It’s an odd time to be in the Kimberley’s. It’s almost the end of the season. Some travellers we meet scratch their head and wonder why we are heading out there in the heat of October. Some places are closed due to fire management programs, or putting staff off in preparation for what they call the “Knock ’em down rains.”
The Mitchell River NP is closed.
The majestic waterfall is down to a trickle and the track after Dryesdale hard going. El Questro was debatable on a daily access due to fires. Many of the stations we’re hanging up the ‘Gone to Town” signs to signal the end of the season.
Ellenbrae Homestead was still going strong.
It and it’s infamous scones. We call into for a plate and cuppa, in the company of flitting Barred Finches and a team of Toyota engineers crossing the Gibb River Rd on an education junket. Many of them direct from Japan, with a film crew and translators in tow, they pounce on the Skipper as he drives in with this 80 Series Landcruiser.
The Skipper takes their request to interview him very seriously and uses it as an opportunity to educate the engineers on how the more modern Toyota’s don’t hold a candle up to his durable and robust beast! Keep an eye on the Toyota The Next Project footage … God knows where it will turn up but odds us you will see us wiping scone crumbs off our mouth as we strut cockily around our chariot!
Out here on the Gibb River Rd we have plunged into a startling and silent emptiness. It is 650km of remote, rugged, remarkable outback. And boabs. Plump, pregnant boabs holding on to their water and shedding their leaves.
Aboriginal creation legend has it that the boab tree has been cursed for her vanity.
She thought herself too beautiful a tree. Admired herself too frequently.
The other trees grew tired of her vanity and endless boasting and turned her upside down. Now she lives her days with what looks like her roots pointing skywards.
If I were her I’d be happy with the results. She looks just as gorgeous. Especially in the outback at sunset.
Barnett River Gorge bush camp
We set the camper up in the shadow of a boab, giving her wink as we do so. We’ve selected a remote bush camp just short of Mt Barnett Roadhouse tonight. It’s a rough and rugged 4km drive in off the road an then a few km’s to the Gorge in search of a swim.
The distance defeats the Squids today, who can blame them, the afternoon’s slay the best of us. We elect instead to hand out with an unfazed water monitor at a smaller selection of near stagnant rockpools closer to camp.
See the stars
Back at camp we’re too weary (and hot) to light the after dinner campfire that the Squids reluctantly collected firewood for. We’re not too tired however to dose in our camp chairs watching satellites and spotting constellations