8th – 14th August 2016: Broome – Kununurra

Back on the road and heading to Broome for a couple of days, we were just settling into our drive when we noticed smoke coming from the right tyre of a van about 1 kilometre in front of us.  We discussed how we could contact them via two-way to alert them; but at that distance we couldn’t tell if they even had a two-way. (In hind sight, we should have used to two-way to say ‘any one towing a van that can hear us, please check your right van tyre as it may be smoking’.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and if we ever need to we know what to do next time:).

To continue with the story, the smoke died away for about 100metres and then there was this almighty explosion.  The van dropped to the right side, although still upright, and the driver, very fortunately, was able to man-handle the rig safely to the road verge.  Two vans travelling together on the opposite of the road stopped on their verge and we pulled in behind the damaged van.

The occupants of the other 2 vans walked onto the bush looking for around and then came across the road and said, ‘your wheel is in the bush over there, red hot and way too dangerous to pick up at the moment.’  The 2 vans heading in the opposite direction were so fortunate not to have been struck by the van wheel as it exploded with such a force that it was flung 50-60 metres across the road and into the bush.  Scary just to think about!

The other two vans continued on their journey, while we stayed with the van occupants until we knew they had contact with the RAC and would receive some assistance.  While standing around chatting the guy told us he they were from Carnarvon and had the wheel bearings serviced just before they left.  He noticed that it was the apprentice that was working on his van and at the time was not very happy, so with this outcome I’m sure the business owner is in for a huge damage bill as well as a lot of negative feedback.

Back on the road, the wildflowers are out, mainly MullaMulla and some small pompom lilac flowers.  Very pretty and softens the harsh landscape.  Arriving in Broome around 11.30, booked in to the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse Caravan Park, set up, then headed into Broome for lunch and shopping.  Lunch at Matso’s was our unanimous choice and as usual was amazing food, drinks all served with a smile and the spectacular view of Roebuck Bay.  Perfection!

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We spent 2 nights in Broome, been there done that, so didn’t need to stay any longer this time.  We met some wonderful people in the caravan park and all going well will meet up along the way ‘down the middle’.

Completed the Census online around 2.30, no dramas at all!!!

Compared to our drive a couple of days ago, today’s trip was very uneventful.  Refueled before we left Roebuck Plains, sorted the toilet at Nillbubbica Campsite, there were a few cows along the roadside, yellow and white wildflowers on the road verge, and a bull on the grassed area of Willare Roadhouse.

We arrived at Lake Ellendale around 12.30ish, set up, then watched the cows wander down for a drink while the Red Tailed Carnaby’s and white cockatoos wheeled and screeched overhead.

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One cow in particular was very friendly; looking to be fed, moving from van to van in her quest for someone to pay attention to her needs.  She was so gorgeous, but also very persistent:).

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The following morning as we were packing up, the herd wandered past our camp down to the water’s edge.  Our favourite girl was back, standing quite expectantly at the van doorJJJ.  She bought some calves with her and they very happily started cleaning the red dust (from Pardoo) from the spare tyre.  We guessed it may have been quite salty and they liked it, who knows.

We left camp about 9.50am; flowering Mulla Mulla lined the road verge, while Boabs of all shapes and sizes, young, adolescent and gnarly old giants filled the landscape creating an ambience that’s only possible in this very spiritual Kimberley landscape.

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We refuelled in Fitzroy Crossing, enjoyed a photo-stop at Ngumban Cliff, and then arrived at Mary Pool 12.30ish.  The causeway into the campground is very dilapidated and much the worse for wear.  On arriving in the campground itself, found a road construction team working on the Mary Pool end of a new road into the site.  When we check Google maps earth view it appears the new road may actually be the major upgrade of a farmers track used when the river was in flood and the causeway inaccessible.  Took a while as there would have been upwards of 40 campers already setup when we arrived but we eventually found a shady spot then set-up for the night.

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Either Leycester’s Rest Area or Spring Creek were to be our next stop with a drive of about 2 ½ hours.  We refueled in Halls Creek, saw mainly cows and horses along the way.  Leycester’s Rest Area although quite nice had little or no shade, so we continued on to Spring Creek keeping a watch on the smoke to our left.  We knew some bus tours into the Bungle Bungles had been cancelled and any current tour bookings had been helicoptered in.  The entry to Spring Creek campground is all but directly opposite the Bungle Bungles turn off which we noticed had been closed for 5 days.  There was around 10-15 of us camped at Spring Creek for the night, loads of shade in the bottom section, none in the top section where the toilets and dump point are located and no water in the creek.

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We whiled away the afternoon and evening with other caravaners, Grant, Dawn, Bob and Dianne exchanging information on caravan parks, free camping and generally our experience’s so far.  Was great:).

Dunham River was to be our last free camp before the Lake Argyle Tourist Village.  A stop I’ve been looking forward to for some time.  Hope I’m not disappointed?

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Today we wound our way through some of the most ruggedly, beautiful hills and ranges, arriving at Dunham River around 11.15.  The day was a very hot and humid 36°, we found what shade we could, with enough space for 2 vans as Grant and Dawn were joining us.  Once again we spent the afternoon sitting under the awnings chatting while I updated our Trek Oz map.  When the temperature had cooled a little Dawn and I went walking in the hope of some photos of the river.  The best spots were in the middle of the traffic bridge and a bit too dangerous so we passed on that idea.  Then later in the afternoon a couple we met in Broome, Rob and Wendy, arrived so then there was 6.

Next morning our day started when I noticed the bathroom was crawling with ants:(.  That sorted, while making the bed I knocked the clip on one of the windows and it fell to the ground.  Then when starting to organise breakfast realised the fridge was off; the gas bottle was empty!  Well that’s 3 things so I guess we can get on with the day?

In Kununurra, we shopped, refuelled and then headed for the Lake Argyle Resort and Caravan Park.  Arriving around 1pm, we setup and settled in.

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