Drysdale to El Questro which marks the end of our trip along the Gibb River Road. Next is Kununurra for more electrical repairs and new batteries for one camper before heading West to Broome for a few days and then to the Dampier Peninsula and Middle Lagoon for four days.
Setting up camp in the tour operator area caused something of a stir amongst the natives. Tour operators up here are, in the majority, based around tents and groups travelling in 4WD buses. So a couple of 4WD and campers caused several to come over and ask what the heck we were doing. But all settled and it makes for an interesting contrast with our tag-alongs when you compare the amount of space we actually need compared to these guys. Today is Pauline’s birthday and I had booked a table for the four of us in ELQ’s Steakhouse restaurant. A few glasses of bubbles before heading over for an excellent meal. I even managed desert.
Up early as the tour group beside us were off on their next leg so with them up around 0430 no-one had a chance to sleep in. Started putting together the outline itinerary and timelines for the 2017 Kimberley tour in preparation for my meeting with the ELQ team. Then spend the rest of the day doing all the detailed stuff for the tour to ensure we miss nothing. Dinner tonight was a less upmarket affair but we cooked up a couple of sirloins from the Kununurra butcher which had been cryovac bagged and were delicious.
Up early again and this time to walk Moonshine Gorge circuit rated as a 4 in degrees of difficulty. It certainly proved to be a challenge clambering over rocks and negotiating flowing streams but we completed the trek in a couple of hours without major incident and headed back to camp exploring some more gorges and waterholes along the way. Enjoyed a couple of ciders with lunch and kept working on the tour plans.
Bit of a sleep in but our neighbours were off and so it was more of a lie-in. After breakfast we headed out to explore the lookouts and other sights as well as the private camp sites which are along the river bank and stretch for a good 20km away from the ELQ township. Look great but no swimming due to handbags. We found lots to see and some good technical 4WDriving to be had as well. Pity Branco’s crossing didn’t have much water in it but take a look at the video of our crossing and the climb up to the lookout. Harder than it looks through the lens I can assure you but once again the Disco simply ate it up. A leisurely late lunch followed by more research and preparation for the next leg of our trip, Broome and the Dampier Peninsula.
An early start so we can get to Kununurra before rush hour as we have not booked a campsite and it is school holidays. As well the car and camper are truly filthy and so we plan to put them both through the carwash prior to showing up at Ivanhoe Resort. Getting them clean, at least for a while, means my clothes stay cleaner for longer as right not everything we touch means you are immediately covered in dust and it is really hard to get out even by washing machine.
As well we spent the day doing washing, catching up on hundreds of emails, updating software and picking up our first mail from home. So the weekend will be focussed on admin & logistics, checking over cars and campers, restocking the bar in particular and generally getting ready for the run along the bitumen to Broome and given we are driven 70% of this once already it will certainly be something of a test of patience.