Making It Up As We Go Along

Wed. 19th June 2019

Looking down on Wyndham port areaTonight, we are staying in Kununurra 120km away so it is back over the Pentecost River crossing and then 40km of unsealed road with the rest of the direct route is sealed. That would be too easy as we want to visit Wyndham and see the Five River lookout. Given the lack of rain we hope that we can see all five rivers and it would be worth the detour. The lookout road wound its way out of town and up to the top of Mount Bastion to give almost a 360° view. It looked down on the port and it was possible to make out the old meat factory and iron ore storage facility. The sign helps us to identify what we are seeing.

Looking out to seaWe were beginning to worry that there was not a map to help us identify the five rivers, but it was hidden behind a group of tourists, phew. Pentecost we knew, and next to that was King River and to our right was the Ord and in between was Durack and Forrest, that makes five all entering the Cambridge Gulf.

Big crocGoing back into Wyndham town, we passed the 20m crocodile made from seemingly excess road making materials, one wonders why? It sits there mouth open just inviting a photo with some random tourist posing by it. As we left town I was glad to see the cyclone warning system said the risk was nil. With the tide rising by as much as 8m you just have to wonder what this part of the world must be like in the wet season. It is quite sparsely populated and must be quite inhospitable at such times.

Marlgu BillabongDave has a surprise for us as we head back inland to our selected lunch spot and he tells me to turn off onto a dusty track seemingly though flat fields of wild grass. After a few kilometres we park up by some trees where I spot water and a boardwalk. This is known as Marlgu Billabong and there is also a bird hide. Two cars leave as we arrive meaning we had the place to ourselves for a while. They tell us there are some freshwater crocs and a various birds, which mean nothing to us, but we don’t see them. What we do see is a pair of rainbow bee eaters perched on a nearby tree and they keep flying over the water looking for food, before returning to the tree. I had great fun with my long lens trying to catch them in flight but they were just too quick. This was the best I managed (1/1,000s shutter speed if anyone is interested).

And off we goRainbow bee eaterEnough, time to move on for lunch, and Dave took us on a short cut on even narrower tracks which became rutted and rocky and then finally turned to sand which I slid my way over. A few choice words were used as I finally reached a more sensible dirt track. As Dave said the Beast could have coped with far worse as I hadn’t even had to stop to engage the 4WD. It was just the driver outside her comfort zone. The news of English scones served at Parry Creek Farm had reached us in Broome and so were quite welcome when we finally arrived there.

Take the right forkAfter lunch I leapt into the passenger seat, enough of this 4×4 malarkey for me today, as we had one more stop on the itinerary before heading to our accommodation in town. After the disappointment of the dry Pentecost River crossing we had heard, and seen, recent video of the Ivanhoe Crossing which was wet. Both the Tomtom and Google ignored the cross country route to get there and said take the sensible long was round on proper roads. I voted for that!

Ivanhoe Crossing from the far sideThe biggest crowds of the day were at the crossing with half a dozen vehicles parked up and people watching those brave enough to cross through the water. We did not need to cross to the other side but Dave was keen to put our Land Cruiser through its paces. We watched the action and it is still not my thing so I offered to hold the camera. I videoed Dave drive across through the water which was cascading over the road. It took a minute for him to steadily drive through the main part of the crossing, there is a second shorter part which I couldn’t see. And I was all ready with the still shot I was going to take on his way back but at that moment my camera battery died.

Stunt double in actionA chap in an identical Britz land cruiser was wavering over whether to cross and Dave showed that the running boards on our vehicle were not even wet, told him how to drive through and sent him on his way. I therefore have a cheat picture of our stunt double driving through! Pointing straight into the sun was not good but I thought with my polarizing filter the photos I took were not too bad. Dave was happy with his 4×4 experience and we headed off to our accommodation in Kununurra happy bunnies.

Kelly's Knob at sunsetI lied, there was one further sight for the day and that was sunset on Kelly’s Knob. This is a rock outcrop on the northern side of town. We rushed to the carpark just as the sun was setting but we did not have time to climb right to the top. We did however get a good view of the outcrop glowing in the setting sunlight. The view over town and the vast empty expanse  was good but there was nothing in the foreground to make a good picture. We played around with the trees to try and get some sunset photos and were pleased with the classic setting sun shining on red rocks result.

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