Having bush camped by Limestone Creek on the Victoria Highway we headed east toweard the Kimberley.
We crossed the stunning, beautiful Victoria River where Stuart’s backer Chambers wanted him to reach to check out the pastoral potential - Stuart was repeatedly thwarted by the waterless hell that was/is the Tanami - lucky really as it pushed him east on his final trip to reach the Gulf and set the path for the telegraph line, road, trainline and Grey Nomads.
Travelling towards Kununarra (a town essentially built by the mining company and now the centre of the Ord River irrigation scheme food bowl) we were treated to magnificent wedgetailed Eagles circling above; a jet black shiny pack of venom snaking across the road and kangaroos playing chicken. We threw out our fruit and veges at the WA quarantine line and stocked up again on a magnificent array of fresh produce that the Masterchef pantry would have been proud of thanks to that expanding and successful Ord irrigation scheme and a large number of green fingers. Lake Kununarra is kept full by the Argyle lake management system - part of the whole Ord River scheme and provided a
stunning vista as the sun set highlighting the vibrant colours on and around the lake. Little freshwater crocs watched as dinner became available courtesy of a stopped motor.
Next we headed south to the Purnululu NP and the Bungle Bungle Range. WOW- that’s all!! We drove in over 53 km of rough terrain - about 2 hours each way - hiked and clambered over rocks and along rock and pebbly river beds to be awed by the creations in the ranges. The beehive domes are one spectacle to behold from walking among them. and gazing at them from afar at the lookout: the power of the water carving out the aptly named Cathedral Gorge is quite another. We walked across hot grey bare rock, stumbled along dry river beds strewn with pebbles and boulders and panted through soft, soft sand in the blistering heat passing dried waterholes in the rock prisons to dead and dying cane toads. Cathedral Gorge could easily hold a few thousand Archbishops and we felt the power of this ancient place.
We headed to the north of the ranges where the rock formations were quite different with fissures in the rocks creating tall chasms. We once again set off intermittently striding and stumbling - and now sweating - along a riverbed that made its way to and disappeared into the rock face. The palms silhouetted against the red rock backlit by the clear blue sky. We continued along an increasingly narrowing Raider’s of the Lost Ark style winding path. On and in we went, huge boulders trapped between the walls above us (we had no hard hats!), the chasm now winding, the space between the walls narrower and narrower, we clambered up and over boulders blocking our way - twice with the help of a conveniently placed ladder - to the end of the Echidna Chasm. Here the sunlight poured in as a spotlight illuminating the chasm from high above. Next time we will come and camp in the park as there is so much to see and feel here.
After dinner and a swift one around the campfire and meeting a lovely couple from Corrimal on their first lap around this fair island, we slept well.
The next day, passing through the delightful and welcoming Hall’s Creek we took a luckily thrown boulder to the window but this was nothing that Duct Tape couldn't fix.