The northern crossing

Wednesday 20.09.2006

Short nights, hot days

Since we've planned to do some more rough Off-roading we decide to sponsor "El Coche" new tires. Therefore, we stay another night in Kathrine before we're moving on to Western Australia. By the time we're trying to sleep it seems all crickets in the Northern Territory have gathered around our tent to play us a farewell song. So far the sound of crickets usually reminded me of tropical summer nights and positive feelings. But not tonight. It's impossible to sleep with this noise. Several times I try to spot any of them with my flashlight. At some point I have the feeling they are somewhere hiding in our tent. I start throwing shoes around the outer part of the tent. And... the noise really stops for an instant before they go on. But where are they? Running out of shoes I start thinking and here they are: partying under the tent floor. It doesn't take long to kick them out. However, faster then they were kicked-out they are back. Well, I have to take more serious actions. Rest in peace.....

The new tire testing already starts in the Bungle Bungle Nationalpark. The Nationalpark can be reached either via a rough Off-road route or via the air. Somehow, we do both. If you ever came across some pictures of the Paris-Dakar rally, you do understand. And to make things clear right from the beginning: the name of the rally pilot is Reto ;-) However, the trip is worthy doing it. Over thousands of years, the elements have created a scenery which looks like bee hives. The best way to explore the Nationalpark is either on foot or by helicopter. Of course, we have to do both. The afternoon temperatures exceed 37 degrees Celsius. Therefore, a helicopter ride without any doors but with a lot of wind is just the right thing to do. It's just Reto and me in the helicopter. Today we enjoy the birdview perspective of the Bungle Bungle. But the next day, we get up already at 5.45 am to be on our first walk not later than 7 am. At this time of the day we enjoy the silence and the cooler morning hours in the middle of this most impressive Nationalpark. Bungle Bungle is definitely a trip worth doing.

By the way, that funny looking tunnel built of tiny tweaks and shiny little stones is a birds nest. The male bird creates a lovely nest to attract a female.



Romantic sunsets and moonrises

In Broom we have to organise several things. One of our water containers is leaking and has to be replaced or repaired. When we finally manage to go to the beach it's just "wow". Endless white beaches on both sides with turquoise clear water. That's the thing we need after the dusty track. In the evening even the sky is starting to be spectacular. The sunset is one of the most colorful we've ever seen. Shortly after sunset the moon starts to rise. At fullmoon and low tide a phenomenon called "Stairway to the moon" happens to take place. Quite amazing. We enjoy our time in Broom. Going out for dinner, visiting a Rodeo, stroll through the weekend markets and much more. The only negative feelings are about my lost Sarong. Someone stole my favorite Sarong from the washing line. I just hate it.

The clear waters around Broom are also the basis for cultured pearls. During a pearl tour we learn what has to be done to collect a hopefully round and flawless pearl. First of all new oysters have to be found or hatched. A tiny little piece of another oyster shell is being implanted at a specific place. After 3 months the oysters are being x-rayed to make sure that the oyster hasn't spit out the implant. If everything is OK, the oysters are being cared for more then 2 years. Which means the oysters have to be turned every other day to ensure a hopefully round pearl. The oysters also have to be cleaned by-weekly to remove enemies which otherwise might eat the oyster. With some luck all the efforts were worth it and a valuable pearl can be harvested from its host.

Via the Gibb River Road through the Kimberleys

The ultimate tyre test is going to be the Gibb River Road. A 700 kilometers rough and stony track passes by numerous gorges, rivers and thermal springs. It is highly recommended to take at least 2 spare tyres along. Well, we will see.

Our fist stop is at El Questro. It used to be a cattle station. However, today it caters exclusively for the tourists and it offers something (including creatures) for everyone. Before we move on to the campground we want to do a little walk into Emma Gorge. After one hour into the gorge we come to the end where a waterfall dips into a gorgeous pool. It doesn't take me 2 minutes until I'm in the refreshing cool water. Heavenly. Reto is still wading knee deep at the shore when he warns me: "Snake". And there it is, hardly any 2 meters from me a huge snake is winding through the water. 10 seconds ago I had no plans leaving the water which by now can't be too soon. And what's the reason for Australia having all these poisonous creatures? Reto is far more relaxed and still enjoys a short swim in the snake pool. At the campground we ask for the secluded spots right at the river. Beautiful! At least for the first 2 minutes. That's about the time the biting horse flies need to find out you're around. The competitions has started immediately. Who's faster: the horse fly biting us or us swatting them. At least the horse flies go to bed early and after sunset we finally can enjoy our barbecue at the fire. Before we leave on the next day, we stop briefly at the hot springs. The spring flows over rocks between tropical palms. A very idyllic spot. Too idyllic to leave too soon which means our brief stop lasted for 3 hours ;-)

We will stay...

Numerous travellers have recommended to travel further north of Broom to Cape Leveque. We have been told about secluded beaches and camping right at the beach. Let's go! We book a beach-shelter at Cape Leveque for two nights and hit another sandy red track leading up north. We're excited. Our accommodation is right on the beach. Swimming, sun-bathing, relaxing, Dolphin watching from the beach, backing a bread in the open fire, star-gazing, we don't want to leave. Unfortunately, our beach-shelter is already booked again. Middle Lagoon is on our way back, where we want to spend another night. Wales are swimming as close as 400m off the beach. And the beach is right in front of our tent. Instead of one night we finally spend three nights there before we move on. Cape Leveque is definitely a heavenly place!

How bats do their business

We're moving on from gorge to gorge. And of course, each and every pool in the gorges has to be tested, how good it is to take a swim. Hmmmmm... heavenly...

The last gorge for us along the Gibb River Road is Windjana Gorge. Every evening thousands of cockatoos fly into the gorge, spend the night there and fly out the next morning. Since we're too late to catch them tonight we have to be early tomorrow. Early means in that case 5AM the next morning. It's still dawn when we walk into the gorge. Unfortunately, most cockatoos seems to have spent their night somewhere else. Instead of thousand only hundreds of them are sitting in the trees screeching like hell. Since we're already here, we can even do the walk through the gorge. Once again, we're the first ones in the morning doing a walk. When we cross last nights traces of the sweetwater crocs we feel a bit intimidated. However, the crocs are already back in the water waiting for the warming sun to come up. After about an hour we hear some screeching again. This time, the noise comes from a huge fruit bat colony hanging upside down in a couple of trees. If someone every has asked himself, how bats are going to the toilet, we have a photo to share. 3 meters away from us a bat changes from it's back legs (arms, wings, or however they are called....) to it's front legs. Then it does what it has to do and moves back to its back legs and falls asleep again snuggling under its wings ;-)

Are we there yet?

The last part to Broom is on a bitumen road again. Some huge Boab trees are scattered among wide open spaces. In the past, some of the huge trees have been used a transitional prison for Aboriginals.

Bungle Bungle National Park

This National Park features the banded sandstone domes. There are simple campgrounds and walks to different gorges.

GPS: 17°23'05.4"S / 128°19'53.7"E


Heliworks Bungle Bungle

Helicopterservice inside the Bungle Bungle National Park. Different flights are offered. 30 Minutes go for 250 AU$

GPS: 17°32'34.8"S / 128°18'27.8"E


El Questro

Once a Cattle-Station, El Questro has become a tourist place. There are very nice themo-springs and rivers.

GPS: 16°59'48.4"S / 127°58'36.7"E


Staircase to the moon

A natural phenomenon, that can be observed in Broome: at low tide and full moon, the reflection of the moon on the water appears like a staircase to the moon. There are also food-stalls and a market at the town beach.


Willie Creek Pearl Farm

Willie Creek offers a self-drive-tour where one can observe the growing and production of pearls.

GPS: 17°45'40.1"S / 122°12'51.7"E