Travelling Australia
Wayne & Pam BENTLEY

Sunday 13th June 2004 to Tuesday 15th June 2004

Sunday 13th June 2004

Just another one of many rocky break-a-ways alongside Victoria Highway west of Timber Creek

This morning we rose out of bed last night... well that is what it felt like at 5.15am when all other sensible things were still sound asleep.  Then after the morning cup of tea and all other preparations for the days journey, we pulled out of the caravan park at 6.35 NT time and set off down the Stuart Highway towards Katherine.

We passed through Adelaide River, Hayes Creek, Emerald Springs and Pine Creek before arriving in Katherine at about 10.15am.  We stopped in Katherine long enough to fill up the patrol with diesel (103.9 cpl) and were off again at about 10.40am, this time on the Victoria Highway.

It was then a drive of approximately 193 kilometres of gentle undulating landscape to the next lot of services at Victoria River. However things changed after Victoria River as we drove into some very stunning red rocky break away ranges where the sun turned the reds into a kaleidoscope of colours and the sheer rock faces gave shape and character to the hills.  It was difficult to stop and take photographs of the best of the ranges and those we did take can't do justice to the colours and shapes of them all.  These ranges then continued most of the way along the highway to Timber creek and beyond.

Out stop at Timber Creek was a relatively short one and fortunately we did not require any fuel as it was 134.9 cents per litre at the pumps. It was off again with only about 225 kilometres to Kununurra, so that became our destination for the day.  We stopped at a parking bay just short of the Quarantine Station at the WA border where we munched on the last of our fruit and disposed of all items that we would not be able to carry into Western Australia.  The officer at the Quarantine Station checked the vehicle pretty well but was very friendly.

From the WA Border it was a straight forward drive of 40 kilometres to Kununurra where we booked in to the Big4 5 star Ivenhoe Village Caravan Resort for the next couple of days.  This was a welcome stop after 764 kilometres traveled during the day

'One of us' still hasn't stopped 'Yahooing' since we crossed to border into WA and the champagne is on ice.  She has decided we will use Northern Territory time for our drinks tonight so it is now time to pop the cork!!!

On the Victoria Hwy - west of Victoria River

Monday 14th June 2004

After sleeping in until well after daylight this morning it felt a little strange to still be up by  This moving the clocks back by an hour and a half certainly makes it easier to get up at a respectable time in the morning, even if it does get dark a lot earlier in the evening.

Our first task this morning was to visit the local Coles Store and stock up on our fruit and vegetables.  This created a welcome fix for 'one of us' as not only was she in a Coles Store, she was in a Coles Store in Western Australia and there were a few things that were not often seen in the eastern states stores whilst we have been away.

Once the purchases had been made we returned to the caravan and enjoyed an early lunch consisting of a couple of very tasty fresh bread rolls filled with salad, followed by a very tasteless rock melon... I guess you can't win them all.

After lunch we went back into town and visited the Tourist Centre, then headed off back out the Victoria Highway to the Ord River Dam and Lake Argyle turnoff, about 35 kilometres out toward the NT border, then drove the 30 kilometres in to the Main Dam on Lake Argyle.  This took us through some very beautiful red break away country that one imagines when thinking of the Kimberly area.  We stopped many times to take photographs on the way, including once to photograph some red tailed black cockatoos in the top of a boab tree at the side of the road.

Once we reached Lake Argyle itself and the main dam, we viewed and photographed it from several angles before driving across it to a very lush green picnic area on the other side.  We then returned over the dam and started to make our way out of the Argyle Village, which consists of a caravan park, motel and a few other small enterprises.  Just out of this village we turned in to the Durack Homestead Museum which displays some of the details of the Durack family who once ran the cattle property where Lake Argyle now exists.  Their homestead was covered by water when the dam was constructed, however there are some headstones and other items from that property on display in the replica of their original home.  Entry was only $3 per adult so was well worth the visit.

We then continued on our return journey to Kununurra and the caravan park where we settled in once again for the night.

Tomorrow at about 2.00pm we get picked up from the caravan park for a two hour fixed wing flight over Kununurra, Lake Argyle, Argyle Diamond Mine and the Bungle Bungles, returning to Kununurra at about 4.30pm.

Lake Argyle - Main Dam

Lake Argyle - a small section

Tuesday 15th June 2004

The morning was a lazy one with 'one of us' writing letters and the 'other one' catching up with even more data entry into MYOB.  There was definitely not any fast action seen around our caravan before lunch.

Feeling very rested and ready to go, we made our way up to the collection point at the entrance to the caravan park at about 1.50pm and found the bus had turned up early so on board we went and off the the Kununurra Airport.  We were taken to the SlingAir terminal (perhaps that was because we were flying with them) and once the formalities were over, we did not have to wait long before we were escorted out to the aircraft and squeezed in for our flight.  There were twelve passengers and the pilot on board when we took of and we all arrived back in one piece.

We took off over Kununurra and then headed out toward Lake Argyle, via several ranges of break away hills.  The plane climbed to about 3,000 feet and remained at that level for the majority of the flight. The course we flew took as over Lake Argyle, passed the main dam and village, and along the length of the lake before heading toward the Bungle Bungles.  A small bit of trivia is that Lake Argyle is 21 times the size of Sydney Harbour and is home for about 80,000 crocodiles, mainly fresh water croc's. 

On the way to the Bungles we passed over two cattle stations and a few more ranges of break away hills.  Then we approached the Bungles from a Northerly direction and flew in a clockwise direction around them.  This was great to see the features of these magnificent ranges, but as the sun was shining in over the range and onto the aircraft window, it made taking good photographs of the bungles extremely difficult.  Although we could see them very clearly and quite close up, we were unable to get any good photographs of the sections of the Bungles that are what people see in the publicity shots of the area.  As the view changed on the way around the bungles, we were often flying over the features, not off to the side which would have made it much easier to take good photographs.  It appears it was necessary to fly this course because there are a number of aircraft flying around the area at the same time, so there is not the opportunity to choose a course of their own or to return over any particular area.

From the Bungles we headed back north to the Argyle Diamond Mine and made a circuit or two around the mine before continuing on our return trip to Kununurra, skirting the west side of Lake Argyle, landing safely and all intake at Kununurra after almost two hours in the air.  Then it was just a case of boarding the bus that took us back to the caravan park, arriving just before 5.00pm.

Another day has now been completed and new sights have been seen.  Tomorrow should see us taking a drive up to Wyndham and maybe back to El Questro before spending our last night in Kununurra.

Lake Argyle from the air

The edge of the Bungle Bungle Ranges

Argyle Diamond Mine