Everyone was on the bush ready to roll at 7:10am this morning, tents all packed up, showers, breakfast, camp packed up – well done us.
Matthew drove back down the Kalumbaru Road to the junction with the Gibb River Road, turned left and headed towards Wydham for our last day on the rough road.
First stop this morning was the Ellenbrae station. An oasis in the dry arid surroundings. Grass lawn, cool old buildings built with breeze ways, garden arounds, all aid to the cooling effect. Finches flocking to seed feeders, an unsighted tree snake to keep them focused, a boad tree with a tap coming out the middle. No the water is not boab water, but a spear going right through the tree to their tank on the other side.
Fresh cooked scones and jam and cream. The pastoralists don’t make any money from the stock, they rely on tourism to given them and income. Paying $9 for a scone with cream and jam, plus self serve instant coffee is way too much, but we’re helping them make ends meet in these remote and isolated locations.
We meandered about 500m down an unmarked little track into Bindoola Falls. No flowing water at this time of year, really hot rocks that absorb the suns energy during the day, and very very high cliffs with deep pools. Spectacular.
Road deteriorated. Corrogations got heavier, the truck stuggled up the hills and ranges, outside termperature over 40°C which we experienced during stops for the evenings firewood. The view of the Cockburn Ranges coming int Home Vally Station was spectacular. unfortunately dust spoiled the vista, but it is indeed a vast ancient range.
The main interest however was the abiltiy to get Telstra phone and data connection. All the devices sprung to life with excited operators checking messages, emails and briefly, Facebook. I had one proper message out of 212 others.
Into Home Valley for lunch. Heavily commercialised, this was not family business making scones to make ends meet. However, the development is pleasant and attempts to be authentic and in keeping with the surrounds and the regions pastoral history.
Road was terrible from Home Valley. Springs are saggings, shock absorbers are overheating, springs on the trailer too hot to touch. Fortunately we made it through to the bitumen at the entrance to El Questro Station. The much looked forward to long water crossing of the Ivanhoe River was nothing, hardly got the tyres wet.
Yay, we have completed the ardious section of the Gibb River Road
The dirt road into El Questro is clearly well maintained, smooth and a pleasant change. We are in El Questro riverside campground with lawn under the tent, soft ground to bang tent pegs into at last. Nice showers, washing machines, should be a nice place for a couple of nights.