Tag Archives: 4WD travel

Saturday 27 July

We arrived in Kununurra yesterday afternoon after decamping tents in the National Park and then back to the road junction to pack up the vans for the trek up the bitumen through scenery that included massive orange ranges and baobab trees. You have no idea what it felt like to see a large body of water after so long.

Today is a rest day (cough). As the upright fridge in the trailer died, we need more fridge capacity for a) food on the Gibb River Road or b) beer on the Gibb River Road, depending on who you ask.

The rest day has included washing clothes, repacking the van and car, purchasing a supplementary car fridge for the food/beer, replacing a mat in the van that scored a big olive oil hit, shopping for food (the beer and wine was purchased last night), and buying additional hot weather clothing for Himself.

Kununurra - Google Map

Before breakfast, I wandered down to show you the view that we have from our site on Lily Creek Lagoon in this large service town for the district.  Before you look at them, know that we are heading off again tomorrow in search of more dirt, rocks and corrugations as we have become so fond of them. Know also, dear ones, that I will be bringing you up to date wherever and whenever Telstra has seen fit to provide coverage.

Morning on Lake ArgyleLake Argyle morning birds 4Morning panorama - Lake ArgyleLake Argyle morning birds 1Lake Argyle morning birds 3Lake Argyle morning birds 2

They love to spend time making sure that the location of the camp is just right.

Selecting sites

They have a fascination with fire, and a very useful ability to ensure that limited supplies of wood are distributed fairly among all campers at a site to ensure that we get to eat.

Purnululu fire place

My personal favourite. They are VERY good at rigging up a private shower space for use after dusty walks in the Bungle Bungles.

makeshift shower

In Michael Morcombe and David Stewart’s excellent Australian Birds app, the blue-winged kookaburra is described thus:

“More colourful than [the] Laughing Kookaburra but has rather unpleasant, staring white eyes.”

You be the judge.

The first three photos are of one visitor who popped in around dinner time on our first camping night in Purnululu National Park. He was so impressive (and somewhat of a poser) that I felt he deserved a post of his own.  He returned the next morning with two mates.

Note that he is not called the Blue winged Laughing Kookaburra like his eastern less colourful cousin. That is because he has the unfortunate incapacity to complete the laugh sequence. His colour, though, is sufficient compensation for his vocal limitations.

Blue winged Kookaburra 3Blue winged Kookaburra stare

Blue winged Kookaburra 2

What? Blue winged kookaburras

Tuesday 23 July 2013 (written in Kununurra – 27 July)

At the junction of the Great Northern Highway and the road into Purnululu National Park is a van park which is where we spent Tuesday night. Before heading in with tents to spend two days walking the tracks around the northern and southern edges of the ranges we took a flight to get a sense of the scale of this World Heritage area.

Flight - 1plane

I’m not going to provide details on size, dear ones, as I know you can Google it if interested and my brain did not retain the information being relayed by the pilot. This is why.

Flight 2

Flight 3

Flight 4Flight 5Flight 6

Halls Creek

The West Australian of 22 June 1886 reported the discovery of gold near what is now the old town of Halls Creek in Western Australia. The current town relocated to its site after an airfield was built in 1948.

Halls Creek gold find

Today we pottered about the outskirts of town, visiting Old Halls Creek and its cemetery, Caroline Pool and the China Wall where I took a little time to sketch.  It was a quieter day with the outing topped off by a visit to the Kimberley Hotel to quench thirsts on what was the hottest day of the trip thus far.

old car at Old Halls CreekOld Halls Creek cemetery entranceCaroline Pools 1reflections - Caroline Pools

China Wall

China Wall 1

Before this afternoon, dear ones, I was going to keep you up to date with how well the van is going. It’s only little things that have been causing inconvenience since “the incident”.  Let me explain.

Screws for instance. These little things, when combined with road corrugations, may decide to eject themselves from their resting place, leading to big surprises at the end of the day. Cupboards detach from ceilings, stove plates rattle and hinges come off doors.

Dust is also a little thing. When it joins forces with wind, road trains or water, the impacts can also add to the flavour of the day. Beer and dust mixed together make a nice mixture on the floor of the van, for example.

Refrigerant gas is a little thing. When it escapes from the fridge, it is also problematic.

This afternoon, after a short run from Wolfe Creek, we were ready to crank up the roof when the cable (a medium thing) detached again.  Every picture tells a story.

bloody van 1table has many usesbloody van 4bloody van 2bloody van 3All fixed courtesy of the Master of Improvising and Problem Solving and his trusty assistant who is becoming a dab hand with a screw driver and power drill.

Saturday 20 July – written in Halls Creek 21 July

The Djaru people call the crater Kandimalal. They knew of its existence long before this aerial photograph was taken in 1947 from Vacuum Oil Company’s survey plane and reproduced in The Horsham Times on 3 August 1948.

Wolfe Creek Crater - Aug 1948

John Goldsmith is a radio astronomer and talented photographer of night skies.  In June 2011, he wrote this post on the wonderfully rich Australian Indigenous Astronomy blog.  In it he shares the aboriginal dreaming story of the crater where two rainbow snakes formed both Wolfe and Sturt Creeks and one of the snakes emerged from the ground to form the ring of the crater.

Goldsmith continues.

In 1999, I recorded a story about a “star” that fell from the sky and became buried in the ground, forming the crater. According to Djaru Elder Jack Jugarie, one day, the crescent moon and the evening star passed very close to each other. The evening star became so hot that it fell to the ground, causing an enormous explosion, flash, dust cloud and noise. This frightened the people and a long time passed before they ventured near the crater to see what had happened. When they ventured to crater, it was realised that this was the site of where the evening star had fallen to the Earth. The Djaru people then named the place “Kandimalal”…

Over 60 years after the first aerial photos, satellite imagery (via Google Maps) creates art of a majestic kind that can’t be replicated down here on the ground.

Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater - Google Map

We camped at the reserve’s camp site mid-afternoon and took a short walk up to the crater site. The road in off the Tanami Track is currently competing for most challenging drive in terms of the corrugations and time taken to drive the 20 kilometres in.

Here are a few late afternoon snaps as the near full moon rose.

Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater

Wolfe Creek Crater panoramamoon on Wolfe Creek Crater

The Tanami crossing took three days from Alice Springs to Halls Creek via two bush camps and Wolfe Creek Crater.

The first night we camped at a bore site called Smith’s Gift Bore. A rare chance to do a little painting, literally. The Tanami is road trains and UHF conversations. At this time of year, it’s cracked mud and sand and rock surfaces graded so low in some parts that you can’t see the surrounding landscape. Surprisingly it’s also bitumen for long stretches. Who knew?

It’s dust and termite nests, wild horses and wedge-tailed eagles. windmills and dust. It’s dingoes that visit in the night and steal garbage left outside. It’s wildflowers and big skies, animal carcasses at the side of the road and Brahman cattle. It’s roads that keep you on your toes (except when it’s on those bitumen stretches).

beware loose surface - Tanami

road train on the Tanamicampsite night 1 landscapecampsite - Tanamiwheel on tree - Tanamiamud crackle art on the Tanami Trackwindmill - Tanamitermite nests - Tanamiwho knew - bitumen Tanami Track

Dear ones,

In case any of you were wondering, we’ve had news about the cable part.  It’s here in Alice and, all things being equal, we will be vacating tent living tomorrow after another effort to unpack and repack before the big desert trek begins on Thursday.

Thus, Wednesday will be a day of packing, stocking up on food and for me, coming to terms with the prospect of no internet communication for at least a week. I may have to revert to pen and paper!

So, three days across the desert, much of which will be spent convincing some in our party that camping at Wolfe Creek Crater near the end of that route will not invoke scenes of horror.

Once we hit Halls Creek, we will officially be in the Kimberley. It’s been three weeks out and already I’m homesick. Too soon?

In other news, there is a Rugby League match on tomorrow evening. I am outnumbered in terms of my origin. Wish me well.

There is much of the Old Ghan’s history collected along its now defunct train line. Here in Alice Springs, a museum is set up at the old Stuart railway siding.

Ghan interior 4

Old Ghan train interior 2

Steam train

The National Museum of Transport with its truckies’ Hall of Fame has some interesting interiors.

As I am not one of these (and hence did not buy the T-shirt), I amused myself with the camera again.

Truckie girl t-shirtNational Transport Museum - interior

Transport Museum floorNational Truck Museum - plates