Katherine to Halls Creek
15 June - 2nd July, 2001

15/6/2001 Katherine towards WA

After shopping, etc in town we retired to the lovely hot springs again.

Had a lovely chat to dad on the phone last night & caught up on the gossip. It was great to hear that Neen & Tim's project house is finally finished - not to an acceptable standard however - & they've moved in.

We had a power socket in the van fixed for a nominal sum. It's as if this gave the van ideas backs the fan belt/s started screaming as we started the van to drive out of Katherine to the 'untamed NW'. It cost us $20 - that was perfect timing.

Eventually we left heading towards Timber Creek knowing we wouldn't make it that night. Around stopping time we spied 3 vans tucked off the road at a place called Campbell Springs. We spent the night yacking to the vans' owners exchanging info about the road ahead as we were heading in opposite directions. The pretty springs were nice but we are back in 'saltie' country so we didn't go within a crocs lunge of the water.

As we were enjoying the evening Zoe (again) saw something run up a tree. As we tried to identify the squirrel-like creature in the gloom, it leapt then glided 50 metres into the scrub. We then watched raptured as 2 more sugar gliders raced to the top of a nearby tree, leapt the 30 metres to the next tree then followed the 1st one into the scrub. They are so cute.

Our next treat was a very clear sky and view of the stars. Next to us was the skeleton of an old dead tree which lit up white in the night moon light and light from the van. We played the CD from Bic Runga ("Bursting Through") - which was crystal clear. It was real life theatre, acting out Jake's creative CD animation for this song - artistic tree, moon, stars... just beautiful.

Then off to bed after admiring the milky way for the umpteenth time. We're still over-awed by the diversity & majesty of our surrounds.

15/6/2001 Timber Creek

Checking Out an Old Boab Tree


En route to Timber Creek we admired the changing scenery. There were more bumps on the horizon and the woodland and grasses were more prevalent. One treat was the gradual sightings of the famous boab trees of the Kimberley. We had to check them out ASAP.

We'd heard in Sydney that the Kununurra mardi gras was on 16th June. Consequently we tootled into Timber Creek to decide whether to do the cruise recommended by dad or head straight through to Kununurra. The local paper confirmed the Mardi Gras Luckily for us though it starts late & we gain 1.5 hours as we cross the border so could do both.


The afternoon cruise was really nice. The Victoria River is big (ie. 800 km long, the 1st 120 km is tidal; the mouth is 40 km wide). It is infested with crocs. Somehow many freshies survive their predatory salty cousins so we saw many of both. We saw dingos, many different birds, bullocks (croc fodder - they lose 20 per year on the riverfront property) & the everpresent feral cat. We saw a place where more than 100 wallabies grazed on a grassy bank just above high water mark.

This is a croc bistro. At high tide many salties lurk there below the surface grabbing any wallaby straying too close to the water. After watching the sun set over the river we planed back at 50 kph.

Victoria River cruise - between animal sightings

One of the many Salt Water Crocodiles on the cruise - nice handbag!

The guide told us that photos taken of the river flood plain 50 years ago showed no trees. There are now many, which he puts down to the regular grass burning. Further, he says the grasslands are normal, the trees were not cleared. Some bird species are endangered here probably due to the grass burning.

We returned to feast on roast lamb that Robbie had put on the Weber before we left the van park. Another beautiful end to a beautiful day.

16/6/2001 Timber Creek to Kununurra

Last night Zoe in her inimitable style had tried hard to get us out fishing on the river in a hired dinghy. After much toing & froing between the van & the boat hire she finally found that we had to tow the boat on a trailer to the river & we have no tow ball with us.

Geoff, a gruff old ex-soldier, who runs the boat hire had of course fallen for Zoe & made an amazing offer to take her out on a fishing charter with another passenger free of charge as long as she takes her own lunch and shares a rod with him (he only allows 2 lines in the water at a time). So she went fishing from 8.00 to 4.00 while we lazed round the park.

Robbie & I spent 3 hours extracting from his wife the story of her 5 year sojourn in Timber Creek. She runs the only supermarket in town so of course has constant contact with the aboriginal people living in communities here & nearby. Lots of more data to absorb & she, at last, has a couple of ideas which seem to make sense which would at least make some difference.


After ogling the view of the river from the town lookout we picked Zoe up at the boat ramp at 4.20 & drove the 3 hours to Kununurra. What a story Zoe had. She had caught a barra half her height, exhausted herself getting it to the boat & lost it as she was hauling it into the boat. As she hooked it just as they were returning we could see the action from the boat ramp & got a pre-report from some anglers who watched from their boat nearby. Geoff said it was a good 8 kilos and praised Zoe's skill. Apparently the big ones are usually not landed as they are skilled at slipping the hook.

Zoe returns from fishing 'the Victoria'

Zoe's version of the story:

We were coming back from a full day's fishing and we decided to try one last spot. There were heaps of snags on rocks but the lures managed to slip off each rock they hit except twice.

At one point I thought I had a pretty bad snag so I told Jeff (the fishing expert) and he asked me to pass him the rod. He was pretty sure it was a snag as well as ,if it were a fish, it would be struggling pretty hard so he gave the rod back to me and I got such a big tug that the rod almost flew out of my hands. Jeff informed me that I had gotten a $%##@* big fish on the other end of the line. Jeff told me to start reeling in so I did and the struggle started getting harder. The fish on the other end of the line gave an even bigger tug and almost pulled me out of the boat (which I would not have liked much as there were some pretty big crocodiles in the Victoria River). I had a long struggle that went for at least 10min. At one point I thought I had lost it but then it started fighting again. It jumped out of the water and I realised that I had hooked it by it's side and not by the mouth. It kept struggling once it belly-flopped back into the water and I Had just gotten it next to the boat when it somehow slipped the hook.

Jeff said it was at least:
90cm long (edible) 8kg and at least 49cm from it's top fin to belly.

The one that got away.

By Zoe

We drove carefully into the night - as the wildlife and cattle started to show up close to the roads.

Cattle Across the Roads - Mostly Brahmans

We arrived after dark to a fairly average Mardi Gras. To be fair everything had finished except the 'battle of the bands' which comprised 10 very average rock bands. We stayed late to try to justify the $20 entry fee before camping for the night in the industrial area

We're Now In Western Australia! - Quarantine Station


17/6/2001 Kununurra

First stop we visited a small AOG aboriginal church. The people were nice.

After the mandatory stop at the tourist bureau to get info & our WA national parks pass we headed off to the 'mini Bungle Bungles' on the edge of town. These were very nice. The best part was the climb to the very top to overlook the convoluted landform with the Carr Boyd range as a backdrop.

We finished the day by watching the sunset from Kellys Knob a high outcrop in the town. Whilst there I spied some people on top of a much higher peak (about 200 mtres above the official lookout). After a bit of bushbashing we scrambled past a couple of gates with forbidding signs& climbed a good path to the top. After this daring we found ourselves sharing the spot with about 20 backpackers. One of the hostels advises clients to ignore the signs and make the climb.

We spent the night on the lower peak and had a box seat when a large speargrass fire was started on the edge of town.

Boab posing

More scenes around Kununurra

18/6/2001 Kununurra

We went on a nice drive through the irrigated area.

Our first stop was The Hoochery for an overproof rum tasting & a tour of the still. That was hard work at 9am.

We then stopped at the experimental farm. They had a display on some of their work. One particularly interesting area was their genetically modified cotton trial. A gene from a bacteria fatal to caterpillars has been spliced into the cotton. After the terrible failure of cotton at the start of the scheme in the 70's there are high hopes for this in stage 2 of the Ord scheme. This stage will increase the area under agriculture from 4,000 to 48,000 hectares most of which will go under sugar & cotton. We spoke to a scientist there who expressed concern about GM technology & also confirmed that burning in the top end is now generally believed to be overdone but no simple alternative can be found. He also told us of his research in the Kimberleys where he has found that 40% of trees are dead and only 20% are reproducing. Also the highest concentration of feral cats anywhere in WA is found in the SE Kimberleys. Scary.

We also visited our thousandth rock shop where mum & Jake spent heaps on rocks.

On spec, I stopped at the airport looking for a cheap way to overfly the Bungles. No luck on a charter but they offered us 2 standby seats on a sea plane for $110 off. We apologised to the kids and left them alone in the van when we taxied down Lake Kununurra. They looked a little worried as we had advised them what to do if we didn't return & discussed with them, who they would prefer as foster parents. They were suitably relieved when we returned safely 2.5 hours later from a great trip. Besides flying over the Bungles at about 150 metres we got a good view of the diamond mine, then landed twice on Lake Argyle to show off for the tour boats then returned through the gorges of the upper Ord.

I splurged further that night by staying at the van park next to Lake Kununurra. We had an absolute lake frontage. That was terrific until the first sea plane took off past our window s at 5.40 am. There were 3 of them prior to 7 am and 5 normal planes which took off 400 metres in the opposite direction.

Tippling at the Hoochery

Learning to suck water into the irrigation channels

Kill & eat your own Rock melon


The amazing Bungle Bungles

Upper Ord River - just after take-off

19/6/2001 Kununurra

For the kids' sake we went to Lake Argyle today. It was a very nice day with excellent scenery although you can't see the lake from the dam area.

Soon after finishing the big dam someone decided to stock the lake with barramundi for recreational & commercial use. They released hundreds of thousands of fingerlings which were eaten in record time by giant freshwater catfish. They tried ridding the lake of this pest for a second attempt at stocking & failed handsomely. During this time of great despondency someone decided to eat one of the slimy enemy. He tasted, to his surprise, an excellent eating fish so they started catching & selling it for ........$.50/kilo. The next bright idea was to rename the fish, Silver Cobbler. This immediately lifted the market price to $20/kilo. It has now settled back to about $15. Three sea-going fishing boats now work the lake. We bought some Silver Cobbler from the dam for $10.50 and enjoyed it as much as barra.

We stopped out in the bush that night listening to the mozzie hordes buzzing outside.

The recreated Durack homestead drowned by the lake

Looking from above the dam

20/6/2001 Towards Wyndham

On leaving Kununurra we first stopped at the small diversion dam outside town to admire the floods of water blowing through the gates.

We then noticed a scrawled sign to Pete's Mine & followed our curiosity. What a character we found. An ex-prospector he has been working his silver/lead/copper mine beside the highway for the last 43 years by himself. Amongst other things at the site he had a collection of minerals for sale. Do I need to tell you that mum spent avidly again on assorted minerals. The kids also bought 4 tiny gold nuggets from his collection.

We stopped that night at a roadside stop at the turnoff to Halls Creek.

21/6/2001 Wyndham

We had a few drops of rain last night & it was still cloudy when we woke so we decided to save El Questro for nicer weather & go instead to Wyndham.

We stopped first at Parry's lagoon. A rough dirt road led to a lagoon complete with boardwalk & bird-hide. Numerous birds kept us entertained for a while. As we left we noticed a 4-wheel drive only track to Wyndham. We chanced it on the grounds that it couldn't be much worse then the road we arrived by. In fact it was much better. Plus we got to drive through a newly lit set of burn-off fires. What great adventurers we were in our own minds.

We arrived in Wyndham to find almost a ghost town. It was once a prosperous meat export port with its own meatworks but today it has little going for it. It did have a nice van park where we enjoyed showers. Again the water here is good to drink ( as in most places we have been so far) but it is almost the colour of the local dust.

In the bird hide at Parry Lagoon

Our track out of Parry Lagoon with the inevitable burn-off

22/6/2001 Wyndham

First stop was the 300 metre high 5-rivers lookout. It yields a stunning view of the start of the enormous Cambridge Gulf with some of its tributaries (Ord, Durack, King, Pentecost, etc) with spectacular ranges in most directions. The patterns of the mangrove lined creeks through the mud flats far below were brilliant. Through the binoculars we spotted a very large salty reclining on the mud flats not too far from a track so decided to go & try to find him.

It was far easier than I anticipated. I was easily able to sneak up to within only a couple of metres of the dozing 'logodile'. Well it looked a lot like a crocodile even from 25 metres.

The Flood Plains - into Cambridge Gulf



I staunchly withstood a barrage of mockery from those kids of mine before driving of to Wariu Park. What an impressive place. A few years ago the local aboriginals photographed some people from different angles, fed the images into a computer, enlarged them 2.5 times then worked out the specs to fabricate the resulting colossi in copper plate.

Warriu Park sculptures

Reg Birch and Fred Chamberlain. They are overseeing the restoration

Once finished they erected the man, woman, child, dingo, snake & roo in this park. This exhibit then aged quite gracefully without receiving much acclaim. Enter a local, Reg Birch ( family comes from Attack Creek area), who decided that rejuvenating the exhibit would be valuable in a number of ways. It would give some locals work, it would attract people to Wyndham. Most importantly, it could unite the five factious tribes forced to live together in town. His idea was to front the park with a retaining wall covered in a 5 part (one by each tribe) dreamtime mural.

When we saw it the figures had been elevated on a large mound of red dust backed by the spectacular Bastion Range. We all found it moving & absorbing. We looked & talked to Reg (& Fred his off-sider) for hours.

Reg is yet another character of the region. His mother was 'stolen', he left school at 12 & has spent many years as a lobbyist for the aboriginals in Canberra. A very gentle, thoughtful & eloquent man. He left us to finish the final edit of his autobiography which, if it is as good as the snippets he gave us, should be a good read. He told us something we hadn't known - half-caste kids were often so poorly regarded by their black parent that they were killed at birth or abandoned. We posed our current dilemma - "what happens to the burgeoning isolated aboriginal communities when white Australia can no longer afford the handouts?". His answer, unfortunately, was - it will never run out as we must be supported just as needy white Australians are.

We left after Robbie kindly offered to build a web-site for the park & headed for our night stop - the Grotto. This turned out to be a nice permanent waterhole sunk deep in a gorge. It is very popular with the locals in the hot season as it is the ONLY place for 100 km where you can swim without risk of being a) shaken apart by a croc, b) bitten in half by a shark, c) stung to death by a sea-wasp, or d) spiked to death by a stonefish. However a snake or scorpion may still get you.

The Grotto - Near Wyndham

23/6/2001 El Questro - Emma George

El Questro- Emma George

Despite encountering much indignation amongst fellow travellers about the charges levied by this resort on visitors we ventured in anyway. At least we got to drive the Gibb River road. This is incidentally the ultimate aim of any self-respecting chest-beating 4 wheel drive owner.

We paid $5.50 X 4 to visit Emma Gorge. It was very nice. The water was too cold (as the weather is still cool) for the Elliots but we found a warm spring nearby & soaked in that instead. Back in the van we did school work in the arvo & watched as a Perth stockbroking firm airlifted 30 of its staff in for a seminar via a gleaming 7 man turbo-jet helicopter. A resort staff member with a sense of humour has placed a very large mound of dirt adjacent to the helipad. Each new group off arrivals stood to watch the chopper leave to pick up the next group. As a reward a small portion of that mound was blown with great force into their eyes , ears & other available orifices.

That night we drove back to the King River ford to camp beside the river.

24/6/2001 El Questro

We have heard good reports about the rope & whip trips performed by our 'Mataranka mate' Buddy Tyson at the resort. Consequently we have decided to pay the resort entry fee (4 X $12.50) and also stay in their van park (also 4 X $12.50), to see Buddy again.

We drove the 35 km of dirt road & forded a couple of rivers (as intrepid explorers like us do) to the resort. There we were assured that Buddy would be around from 2pm so we paid the money.

ELQ- Zebedee Thermal Springs


First stop after that was Zebedee springs - a beautiful hot spring in the midst of a palm forest at the base of the red cliffs. Just like the other springs, we soaked for hours chatting amicably with the other travellers. We commoners get evicted at noon to make way for the higher paying resort guests.

Just before we were asked to leave hawk-eyed Zoe found a leech in the water. In quick time Jake found three on his legs while another lady & I had one each. My wound was invisible, the lady's bleeding stopped after applying pressure but Jake just kept on leaking. We passed the usurping guests on the way out to the van. I mentioned the leeches, the lady displayed her wound with enthusiasm & Jake just kept on bleeding. We watched as they all left without entering the water after only 15 minutes. We felt just a little guilty but laughed a lot.

After lunch we drove through lots of sand & water to El Questro Gorge. This is a magnificent place. Unfortunately we were rushing to return to see Buddy's tricks. Zoe & I vaulted ahead to try to reach the waterfall at the end but we had to stop after an hour to give time to return.

Jake in one of the pools during the walk along El Questro Gorge



Back at the ranch we found that Buddy was out bush entertaining high paying guests & would not be back before dark. Robbie was very upset. We either left without seeing him or stay overnight (hoping we could find him on his return) & pay the exhorbitant camping fee ($50 for an unpowered site - twice the normal). She confronted the park manager who offered to reduce the price by $12.50.

Buddy returned early at 5pm & agreed under duress (he was just being nice) to put on a show especially for us so we decided to stay the night. We met his clients for the day who were renting a suite for $2600/day - property developers. Buddy told us of an American lady who wanted to rent a suite for her & her kids for ten days. When told that, for the sake of other guests ,kids under 16 were not allowed, she simply booked the whole complex for $85,000.



The kids are really taken with Buddy, their first celebrity. I have always found celebrity worship worrying but I am tolerating this for a while.

In any case he put on a good show & dedicated it to the Elliots, choosing Zoe as his lassooing lassy.

25/6/2001 El Questro

We used the showers & washing machines then succumbed to the beauty of El Questro Gorge again. This time mum stayed behind while Jake, Zoe & I went to the end of the gorge. Zoe & I had, unknowingly, been within 50 metres of the end of the gorge yesterday. It worked out well as Jake had only reached half way yesterday with mum. The end waterfall & pool were stunning.

We admired the sunset colours on the spectacular Cockburn Range as we sped back to camp beside the bitumen at the Halls Creek turnoff.

Drive Late Afternoon

26/6/2001 Toward the Bungle Bungle

Jake and Zoe in adventure mode


We had a school day today and the kids climbed a big boab tree.


During the late afternoon we drove the spectacular road to Turkey Creek through the Carr Boyd Range. The country is wild, varied & magnificent.

We did the rounds of the van park trying to buy a lift into the Bungles as our van can't cope with the road. No success. We bit the bullet & booked the family onto a day tour for $528.

We stayed for the night with many other travellers in the scrub near the turnoff to the Bungles. Swapped yarns with some characters beside the fire under the awesome stars. Beautiful cool night & felt very small under that infinite canopy.

27/6/2001 Waiting for the Bungles

Woke this morning & noticed one very wrecked tyre on the back axle. We had a great place to change it & heaps of time. Unfortunately I couldn't loosen even 1 wheel nut. Miraculously I found a piece of rusted tube in the scrub nearby just the right size to use as an extender. Using this with the extra weight provided by a fellow traveller, the nuts relented. The rest was all a new experience but went OK. Even the spare was good.

We stayed put for the rest of the day doing school work & relaxing.

Tomorrow we leave very early.

28/6/2001 The Bungles

The tour truck collected us at 6.10 am. We didn't sleep much as we were all afraid to oversleep. The 53km drive in was spectacular & took 2.5 hours - not a good road.

From the ranger station it was another hour to Echidna Chasm. This is the north end of the range which is comprised of deep, narrow & spectacular gorges. We were amazed as the chasm started narrow & shrank steadily. After a kilometre the width had reduced to 2 metres & was still 250 metres deep. Of course the rock was 'centre red' & there were pencil thin palms spread along the floor. This was the best we'd seen.

Echidna Gorge

Narrow part of Echidna



Echidna Gorge amphitheatre

We headed south for a nice lunch then headed further south for Cathedral Gorge and the beehives - another 40 minutes.

En route the tour guide mocked NSW. Immediately his mike failed. Despite our warning he tried again & the door broke. Being very thick (a west Aussie) he mocked Sydney & the front tyre burst. That's the hard way to determine the location of God's country.

The 1st of his 2 spares was flat so we donned the second. When we reached the carpark he took the precaution of bludging a spare from another vehicle. At this point we were busy going ga-ga at the beehive domes all around us. Then we traipsed into the gorge.

Walking to Cathedral Gorge via Picanninni Creek


Cathedral Gorge

Walking Through the Beehives

Up close the beehives were superb. We skirted these beautiful sentinels then plunged into a fantasy-land gorge winding into the massif. This eye-popper culminated in a huge cave/amphitheatre with a pond in its centre. The acoustics & resonance in here were so good that it made our tour guide's voice sound excellent - no mean achievement.

We started our return trip not long before sunset. 50 minutes later we were changing our next flat tyre. Poor guide. As he was unwilling to drive for 2.5 hours with no spare over 'the track', he left us in the wilderness to watch the sunset while he drove back to the ranger station to radio his Bungles base to send another wheel. Poor foreign tourists stuck in the gloom miles from anywhere. They handled it well (despite the Ozzies attempts). We eventually left in time to get to the van at about 9pm. The guide had been brilliant in keeping us all singing & joking to the end. What could have been a disappointment remained an outstanding day.

The guide's job was aided by a Polish tourist - Roman He kept us amused with his innocence, enthusiastic use of cameras & sound recorder and unusual use of the English language. He even composed a song in Polish to celebrate the guide's traumatic day.

We camped across the highway again at Spring Creek.

29/6/2001 Halls Creek

A sleep-in was followed by school work - again. Poor kids. At least they are almost up to date again.

We had a leisurely drive to Halls Ck again through stunning mountains.

Guess what was on - a 3 day rodeo (unknown to all the surrounding tourist bureaus). We drove to the showground to 'get the goss' & met another 'character' - Jeff Ellis. He works on a local aboriginal cattle station - Koongie Park - the mob who have organised the rodeo. He has just landed a contract as an Elvis impersonator & is due to do his debut show at Las Vegas next January. He told us about his dry community with pride & asked us out to have a look on Monday.

On his advice we drove to a mate's van park along the dirt at Old Halls Creek. 'Characters' galore. We checked in with a high-caste Balinese girl. She is married to the owner - 'the pirate' from Broome - who went through 6 months of Indo government interviews (without knowing why) before being able to marry her. Her family owns large parts of Bali - she is the pirate's 17th partner (but after 5 years he reckons this is the one). He is a gold prospector who made much money from gold but much more on insider trading on resource stocks. So much so that he gave his aboriginal prospecting partner $160,000 to buy the 2 properties currently now Koongie Park.

His partner died recently but his 2.2 metre tall son has taken over the station with ease. Over 100 aboriginals live & work on the station for wages in a very successful community. Needless to say, it is dry. People who choose to live there are given a nice house (built by the station). If they drink or don't work they are asked to leave. It is very exciting to see an aboriginal owned & run venture thriving.

30/6/2001 Halls Creek

This morning I met the manager - Ron. This guy seems to know most of the people in the NW. He hunts with many of the elders on their traditional land. His stories of the places he has been are fascinating.

'The pirate' has returned to his van park as the Broome port authority liked his engineering business cum Asian restaurant so much that they refused to extend his lease so they can start their own. He has 60 days to relocate his assets back to his van park. He has lost $1.2M he calculates. In partial revenge - he put the buildings on the back of some road trains, brought them to Koongie Park as a gift to his mate. They are about to build a road house on the corner of the highway & the Tanami Rd so hey presto they have their buildings.

We tried successfully to access our E-mails via their radio phone. This pleased the pirate no end as he is about to start his kids on school of the air & they need to use a PC via the phone. We proved it works.

In the 2nd half of the day we stopped at Caroline Pool (very nice) & the China Wall (average) on the road back to town. Finally we parked at the oval to watch the big Aussie rules game between Halls Creek & Kununurra. Our team won by 140 points & we happily hooted our van horn every time we scored. By the end of the game many other cars were following our example.

We parked that night in the carpark of the showground ready for the rodeo tomorrow. Robbie twiddled with the TV which we assumed would be scrambled after the dirt road jolting we've given it. She found a perfect picture of the Ozzie/Lions union test match. Despite the football lesson endured by the Wallabies we enjoyed watching this epic immensely.

1/7/2001 Halls Creek

These are the types of photos that we would have looked at before our trip and wondered what it would be like to be part of this.... well now we know. The cowboy world is so foreign to the city folk.

The Bull Fighter at Sunset - he can keep his job!

Had a great day at the rodeo. It didn't start well as a horse broke its leg in the second ride & had to be put down. This proved quite difficult as they first had to walk the 3 legged horse from the arena & then the police had to be summoned to do the shooting - a sure sign that gun control is working here.

Jake was drawing - which attracted the attention of quite a few kids and gave us the chance to interact with locals - this was fun. Steve tickled and played tricks. I was allowed to fix the official rodeo buckle of Sammo - who at 4, enjoys decking out in all the gear.

Steve Playing with the Kids

Sammo (the local) in His Gear

That night we attended an aboriginal AOG church. This was a different experience. The young kids exuberant participation during the service was great to see.

Afterwards, at our secret spot behind the oval, Robbie twiddled the TV again and this time kept us up late by finding not only a good movie but also the rugby league state of origin. She has the golden touch. Unbelievably we have successfully watched all state of origin games & the 1st union test and in states that don't follow those codes of football.

2/7/2001 Halls Creek towards Fitzroy Crossing

We had a lovely sleep-in. Eventually we showered at the local truck stop, picked up dad's mail redirected from Darwin, then straggled out of town at lunch time.

We stopped first to admire the drovers driving the horses back from the rodeo as they crossed the Tanami Rd then popped into Koongie Park.

Jeff was still asleep after the rodeo but who should we meet there but the pirate. He was there picking up his grader which he'd lent to build some fire breaks at the station. He told us of a lucky break he had recently. He'd sold a couple of surplus bull-dozers & with some of the money sent his wife & kids back to Bali for a couple of months holiday. The week after she arrived the Indo rupiah plummeted - losing most of its value. He transferred all the sale proceeds to Bali & arranged for his wife to convert it all to rupiah & spend it on land in Bali. At the time a wealthy family was liquidating parts of its holding to fund a large group of elaborate funerals & he got the lot.

Finally we drove for an hour through strange stone country. It is flat but with piles of very large round boulders- like Devils Marbles in miniature but over a large area.

Rocky Outcrop En Route to Mary Pools - Fitzroy Crossing



We finally arrived at a beautiful river side spot at Mary Pools, together with 50 other vans. Crowded but very nice.