ROAD TO KUNUNURRA
The drive from Broome to Kununurra is a touch over a thousand kilometres and when speaking to eastern states friends and family who have no concept of the distances between towns in WA, I liken it to a drive from Sydney to Melbourne, only add another 150 kilometres, subtract 10,000 vehicles and only two towns along the way.
Australia is lucky in that there are many pullover spots for free camping available around the country, although our tendency is to steer clear of these as much as possible for a few reasons, the main one being they are usually packed at this time of year. Having driven the west coast for a few years now, I have started to accumulate a number of off the road spots either alongside stations or even gravel pits that provide privacy and a chance to enjoy the bush with some peace and quiet. Most of these are plotted on my handheld GPS, as there are long stretches of country that look identical and it is easy to miss that track to Shangrila. Well may you laugh about me calling a gravel pit Shangrila, but wherever there is a gravel pit there is usually a decent clearing around it and of course we do not park so we are staring at the gravel itself. No dunny paper strewn all around you, no-one camped on your doorstep playing the piano accordion and no dogs barking at anything that moves all night. Don’t you love it when you pull into a 24hr parking bay for the night, with acres of space around you and the next car pulls in right on your lap. As the family of five tumble out, the dad, with all good intentions, greets you with something like, “Great to be out in the wide open spaces eh?” It is the question that cannot honestly be answered.
This year we decided to pull into Larrawa Nature Stay for the night, which is between Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek. There are only a maximum of fifteen camps available here with fire places, showers, toilets and a great view across the valley to the red cliffs above Christmas Creek. The one kilometre walk to the creek is full of bird life with black and white cockatoos chiacking along the way. The creek has enough water in some of the pools for a refreshing swim, which we did, although it would be exciting to see it during a good wet. The station owners were at the Fitzroy Crossing rodeo so Alex was our caretaker while we were there. Alex had camped here three months ago, fell in love with the place and was offered a job. Being an ex policewoman who had also worked for foreign affairs in Afghanistan, she was certainly lapping up station life. As the other campers began to roll in we heated our pre cooked meal on the coals and enjoyed a glass of red.
We awoke with the intention of driving the last leg to Kununurra, but as the other campers began to leave, the lure of having the place to ourselves for another day was too strong to resist. After six weeks in Cable Beach Caravan Park and another six weeks in Kimberleyland Caravan Park ahead of us, it was a no brainer. Later on we checked out the farm animals which included watching newly born lamb triplets vying for mum’s two available teats. By the end of the day we were truly relaxed and ready to take on the next leg of our northern sojourn.
To answer last week’s question, the minimum age to be the observer on a vessel used for water skiing is 14 years. This week’s question is, ‘How many kilowatts is one horsepower?’
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