DAY 78 Tuesday 25th June
Hi all. Sorry there will not be any entries to my Blog for a few days, Telstra can’t find me.
Today we were to be spoken to by a camp ranger and then a possible walk up to the lookout on the escarpment above the Gorge and store/centre, to explain some of the scenery. However, on arriving we found the ranger had left on the lookout walk, so we headed back to the vans and began to pack up camps to begin our trip towards Western Australia.
Left Nitmiluk National Park around 11.00 am and went into Katherine for some food shopping, fuel, and a dump point. This done we started out for Gregory National Park, had lunch in a road side stop and finally stopped the night at a budget camp called Sullivan Camp. A very quiet camp with nice surrounds.
Happy Hour, then tea after which Bruce built a fire and group sat around till bed. Lovely evening.
DAY 79 Wednesday 26th June
Today celebrates our 3rd month on the road and it was spent driving on the road. Starting just after 9.00am and first stop was at Victoria River Road House. This was where the Castles had been staying so we said hello and goodbye at the gate as they left the camp. We had hoped to have a gas bottle refill, but they did not have anybody who could fill it, so we just went for a walk around the caravan park and also down to the Victoria River where some photos of the new and old bridge were taken. Continuing after this we drove to Joes Creek car park which is the beginning of a walk to the top of the surrounding rock formations. We decided that as my old mate the temperature was beginning to rise that a walk of almost 2 hours was not on for us old fXXts, so we continued our drive to Timber Creek where we had lunch and did another top up of fuel before heading off. While having lunch the Castles once again wondered if we were following them. Also while eating a familiar spare wheel cover with ACC and map of Oz passed by on a Jayco with ROB and ? SUE? on the rear. Did you fill up with fuel in Timber Creek at around one o’clock pmon Wednesday 26 June? If so, “Hi from the Gippsybusters.”
We began the last section of todays’ drive by calling in at Gregory’s Tree. A very old Boab Tree that took the interest of Augustus Gregory on his Northern Australian exploration leaving carvings of the dates on the trunk from June of 1885 and still very readable in the old bark. Next and last stop for the day was at a budget camp about 70 Km from the NT / WA border. There ended up being about 20 camps in the circle and really nice and quiet considering the closeness of the highway. Happy hour after set up followed by tea in the dark and bed.
DAY 80 Thursday 27th June
Up fairly early as we had a few Km to go to Lake Argyle where we were unable to pre-book the required 3 sites, so we were advised to be at the park early and line up. This was made easily by the 1.5 hour time change which put us well ahead by arriving at NT time in WA. Three sites were arranged and caravans were set up before we had a walk around the camp with cameras clicking overtime at the beautiful mountain ranges all around this park. Virginia, Bruce and Kay had a swim in the pool before lunch. We had been advised by the girls at the counter at book in to decide what lake cruises we wanted to participate in and to get them booked as soon as possible. After lunch we went back to the office and spent a fortune on tickets for not only two boat trips on the lake, one on Friday morning and a second on Saturday morning on the Ord River from the dam wall out, and also float plane seats from Kununarra over the Bungle Bungles, Ord River, Lake Argyle and the Argyle Diamond Mine set down for Tuesday of next week.
The Hales and Clarks filled their afternoon in with photo editing and activity brochure looking while the Kollmorgens did a quick drive around the dam area and to a couple of look out locations and watched some workers check the outlets of the power station turbo used water. All came together again for happy hour and tea. Next was bed as most were tired due to time difference from NT.
DAY 81 Friday 28th June
This morning began with a bus trip from the camp office to a landing area on the other side of the lake from the camp. We then all spent a magnificent morning on the Kimberley Durack, a terrific design of twin hull boat with very low draught and lots of power a great views. Pilot and tour guide, Graeme, was at the wheel and explained every aspect of the boat and the trip we were doing. This was a great trip with such a lot of rocky mountains all around and water and crocodiles and birds and fish feeding and water that seemed to go on forever. Lake Argyle is 70Km by 40Km so has quite a lot of water to see.
On our return trip we were overtaken by a float plane which put down on the water approximately 50 metre away and as soon as it hit the water it accelerated and took off again. Just another thrill for us all on board.
On return the Castles had booked into the camp, so we packed a barby lunch and went looking at the views around the area. The look outs again, the spillway, then we had our lunch in a lovely cool park with lots of shade, the dam wall and then some 4 WD’ing to find a secondary spill way almost lost in the bush. Returning to the park for some cool down swimming before happy hour and then tea before bed.
DAY 82 Saturday 29th June
If we all spent a magnificent morning on the lake yesterday? Well you ain’t seen nuthin yet. This morning we were once again collected from the park office by a different bus and driven to the base of the dam wall and loaded on an equally impressive twin hull boat, but a boat equipped with 3 X 350 H/P outboard motors that gave the boat 1050 H/P which did indeed push it through, and above the water. The acceleration was unbelievable. Enough of that. The boat did what is was designed to do, take up to 50 passengers from point A to point B and back with as much excitement as they could handle in a short period of time. This included a snack and drink at a picnic spot purpose built near a water fall that no longer falls. A rescue of a man in difficulties, his partner also having problems, who had had a problem with a canoe and ended up in the water flowing at 12 knots. (Close call this one was) and a near collision with a big white bellied sea eagle that almost zigged when it should have zagged. However all ended well and it continued to fly.
On returning to the camp the Hales and Clarks went into the camp office and shop to watch a short DVD on how the dam wall had been made in 1972, quite interesting apparently. The Kollmorgens, meantime had returned to their van for lunch.
Lunch finished and we 3 pairs set out to see the Durack homestead which was pulled down and carefully rebuilt on a higher site, before the dam wall was built and the home became a diving site. Unfortunately the lake filled far quicker than expected (two wet seasons) so the kitchen, stables and other farm buildings were not emptied or removed. A great job has been done on the restoration project though.
Next outing was to a hilltop overlooking the lake and the mountains where as usual, the sun went down, casting all sorts of colours and shapes onto the mountains behind. Back to camp for happy hour and tea before bed. Cannot get used to it being dark at 5.30pm and light at 5.30am.