Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Friday 1st July 2005 to Sunday 3rd July 2005

Friday 1st July 2005

The day dawned on another beautiful day, the skies were clear blue and the temperature warm . We were up in time to see the sun start, bright and early as we were leaving Darwin today. After all the usual procedure to get ready we drove out of the caravan park at about 8 a.m. and turned south on Stuart Highway heading towards Katherine.

We made a very brief stop at Adelaide River to take a photo of an old nationals Railway engine sitting at the entrance of a Railway Museum. The patrol made fairly short work of the hills a long the highway as far as Katherine where we pulled into the Shell Coles service station to refuel the Patrol before heading along the Victoria Highway.

At about 12:30 p.m. we made a stop at a roadside rest area about 57 kilometres west of Katherine. This rest area already had about 8 or 10 other caravans and recreational vehicles parked there before our arrival, several of them appeared to have stayed overnight or at least were going to stay the night as they had settled in very well. We stayed long enough for 'One of Us' to make lunch while the 'Other One' took a photograph or two before enjoying our meat and salad sandwich in very fresh bread straight out of the breadmaker early this morning.

It was back on the road again as we continued west for about another 140 kilometres, passing through some quite red rock breakaway country before arriving at Victoria River just before 3 p.m.. After paying out $20 caravan site fee we set up in the caravan park for the rest of the afternoon.

The Victoria River Roadhouse and caravan park is set reasonably close to the Victoria River in an area of Valley surrounded by some high breakaway cliffs that appear to a glow red in the light of the setting sun. Although the park and the facilities were quite basic, the atmosphere makes up for some of the other things that are missing. As the day wore on an evening grew closer and more and more caravans pulled into the park for the evening.

'One of Us' strolled down to the river to check out the crocodiles and the barramundi, however it she didn't see either, it appears the crocodiles have eaten out the barramundi and are now in hiding waiting for a bigger feed. It was mentioned that the crocodiles have been known to wander up into the caravan park before but there are tastier bits than us in the park at the moment so we are not concerned.

After a couple of drinks at beer o'clock, we walked up to the road house where we enjoyed a typical roadhouse style meal. 'One of Us' had a veal parmagana and a glass of white wine and the 'Other One' had a mixed grill and a glass of red wine, both with chips and salad, the lot casting about $45. We sat outside where we could watch the effects of the setting sun on the red walls of the breakaway cliffs around the area.

It was then time to return to the caravan where a little TV and a couple of books kept us occupied for the rest of the night.

Adelaide River - Railway museum entry

Lunch stop at roadside rest area

Dinner at the Victoria River Roadhouse

Saturday 2nd July 2005

The dawning of the day saw us up (well almost) and getting organized for our last 270 kilometres driving through the Northern Territory before we reached the Western Australian border. When we stepped out of the caravan we were surrounded by about a dozen or so small kangaroos or wallabies grazing on the grass. The correllas were also making their presence known with a loud chorus from the branches of the numerous nearin itby trees. It was said that even crocodiles have been known to take a stroll through the park but we didn't see any, but they are known for their ability to disguise themselves very well.

Before departing we took a walk down to the river near the caravan park. To get there we had to walk along a narrow path through an area of bush and reeds that could have hidden anything, including crocodiles, so 'One of Us' made the 'Other One' go first. She said it was because she walks slower but he somehow doubted the accuracy of that statement.

The river may not have been full, however the water in it was as still as a millpond and made a very pretty sight with the sun just rising over the hills. It could have been inviting if it hadn't been for the sign that said 'no swimming -crocodiles'. 'One of Us' could not be convinced it was safe to swim, even whilst the 'Other One' was standing in front of the sign so she couldn't see it, she said it was too cold because it was only about 4 degrees at 7 a.m.

We pulled out of the caravan park by about 8:50 a.m. but stopped while we were still on the entry to the roadhouse so we could take some photographs of the red breakaway hills that were glowing in the morning sunlight. We then continued several kilometres through similar country before the road leveled out a little and the kilometres started to wind down.

We hadn't gone a long way when we had cause to slow right down and stop to watch half a dozen 'wild' horses grazing on the verge of the highway. They seemed to be enjoying the small patches of greener grass just off the sealed section of the highway. We took a couple of photographs of these horses before moving off again and although they stepped back to watch us drive bye, they remained on the edge of the highway after we had gone.

About eighty kilometres down the road we pulled over at the Durack Monument near the turn off to Bulita Station. This monument is a vary large rock standing on it's end, with a plaque and a moulding of a cattle transport road train attached. We then continued a further ten kilometres before passing through Timber Creek without stopping as we did that last time through here.

Not long after leaving Timber Creek we had to slow again, this time to ensure a very large black bull didn't run across the road in front of us as although he may have been damaged, we would have come off pretty badly if we hit him. As this was still in the Gregory National Park we could only assume that he was either wild or had strayed quite a distance from his home.

At about 12:50 p.m. NT time or more correctly 11:10 a.m. WA time we reached the border into Western Australia and the Quarantine Station where we had to stop and declare any fruit, vegetables and honey that we may have been carrying with us. The woman on the check point was very friendly whilst at the same time completing her job efficiently. After asking necessary questions, inspecting our fridges and having a bit of a chat about caravanning, we were able to continue on our way.

The last forty kilometres into Kununurra were pretty uneventful with the exception of 'One of Us' yelling with glee because she was back in Western Australia. We pulled into the Town Caravan Park just before midday WA time and were set up on our site within half an hour. Shortly after we met up with Ron Chapman (a friend of ours and married to cousin Dawn) and spent quite a while standing chatting to him. We then drove to the Coles Store where we replenished our vegetables along with some steak, chops and sausages.

Around 5:30 p.m. (7 p.m. to us as we were up using NT time) Ron and Dawn visited us and we sat around with a drink in our hands chatting about all things interesting before we finished off the night with a BBQ before settling in for a good long nights sleep.

Victoria River early in the morning

Yes dear, it's safe to swim in the river....

Lunch - only about 50 km from the WA border

Sunday 3rd July 2005

After a late night (or more correctly an early morning!) sitting around chatting with Ron and Dawn last night, we finally made it into bed about 18 or so hours after starting out our day in Victoria River. We had a great night covering so many subjects that were common in our past and of course our families, where they are, what they are doing and how proud we are of all of them.

This morning was a bit slow once again, but then again most of them are that way. whilst 'One of Us' was tidying the caravan the 'Other One' went to the office of the caravan park to check out the boat cruises up the Ord River. He returned with a pamphlet showing the options available and after a round table (or maybe it was oblong) discussion, we decided that we would settle on a boat trip that takes us approximately 55 kilometres up the Ord River as far as the main Ord Dam then after a shortstop, returns along the same river back to Kununurra, a total business of about 110 kilometres at speeds up to 50 kilometres per hour. Along the way afternoon tea is provided and several stops are made to allow observation of different aspects of the river and its contents.

Once this excursion had been bought and paid for ($110 each) we drove out of the caravan park and filled the patrol at the Shell Coles service station before heading out towards zebra Rock Gallery. This Gallery produces various kinds of jewellry, book ends, clocks, paperweight and a great number of other items from this unique Rock that has patterns and stripes in various colours emblazoned through it. This is the only location in the world that this Rock can be found. After browsing through the Gallery we took a couple of slices of bread down to to Lake Kununurra where we fed some rather huge silver catfish that almost climbed over each other, up out of the water to get at the bread we were feeding them. Next we returned to the Zebra Rock Gallery workshop where for the princely sum of $15 we purchased a relatively small bag of unpolished zebra stone with the view of polishing it up and maybe making something out of it after we arrived home back in Kalamunda.

With this new purchase tucked away in the patrol we returned to the caravan park for lunch before heading off again in the patrol with Ron and Dawn as our navigator and guide respectively to take us out to great Northern Highway where we visited 'The Grotto before traveling a short distance further and taking a diversion along a four-wheel drive track that is called 'The Old Halls Creek Road'. This 13 kilometres of track proved to be very interesting as it wound its way between the breakaway hills, over several creek crossings and among a great variety of flora, particularly Boab trees which were in abundance. This drive took us almost an hour before we arrived at the old Wyndham to Kununurra Road and Parry resort.

This resort although a little rustic, was sitting on a small section of a creek or lagoon with a plentiful supply of water. From here we continued west for a short distance before turning North on our way to Marlgu Billabong which is part of Parry lagoons. This Billabong has a walk way with a bird hide sitting over the billabong and gives visitors the opportunity to view the hundreds of birds that appeared to be able to fish out a good dinner or two from the water each day. At one stage we were able to observe a white Intermediate Egret feeding on several small fish right under the window of the bird hide.

We then left the billabong and headed back to Great Northern Highway where we turned south and headed back towards Kununurra once more. This drive took us back through some quite picturesque ranges and back onto Victoria Highway on which we traveled the last 45 kilometres to Kununurra.

After arriving back at the caravan at about 4:45 p.m. it was time to start the process of meal preparation so 'One of Us' fired at the electric fry pan and cooked up a storm of savoury mince with a good dose of chile while the 'Other One' took his time in preparing the daily Journal. As we had a late night or early morning yesterday an early night is planned for tonight as we will have another full-day tomorrow which will include our journey up the Ord River and back, arriving back at the caravan park around 5:30 p.m.

'One of Us' with cousin Dawn at 'The Grotto'

Crossing a creek on the 'Old Halls Creek Road'

Marlgu Billabong - Parry Lagoons