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DERBY TO WINDJANA GORGE

July 20, 2015

11th July, Friday

We arrived at Derby from Broome , with only one stop for a cuppa at Nillibubbica rest area- there were about 20 vans there & some looks as though had been there for a few days. At least there was no dust because showers the day before had settled that. In 2006 it was so dusty we could not even keep the dust out of the van the one night we were there. Since then there has been a dump point installed as well as new toilet blocks.

Stopped a bit further along for a photo of this “different” ant hill.

Stopped to check out this flowering tree & the honey smell was so strong I put a branch in the car.

Before entering Derby we once again stopped for a look at the Prison tree & the water trough.

Not a lot to see along this highway so we were soon in Derby & booking into the van park for a couple of nights. The first night there we went to the Wharf cafe for dinner for Bruce’s birthday the day before. Did not do anything that day as after hospital I did not feel like going out for dinner. All the tourist brochures say come & see the sunset at the wharf but there was total cloud cover so that did not happen.
The cafe was BYO so I had my wine & Bruce his rum with a can of coke. We asked for 2 glasses (they told us when we booked that they supplied glasses) . Asked what type of glass. White wine plus rum & coke. Sorry Sir but you will have to buy your coke here!
$4/can.
Had a wonderful meal of snapper & barra both with prawns & scallops.

Decided to go for a drive out to the wetlands on the edge of town for a few photos but that was not to be, apart from a few from the phone.

Once again, for the 3rd time the Fuji camera I had been using since both batteries for my Sony died. The first time was half way up the Cape in 2009, repaired under warranty, the 2nd time half way across the Nullabor in 2010. Fortunately both times I had to revert to a “film” 35ml camera which I had with me. We got home from that trip, rang Fuji to be told sorry out of warranty. But the same thing had happened. Gave up so bought a new Digital SLR & guess what arrived in mail a week later- the Fuji!.
Now the same problem once again so had to try to take photos with Bruce’s smart phone, which is OK if you
are ‘smart” enough to be able to use the dam thing.
Decided to see if there was anywhere in Derby to maybe buy a camera to last until Kununurra where my new batteries will be waiting for me. About 4 cameras at Betta, cheapest $249, so that is what I am now using. Zoom almost non existent but at least will be able to take photos across the Gibb River road.
We left Derby by 8am Sunday morning heading for Windjana gorge for a couple of nights. Well, once we got off the sealed road the road was continual corrugation & far worse than what we had been travelling on this trip.

We booked into Windjana fro 2 nights.
The walk up the Gorge was rather hot & we did not leave until nearly 4pm. The ranger told us that the count of Crocs was 159 a couple of months ago- they count at night with the eye reflections. By the way they are only fresh water crocs. It is possible to walk up the gorge with them taking no notice of anyone but we certainly kept our distance.

As with all the gorges the colors of the cliffs depends on the position of the sun.

Because the water was so still everything was reflected to perfection. The whole walk is about 7k one way & that is certainly not in our agenda.
A couple of flowers I noticed beside the walk. Saw a few birds but useless trying to take any photos with the camera.
One I think was a variety of Kingfisher by the beak he had.

Had drinks with Janet & Brian, camp hosts, whose van is beside ours. Some of the stories he can tell about silly things that travellers do.
Windjana has 2 areas for campers. One for generator users & the other they are not to be used. There are solar hot water systems with flush toilets. Yesterday about 2pm he advised us, if we need the showers, to have one at that time as there was a group of 20 teenage girls down at the tunnel & once they get back the hot water would soon be all used! There is also good drinking water with various taps in the grounds.
Fees are $12/PP/pn or concession $8.60. Vehicle entry, day trip or overnight, is $12 or $6 concession.
This morning we left about 8.30 for the 35k drive down to Tunnel Creek. Well , this was an even worse road.
Put our water walking shoes on as well as older clothes as expected to get wet. Turns out water was only mid calf high!. The walk was also not as bad as I assumed, with the worst getting through the rocks to start the walk at the entrance.

There were only about 6 vehicles when we started the walk but below shows what can happen in about an hour.We did not see the freah water croc which is supposed to be in the tunnel & I made sure that I kept well away from the bats- hate them! As there was a tour group in front of us we tagged along for the info but the downside was that the tunnel was reasonable well lit with all the torches.

Along the road we stopped to have a look at a burnt out van. Brian (host)said that a few days ago a couple of German back packers were coming back from Tunnel creek when he lost control in the corrugated gravel. They were only doing 75 as there was a car behind them who confirmed they were driving sensibly. The van rolled but neither was hurt. Unfortunately there was a battery on top of the vehicle which ignited & they lost everything except her passport & her bag. Lost most clothes, guitar which is still in van & everything else. Some travellers here gave them cash to get on till they could get credits cards etc sorted.
How easy things can go pear shaped and they were heading to Darwin for the end of their holiday. The traveller behind them said if he had had a fire extinguisher he probably could have put the fire out.

.
There is a resident Bower bird at the camp site with a wonderful “courting nest” built. I managed to get photos of this but unfortunately the birds were no where to be seen. They do their mating here then when she decides that he is the one (he builds) they then build a nest in the trees for the eggs.

[derby,windjana gorge,tunnel
creek]

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One Comment
  1. you are really having a wonderful time, keep enjoying, we are still at Sapphire, waiting on mail, heading for Ilfracombe when we eventually leave

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