Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Kimberley

Cockburn Range Near El Questro
I have always planned to return to Halls Creek in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, where I worked for two years 1970-1972. And this year it happened.
Celia and I went on a trip to the Kimberley from Broome. We flew directly to Broome from Melbourne (only two direct flights a week) on 6th July and stayed there 2 days before joining a tour with Kimberley Wild.
Celia on the East Beach at Cape Leveque

Manning Falls
We planned a 3 day trip North West from Broome to Cape Leveque, and then a 9 days loop up the Gibb River Road to Kununurra, then down to Purnululu (the Bungle Bungles) and on to Halls Creek, Fitzroy Crossing and back to Broome.
The legendary Gibb River Road, a 660 km dirt track right through the wild heart of the Kimberley, that leaves the main Northern Highway past the turnoff to Derby was created for cattle stations to transport their cattle and was never intended as a tourist road. It's reputation as a tough route has attraction for the adventurer today. The trip is still touted as one of the last serious adventures in Australia, a drive through a very remote area where all sorts of dangers loom, an undertaking that requires guts and four wheel driving experience... well maybe not really, but lots of 4 WD take up the challenge.
Conditions depend on the time for year, and the completion of maintenance grading work. Travel is only recommended once the roads has been graded after the wet season (around May) until end of October. Most of the winding sections of road passing over the ranges are bitumenised, and nearly all the creek and river crossings have concrete bottoms, but it is  a rough road of corrugations.
Ivanhoe Crossing,Unlikely to be opened at all this year!
This year the Wet season was one of the heaviest and the longest with water still pouring down the creeks and crossings. All along the road are side trips to waterfalls and gorges. To which we made several side trips

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