driver to do the Gibb, Purnululu and other roads.  Several roads had still not been graded in late May, eg the 50km road from the Gibb River Rd into Mt Hart, where we had to drive through 21 water crossings.  3 of them were quite deep and 2 of them sent water over the bonnet even though I was driving slowly.  Other guests arriving that day had the same experience.  

The majority of the time we drove our Mitsubishi Pajero as a normal car.  I had asked the car rental company to show us the 4WD features when we collected the vehicle and thankfully they obliged, so when we needed those 4WD features we knew what to do. 

As you know, there was so much water around this year.  The large tour operator vehicles had created huge ruts through several water crossings and in one of the creeks in Purnululu, we got stuck solidly in black mud.  I expected that we’d need someone with snatch straps to pull us out, but with a bit of commonsense and using 4WD low setting, we crawled out and drove on. 

Please continue your good work with the newsletter and your e-book.  The information you provide is invaluable.  Thank you so much.

Kind regards
PS.: You may want to add that we live in Sydney, so we’re real ‘city slickers’ and not used to driving in those conditions, yet we managed.

Middle Lagoon:

No longer a hideaway or paradise? There were over the last two days a slew of big 4wds, big boats and big caravans. Portable generators humming to power them. A new (?) area of picnic tables beside the takeaway food van, with blinking LED lights and a large TV beaming commercial programs. The main caravan park generator grinding all night.  And a heap of people.

I left early. I can live without trying to enjoy cooking and eating to the noise and smell of a portable generator on the next site.

Overall, a place of big boys and their toys, and different from the past clearly. Permanently?

The next one was submitted as a comment on this page on my website.

Trip of a lifetime. 2.5 weeks Darwin to Broome and return. Weather perfect. Beauty everywhere. Only downside was that Bell and Windjana gorges were off limits as the access roads had been washed out by late season rains. All tourist info centres failed to forewarn us of this. And the knock-on effect was that Mornington became quickly booked out, so we also missed out on Dimond and Sir John gorges. But because the region is blessed with a multitude of other gorges, waterfalls, pools, chasms, the bungles etc, we never ran out of jaw-dropping sights to see. My wife, Tania and I plan to get back and do it all again. SOON. Anyone considering it but unsure, GO !! PS: Avoid swimming in Edith Falls and Wangi Falls. LARGE salties caught in both spots in March and April 2017. Just because you will see plenty of mad European tourists swimming there doesn't mean its safe.

I'd like to add here that it is common during that time to find saltwater crocodiles in places they do not usually inhabit. I write about this in my guide books. (See for example the little box on page 19 in Destination Top End.) Nitmiluk, Litchfield and Kakadu all have the problem of salties moving around a lot over the wet season. Swimming holes are monitored by the rangers and saltwater crocodiles that have moved in are trapped and relocated. Only once the rangers are positive that a swimming hole is crocodile free will it be opened for swimming.

I have a chapter on saltwater crocodile safety both in Destination Kimberley and in Destination Top End.. Take it seriously.

(No crocodiles in the Red Centre!)

Jenny wrote to me on Facebook:

Hi Birgit, I am emailing to thank you soooo much for your amazing guide books; we have just been through the Top End and your book was our bible. Went to Koolpin Gorge on your recommendation.....what an amazing place!!! [...] A giant thanks once again, you're travel advice suits our goals exactly!

And last but not least, here is a comment that I'd love your input on:

Babsy writes:

We have just finished travelling between Kununurra and Derby along the Gibb River Rd in our Holden Colorado and 14ft van. We used your Kimberley Guide all the way and it was a fantastic resource. Can't recommend it highly enough BUT when we told fellow travellers about it they were cursing that they didn't know of its existence. Birgit, a suggestion to boost your income and assist more travellers, print some flyers and leave them at the information centres at Derby and Kununurra to help spread the gospel. Can't wait for Broome and Cape Leveque and glad you'll be holding our hand along the latter part of our travels. Good luck with your enterprise, $27 is very little outlay for so much information and good humour. Best wishes, Babsy.

If you had arrived in the Kimberley/Top End/Red Centre WITHOUT these guide books, and, not knowing me at all, you'd seen a flyer about the guides at a visitor centre, do you think it would have prompted you to purchase it?

I am finding it hard to imagine, because I personally would not have done so if in the same situation. If there was book lying on the counter that I could open and check out, yes, different story. Then I'd buy if I like what I see. But an ebook??? But I could be very wrong here!

Camp Oven Recipe

In Destination Red Centre Monica promised to be in touch occasionally with a camp oven recipe.

Here is her first one.

(It came with the comment...
"I keep forgetting to photograph things I cook! Must try harder."

Monica, we forgive you and look forward to the stunning photographs that will accompany future recipes :) )

Pancetta Eggs
You’ll need a camp oven for this.
Use paper cup cake holders or silicone (reusable) ones.
Spray them with olive oil spray.
Line each one with a thin slice of pancetta, which is a round smoked ham that can be found in the deli section of large supermarkets.
Crack an egg into each one.
Add a halved cherry tomato.
Top with chopped chives and cracked pepper.
Bake in the coals for 15-20 mins.

Great hot for breakfast and they also keep well wrapped in gladwrap for a snack later in the day.


And that's it for today.

If you try and like Monica's recipe, or if you used and loved her guide book on your trip, let her know here!

The next newsletter is probably not too far away. As this season will start to wind down, it is time to start thinking about the next one. If you plan to visit the Kimberley in 2018, keep an eye out for it.

Talk soon!

Those of you planning on leaving for their trips soon, please always also refer to the appendix of Destination Kimberley, Destination Top End and Destination Red Centre or to the links in this and in previous newsletters to keep yourself up to date about the conditions.

Happy travels,

To sign up for this newsletter and receive the free Kimberley Pocket Guide go here.

Feedback? Found some out of date info in one of my guides? Let me know via

(c) 2005-2017, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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