The Gift of the Gibb

I think I last left you in Broome, but I’m too hot to be bothered looking it up. We’re in the East Kimberely now and I’m always surprised how much hotter it is here than the western end. Damned hot.

 

Thank the Lord for water holes and swimming pools. Cold beer also helps. It wasn’t until Lawrence experienced the north of Australia that he began to understand an Australian’s obsession with ice-cold beer.

 

Our first stop was Tunnel Creek with Sandie, Sharon and Jeff followed by camping at Windjana Gorge. Both are spectacular in their own way and the experience is not dulled by a second or third visit. Both are part of the Devonian Reef system of approximately 350 million years ago – give or take 50 million. Bloody old.

It was Sharon and Jeff’s first camping experience. I never realised camping was a good spectator spot.

 

We parted company with our chums and headed to Bell Gorge which was just a slight disappointment as the campsite is a 10km drive from the river and was really crowded. Nothing like the experience of 20 years ago, when we camped by the river. This is no longer an option, but the gorge and waterfall are beautiful nonetheless and worth the rock scrambling.

Bells
Bell Gorge

We planned to stop for a few days at Mornington as it came highly recommended but the place was booked out, so we thought we’d try Charnley River instead. Both are good birdy places run by the wildlife Conservancy, and Lawrence being a geek with big binoculars was keen. However, Charnley was closed because the road was still washed out. Oh well, best laid plans and all that…

 

Heading east towards Manning Gorge we stopped at Galvins and Adcock gorges for short pretty walks and then fell gratefully into the waterhole at Manning. This swimming spot is right next to the campsite and a perfect temperature for cooling overheated bodies. Next morning we did the hike to the stunning gorge and waterfall, finishing with another divine swim.

Manning
Manning Gorge

When I did this trip 20 odd years ago, car breakdowns prevented us from getting to the Mitchell falls, even though we were tantalisingly close. I wasn’t about to miss it this time. We did an overnighter at Drysdale Station and got there by lunch time. The road is not as bad as you’d expect and certainly a hell of a lot better than in 1997. But it’s pretty shit in places. Kalumburu Road is just fine – better than the Gibb.

 

We set off fairly early next morning for the hike up to the falls, arriving by 10am. It was a piece of cake really – easier than expected and left us 2 hours to mosey about, swim, take photos and gush a lot – A LOT. This place doesn’t disappoint and doesn’t suffer from too high an expectation – it is simply spectacular. A helicopter saw us back to camp in 6 mins – and I didn’t cry this time. I hate that sensation of height you get in a helicopter – seems unnatural.

Big Merton
Big Merton Falls
Mitchell me
Top of Mitchell Falls
Mitchell
Those beautiful falls

We’d planned for 2 or 3 nights, but a bushfire closed the area and we left before things got out of control – as bushfires are unpredictable and we didn’t want to get into an evacuation scenario. Plus, if you can’t do any walks, there’s nothing to stay for.

 

Next stop Ellenbrae Station and then onto Home Valley Station. (For overseas readers a Station is a large cattle farm – usually in excess of 500,000 acres).

Boabs.jpg
Beautiful Boabs

Inevitably on these trips you keep bumping into the same folks at the different stopping spots. We’ve become quite chummy with Anette and Ian, simply because we keep running into them and like a cold beer.

 

Then onto El Questro and a walk through the El Q gorge. This is so pretty with its rainforest vegetation and running creek. The swimming hole is one of the prettiest so far and worth the rather difficult walk. One can go on further but it means hauling your arse up out of the swimming hole and somehow managing the climb straight up a metre high smooth rock. Needless to say, we declined.

ElQ1
Swimming at El Questro Gorge
ElQ2.jpg
El Q Gorge
ELQ3.jpg
El Q Gorge

Our next stop was all about the Gouldian Finch. It was on Lawrence’s birdy bucket list and since we didn’t get to Mornington or Charnley River, the campsite at Wyndham was our last hope. You’ll all sleep better tonight knowing that he now seen the colourful little critter.

 

This leads us to Kununurra and domestic chores – washing, shopping, cooking etc. Fortunately, we met some like-minded people who wanted to pick our brains over quite a few bottles of wine. It was a great night but not sure how information sharing went on.

 

We’ll leave here tomorrow and head along the Duncan Highway (look it up). It head east and the south of Purnululu and finds its way (hopefully) to Halls Creek. We’ll save the Bungle Bungle for another time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On The Road Again

Our latest adventure will take us to the Kimberely and hopefully as far north as Kalumburu, which is as about as far north as you can get in WA.

My last blog from our 2107 trip ended fairly abruptly in Alice Springs due to my back problems, but thankfully all is now well and we are back in action. For the record after finally leaving Alice Springs we headed to the Clare Valley and the Barossa for some continuing professional development, followed by a drive across the Nullabor and then Cape Le Grande National Park.

I hope to manage this trip without any visits to emergency departments.

Back to 2018 and we have made it far as Cape Keraudren north of Port Hedland. We discovered this spot 2 years ago and love it. Isolated, but not far from the main road. The signal is better here than home – hence blogging…

Cape K

Sunset

Our first stop was Gladstone Bay south of Carnarvon – another fave. Next stop just south of Yardie Creek in the Cape Range NP, where I ran into someone I worked with 30 years ago.  Only 2 degrees of separation in WA. The next day we crossed Yardie Creek, despite dire warnings from all sorts about the dangers etc. Well frankly, it was a piece of cake so not sure what the all fuss is about. At low tide you just need to pick your line and drive through. Seriously if you can’t drive across that without difficulty you should hand in the keys to your 4WD.

Yardie Crk2

Yardie Crk

We spent a few days in the Ningaloo Reef area and did some great snorkelling but not having been there for about 25 years I was shocked at the amount of people and vehicles. It’s just not the same. Day 3 it bucketed rain, most unusual and we now know that Boris’s new checkerplate edging is not waterproof. Easily fixed though.

Our next stop will be Barn Hill south of Broome for more beach fun and generally chilling out. We are meeting friends in Broome and will spend a few days camping with them before we head further east on the Gibb River road.

 

 

 

 

A Town Like Alice

I know I haven’t written a blog for ages, but this time I have really good excuse.

We left Katherine after meeting up with our lovely friends John and Wendy who’ve been travelling in northern NSW and QLD. After a quick catch up over coffee we headed to Timber Creek to start our journey south through the Gregory National Park.

From the Victoria Highway this area looked fascinating and we plunged in. We stopped at the very informative notice board about the different tracks and Lawrence said “Let’s do the Bullita Stock Route!”. I looked at him as though he was deranged but somehow found myself agreeing to this.Bullita

To cut a long story short, all the tracks through the Gregory are hell and to add insult to injury, it is a dreary landscape. Not much to see, except a family of Jabiru on our last morning. Mum, dad and the twins. A heart warming sight as my back was protesting about the terrible track.

Gregory
The only interesting bit!

We ended up on the Tanami Road into Alice and booked into a ‘Resort’ (in the NT this means a palm tree and a swimming pool). However we had a nice little Studio, we ‘did’ Alice Springs and a load of cooking (me).

My back was feeling a little worse for wear but nothing to worry about. Been there before, just ignore it, take a brufen, haha.

We made it to Erldunda – halfway to Uluru for the night but the next morning, my back really gave out and we had to head back to Alice Springs. I needed some serious drugs.

So here’s my excuse! We had 3 trips to the Emergency Dept in Alice Springs, the last one by ambulance (at least they give you the green pipe and morphine). Of course it was the weekend and on the Sunday night the burns victims from the stupid car rally came in, so I checked out. The ortho registrar wanted me to stay but I was low on the list at that stage. Those poor people needed the bed more than me.

Getting Diazepam in hospital is harder getting than heroin!

I tried physio with marginal success, but on the Wednesday I tried to walk through a small shopping centre and almost collapsed (again – I spent a lot of time collapsing) when a woman came over to help me. Turns out her husband was a chiropractor. An angel of mercy!!! They helped me to the car and I’ve seen him 5 times since – a miracle worker.

Alice
T

We went on a 3 day tour of the East MacDonnells as a test run and turned out fine. I can’t walk far – maybe 1km, but at least I’m mobile and off the drugs. Had a last visit to Darren today and getting better by the day – it’s been a long haul. Oh BTW it was a compressed disc pushing against my spinal nerve.

Trephina
Trephina Gorge – East MacDonnells

So tomorrow we head off to the West MacDonell Ranges and all those fabulous walks on the Larapinta Trail that I won’t be able to do and then around to Uluru. I’ll just have to sit in the bar whilst Lawrence does the walking. Bugger.

If anyone needs to know a fabulous Chiropractor in Alice Springs – ask me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We of the Never Never

We really have been to Never Never land. East Arnhem Land is as about as remote as you can get in Australia. It’s a long way from anywhere. The 700km drive had its ups and downs, some shockin’ bits but mostly not too bad. We made it in 2 days from Katherine.

Nhulunbuy is a nice enough town, considering its location and is surrounded by beautiful beaches. There are divided opinions about whether it’s safe to swim or not, but we played it safe. The campsite at the Walkabout Lodge had a fabulous swimming pool, so I made the most of it.

After a few lazy days milling about there, we headed to more southerly beaches but didn’t find anywhere we fancied camping so pushed on to Cape Arnhem. This required a 3rd permit, which we secured the day before. (You need a transit permit, general permit and a specific location permit – from 2 different agencies..!!)

No-one we had spoken to thought to warn us about this road – it’s a killer – especially for 2 relatively high vehicles. We averaged about 10kph and then got to the sandy bit with lots of melaleuca trees that seem to close in on us as we progressed. A radio call from John had us turning back to help out and found this…

Tree
oops!!!

John just clipped the tree with his very solid roof rack and down she came – the base was rotten, eaten out by termites. Boris’s winch to the rescue. After a bit of argy-bargy and few attempts we managed to lift the tree off and drag it off the road. On we go…

Next radio call from John – “think I ‘m really stuck this time”. The Melaleucas were too close for him to get through. We had only just squeezed Boris through so weren’t surprised. This meant us turning around again – not an easy feat.

Cape Arnhem
Cape Arnhem – in the distance

We had no choice but to get back up the track and park in a tiny spot meant for letting tyres down. No Cape Arnhem for us – another 60 bucks down the drain.

Happily I had the foresight to have three cold beers in the fridge and a bottle of chilled Rosé

Cycads
Cycads regenerating after controlled fire on Central Arnhem Road

Next morning there wasn’t much option but to head back along the Central Arnhem Road. We took 3 days this time and camped in some nice spots along the way.

Back in Katherine we met up with Angela and Mark from Track Care for dinner and said goodbye to John in the morning. He’s heading to Mt Isa and the Birdsville track. We took the opportunity of heading back to Edith Falls for the weekend – it’s our wedding anniversary. We reminisced about where we had spent the last 5. 2012 – Concarneau in Brittany, 2013 – Tain L’Hermitage in the Rhone Valley, 2014 – Brussells, 2015 Siberia and 2016 in Cowaramup. Nothing like a bit variety to keep things interesting.

Swimming hole
Swimming hole at Edith Falls
Top pool
Top waterfall – Edith Falls

 

Two beautiful days at Edith Falls then back to bloody Darwin for the last of the insurance work on Boris (for the Stock Route damage). Not that we don’t like Darwin – we do, but we’ve done Darwin and are ready for our next adventure.

Watch this space – starting with Daly River and Gregory National Park followed by the Tanami Track into The Centre.  You can’t imagine how much I’m looking forward to cool evenings. Arnhem Land was hot, hot, hot and doesn’t cool down at night. It’s still getting down to 10-12c in the Centre. Can’t wait to pull the quilt out of the locker.

BeforeDuringAfter

 

Rock of Ages

So we made it across the river without mishap and entered Arnhem Land. It really was like crossing a border, I felt I should have my passport ready. The getting of permits was more complicated than getting visas for Kazakhstan and Mongolia, but with all our ducks lined up, we made it through. Of course, no-one has checked any of our documentation.

E Alligatot R
Crossing the East Alligator River
Crash
One that didn’t make it
Ubirr
Ubirr – west of the crossing

We had booked a Rock Art Tour out of Oenpelli and were not disappointed. This was the highlight of NT so far. Our guide, Junior, was an artist himself and of course was knowledgeable about the history of the art we saw. The photos will give you an idea, but really you can’t grasp how awesome this place was. We felt humble and insignificant in the face of 20,000 year old rock art.

 

Junior

Thylacine
Thylacine – thousands of years ago. The dingo ate them all.

Fish

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Oenpelli Landscape

From there we drove up to Maningrida, an aboriginal outpost. John had an invitation from the CEO of the Bawaninga Corporation and had arranged a visit with the Head Ranger of the area. Both were passionate and intelligent guys with amazing foresight and vision. They have a lot of work to do, but have put some wonderful projects in place already.

Next stop some R&R at Coburgh Peninsular. The Garig Gunak Barlu National Park covers most of this peninsular but sadly access is really limited, so we had content ourselves with a little bit of touring and lots of lazing in the shade with a good book and a beer trying to catch nothing more than a sea-breeze. It was bloody frustrating to look at wonderful beaches and not be able to swim. The list of things that will try to kill you include: crocodiles, sharks, blue-ringed octopus, box jellyfish, stonefish and sea snakes, but really it the crocs that put you off.

Smith Point
Smith Point  – top of Coburgh Peninsular
Croc Crossing
At our campground
Caiman creek
Caiman Creek

So now it’s back in Darwin for some armour plating on Boris. The insurance company is stumping up for the repairs on the damage done on the Stock Route and hopefully we’ll now be tree proof. One can only hope.

Next we tackle East Arnhem Land and Nhulunbuy (with permits in hand).

Once a Jolly Swagman…

Yes, as I write we are camped by a billabong. And no, I haven’t written for a while. I could write a list of excuses, but instead will just fill you in on the last few weeks.

Once the CSR was finished the journey took on different tone and became more of a holiday. We got our new leaf springs fitted at great expense and hung around Kununurra for a week waiting for this, having checked out every café, pub and steak sandwich.

Hidden Valley
Hidden Valley – Kununurra
Wyndham
Five Rivers Lookout – Wyndham

We met my dear friend Sandie and her brother Ross and his wife Liz in Kununurra to start the 60th birthday bash.

 

First stop – Keep River National Park. We did a brilliant walk in this park, reminiscent of the beehive domes of the Bungle Bungle.

Keep River
Keep River National Park

Next stop Katherine and her famous gorge. We did the obligatory boat cruise, the only way to see it properly – especially in the unseasonal hot and humid weather and my newly acquired dodgy knee. As expected it was stunning and awe inspiring.

Katherine Gorge
Katherine Gorge

From there we headed to Edith Falls for Sandie’s 60th and this was the show-stopper spot for us. The weather was bloody hot and humid but we had a wonderful swimming hole and waterfall 5 mins walk away – it was bliss. I made a damper for a birthday cake for breakfast and Sandie supplied champagne – great start. For dinner, a porcini and red wine risotto and more champagne of course.

Reluctantly we left Edith Falls behind for Litchfield and finally found a camping spot that was not heaving with school holiday-makers. Sandy Creek was on a 4WD only track, putting off the caravaners and the faint hearted. We had a lovely swimming hole that appeared to be croc-free. We explored the whole lovely region but the busload upon busload of tour groups kinda spoiled it.

Wangi
Florence Falls – Litchfield National Park

Next stop Darwin. We loved this small city (only 89,000) with its great bars and cafes, wonderful and free museum, and brilliant military museum. I now understand so much more about Darwin’s involvement in WWII. We also went down to Mindil beach for the beer-can regatta. It was all a bit of a fizzog really. There didn’t appear to be any rules and no-one had any idea what was going on. Only 6 craft.

Darwin
Darwin Sailing Club for sundowners

We waved goodbye to Sandie and Co, and met up with John, our next travelling companion. Fist stop Coroborree Billabong (how Australian can you get!). We did a brilliant sunset boat cruise for some bird-watching, seeing Jabiru up close, Sea Eagle, Kingfishers, Rainbow Bea-eaters, 4 metre crocodiles (yikes!) and loads more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Jabiru
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
What a croc!! This one was over 4 metres…
Gunlom
Gunlom Falls – Kakadu

And then on to the world-heritage Kakadu. The South Alligator River is the pulsating heart of Kakadu, creating the waterfalls and swimming holes, billabongs and wetlands that provide a home to the amazing birdlife, crocodiles and fish. I think we’ve seen all there is to see here, waterfalls, swimming holes (croc-free they tell me), cave paintings, boat tours (brilliant again). But our favourite thing is a secret location we found, camped by the billabong at the beginning of this missive. We camped there twice, and both night the beautiful Rainbow Bee-eaters came in to roost, snuggling up to each and squabbling about who was going to sit where, like naughty school girls.

Bee Eater Billa
Secret Billabong (now named Bee-eater Billabong)

So, now we are in Jabiru and about to embark on the next stage of our most excellent adventure – Arnhem Land. The getting of permits has been a real juggling act. So many required, and so many different agencies, traditional owners and offices. We are almost there. Tomorrow we head to Injalak for a guided outdoor gallery tour and then to to Maningrida and Coburgh Peninsular. John has wangled some invitations to places not often open to Balanda (whitefellas).

But first we must cross the mighty East Alligator river. If you don’t hear from us again, you’ll know we got the tide wrong.

 

 

 

Blog Post 3

Days 10 – 12

Newman – Georgia Bore – Well 24 – 456 kms

Capricorn Roadhouse workshop did a brilliant job for us. The anti-roll bar was welded into place, the hole in Boris patched, the exhaust re-aligned (loooong story) and of course the new back shock-absorbers fitted.

However this all meant a lot of loitering without intent in Newman. It’s a mining town and if you’re not there for mining business then you may as well slit your wrists – there’s not even a café and the pub looked most unsavoury. We did get our washing done, so all was not lost. We also topped up the beer supply.

We headed back to the CSR – on the right roads this time, and made it as far as Well 24.

 

Day 13

Well 24 – Well 27 – 79kms

We did loads of sand dunes today and Boris behaved very well, not so much bouncing and rolling.Dunes

Well 25
Well 25 is flooded…

Day 14

Well 27 – Well 31 – 144kms

We stopped at Thring Rock and did a short walk to stretch our legs. It’s the highest point around so had to be climbed. More bloody sand dunes. They aren’t too difficult, just need low range and lots of power.

ThringRock
View from Thring Rock

Day 15

Well 31 – Well 35 (and a bit) via Kunawarritji Community.

Today the serious corrugations started, the legendary CSR corrugations. Blimey they are vicious and there was no let up today, no sand or washouts for relief. We stopped at the Kunawarritji Community for fuel etc. They are not normally open on a Sunday but they didn’t seem to mind opening up for us. Fuel ($3.40 per litre – yikes!), veggies, water and a SHOWER. Yippee we have clean hair again.

The corrugations continued, on and on. A few strange noises started that soon turned to loud clanging noises – oh dear me! We were just past Well 35 and decide to turn back to see what might be the problem. Loud banging clanging noises are not what you want to hear 1000kms from anywhere. We could hardly be more remote.

Lawrence removed the passenger side wheel and some blokes we had met came over and after a bit of head scratching they concluded that the front coil springs had weakened and the noise was the bump stops hitting – not life threatening but annoying and would slow us down. They can be replaced in Kununurra.

So tomorrow it’s back to the corrugations – did I mention they are HUGE and horrible and seemingly endless???

Long way
Long way from anywhere.

Day 17

Well 35 – Well 40 – 150kms

Well it turns out the problem was not the front coil spring, but a rear leaf spring. The U-bracket that holds the leaves together had come loose (did I mention the corrugations??) hence the bang clang on a big dip. Lawrence the bush mechanic got out the WD40 and a large hammer and got it back in place – a temporary fix that needed to be repeated several times.

We camped at Tobin’s grave after crossing Tobin Lake – this was heavenly. As lakes go, it was about as ugly as you can get, but we had 12kms of smooth hard mud – bliss.

Hills
Some hills!!

Day 18

Well 40 – Well 45 – 190kms

We did loads of sand dunes today up to metres 15 metres. Despite the problems, Boris is behaving well and eats up those dunes like birthday cake. Lots of grunt and an automatic gear box made it easy.

Day 19 – 21

Well 45 – Well 49 – 143kms

At last we have made to Well 49, where we were supposed to be helping out with a Track Care project building a toilet, shower and shelter for the local rangers. Since we were 5 days late, they had almost finished when we got there, but Lawrence did 2 days labouring whilst I did the washing, cleaned the floor (that lasted about 2 hours) and so on.

The whole of the Well 49 area has been burnt out, so it has a rather post-holocaust feel to it. An unfortunate, but too common incident of a Prado (petrol fuelled) catching fire due to spinifex getting caught in the under-carriage and then exploding. The poor drivers must have got the fright of their lives and were lucky to get out alive.

Turns out one of the leaves of our rear spring is actually broken and a temporary repair has been made. We’ll need to take it easy and get it fixed in Kununurra.

 

Day 22

Well 49 – Churgla Well – 105kms

Project completed, we waved goodbye merrily to everyone – we were in no hurry to leave as we have cancelled doing Wolfe Creek and the Bungle Bungle (for obvious reasons).

Lawrence turned the ignition – and nothing happened. Bugger – we were alone. Tired to jump start to no avail. Fiddled with fuses and finally the immobiliser fuse seemed to be the problem. Off we went but had the same problem at Well 50. Bugger, more swearing and fiddling and off we went again.

Met up with some of the team at Churgla Well for the night and found that another of party had broken 2 leaves of his springs. Poor guy, we could sympathise.

 

Day 23

Churgla Well – Halls Creek – 226kms

At last we’ve made it – finished the CSR. Been there, done that, got the dirty T-shirt. Never need to do that again. I mean it Lawrence!!!

The corrugations either side of Churgla Well were awful but the Tanami is pretty good apart from the last bit.

We checked into the Caravan Park in Halls Creek and headed straight to the pub for a steak sandwich and a pint.

Next stop Kununurra – and more repairs.

 

Last night
Last night on the Canning

 

 

 

Post 2

Day 2

Meekatharra – Wiluna – Well 2a – 266 kms

We left Wiluna, a charmless place, about midday and started the Stock Route.

Wiluna
Wiluna Hotel – sadly closed

The road was predictably bumpy but manageable and we started to get the first washouts, nothing too difficult. We stopped early at Well 2a – a ruin.

start CSR

Day 3

Well 2a – Windich Springs – 110km.

Well we only managed 110kms today. You know how you think you are prepared for everything, done the research, prepared the vehicle, made contingency plans and so on??? Well, we expected corrugations, rocks, sand, washouts but no-one told us about the damn trees! I thought this was meant to be a desert.

Windich
Windich Springs

Boris has 2 weak points, his height and his departure angle. Well both have taken their toll – and it’s only day 2 on the CSR. Yes, we now have a small(ish) hole patched up with a Sainsbury’s shopping bag and duct tape. Mulga trees line the track and are hard to avoid, but one had a small sharp branch that connected at the wrong time at the right angle.

Boris is taking a bit of a beating.

My wine supply is coming in handy. As we have the luxury of loads of storage room and a decent payload I have managed to stash 44 litres of wine on board. Remember, we can’t really restock for 6 weeks. One cannot buy cask wine in the Kimberley and bottles are out of the question.

We topped up with water at Well 6. This is a lovely spot complete with beautiful river gums, and would be a brilliant place to camp, but the timing was wrong for us.

Well 6
Well 6

Day 4

Windich Springs – Well 12- 185kms.

We left our lovely camping spot at Windich Springs early and had a long day. Loads of washouts, rocks and we found that Boris can handle quite a degree of tipping with out actually tipping over! A few hair raising, white knuckle moments.

Well 12
Well 12

Boris is now sporting a ding at the back where one washout was just too steep. We had to do a bit of road building with rocks today.

We seem to be averaging 25kph with a top speed of 40kph.

Day 5

Well 12 – Durba Spring – 149kms.

We are starting to see some sand dunes now but nothing too difficult. Just need some oomph and occasionally low-range.

Durba
Rest Day at Durba Spring

After 2 long days we decided to have a rest day at Durba Spring. It’s a fab spot camp with loads of river gums and flat grassy areas. We washed our clothes and our hair.

The local indigenous rangers were here holding a training camp. They gave us some information booklets and we were really impressed with this worthwhile program – really positive outcomes for the environment, the community and individual pride. Please support this program if you get the opportunity.

Day 7

Durba Spring – Lake Disappointment – 106kms.

Feeling refreshed we headed to Lake Disappointment over too many sand dunes to count. Lawrence commented that Boris seemed to bouncing more than usual. How the hell can you tell? – I thought, as I was being thrown all the place like a balloon at a 3yr old birthday party.

Anyway, he was right and it seemed that our back shock absorbers had given up. We’d replaced the front ones before setting off and had spares, but apparently the front and back are not interchangeable – who knew? Not me.

The upshot is that we camped that night at Lake disappointment, which does not disappoint. It’s beautiful and vast and completely devoid of life. It was weird to wake up to no birdsong.

Wreck
Not everybody makes it…

Day 8

Lake Disappointment – Georgia Bore – 127kms

We realised that we needed to head to Newman for repairs and phoned our chums in Cowaramup to get the right shockies sent to Capricorn Roadhouse. Fortunately Adam knows bloke who knows a bloke and it should be freight free – maybe a carton of beer.

Longish day to Well 23 to pick our pre-paid fuel and then back Georgia Bore for an overnight stop. The corrugations have now started and Oh Boy, the stories have not been exaggerated. I wouldn’t mind if they did something useful like shake off your belly fat, instead they just rattle the fillings out of your teeth.

 

Day 9

Georgia Bore – Newman – 446kms

Headed down the Talawana track, nothing too difficult. It’s fairly well graded gravel road. From there we decided to take the road via Jiggalong community – BIG mistake. Our map was completely wrong and the GPS wasn’t exactly accurate, so after some roads that didn’t exist, some goat tracks, and some circles we found a mining road heading in the right direction – hallelujah! 9 ½ hours today. A cold beer and hot shower made it all better.

The savvy amongst you will have realised early on in this post that we were headed to civilisation – as there’s no internet on the CSR!

Will report on the repairs in the next few days. We’ll be in Newman until Thursday.

Post 1

Day 1 – Saturday May 27

Perth to Meekatharra – 772kms

Our drive to Meekatharra was uneventful except for seeing 3 eagles on the side of the road looking as though they were waiting for a bus.

We left our friend Kirstie, currently teaching in Meeka, after using her shower and toaster and headed to Wiluna. Thanks for dinner Kirstie.

This is the start!

Wish us luck. I think we’re gonna need it.

Meeka
Last minute preparations in Meekatharra