On that very last (and very hot) night in Katherine I finally finished a project I had been working on since when we were on Malden Station - six months in the making and I was d.o.n.e! My friend Amy had a sweet baby girl, Savannah, and throughout her pregnancy as we bumped along dusty tracks, traveled to Papua New Guinea, discovered this vast and amazing country and did lots of thinking and planning and hoping for our future...all the while I crocheted this blanket for Savannah, and in Katherine I finally got to wrap it up and post it on down to the rolling South Gippy hills. So proud I actually finished this, and taught myself to crochet along the way!
Whilst we were in Katherine Matt thought we'd better take Luxie to a mechanic to get his oil changed. On closer inspection mechanic noticed we were leaking from rear diff, as well as a nut had come off rear spring shackle (which holds the leaf springs to the chassis). Replaced nut and pondered diff issue. Got going to Timber Creek and camped at Policeman's Point - great spot on the Victoria River, again very hot at night though! In the morning Matt checked the diff, still leaking, and then noticed two big cracks in our spring shackle. Oh dear...
We drove easy into Kununurra, avoiding gravel roads in case we completely cracked it, and took it to a few different mechanics - turned out the one we went with could do it the next afternoon as he thought he had a part to fit. Brilliant! Next day after touring the sights of Kununurra and tasting some belly burning rum at local distillery, The Hoochery, Luxie got kitted out and we set off to Lake Arglye, 75km's south of Kununurra.
Great caravan park, grassy site, good showers (always a plus in my book), mango trees and...a gorgeous infinity pool overlooking the lake and surrounding ranges!
After checking out the dam wall and how the massive lake was constructed we drove back into Kununurra, then decided to head down towards Purnululu National Park - or as most people know it, the famous 'Bungle Bungles'. It's a fair drive down there from Kununurra, a few hours on the bitumen then a few hours on a rough road through station country to do 53km. After a camp at a creek halfway down we set off at dawn to get in there early and do some walks. Now we're in Western Australia though dawn is like 4am! Good to be out of the heat though.
First walk we did was Mini Palms - relatively short (about 2km return I think) but my goodness it was getting hot! Impressive towering red cliffs close in on you, very awe inspiring and makes you feel quite insignificant in the grand scale of Earth's wonder. Amazing end of the gorge at a platform overlooking a chasm of more red cliffs, brilliant angles of light streaming in. We sat for awhile and soaked it in.
Next up was Echidna Chasm, as much as Mini Palms was stunning for its grand scale rock formations, Echidna Chasm amazed us as it lead us deeper and deeper into the narrow confines of the rock until you could reach across with your arms and touch both sides. Again, amazing light and a respite from the soaring 44 degree temperatures outside.
We found camp at the only campground still open at Purnululu (the rangers were no longer there and there were hardly any other people but us!) Spent the afternoon trying to get comfortable in the extreme heat! I think I've said it before, but it was the hottest day we'd had, and now I think I can confidently confirm that as the hottest as we will be heading south soon to (please God!) cooler weather.
To beat the heat the next day we rose at dawn and headed for the famous 'beehive domes' that people associate with the Bungle Bungles. Sunrise over the ranges was beautiful, and we got a bit excited when we first sighted the domes!
We did three loop type walks through the domes, out to a lookout and up into Cathedral Gorge, a natural amphitheatre which is very impressive. The domes were just as impressive as you would imagine, especially bathed in the early morning light. As usual we pondered over what this area would be like in The Wet - imagine the water running off the rocks and down into Cathedral Gorge!
Back on the road and back to Kununurra - this time returning to the mechanic (I know!) to see about a new radiator. We decided to order one from Perth, but it would be a few days obviously before it would arrive on the plane so we booked a flight to go over Lake Argyle, the Bungle Bungles and the Argyle Diamond Mine. Like Katherine and Kakadu I had been to Kununurra about 13 years ago and seeing as though we flew in my Dad's plane I had seen the Bungles from the air, but was still keen to do it again! What a fantastic perspective you get, especially after walking through them...
With still a few days before our radiator arrived we headed north to Wyndham via Parry's Creek Road - the non-bitmumen alternative route, just what we like! Found a fantastic campsite on the Ord River, very rocky which was good to set up the camp shower. So much splashing of fish and crocs here overnight!
Continuing along Parry's Creek Road towards Wyndham, Matt fishing at places on the Ord River, me crocheting (a new baby blanket!) We had a look around Wyndham - at the port where they export cattle and iron ore, went up to the very high Five Rivers Lookout but was unfortunately a bit hazy. We headed west of Wyndham across the mud plains to see the big boab used as an overnight cell for prisoners. Very interesting, a huge tree with a 'window' cut in it (which apparently used to have removable bars attached). We camped the night on the King River, overlooking the land where they shot a lot of the movie 'Australia'.
Back in Kununurra we got our radiator fitted (and our wallet cried what few tears it has left!) and prepared to hit the road again, this time towards a big tick off our to-do list for this crazy adventure: the infamous Gibb River Road...!