As you can see from my map below, a week after leaving Wyndham we were arriving in Broome – and it’s a place I’m finding very hard to leave….
I was looking forward to our stop at Spring Creek free camp as it was at the entrance to The Bungle Bungles (Purnululu National Park) and I wanted to do a bus trip in. The road is known to be very corrugated and I’d heard reports of the 53km trip taking about 2.5 hours so I thought I wouldn’t put Brutus through that torture and let someone else wreck their vehicle instead. I was so disappointed to find out it was going to cost $285 for the day trip and my budget just didn’t cater for that expense. At that price I should have done the flight with Margaret and Nev from Kununurra, which took them over Lake Argyle, Ivanhoe Crossing and the Bungles for $330! So that stays on the bucket list for now!
The Spring Creek camp was a lovely stop over, though.
Our next night was in the Halls Creek Caravan Park, a dust bowl of a place and we only had the one night there. A short drive out of town takes you to a natural phenomon called the China Wall. China Wall is a natural vein of sub-vertical white quartz rising up to 6 metres above the surrounding country in places. This striking formation transects the country for many kilometres, rising high out of the ground and then disappearing back into the earth again. Scientists believe the wall was formed when the rock surrounding the much harder and resistant quartz was weathered and eroded away.
This is the traditional story about how the China Wall was formed….
Mary Pool was a 2 night stopover – can’t rush these things, can we? Warren the Travelling Tradie that we met in Wyndham was here, and also an interesting fellow, Jeff, who carried around a ‘flying machine’ in a special compartment of his caravan. It was like a parachute that had a 2 stroke motor attached. It was too windy to launch at Mary Pool and also there were too many other campers there. They both joined us for Happy Hour but Warren left early to cook dinner for a cyclist camped next to him. (Remember this, as Lizzie will re-appear in my Broome blog). There was not much water in Mary Pool but there had been a crocodile sighted there recently.
This poor egret lost his dinner to a kite.
My favourite campground on the way to Derby was another free camp at Ellendale Lake. What a special spot! Margaret and I stayed here for 2 nights but Nev had to keep moving on as Cindy, his dog, wasn’t allowed.
I could have stayed a lot longer but there was no TV reception and I couldn’t miss the State of Origin Decider (What a great game! Go Queensland!!) so we were off to Derby. We collected Nev on the way at the Boab Rest Area.
We only stayed the night but did a trip down to the wharf and out to see a couple of local sights. The first wharf, built in 1894, was a wooden T shaped structure located at the northern end of the present steel and concrete jetty. It was linked to the town of Derby by a horse drawn tramway, crossing the mud flats via a causeway where the present day road is located. Wool and pearl shell were the major exports in the early days. In 1964, the new jetty was built. The tides here are Australia’s highest and the second highest in the southern hemisphere.
One of the other attractions was the Prison Boab Tree. This huge tree is believed to be around 1,500 years old and has a girth of 14.7 metres. It was used as staging point for prisoners being walked into Derby in the early days. Adjacent to this massive tree is Myalls Bore and Cattle Trough. The bore has now dried up and a windmill is used to pump the water into the trough, which could handle 500 bullocks at one time and was later extended to a length of 120 metres.
…… and now we are on our way to Broome! I have wanted to go to Broome for years, and even more so after reading Di Morrisey’s “Tears of the Moon”. This is definitely an experience I’ll be able to tick off my bucket list.