Day 36 to 40 Broome and the Dampier Peninsula
8 to 12 September
We spent 2 nights in Broome, stocking up, fixing the electrical issues, and organising the servicing of Clive for this coming Thursday. We also did a run out to the Willie Creek Pearl Farm. Not much to see but their shop has pearls ranging from $55 (for imported fresh water ones) to over $20,000 for the Australian Pearl necklace. Cheaper than the pink diamonds we saw in Kununarra but not our cup of tea. We also ventured out to a free camping area at Quondong Point. Back in town we headed off to the pub at Cable Beach to watch the Swannies beat the Bombers. All the locals seemed to be barracking for the Bombers and early in the game were quite vocal, but quiet ended down as the game progressed. Us Swannie supporters all sat together. It was great fun. I have just rearranged our itinerary so we can watch the next game at the same venue at the famous Cable Beach pub.
Next morning we packed up for three nights camping on the Dampier Peninsula at Goombaragin Eco Resort. This is a hideaway run by a local indigenous women and her husband. It is absolutely magical. You have seen the photos I posted on Facebook and will add them to my gallery of iPhoto photos tomorrow when I get cheap internet access. There are 3 bush camping spots totally private plus some Eco lodges and tents in what I can only describe as the next best thing to heaven. Yesterday we just lay around and enjoyed the peace and quiet as we were the only ones here. Today we drove down to the beach and explored for a Few hours. The red sand is iron oxide and the dark rock you can see is iron ore.
Tomorrow we are back in Broome so I can wash the vehicles before I have them serviced on Thursday. We will then stay in Broome at Cable Beach for the touristy thing till Saturday morning and then take off for a couple of nights at Broome’s Bird Sanctuary and then leave the Kimberley's and head for the next section 80 mile beach and then - the Pilbara.
Well after 30 days in the Kimberley’s I thought I would summarise our perceptions.
Is the Gibb River Road an iconic 4WD destination?
My view is that that is all hype and advertising bull. Yes it is long (620klms) yes it is corrugated but not overly so. The main issue is the other users mainly in hired 4WD vehicles, who drive far to fast for the conditions, ignore all road rules and etiquette. Yes you need to go slow in some places but it is not unlike any other long dirt corrugated roads found all over Australia.
Is it as beautiful as the ads show? Definitely no. Most photos of the Kimberley's are taken soon after the wet season stops and the places are only accessible by helicopter at great expense at sunset or sunrise. If you travel in August September like we did it is extremely dry (no moisture of any kind for more than three months) so dust is a massive issue to deal with - everywhere. That is not to say that the gorges are not spectacular but they are that because they are spread apart and you have to go through miles and miles of patched country to get to them.
So what were the highlights.. El Questro ( but very touristy). Ellenbrae Station (the tea and scones and the excentric bathroom); Manning, Bell and Windjana Gorges were all spectacular and different and well worth the visit; Mornington Wilderness Camp and Goombaragin Eco Camp were both highlights with the Horizontal Falls experience being the absolute best. We didn't make Mitchell Falls or Kalambaru and that was a disappointment, but hey we have already put those two on our list for next year in June or July.
The other two stops that were memorable but not on the Gibb River Road were Purnululu and the Ord River Dam or Argyle River. Both were spectacular in their own right.
Overall it has been a great experience and taught us a lot and we are ready for the next leg of this great journey.
I have now sorted out the blog situation and will post this chapter and future ones on
I can embed photos in the exploroz site, but on my website you well need to go to the photo gallery to see the photos. The photos will be uploaded over the next few days once I am in Broome and have access to Telstra Air which uses my home internet allowance so costs nothing extra. Out here if I used the phone I would blow my whole phone allowance of 5 gigs in one day.