Tuesday, 14 May 2013


Yesterday and today were spent driving with no excitement to report. Last night was spent at the Belyando Crossing Roadhouse between Charters Towers and Emerald, another place that Telstra has not yet found. 

This morning we woke to the sound of rain for the first time in the entire period we have been away. We drove in it for several hours but the car and van don’t look any better for the experience.

What was different about today was that we spent the entire day driving on bitumen for the first time since we passed through Borroloola.

Tonight we are at Eidsvold where it is somewhat colder than we are used to, en route to Hervey Bay from where we are going to Lady Elliot to spend the last two days of our spectacular holiday.

We expect Lady Elliot to be the usual mix of snorkelling and diving with turtles, manta rays etc. so I am not proposing to do any further blogs. This is the last one.

I hope that you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as I have enjoyed preparing it. It is a fantastic summary of our holiday which I will get printed to remind us of the great adventures we have had. 

The photos are of the very cleverly constructed three level pool at Cobbold Gorge. For a venue which can only operate between April and October each year, it is very well set up.

Saturday, 11 May 2013


Yesterday, we had another adventurous day on the Savannah Way to Cobbold Gorge where we now are. Guess what happened to us just after I took this photo.

Burketown was a delightfully quiet and very tidy fishing village. Virtually all of the caravan park tenants were fisherman who had travelled significant distances with their boats to catch their quota of five barramundi but they were good sized fish.
The only disturbance to the peace and quiet was the largest flock of corellas we have ever seen. The photo only shows one of the six trees they occupied. Fortunately they left town at dusk.

This is Cobbold. If you look closely, you can see the cord connecting us to electricity at the ensuite facility which comes with our bush camp site. En suite camping in the bush! It’s a tough life.

This morning we went on the Cobbold Gorge tour. We have seen plenty of gorges in recent weeks but this was impressively different. It is so tall, narrow and full of water that the only means of getting access is by specially built narrow boats which can fit between the towering rock walls.

One of the residents was there to welcome us.

Any suggestions as to what this might be a photo of?

Tomorrow we head south. We’re not sure yet how we will occupy the last few days of our fantastic trip but watch this space.

Thursday, 9 May 2013


Sorry to go AWOL again but we have found some more places that Telstra hasn’t yet infiltrated. On Wednesday night we camped at the Heartbreak Hotel, (yes the Heartbreak Hotel), at Cape Crawford 300 kms east of the Darwin Adelaide Highway. While the Savannah Way goes from Broome to Cairns, the real Savannah Way and the interesting part as far as we are concerned is the part from Daly Waters to Normanton, the exciting bit near the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Cape Crawford’s claim to fame (apart from being the second cheapest camp ground we have stayed in so far) is that it is close to the Lost City, accessible only by helicopter flown by the very personable Rachel. It is a series of rock formations not unlike the Bungle Bungles but nowhere near as well known and promoted. The pictures tell the story.

About 100kms south of Katherine is Mataranka. Like Katherine, it has thermal springs. Given that we tried Katherine’s thermal springs last visit, we had a dip at Mataranka this trip – crystal clear warm water.

I had to record this very significant milestone in the life of the car.

 Last night we stayed at the Hells Gate Roadhouse, 300 kms east of where the bitumen ends at Borroloola. It is the cheapest camp ground we have stayed in but justifiably so. No power, on site water or shower curtains but very isolated and peaceful.

Yesterday was a very dusty day and dust got into everything in the van but the good news is we have fixed the fridge with the judicious application of some velcro. We should have thought of that years ago. Check the labels on the bottles. One was in the box under the bed. The other was on a shelf in the fridge. It must be pretty rough in there.

Today is a rest day at Burketown. It is one of those must visit places but we have suffered two disappointments. The iconic pub is no more. It burnt down and is being replaced by a new one under construction. And the self proclaimed barramundi capital doesn’t have anybody doing fishing charters so I can’t get to catch one.
Fortunately there is a fish processor here who sells them so we have a supply of fillets to keep us fed for the next few days.

Tomorrow we head for Cobbold Gorge for yet another gorgeous experience.

Here are some photos of two of the many rivers/creeks we forded on the road west of here. No crocodiles sighted.

And to finish, more of the Lost City

Tuesday, 7 May 2013


This is the waterhole beside our camp site at El Questro. While a croc has been sighted in a nearby river, we were assured that it is safe to swim here and none appeared while I was in the water!

Sorry you haven’t heard from us for several days but we finally found somewhere where Telstra hasn’t yet installed mobile phone reception. El Questro and Lady Elliot Island must be two of very few places which Telstra hasn’t yet infiltrated. No wonder Telstra shares are doing so well.
There was supposedly wi fi available at the Station bar but it wasn’t working so this is being posted from Katherine where we now are. I’m told that it’s Tuesday.

We celebrated our anniversary by going out to dinner for the first time since we left home and by shouting ourselves a helicopter flight.

We were proposing to go north to Jim Jim Falls in Kakadu tomorrow but we are told that the roads were damaged in an Easter storm event and won’t be reopened for another month so we will have to revert to plan B, yet to be determined.

I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

Emma Gorge. Our favourite place. Beautiful cool crystal clear water.

This snake wanted to share a rock I was about to step on. Needless to say, I let him have it to himself. 

Crossing the Pentecost River on the road into the camping area. At least the wheels were clean for a short time.

Chamberlain Gorge where the fish have a great trick. They spit water at your hand to dislodge fish food you hold out for them.

Saturday, 4 May 2013


Unfortunately this is not our camp site.

We had a leisurely start to the day and, as the photo shows, we spent some time on Cable Beach. Notwithstanding that the sign on the beach said there hasn’t been an irukandji sting since May 2012, we didn’t venture into the very inviting water. Apparently Broome has the highest incidence of irukandji stings in Australia.

Today was another travelling day in that we are covering the same ground we covered when we had our Kimberley trip several years ago so we are just passing through. There is one exception to that in that, tomorrow night, we plan to revisit El Questro, a very smart resort in a very picturesque area at the eastern end of the Gibb River Road, to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.

We are now at Halls Creek. Last time we came through here, we were told not to stay in town because of some aboriginal unrest but all seems peaceful tonight.

Notice how the car seems to have acquired a reddish tinge.

Friday, 3 May 2013


Before we left Port Hedland this morning, we checked some more of the local industry. Anybody for some salt?

We are at Broome tonight at the Cable Beach Caravan Park. The Savannah Way starts here so we may well follow it for its full length.

As you can see we spent most of the day in our mobile arm chairs so I had to resort to photography from the driver’s seat.

This shot defines the day – cruise control on, 1800 RPM, 105 kph, fuel consumption 13.3 litres per 100 kms., OAT 36 degrees.

Of course, we finished the day by joining the surprisingly large local crowd watching the sunset from Cable beach. There were quite a few people in the water so we might have to go for a swim in the morning before we head further east. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013


We had a relatively early start today in that we left Tom Price at 8:30 and headed for Dales Gorge, that part of Karijini national Park which we didn’t see yesterday. What was different was that, this time, we packed up and brought the caravan.

Dales Gorge was similarly spectacular to Weano Gorge, the one we walked yesterday but with a number of pools which looked very inviting. The only problem was that they were in the wrong place. They should have been at the top of the gorge so that one could jump in them and cool down after one had climbed back up the cliff.

We had exhausted ourselves by lunch time so we had lunch at the gorge and then escaped the 36 degree heat by spending the afternoon in the car coming to Port Hedland where we now are.

We feel very left out. Almost everybody in town, including a lot of the people staying in the caravan park have white cars with a flag and flashing lights on top and a green fluorescent strip down the side. That’s obviously the must have fashion accessory here.

Port Hedland is just that, a very large port, and obviously a dormitory town for thousands of people working in the mining industry. Very busy. We haven’t found any evidence of any tourism activity so we’ll head for Broome in the morning.

The webber is on. We are working our slowly through the contents of the wine cellar. The fridge repairs seem to have worked. Life’s good.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013


The pictures are of one of the gorges in Karijini National Park which we visited this afternoon. We have only seen part of it so far but it is certainly remote, spectacular and worthy of its reputation. The walk down into the gorges and the climb back out is very demanding physically.

First thing this morning, we joined 29 other people in a coach for a tour of the Rio Tinto iron ore mine. The scale of operation is difficult to grasp. The amount of ore excavated and crushed and taken by 220 carriage trains to Dampier for export each day is staggering.

There used to be a Mount Tom Price but the mine is where it used to be. It has been excavated, crushed and exported to China so it no longer exists.

The picture shows the size of the ore truck when you compare it to the man walking behind it. 

After the tour, we drove to the top of Mount Nameless. It’s the highest mountain in Western Australia that you can drive to the top of and provides spectacular views of the surrounding country side including the mine. While the mine is significant, it is only a very small part of a very large landscape when seen from the top of the mountain.

Our van site here in Tom price is idyllically quiet, strange as that may seem. We are in the sparsely populated and nicely treed tourist section. The workers don’t fare so well.

Tomorrow we are moving to the Dales Gorge camping area in another part of the national park. We anticipate spending one night there before heading north to Port Hedland and then on to Broome. I expect that there won’t be any phone reception in the national park so there may not be a blog tomorrow night.
Sunday is our 40th wedding anniversary so we will have to do something special. That might be difficult if we are in the middle of nowhere between Broome and Kununurra but who knows what Sunday might bring.