Hello to West Coast
16 August 2016
As life is always full of alternatives, we decided to not sit around and wait for the Bungles to reopen after the fires (hindsight it was 20 August 2016 when it did partially reopened) and it was an opportunity to take a shortcut to Broome via the Gibb River Road. Last time we attempted this road we abandoned the attempt after a flat tyre just 50kms in. So with high expectations we left Kununurra for Broome.
Of course with Ivan Crossing open to traffic (after it was closed for many years) we had to take 4WDAUS down for a wash. The big tyres create quiet a splash even at lower speeds.
We decided to also revisit Parry Lagoons and then complete the 4WD track to Wydnham via the Crocodile farm.
Parry Lagoon gave us our first up-close view of a large saltwater crocodile, sunning itself on the bank surrounded by water birds.
From Parry Lagoons we headed off across the clay pan. The clay pan last time we were here was too wet to traverse, this time we managed to make it around to Wydnham after some careful navigation.
It was sad to find the crocodile farm was closed down permanently and even this environmentally sensitive area had become a coal loading point. Reading further on this coal, it appears companies are investigating mining coal in the Keep River area. Also reading we have found out the NT Government is considering the largest prawn farm on the Keep River.
No visit is complete without taking in the view from the top of 5 Rivers Lookout. I always find this view breath taking.
After lunch we were back on the road to start the Gibb River Road. With the sun close to setting to saw the Cockburn Ranges in fun light before arriving at the Pentecost River to camp.
17 August 2016
Early start today as we are finding a large amount of traffic on the roads here. This way we avoid a bit more of the dust and the rocks they kick up. The road soon improved from the sharp rocky roads we have traversed over the first 80kms from the end of the bitumen. The Gibb River Road is sure not the adventure we had expected. There are many sealed sections, especially on the crossings, jumpups and some of the steeper sections. Much of the road was freshly graded and a joy to drive. Camped just east of King Leopard Ranges at a spring about mid-day (as camping spots get full early, as we found out with other people arriving after us).
18 August 2016 – 21 August 2016
Another early start as we climbed King Leopard Ranges and made our way to Napier Ranges. I think Napier Ranges has the best Queen Victoria Bust ever. From here we were soon back on bitumen again heading to Derby. Crossing the Gibb River Road was certainly not an adventure we though it might be, but it was a great shortcut with a lot of beautiful scenery.
After a quick stop at the Derby Wharf we set off for Broome and alternately Quandong Point. Arrived relatively early to find it very difficult to find a camp spot, but eventually found a spot on the cliff overlooking the ocean.
Checking email, I found out that a close friend of mine had lost their partner to cancer. It is so sad how fragile life is.
22 August 2016 – 25 August 2016
Broome was calling today for a top up of supplies, a drive on Cable Beach and of course a trip to Matso Brewery for Steve. The main street of Broome is used by pilots to line themselves up for landing at the airport and I was quick enough to snap this plan 3 times as it crossed over head.
We also met J from Js Pizzas and his incredible Expedition Truck. Its an Isuzu Sctitech 800 with super single tyres and a 1.5 tonne pizza oven. WOW! I bet he is never short of friends wanting him on their trips outback!