26th September 2017
Halls Creek to Fitzroy Crossing 320kms
Aah, what a good rest. We woke up pretty early, and sat outside our room to eat our nuts and berries. Everything was quiet. Such a beautiful morning, we couldn’t waste it sitting here, so we got packed and off in no time, and it was worth it. There was barely any traffic, the sky was huge, the temperature was perfect, and the plains were free of animals.
Such a beautiful ride, awesome morning. My gloves have had a slight failure. My step Brother, Neil, bought them for me before this trip (thank you so much). They are great. The actual glove has held up brilliantly, but the Velcro strap is too flimsy, and after 5mths of full on wear, the strap has come off. I think they can do better.
Leaving town and we just couldn’t get this guy to wave. Oh well, we won’t give up. We’ve got a way to go yet.
There isn’t a great deal between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing, as far as services go, but it is quite spectacular. Around 115kms from Halls Creek is Mary Pool, which is a rest stop and free camping area, on the Mary River. Originally, we were going to try and push through to there, yesterday, so we wanted to check it out. So we pulled in there, and had a look. It was really nice, with heaps of space, water in the river, and toilets. Keep that one in the memory for another trip.
Looks inviting, may have crocs, but I’d probably risk a dip. We crossed the causeway, which was the actual road in, last year. Now it is blocked off with big boulders. Obviously they are not for us, right?
We’ve also been following a guy on a Royal Enfield, doing a figure eight trip of Aus, Shayne Howson, and he is heading East right now, from Fitzroy Crossing. Both of us had worked out, that we should cross paths today, about halfway between Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing. Not far from here, about now! Just then, we heard a loud motorbike noise, on the highway (we are about 3kms in) and thought, “Bloody Murphy’s law, the time you are hidden away, is the time he’ll go past.” But there is no way to know, and it’s not worth trying to catch who ever it was, so we just continued on our way. About 10 kays down the track, we’d decided for sure it was him, so resigned ourselves to that, and back to enjoying the ride. Just then, Will spotted a very familiar headlight, and you really can’t mistake the Enfield sound, and there was Shayne. Luckily, we were right on a truck rest bay, and could pull in safely and meet Shayne in person.
It felt like fate, that we actually caught each other. How lucky are we to meet and chat with Shayne? There is a lot more to his story, that I would like to hear. We’ll see him after his journey.
Wow, what an amazing guy, and here we go with the whole 6 degrees of separation theory. Shayne went to school with Will’s youngest brother Steve, and the same high school as us. So we enjoyed a great chat, until it was getting a bit hot, and we all needed to keep going. Check out Shayne’s journey on Facebook, “A Lap Around The Block”. https://www.facebook.com/ShayneoClassic500/
Happy that we’d managed to meet up, Will and I headed off again, with smiles on our faces, and the day just seemed to be getting better and better. It wasn’t long before we were passing through the Mueller Ranges, and pulled into the Ngumban Cliffs rest area. Man this is spectacular. The views are amazing, and to add to it, the gully was burnt out from a very resent fire. A great spot for lunch, and to watch the large birds of prey, drifting and playing on the winds.
I remember this spot from previous travels, now there are lovely shelters and toilets. Great spot.
Just a little bit further on, are the Mimbi Caves. We’ve never been in there, and as it was only 3kms in, we thought we’d check it out. When we got to the entry track, there was a sign telling us to wait for a tour guide. The track looked a bit scary, all sand and bull dust, so I was a bit wary, and pulled up well before it. Will, on the other hand, decided he was going in. Huh, it wasn’t long before he hit the soft and fluffy bull dust, that just went on and on, and he was sweating. Next minute, I hear “I’ve made a mistake”. Well that’s me out, I’m definitely not going in. At the turn around point, it looked like he might be in trouble, but those skinny chicken legs are tough, and he held it. Phew, now he just had to get back to me.
Safely back on solid gravel, we got out of there, and agreed, the old four wheel drive is the go, here, for us. Another 100 kays, and we were crossing the Fitzroy River. Shayne had stayed in this town for two days and enjoyed where he stayed, so we thought we’d stay at the same place. Only he couldn’t tell us the name, just a bit of an idea, Crossing Lodge or something (We discovered it was a combo of both options). We chose the wrong one, didn’t do our homework, rookie mistake, but just went through with the decision. It wasn’t that bad…..there was grass and shade (should have been worried then, no one has both)…
A camp kitchen….
Couldn’t get the gas burner to go, thanks MSR. Not the usual Aussie standard.
Flushing toilets and hot showers…..
Yes, this is not good. The toilet seat was sittable, just, and the water pressure was good. Hhhmmmm.
I think the cleaner may be blind and immobile, or just can’t be fucked. Quite possibly hasn’t been cleaned this year. There was no toilet roll holder, but I was pretty happy to find loo roll, oh and two resident green tree frogs. Maybe they were meant to clean.
Anyway, we went to the bar, and had a beer with the locals. All indigenous, and then some road workers came in too. Our table had the only remaining seats, so we suggested they join us. They did, and we had a few beers and a good laugh. Saved the day really.
It’s not all bad hey, it was quiet and there were lots of birds, and some cute wallabies.
We bought a six pack to take away (only allowed light beer, not mid or full strength) and went back to cook dinner. A young guy travelling to Darwin, was camped near us (we were the only campers), so we offered him a beer, and had a chat. He seemed like a nice guy, and fairly new to camping. I almost offered him some dinner, but he seemed happy to eat at the restaurant. Not me, man, if the toilets are dirty, what state is the kitchen going to be in? After dinner, we went to bed, and planned an early he away again, as it was so enjoyable.
27th September 2017
Fitzroy Crossing to Broome – Day 31 (141) 445kms
The caravan park lights stayed on all night long, shining right into our tent. It was a bit annoying, but security is a bit of an issue. We still slept pretty well, it was a lot cooler than the last few. It is easy to wake up early at the moment, the sun is coming up about 5:30am, and without the fly on, we just wake up. There really was no mucking around this morning, we couldn’t be bothered getting out the MSR just for a coffee, so sat and ate the usual crud, and watched a mum wallaby, and her Joey. Nice.
Not the best pictures, because they were a bit skittish….
Packing up the tent, I am now having to evict many small insects and creatures that seem to latch on to it over night. Lady bug, caterpillar, tiny spiders and of course, ants. On the way out, we did a mini tour of town, and sadly, it is not very inviting. So onward to Broome we head. Again, there isn’t anything until Willare, so we just got into the groove, and enjoyed the early morning cool, and I found myself being completely absorbed by the amazing Bottle and Boab trees.
The Bottle trees are taller (up to 20mtrs) and slimmer, the Boabs have much more character. We only have one species of Boab in Australia, only found in the West of the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region of WA. they are ancient and awesome, and it was difficult to stop myself from trying to take photos of them all.
Finally, we reached Willare, and our fuel was a bit low. Due to some pretty strong headwinds, we’re using more than usual. So we just topped up enough to get safely to Broome, the price here was seriously high, at over $1.80, the most we’d paid all trip, and it was only 91Ron. It was time for a break anyway, and the water bags needed refilling, so we got a sandwich and a cold drink and sat down for a rest. While there, we got talking to Tracey, who is walking around Australia, raising money for The Black Dog Institute, and Suicide Awareness. She is pushing this specially designed buggy/trike contraption, with her friend Dexter (a very cute little dog/person). Tracey and Dexter have been on the road for about 20 months, and have walked 6000 kilometres. It was a real pleasure to chat with Tracey, and she was unassuming, kind and positive. You can follow her on Facebook too, at https://www.facebook.com/onewomanwandering/ or her actual blog http://onewomanwandering.com/. Another chance crossing of paths, that was inspiring and helpful.
If you spot these two, they’re hard to miss, just stop and say g’day, have a chat, and enjoy their stories. See you again guys.
The last “must stop and get photo” place for today, was the Roebuck Planes Roadhouse. Another place we’d spent a bit of time, as friends Darren, Dely, Baz and Shirl, managed it while we were up here working, and many a fun (boozie) night was had. It was looking pretty good, and busy as ever, but we squeezed in to fill up, and then to get the photo.
It’s looking good guys, and had cheap fuel too. We’ll stop again on the way out.
Heading in the last 35kms, we were astounded at how far out Broome had spread. A new development was happening out at Crab Creek, 10kms out of the old town. Wow! Then a new diversion road, heading straight to the Port, and heaps more. We took a tour of China town (way bigger, but still nice), past Roebuck Bay, down passed the old light industrial area, out to the Port (got confused, went the wrong way, it’s grown so much), then out to the infamous Cable Beach. Happily, it is still beautiful! We had to sit and mull over what we’d seen, and process all the flash backs and memories. Whoah!
Check out that water! Stunning! Can’t beat it! Broome, still beautiful. Becky seemed to be keen for a swim.
Having successfully wasted enough time, we could now head to our booked accommodation and check in. When I searched for somewhere to stay, it was really hard to find anything within our budget. Except, this one place, called Broome Time Accommodation. I booked it, and then I had a sneaking suspicion that it used to be called something else. Will checked it further, and we both couldn’t believe our eyes. We had booked into, what used to be the staff housing (when we worked here) for staff at The Cable Beach Club, in the nineties. We used to live here, in this resort. Oh my god, and it still looks the same. Now we are on flashback overload, and smiling like clowns. We had one of the best years of our, pre-children lives, living here, with 50 instant friends. Good times, good times. Needless to say, we enjoyed quite a few drinks, running through our memories, and went to sleep a bit over the limit.
Remembering the good times at Ocean Lodge Broome, where did the last 27 years go ?