Tuesday 9th June 2015, wispy cloud 30 degrees
Mabel Downs to Wyndham
The little corrugated iron ensuite style bathrooms don’t have roofs, just a shower base with a good shower head above. Gazing up at the blue sky is a nice way to wake up.
This is beautiful country. Cream grasses with bands of orange grass and patches of green too. Small ghost gums and boabs. Low craggy hills dotted with dark rocks. Warmun used to be known as Turkey Creek, we stop for diesel. It is a modern Aboriginal community. Horses wander freely on the roadsides and in Melbourne we worry about dogs being loose. The men here look to have always been stockmen in the way they walk and wear their jeans and hats and in the way they drive their 4WD’s (the modern horse I guess).
We had been told that the Kimberley scenery is even more dramatic than the Pilbara and we found that hard to believe. Yet as we leave Warmun the scenery starts to become majestic, there is no better word to describe it. The road winds through valleys between one mountain range after another.
At Doon Doon Roadhouse we gasp, the diesel is 20 cents a litre cheaper than Warman, damn we got dudded.
There are tall spindly kapok trees now with their unmistakable bright yellow flowers and pandanus in the gullies. Pools of water are in the creeks too.
We had hoped to get into El Questro Station / Resort and the staff had informed me over the phone that our van would have no trouble at all and that the road in is great. We take the iconic Gibb River Road which is sealed at this end and cruise on down to the turn off. It is a wide gravelled road but within minutes we realise that it is a no go for our Priscilla. We shudder our way through five kilometres before we can find a spot wide enough to turn around then shudder back to the bitumen cursing bad roads for the second day in a row. We later learn that Double or Nuthin’ completely shredded a tyre on the Mazda on this road also failing in their attempt to get there. What we do see of the Gibb River Road is magnificent and we spot two brolgas on the roadside.
Quickly changing to Plan B we head for the tiny coastal town of Wyndham. It has a grassy and shady little caravan park, about four shops and thousands of corellas. The caravan park owner is a cheery young woman who runs a great friendly park complete with a carrot loving donkey.
The rather basic IGA looks a bit rugged on the outside but inside has a surprising variety of goods. Even Sushi vinegar!
The old town is around the bluff on the Cambridge Gulf. There are still a few old buildings, a pub, a modern shipping wharf (to service nearby Kununurra) and a modern fishing wharf. These wharves are invaluable for the fishermen who don’t have boats as the crocodiles are the top of the food chain around here. Diesel is cheap at 1.50 compared to 1.99 at Warmun because it is shipped in at this port.
We are captivated by Wyndham and change our booking from one night to two and settle in to clean the car and the van of dust yet again.
The El Questro road threw the bathroom door off its tracks (nothing unusual, it does that when we even mention a dirt road) but pot handles and lids unscrewed. Two jars in the fridge lost their screw lids and I found one hiding under the butter! It must have been terrified. Not to mention the wood shavings on the floor as the cabinetry groaned and ground away with all the shuddering.
Travelling Kms: 262Kms
Note: When we put the Jeep in for a service after this trip, we faced an extra cost for work on the suspension. “You’ve been down some rough roads!” said the mechanic. Yup.