“If we cross the Border we will not be allowed back into WA” !?

Australian 4WD Camper Blog. Week 3,

Feature Image: Rodgie dog trots along the Duncan Hwy, WA.

  • Week 3.
  • 24/06/21 to 30/06/21
  • Day 15 to 21.
  • Broome WA to Comm Tower 50km NE of Kalkarindji NT.
  • 1213kms (total since home, 4089kms).
Jenny tackles the Buntine Highway, Norther Territory.

18/07/21, Hi everyone, welcome back, apologies that the blog updates can’t be posted nearly live. Unfortunately it’s prudent to monitor the government, authorities and media before disclosing where we’ve been and what we have done. Right now 12 million Australians from southern Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria are either imprisoned in their own homes or under “must wear face mask” mandates. Jenny and I continue to do our best to fly under the radar and see as much of this great country as possible. I’ve included a bit of a blog post epilogue below but be warned there are some minor spoilers in there. Enjoy week 3 of our epic overland road trip, Will.

Day 15, Thursday, Date: 24/06/21

From to where: Outskirts of Broome into Broome and back.

Distance: 80kms

Accumulated Distance: 2956km

Cycling Y/N, KMs: yes, repaired the Karate Monkey tyre and rode around the park.

Fuel $:


Accom type & cost: payed

Grocery Food $:

Take away food $: 23 Chicken Treat 

Beer/Wine/Soda $: Pub $29

Other $: $91 misc. JC, $15 bike sealant, $20 Repco, $20 haircut JC

Day Total $: 169

Rolling Total $: 1844

Gopro footage: GP8, new SD card.

DJI Drone Footage: no

Weather: strong 30km/h, SE wind, Max 24C sunny.


“Wow this Broome place is on steroids busy”.

Ha ha, a rest day. Yeah right ! Washing, equipment maintenance , dog walking, then drive 30kms into town. Jenny managed a hair cut while Rodgie and I had drinks at the Roebuck Hotel, bit pricey at $15 for a pint of beer. 

Drove around collecting other bits and bobs, like auto fuses, wool, bungy cords, SD cards, etc.

Finished our flash Broome visit at Cable Beach over on the Ganthueme Point side, took the 200 Series Landcruiser on the beach and let Rodgie get wet and covered in fine beach sand. Did I mention I’d cleaned out the car interior this morning !

Looking forward to getting out of here tomorrow, this place (Broome) is only good for a very quick resupply these days. It’s just to busy and expensive !

Beer at the Roebuck Hotel in Chinatown Broome is a must but at $15 a pint best to stop at one.


Day 16, Friday, Date: 25/06/21

From to where: Gateway CV Park (Broome) to Ellendale 24h rest (70km west of Fitzroy Crossing).

Distance: 278km

Accumulated Distance: 3234kms

Cycling Y/N, KMs: no

Fuel $:


Accom type & cost: free 24h rest stop Ellendale, near Fitzroy Crossing.

Grocery Food $:

Take away food $:

Beer/Wine/Soda $:

Other $:

Day Total $: $0

Rolling Total $: 1844

Gopro footage: GP8

DJI Drone Footage: no

Weather: strong 30km/h SE (nearly headwinds) 25C max, cool morning, sunny.

Notes: “The Kimberley, welcome to tourist mayhem”.

As per usual a cruisey morning, biggest job was topping up our water. I did cook up some scrambled eggs for breakfast, we were on the road at 9.15am. Jenny started with the driving duties and did her first passing manoeuvre ever in the new Cruiser. She hit 119km/h while passing and was surprised at how easily the V8 twin turbo diesel Landcruiser did it.

We stopped at The Big Boab rest stop for morning smoko after driving 90kms and chatted to Bruce who had cycled from Longreach, Queensland, done the Gibb River Road and was headed for Broome, he had spent 7 weeks on the road. 

About 100kms east of Broome way came across Bruce who is cycling. Topped up his water and made him a cup of tea, gave him our last tim tam biscuit. He started in Longreach, Queensland.

We topped up his water supplies, made Bruce a cup of tea and gave him a Tim Tam biscuit. He chatted to us for about an hour and right at the end said “you’re the first people who haven’t asked me how far I ride in a day” ! That’s because we know mate, you ride as far as you can on any given day depending on the conditions.

We had high hopes for today and planned to get to at least Fitzroy Crossing and illegally camp on the river, but my back was aching to much and when we pulled into Ellendale 24hr Rest Area at 2.50pm, we spotted a shelter that was under a large tree so pulled up next to it. Jenny tells me we parked our butts at the very same shelter back in September 2017 for morning coffee during our big Australian Motorcycle Lap . I honestly don’t recall but it will do us for tonight. 

We met Ken and Sandra from Mt Helena (Perth hills) also Brett & Georgie from Harvey Bay, Queensland . Nice hearing their personal travel stories. The rest area is now packed, it is crazy times during the pandemic in the Kimberley’s since the Government stopped people being able to leave the country everyone who can has taken to the roads. Strange times indeed.

Ellendale 24hr rest area, toilets, shelters, bins. Popular stop at the moment.


Day 17, Saturday, Date: 26/06/21

From to where: Ellendale 24h Rest Area to Mary’s Pool

Distance: 270kms

Accumulated Distance: 3504kms

Cycling Y/N, KMs: no

Fuel $: 132

Litres: 83L at 158.9cpl, fuel economy = 17L per 100kms

Accom type & cost: Free 24h Mary’s Pool, 100km west of Halls Creek.

Grocery Food $:

Take away food $: $9 ice coffees 

Beer/Wine/Soda $:

Other $:

Day Total $: 139

Rolling Total $: 1983

Gopro footage: GP8

DJI Drone Footage: no

Weather: windy SE, 30km/h, 26C max, Sunny.

Notes: “Mary’s Pool is nice if you follow the track upstream”.

Even a mobile Back Packers Hostel rolled into Ellendale, clever concept.

We must be getting good at this, 9.05am saw us back on Highway 1 heading east towards Fitzroy Crossing. We needed diesel at Fitzroy Crossing so stopped at the Caltex, topped up the tanks, had a comfort break and gave Rodgie a run around on the grassy area next to the permanently closed information centre. Fitzroy Crossing is always a unique experience. We had to stop Rodgie’s ball fetching game when 3 aggressive community dogs ranging from large to small all trotted over to give her a hard time. 

Our lunch break was on top of a break away area with a good view called Nguban Cliffs, it is also a 24hr rest are but quite exposed to the wind. As is typical for this “new normal” at this time of year, once we stopped 2 small tour buses and 4 vehicles towing vans/camper trailers also stopped. Every second person wants to pat the dog and she jumps up at everyone of them.

By 2.30pm my back is fairly aching and while extremely busy Mary’s Pool looked like it would do us for the day. Come sundown there must have been nearly 100 vans/caravans/trailers all camped up in the main area near the old causeway. Jenny and I noticed a barely used track headed upstream and drove about 500 metres to a nice secluded spot on the banks of the Mary River. We used our onboard shower, had burgers  for dinner, Rodgie dog is scared of the numerous cattle roaming around. 

This is the sort of campsite you dream about, heaps of birds, sandy river bed with lots of water holes, fresh water crocodiles barking at night, river gum trees sheltering you from the wind, grassy areas and warm weather. It’s so good we’ve decided to stay another night.

Spent a couple of nights camped on the Mary River about 400mtrs away from Mary’s Pool.

Mary River Kimberley, WA, middle of the dry season.


Day 18, Sunday, Date: 27/06/21

From to where: Mary’s Pool, rest day

Distance: 0

Accumulated Distance: 3504

Cycling Y/N, KMs: no lots of walking, 5 plus kms.

Fuel $:


Accom type & cost: Free

Grocery Food $:

Take away food $:

Beer/Wine/Soda $:

Other $:

Day Total $: 0

Rolling Total $: 1983

Gopro footage:

DJI Drone Footage:


Notes:  “Lockdowns announced NT, WA, NSW”.

After 33 years of travelling together Jenny and I have a few clues as to what is a premium camp site and at Mary’s Pool we knew we had found one. Yes the main 24h camping area was packed out stupidly with up to 100 campers mostly in some sort of Van. 

The previous day we arrived and immediately looked up river, I guess we pushed 400 metres into the scrub and found a primo spot on the river bank. There was no one anywhere near us, we showered naked in the buffle grass along side the camper, wee’d next to the ghost gum and walked back to the main camp area to use the toilet for the serious business. 

After one night we both knew that staying a second night was a must do. Our day was filled in with cooking, walking Rodgie dog, chatting with other travellers, blogging, crocheting, bird watching and just generally talking to each other trying to solve the world problems (yeah good luck with the last one).

It was close to the perfect camp site, though we did have to contend with mean mugging cows, uneven ground and some bugs. Turned into a great day off. In the afternoon Sandra and Ken, fellow road buddies walked down to have a chat and a few drinks. Top day people, memorable !

Rodgie wasn’t too sure about the cattle at Mary’s Pool.

Just before I sign off I would like to let you know the small hybrid camper is working out great. Very comfortable and convenient, forget the mega-vans go as small as you can. As an example all the people I’ve spoken to with a 200 series Landcruiser who are towing 3.5 tonne of mega van are reporting 21-23 litres per 100 kilometres. We are constantly logging 15-17 litres per 100 kays. To put that into prospective the average Australian tour is 20000kms if you are towing a 3.5 tonne van it’s going to cost you an extra $2000 in fuel alone. That’s equivalent to 3 weeks travel for team wiljen. Taking a tent would save you an additional $2000 in fuel. That’s a lot of motel rooms friends. Just a thought !


Day 19, Monday, Date: 28/06/21

From to where: Mary’s Pool to Saw Pit Gorge (40kms east of Halls Creek).

Distance: 155km

Accumulated Distance: 3659

Cycling Y/N, KMs: no

Fuel $: 80

Litres: 50L @ 157.9cpl economy equalled 15L per 100kms. Prepaid bowser. So hard to totally fill up.

Accom type & cost: Free Camp, Sawpit is 24h

Grocery Food $: 54

Take away food $:

Beer/Wine/Soda $:

Other $:

Day Total $: 134

Rolling Total $: 2117

Gopro footage: GP8

DJI Drone Footage: no

Weather: NE winds 20km/h, 28C max, Sunny 

Notes: “Halls Creek, a gritty town with it’s own unique charm”.

We started off with no plan today only a direction, travel east. On the road by 9.30am, shopping and fuel stop in Halls Creek 100kms later. Jenny ran Rodgie around the town oval while I food shopped at the IGA, it’s busy with lots of travellers and mine workers.

Jen had work to do and needed phone reception. We stopped at the local Halls Creek Cemetery for 2 hours. Jenny got on with the job while Rodgie and I checked out the towns history, cemetery style, there are also toilets nearby.

Jenny does book work online on the out skirts of Halls Creek, while Rodgie and I check out the cemetery. Town was very busy we know from experience that cemeteries are dead quiet 😐 they usually have toilets and water.

Next we took too the Duncan Highway (a dirt road), it was a slow 40-50km/h rock rough ride out to Palm Springs. Lovely spot I even went for a quick swim in my jocks, 1.5 kilometres further on is the entrance into Saw Pit Gorge. Easy enough we slowly make our way along the 4kms of track crossing a couple of flowing creeks. At the gorge are some sheer red cliffs maybe 70 metres high. I scope out the river bed on foot for camping options. There are already two other solo vehicles camped down there on the rocky river bed with nice views of the pool. 

It would be a challenge getting the camper down there but possible. The real problem is no privacy, very uneven ground and we have the dog. So we decide to just stay up in the very dusty car park area and enjoy the majestic views of the setting sun shining on the cliff face. 


Day 20, Tuesday, Date: 29/06/21

From to where: Sawpit Gorge to Wild Goose Camp (flooded gravel pit on Buntine Hwy, 10km west of WA/NT border.

Distance: 145kms (about 10kms of exploring).

Accumulated Distance: 3804kms

Cycling Y/N, KMs: no

Fuel $:


Accom type & cost: FREE, gravel pit with water.

Grocery Food $:

Take away food $:

Beer/Wine/Soda $:

Other $:

Day Total $: 0

Rolling Total $:  2117

Gopro footage: GP8 with photos on JC and WC phones

DJI Drone Footage:  no

Weather: 29C max, negligible wind, sunny.

Notes: Every day is a “Wild Card” out here.

You never know what you’re in for on any given day whilst driving the long paddock. It’s one of the main reason we don’t overly plan out our days journey, just sketch something out and see what happens. If you think about it you have already done all the planning at the very beginning of your tour. You have the appropriate equipment, vehicle and knowledge. You know roughly that you are going from A to B to X, Y and Z over a given amount of time. What will really occur in between is just one big guess. Sounds like life doesn’t it ?

Our day started off at 4.30am with Rodgie dog heaving her guts up, I tried to get her outside in time but no I’m too late, dog chunder all over the camper indoor mat. Than she starts the heaving noise again and I quickly push the poor mutt out the door. She spews all over the outside ground mesh mat. Wow this is mint fun ! Jenny badly fakes sleep while I clean up the dogs vomit. I settle her and we all go back to our respective beds. Surprisingly I manage to get another 2 hours of reasonable sleep.

Sawpit Gorge is good, a bit dusty where we are camped but the other spots are superb. We chat with a young couple from Broome who are driving around for a month while they wait for their recently purchased unit in China Town Broome to settle. They were going to travel into the Northern Territory but the latest Covid scare has them nervous about getting back into Western Australia. The WA Government has proven way to keen to shoot from the hip in the past and no one knows how they’ll react.

Jenny and I are now beyond giving a fuck what crap they pull. We will do what we do best, fly under the radar, adapt and do work arounds. The more we watch what’s happening the more we realise it’s become one big keep people living in fear campaign. We say NO MORE, we are going to get on with life. 

Before we set off from Sawpit I deflated all our tyres down to 30psi on the Landcruiser and 33psi on the camper. No going over 70km/h now. During our leisurely 50-60km/h drive along the Duncan Highway (gravel road) we see some awesome landscapes, John (a Danish Aussie who we briefly met at Sawpit) passes us in his Ford Ranger Ute. We chat for a short time on the UHF radio and he slowly pulls away off into the distance in a plume of dust. The road conditions were generally very good but unless you know the road best to keep it at less than 70km/h as there are heaps of sneaky washouts and floodways.

Duncan Highway, Kimberley, Western Australia. Not much traffic out here.

Jenny and I stop at the turn off to Ringer Soak under some acacia trees for lunch. Than at 1.30pm we drive down a side track into Marella Gorge. After a couple of kilometres we come to a closed but unlocked gate with “Private Property, Strictly No Entry”  written in faded hand writing. Jenny hops out and opens the gate as a few Brahman Cattle run off. The track is quite tricky towing the Camper, we also notice some bicycle tyre tracks. Eventually we get to a spot where it’s just wiser to get out and walk.

We walked around for 30 minutes, did locate the gorge but access for us was prohibitive and the earlier warning sign made us unsettled. There was water in the gorge but no where to park the camper so we slowly drove back to the Duncan in four wheel drive high, the torquey V8 diesel engine took care of the rest.

It’s now 2.30pm and we’re both keeping an eye open for suitable camping sites, the sun sets at 5pm sharp and it’s dark 10 minutes later. In all our years of travel we know that some thing will come up, it always does and always has. Sometimes it’s not great but more often than not you end up with a pleasant surprise. Up ahead in the distance Jenny spots two touring cyclists. It’s Jess and Peter, a Daughter/Father team we had heard about from Fred who are trying to cycle the Duncan Highway (approximately 500kms). What is this, they are going the wrong way ?

We stop, the touring cyclists stop. They inform us the WA Government are up to their old Covid keep the fear alive tricks, “we must keep WA safe” close the borders ! Apparently if you now leave WA you will not be allowed back in unless you quarantine for two weeks at your own expense. The Duncan Highway meanders in and out of the WA/NT boarder before eventually reaching Highway Number 1, 20kms on the NT side of the border. Jess and Peter are worried they will be trapped on the wrong side and not allowed home. They decide to back track to Halls Creek.

The cyclists had already come across John who had supplied them with food and water, we also added a dehydrated meal for 2, of roast chicken to their cause. While chatting John showed up in his Ford Ranger. He too had decided best to back track and not cross the border.

John asked what our intentions were, we said we were going to just keep going. No point stopping now. After a bit of a talk about the pros, cons, if’s and buts John decided he too would continue east into the Northern Territory. So the cyclists continued west, John and team wiljen headed for the Buntine Highway into the NT.

Less than 10kms from the border with John’s dust cloud still in view on the horizon we spotted an ancient gravel pit which we have named “Wild Goose Camp”. It looks like it was dug in a water course so it’s full of water, heaps of bird life to spend the afternoon watching but right on sunset a couple of magpie geese flew in and parked up for the night on a small island in the middle of the lake. Also I have to mention we had a camp fire, hot water showers, it’s warm and the stars were amazing… 

I really wish you could be here with us 🙂

What we have named “Wild Goose Gravel Pit Camp” about 10kms from the WA/NT border on the Buntine Highway.


Day 21, Wednesday, Date: 30/06/21

From to where: Wild Goose Camp to East Comm Tower Kalkarindji (50km)

Distance: 285km , 230km on average quality gravel Buntine Hwy.

Accumulated Distance: 4089km

Cycling Y/N, KMs: YES ! 13kms

Fuel $: 130

Litres: 60L @ 218cpl Kalkarindji, didn’t fill up.

Accom type & cost: Free road side stop at Communication Tower (50kms)

Grocery Food $:

Take away food $:

Beer/Wine/Soda $:

Other $:

Day Total $: 130

Rolling Total $:  2247

Gopro footage: GP8 with SD card change GP4 on bicycle ride.

DJI Drone Footage: no

Weather:  31C Max clear and sunny, light SE winds 

Notes: “Too Cross or not to Cross”.

Huge Australian wide border restrictions put in place.

The sun rises , BBbbbrrrr, BBbbbrrrr, silence for awhile, BBbbbrrrr, BBbbbrrrr, BBbbbrrrr. I stir out of my slumber. What is that strange noise ?I’m busting for a wee, Rodgie is making, let me out of here noises, Jenny is still quietly snoring. I hop out of our bed in jocks and a tee shirt. There are thousands of Budgerigars flying in a crazy flock diving into the water and zooming away.  BBbbbrrr, BBbbbrrr , the mad flapping of wings continued in a controlled chaotic way. We are in for one unusual day !

Flocks of Budgerigars keep us entertained during the morning. Later the Cockatiels came in.

We spend an hour watching the birds while eating breakfast. At 8.30 I hop onto the bicycle and my days journey begins. The plan is to ride for an hour, Jenny will depart in the car at 9.30am and we will meet up at roughly the 15km mark. I had a moderate headwind so only averaged 13km/h after 8kms I arrived at the WA/NT border. On the WA side there was a Covid sign advising that a mandatory 14 day quarantine is required if you enter WA. It looked like the sign had been there awhile.

After some photos I continue east. Jenny has left a little earlier than planned so catches up to me at the 13km mark. We load the black Surly  Karate Monkey back onto the Camper and continue on along the dusty corrugated Buntine Highway.

The Buntine is gravel all the way to Kalkarindji, with the odd short section of bitumen and occasional smooth stretch of dirt road. Generally it is dusty and rough, towing at 50km/h was more than fast enough on this track. There was some nice sections but overall it’s cattle country that is often trampled and denuded of vegetation. The further east you travel the more trees and scrub you encounter. Not many good camping opportunities. We will be in no rush to travel it again, at least there was no traffic. We did pass a couple of touring vehicles, one towing a small off road caravan heading west. I guess they’re both doing the rat run into Western Australia so they don’t have to waste 14 days in quarantine. There isn’t anyone out here policing the border crossing so when they pop out at Halls Creek no one will be any of the wiser.

As we drive into Kalkarindji there is a large mobile solar powered LED sign advising us to report to the local Police Station upon arrival. First we stopped at the fortified General Store prepaid for 60 litres of diesel @ $2.18 per litre, (dearest so far this tour) and then used the bowser that was protected by a mesh cage. There were locals milling around, community dogs wandering and the odd local car that wouldn’t have looked too out of place in a Mad Max film.

Kalkarindji NT, diesel is $2.18 per litre our dearest so far this trip.

Next stop the Cop Shop, the woman police officer was surprised to see us. She asked where we had come from and we said we had left Halls Creek on Monday morning. She said we shouldn’t be here and that the border is closed. News to us, she had a brief conversation with the Sergeant (?) and he said only into WA it is closed, they confirmed we had our NT travel permits, informed us that both Darwin and Alice Springs are in Lockdown until Friday but transit into Katherine is ok. They also said we should get to Katherine ASAP as who knows what will happen next. 

The sign on the west side of town said to check in with the Police. They were friendly but didn’t totally know what the latest pandemic rules are. Who does ?

Having no internet or phone connectivity out here is becoming a pain as we can’t keep up to date on latest virus pandemic developments. We’ll get to Katherine when we can, no point rushing at the moment.

Finding a place to camp for the night proved more difficult than usual, we ended up 50kms out of Kalkarindji tucked in behind a communication tower, not quite out of sight but definitely difficult to spot from the road. Oh yeah, the dreaded bush fly is back in force. Once again we were treated to a bright Milky Way.


18/07/21. Future Will and Jenny here, hello to you all. Currently we are deep into Far North Queensland territory, there has been a lot of tough, dusty back roads, minor mechanical problems, near misses with crocs and snakes, weather is hot and predictable. The travelling has been a bit quicker than we prefer but that’s because we are currently a little more destination focused than usual.

A crazy amount of travellers out here from all over mainland Australia, the only fellow countryman we haven’t seen or crossed paths with are Tasmanian’s, I guess they’re trapped. Most of the travellers are long term, in the 60-70 years demographic and retired. They are usually towing 20 foot plus vans, my best estimate from what I’ve seen is they make up 60% of the people moving around. Amazingly Jenny and I are some of the youngest out here of cause there is a smattering of under 35 year olds but their proportion is maybe 5% of who we see getting around.

Nearly all the travellers are on multi month trips with the odd long term multi year nomad. More often than not they are either not allowed or are reluctant to return home. The generally vibe from the many travellers I’ve spoken too is low level fear of the virus, lots of them have had a jab or are getting one. There’s great distrust in the governments and the general feeling is the governments have stuffed it up. Though most do agree it would be a tough job to manage the “crisis”.

Meanwhile keeping a couple of steps ahead of Government forced lockdowns has proven tricky at times but currently we’re still dodging and weaving. Our experience in the NT nearly turned into a debacle, but we managed to overcome the NT lockdown. Right now we would not be able to fly home to Western Australia if we had to get home in a hurry. The WA Government would deny us access even though we’re WA residents. 

Jenny and I have noted a loophole with the present WA lock out of the Eastern Seaboard States so if the status quo continues we’ll still be able to drive home when the time comes. Overall the tour is going great, Rodgie dog is doing good and we’re enjoying ourselves, weather is terrific, seeing heaps of bird life bit not as many native land animals as in the past. Way to many cows out here, which trash the land and water ways. Also have spotted some cane toads. Unlike 20 years ago there are now fences everywhere, this makes free camping more difficult but it’s still possible. 

Happily I can report the free camp spots that we have stopped at and are frequented by other travellers are clean, the quantity of rubbish is low to almost non existent, people are cleaning up after themselves. There’s still the odd selfish idiot who thinks toilet paper will magically disappear like at home (with toilet paper you must bag it, bin it and/or burn it. Don’t even bother trying to bury your paper the animals just dig it up).  So that’s been a pleasant surprise, I wonder if there is a correlation between the quantity of foreign travellers and the amount of rubbish dumped at free camp sites around Australia ? Currently there are no foreign travellers in Australia and the free camping areas are generally clean, just saying !

Team wiljen are only 4 days from our halfway point and tour “destination” of Port Douglas. From then on we can slow down a bit until the 4 weeks to get home schedule kicks in. I’ll get our week 4 update posted soon, possible in 7-10 days. That’s all for now folks, thanks for reading. Will.

You can live in fear or you can live life, your choice. Thanks for reading, Jenny and Will.

4 thoughts on ““If we cross the Border we will not be allowed back into WA” !?

  1. Thank you for helping save dad and I!! So awesome to meet you two 🙂 Happy travelling and safe driving.


    1. Not a problem Jess Cappendell, if everyone tried to help each other when they can life would be so much easier. Lots of random people have assisted Jenny and I during our travels, it’s nice to repay them by helping someone else. Will


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