Day Fourteen – Fitzroy Crossing to Broome

Gieke Gorge Cruise

Nice open boat to get all the views, just need to make sure you get sunscreened up before the hour long cruise.

The ticket place is many metres above the dry season river level, and the flood markings begger belief. Especially when the land appears flat all around, where does all that water go?

With a catchment over twice the size of the Ord River, the Fitzroy River is indeed a mighty river of Australia with a flow of several millions bottles of beer every second in flood. 
Viewing the gorge on the water was nice and relaxing, the hum of the motor, the sun, it was easy to doze off. 

The nests are from small fairy something birds. A few crocodiles were seen, this area is still yet to see the scourge of the dreadful cane toad. We have seen a few at each location, even Purnululu. They are likely to arrive in Fitzroy this wet season and will kill many creatures all the way up the food chain. 


The artifacts on the photos are from the water marks left by that spitting fish at Chamberlain Gorge. The water dried out, but left a small few dust spots that will need a dismantle job to remove them. 
After leaving Fitzroy we drove west towards Willare roadhouse and left around 10:15am.

We had heard the road had been closed the day before due to fire, so were pleased to be on the road and for it to be open. However the smoke appeared after not too long, appearing to the south of the road. A turn in the road had us heading straight into it. We passed a few fire vehicles along the way, and were waved on, no  one expressing much concern at our passing. The smoke got heavier, I turned on the lights and then over one particularly thick section I used the hazard lights too. Fire was fierce both sides of the road but the road verge was wide and well cleared back. A tree went up next to the road as we passed and all sorts of hot debris showered the bus and trailer; we felt the heat from the fire on both sides. It was only for 30 metres, and not really so dangerous given the width of the verge, but a different experience for our passengers indeed. 
We made our way along the road and near the end of the highway, not far from the Willare Roadhouse, was a road block with about 10 cars and trucks waiting. The road from Fitzroy had been closed at 11am, 45 minutes after we left. Who knows how long we would have been stuck there. These fires are not fought, they are too vast and resources too few. It is a matter of keeping assets and travellers safe. 
We arrived right on time at Broome and delivered our passengers to their respective accommodation. Matthew had a lot to do to prepare the bus for a trip to Cape Leveque tomorrow    

Day Thirteen – Purnululu to Fitzroy Crossing

what a start to the day, a helicopter ride over the bungles.

Took a few photos, spent the rest of the time hanging on.

Drive into Halls Creek for morning near the visitors centre and refueling. A nice tailwind really helped make for a pleasant drive, despite the high external temperature.
Drove out to a small but interesting local feature called the China Wall. A thin wall of Quartz amongst the other sandstone, formed by some strange geological action.


I drove through to the Yiyili chool and gallery where we had lunch and bought a nice piece of art. 75% of the sales go to the artist, the rest goes to the school who supplies materials and space for the artists.
As the wind dropped and we turned into the sun, driving became tiring, with plenty of heat coming off the the engine.

Our final night is at Fitzroy Crossing with another great meal of chicken and rice.


Day Twelve – Punululu

beehive domes, cathedral gorge, two elephants. Hot in the sun but great to have been here. Sandstone is very soft but has an iron component which rusts and protects it from weathering. If breeched the inner sandstone erodes quickly.

Echidna gorge. Not far away but quite different geologically. Conglomerate rock of rolled River stones when fast moving water rolled the stones smooth, then eons of time compressed then with silt into a solid mass.

Day Eleven – Kununurra to Purnululu

nice easy start. 8:00am and the sun has a bite to it already. Dropped into Coles for last minute top ups, it opens at 6am.

Refueling stop and to buy ice, then down to the zebra stone gallery. Unique to the area, two of the three known sites are under water at Lake Argyle. I bought a set of coasters and have the challenge of polishing them up myself to save some dollars. Lovely grounds right beside the Ord River, friendly people and mango smoothies that were just THE BEST.

Doon Doon roadhouse for a quick stop, getting hot on the road, 38°C in the shade of the roadhouse. 

Warmun for lunch, and then into the art gallery for a look around.

Roadside stop for a top up of timber for the fire tonight, roast dinner in the camp oven.


 Camp tonight at the station caravan park, and will venture into the national park tomorrow.
An ambulance has just pulled into the campground. Landcruiser troop carrier with a portly gentleman inside. Lights flashing. Surgeon Phil offered any assistance. ‘No thanks mate, you’re the third surgeon in Purnululu today’.    Such a remote place …..
Camp oven roast tonight. Tablecloth and silver service