Kimberley Trip, September 2010

by Pat Duncan
(South Australia)

We are now camped in a glorious little spot between Broome and Port Hedland – Cape Keraudren, and I promised my family that I would thank you profusely, while still in holiday mode, for your amazing book "Destination Kimberley", which we found on the Internet. It's been our "Travel Bible" since we left Darwin a fortnight ago, with our son and his Korean wife (from Singapore) and our constant source of information.

My husband is 75 years and I am 73 years and we travelled from Adelaide to Darwin on the Ghan, with our Holden Rodeo Tray Top (with canopy) laden with tents, swags, in fact camping gear for four!

We travelled from Darwin to Katherine and then on to Kununurra where we spent a very enjoyable Sunday night at the Pump House - delicious food (mainly pizzas), live entertainment (music) and a simply glorious sunset (make sure you arrive early).

On the Monday (because of limited time) we flew with Alligator Airways on a full day "flight-hike" over Lake Argyle, Bungle Bungles etc, landed and were taken on a hike with excellent APT guide (only 6 in group) to Cathedral Gorge, Piccaninny Creek. Each person was given a tasty packed lunch and plenty to drink and when we arrived back about 5.30pm at Kununurra, we all agreed that the tour was worth every penny - $580. The pilot and the guide were exceptional.

From here we set off on the Gibb River Road which we had been told in Adelaide would be much too difficult for us. Well, with your help we found it "a breeze" and far more beautiful than we ever expected. We passed three graders! In fact the only bad corrugation we encountered was on the road into Windjana Gorge.

We gave El Questro a miss – it sounded a little bit too organized for us and too close to Kununurra and chose instead Home Valley. Too touristy around homestead – young staff not very friendly – so we drove through to their campsite beside Pentecost River, where we found an excellent ablution block, loads of space and glorious views across the river.

With limited time with our son and his wife we had to choose carefully.

After one night at Home Valley we went to delightful Adcock Gorge for a walk and swim and then on to Charnley River Station, which was one of our fondest memories.
We stayed here two days and left reluctantly. It was muster time so nobody in camp – the four of us slept in a comfortable stationary tent. This station is a "birdo's paradise"!
Cheryl wasn't cooking evening meals for tourists because of muster, but we had delicious breakfasts each morning in station kitchen – wonderful hospitality considering how busy they were.

Went canoeing on Dillie Gorge and swam in stunning Junction Gorge.

Days were hot, 38 – 40°C, but nights mild – only a few tourists about so no need to book, we'd go again at this time (September). Very few mozzies or small pesky flies. The March flies were a nuisance in some gorges, especially Windjana and there were ants in some camps, which made it hard to decide where to set up. On the whole really a good month for insects.

Next we climbed all the way to the spectacular Bell Gorge (with a little help from our son) and swam in and around the waterfall. Camped overnight at Windjana and walked Gorge to show Soo Lee a crocodile and then on to Tunnel Creek to cool off.

We want to go to the Kimberleys again and stay at Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, visit Mitchell Falls and Leveque Peninsula (to the top).

We've proved you're never too old if you do your homework first i.e. read what Birgit has to say!

On our last days in Broome we washed and cleaned every thing – stayed at the Oaks (excellent), went to Matso's 3 times – walking distance to Oaks and we all loved the ambience, excellent service and food, live music here all day, Sunday. We had lunch at the "Wharf" – really good fish, a drive on Cable Beach and drinks at Zanders overlooking the sea (excellent also).

We were going to leave Dampier Peninsula till next time, but a barman at Matso's told us to go where he fished off Manari Road – so off we went again. My husband and I had a picnic at James Price Point overlooking red cliffs, blue sea – it was simply stunning.

I hope you can understand my ramblings from our dusty but picturesque camp at Cape Keraudren.

PS - we even took your advice and had iced coffee and a toasted sandwich at Mt Barnett Station Roadhouse. Hilarious women served us but not much stock. Imintji store – huge stock and we had pies and iced coffee with Robert Hadley at the Lennard River Bridge snack stop.

PPS – We have travelled extensively overseas but this Kimberley trip was one of our favourite holidays.

Many thanks,
Pat and Richard Duncan,
Robert and SooLee Duncan

15th September 2010, Cape Keraudren

Comments for Kimberley Trip, September 2010

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Oct 31, 2010
Kimberley Trip, September 2010
by: Birgit

Thanks so much Pat! And Richard, Robert and SooLee.
You know, elsewhere they roll out red carpets, we send out the graders instead. :-)

So happy to hear you had such a great trip! And I sure hope you will come back to see more. Because you are dead right: you're never too old!

I have to tell you, your report just made my day. I love it when people who'd been told it's too difficult or too hot or they're too inexperienced/too old/too single... whatever... When people are not fazed by the naysayers and just go and do it anyway, I just love that.

Yes, your (very well written!) ramblings made perfect sense! I really enjoyed reading your report and appreciate the detail, too.

Thanks for your kind words, Pat, Richard, Robert and SooLee.

PS.: Every month is a good month for insects. Just not always so good for the campers... :-)

PPS.: I'm off now to call a friend to see if I can talk her into pizzas at the Pumphouse next Sunday. It's been a while!

Dec 10, 2010
2 dutchies in a BIG 4wh drive!!!!!on the GRR
by: Martha

Hi Birgit,

My sister and me(58 and 65) rented a 4wh campervan in Broome to do the GRR. I must confess that I was veeeeeeeery anxious the first week to drive the big thing. But I kept on thinking "if Birgit say I can do it, I can do it" and from the moment I overwon my fear I started to enjoy myself in the same big thing. Mastering a big vehicle like that gave me a real feeling of power.
Well anyway, we had the most beautiful time ever and enough time (31days) to enjoy everything thoroughly.
After my sister went back home, I took the mailplane from Derby( absolutely the most beautiful vieuws on the Kimberley!!!!) to Charnley River Station where I went to work as a wwoofer for 6 weeks.
I had a fantastic time as they took me for rides in the bullcatcher, took me to the bullorama with them in Derby and visiting their other station.
It was so great to be a part of it all instead of being just a tourist. We became good friends and I will visit them again when I go back next year August(to see the whales at the Head of Bight).
We consulted your book every step of the way , ate a hamburger at Drysdale( very nice indeed) and saw the stunning rockart in the King Edward River Regio.
And once again, with every obstacle we encountered I thought, if Birgit say you can"then indeed we can!
So also thanks to your book we had a great time and got the most out of our trip.
With best regards, Martha and Bernadette van der Bijl

Dec 10, 2010
WWOOFing in the Kimberley
by: Birgit

Hi Martha and Bernadette,
How wonderful! I wouldn't mind doing some WWOOFing myself out there, I often thought about it, just don't have that sort of time available at that time of the year.
(The dry season is peak season for me and my websites/books as well. I only get a bit of a break from Oct - Dec.)

I am thrilled to hear that I could help you overcome your hesitance and do what you did. Awesome :-).

(I hope you have no objections to me moving your comment. I feel it deserves its own standalone page. You don't happen to have any photos of your adventures as well? Please get in touch if you do :-)

Dec 16, 2010
Cattle Mustering Photos
by: Birgit

Martha did get in touch and sent a bunch of photos. If you always wanted to see what it's like to work on a cattle station, her page with the pictures is here.

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