Around Australia Week 28 – Kununurra to Derby

While at Kununurra we spent quite a bit of time exploring the area: there’s so much to see around the place. We went out to see the Ivanhoe Crossing and watched various 4WDs brave the water (not us!) and also paid a visit to the Zebra Rock Gallery – a nice place to visit and to have lunch (or take a picnic lunch).

28_01_Ivanhoe Crossing 28_02_Zebra Rock

As you know from previous posts, we spent a few days around El Questro and at Home Valley Station, and you may know from the DVD that Rob took a short flight across the Bungles from Turkey Creek (Aboriginal name: Warmun). We spent the night at the Turkey Creek roadhouse and caravan park, which turned out to be really enjoyable! We both like watching the road trains go rumbling by (especially their lights at night) and we ran into a lovely couple that we first met up with at Kununurra: Ian and Jenny Cochrane. We all walked over to the roadhouse restaurant and ate, then spent some time chatting outside the vans before turning in for the night.

28_03_Turkey Creek

Rob ended up buying a Slingair DVD of the Bungles, which was inexpensive and much better than his photography from the air!

Amazingly (at this place in the middle of nowhere) we got 5 bars NextG coverage. Pretty impressive!

At Kununurra we also paid a visit to The Salad Bowl for fresh fruit and veggies, and also to taste what Desley (working at the counter) claimed was ‘The Best Smoothie in the World’. They came by this accolade from a traveller who said he had tasted smoothies all over the world and theirs was the best. We, of course, can’t comment on how it compared world-wide… but they tasted pretty darn good! Unfortunately the owner of the Salad Bowl wasn’t sure whether they’d be opening next season, so you may never be able to check out these smoothies for yourself.

Rob caught a nasty dose of flu at Kununurra (amazing how much sicker you can feel when the weather is really hot, and it’s not an option to snuggle up under a cosy doona!) and was on antibiotics as we headed towards Broome. Unfortunately he couldn’t shake it off, and needed to renew his prescription by the time we hit Fitzroy Crossing. Hmmm. Too bad – not possible! The hospital was closed up tighter than a drum, and through a speaker in the wall a disembodied voice informed him that he’d have to wait until he got to Derby. By that time I was coming down with it too, so we drove each other nuts with hacking coughs as we drove miserably onwward. Moral: take some antibiotics with you if you can when you’re heading into remote areas, or prepare to suffer! (There’s always the Flying Doctor for emergencies, but for flu or coughs/colds… bad luck!) Wading through Tunnel Creek a few days later probably wasn’t a terrific idea, but illness doesn’t care about trip planning! So it was a quick visit to outpatients at Derby Hospital for me the next night, and the chemist for both of us.

28_04_Boab Prison Tree

However, it wasn’t that easy to get out of Fitzroy Crossing! As all caravanners know, things don’t always go right. In our case, it was a case of (we think) the Gibb River Road followed by the Tunnel Creek dirt road that shook some of the electrics around, so when we hitched up and did the final checks at FC before heading out, we found the right hand indicator on the van wasn’t working. Shortly after that it was no right hand OR left hand indicators, and no brake lights. Sigh.

Luckily there just happened to be an electrician on site fixing the cool room – who knew only enough, after taking one look, to go and find a mechanic who also was wandering around on the site. The mechanic was right onto it, and fiddled and faddled around (technical description there) until he managed to bypass this and fix that, and two and a half hours later we were good to go.

Oh! I almost forgot to mention Mary Pool. This is a really lovely free camp, between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing: you turn off the road and drive a short distance over a low bridge and turn into the camp. We got an email from Russ and Jan Garner (whom we first met at the Katherine Low Level Big 4) who stayed at Mary Pool overnight and told us not to miss it: “Mary’s Pool was absolutely delightful. A small herd of heifers who had obviously recently had their calves weaned off them, came wandering through the camp area early the next morning on their way for a drink in the river.”  So (although the film schedule meant that we didn’t have time to stop overnight) we decided we couldn’t miss calling in to have a break and to check it out. Russ and Jan were right: it really is a beautiful spot, and we’d love to have stayed longer. Highly recommended!

We also met up with Rob and Robyn Prime at Mary Pool: they were driving a Kedron pulled by a Prado. They loved it as much as we did. If you’re passing that way, take the time to at least stop and have a look, even if you don’t have time to stay.

28_05_Mary Pool

 


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