Friday, August 21, 2015


We left Broome heading east towards Derby a further 220 km away. We had already booked a site at the Kimberley Entrance Caravan Park for two nights.

On our way in we stopped briefly to take some photos. These included the Prison Boab Tree, Frosty Pool and the Trough at Myalls Bore. All are located 7 km south of Derby and all grouped together within several hundred metres of each other.

The Prison Boab tree was said to be used as a lockup for Aboriginal prisoners on their way to be sentenced in Derby but there is no evidence that it was actually used for this purpose.

In 1944 Corporal Frost came up with the idea of building a swimming pool. The pool is quite small because there were only limited materials available. Its really about the size of a modern day plunge pool. Officers would use it for part of the day and other ranks for the remainder. The pool was filled from a nearby bore. 

This trough is 120 metres long and was built in 1916/17 at a cost of  581 pounds. The trough could water five hundred bullocks at one time without running dry.

Boabs along Loch Street entering Derby:

After setting up camp we ventured out and around Derby while I searched for Geo Caches. The search took us to some interesting places including the Derby Wetlands, the Dinner Tree and the Pioneer Cemetery. 

In the late 1950's drovers would drive their cattle to Derby to be exported by ship. They would camp at Myalls Bore before bringing them closer to town adjacent to this tree. The cattle would graze on the vegetation beside the mudflats whilst the drovers would boil the billy and eat before moving them to the jetty later in the day. That is how it became know as the Dinner Tree.

The cemetery contains graves dating back from the 1890's. It includes that of Constable William Richardson who was killed by the Aboriginal outlaw Jandamarra.

We ventured down to the jetty to watch the sunset which just happened to coincide with the high tide. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Broome and surrounds

Our original plan was to spend five days camped at Middle Lagoon on Cape Leveque. However after taking the 4wd bus to the cape as part of our Horizontal Falls tour we decided that the road was just too rough to do so. I have no doubt that if tyre pressures were low enough and speed reduced we could have completed the trip without breaking anything. Ros was having a discussion with a lady at the caravan park on our return, who had taken a tent to Middle Lagoon. She described the 33 km access road into the Middle Lagoon campground to be much worse than the condition of the main road. There were many vans at the campground who had sustained damage because of the road conditions. 

We are really enjoying our time here in Broome. While we like to get down and dirty its also nice to spend some time in comfortable and enjoyable surroundings. 

The beach is about 50 metres from our annex, so we have been enjoying lying on the sand and swimming although I must admit it takes a while to adjust to the coolness of the water.

Sunset over Town Beach below the Roebuck Bay Caravan Park.

We celebrated my birthday on the 11th August at Matsos Brewery. We both started with a Pale Ale before ordering our meals.

Ros chose the vegetable plate which consisted of coriander and chilli corn fritters, marinated olives, grilled haloumi, goats cheese and beetroot panna-cotta and yoghurt dip. The menu suggested she try the alcoholic ginger beer which she did to her enjoyment.

My seafood plate included hickory smoked barramundi, exmouth king prawns, ika mata fish salad, pickled fremantle sardines and gravalax sauce. My beverage with my main was their Session Ale.

Today we ventured north to check out the jetty area. The live cattle trade appears to be back in full swing with at least five B-triples waiting to unload cattle onto a ship.

On another one our outings we spent time viewing the Japanese cemetery. 
The Japanese arrived here after pearls were discovered in the waters surrounding Broome. The first recorded Japanese burial was 1896. The most burials took place in 1914 when thirty three divers lost their lives to either drowning or the bends.

Today our Landcruiser was due for its 10,000 km service. The courtesy bus dropped us off in China Town and we wandered around the shops waiting for the service to be completed.

Streeter's Jetty is known to have been used since 1897.
It was built for pearl dealers and merchants E.W. Streeter and Co of London. It was used by the pearl luggers to deposit their 'Mother of pearl" ashore and is the only remaining landmark of its kind in Broome.

The Sun Pictures claims to be the worlds oldest operating picture gardens.

The seating above reminds me of the open air picture theatre at Parap in Darwin in the 1970's. Half the theatre was covered by a roof and if you were out enjoying the movie under the stars and it started raining there was a mad dash in under the roof.

The pearling museum has on display two restored luggers and they provide tours giving an insight into the hazards associated with diving for the pearls.

We had heard glowing reports about a restaurant in Broome called 18 Degrees. So we tried it out for lunch on our second last day. The menu is made of of share plates similar to a restaurant we have at home in the main street in Sawtell. The food was superb and I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Broome. Little Creatures beer was on tap so we also enjoyed several of those.

Fellow Bushtracker owners Wendy and Peter arrived in our caravan park late this evening. They had driven east to west across the Gibb River Road. They described the conditions as quite rough with lots of corrugations. They described the condition of the 19km road into Silent Grove campground at Bell Gorge as very bad. It took them one hour to complete.

We toddled off to the Town Beach Cafe for lunch today after our swim. Its about 500 metres from our caravan park. Unfortunately we leave tomorrow and will miss this view. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Horizontal Falls

We booked our tour several weeks ago with Horizontal Falls Seaplane Adventures. We were taking the full day tour from Broome.  

The 4wd tour bus picked us up from our accommodation at 05:20 along with another eight passengers. Leaving the bitumen behind we were soon on the Cape Leveque Road heading north. The first 14 km is bitumen with the next 86 km of rough dirt road with absolutely endless corrugations and a road base which was set like concrete but is full of holes and dips hidden by soft sand. Thommo our driver was moving from side to side in an effort to pick the best line with the least amount of corrugations but that was just a losing battle. He referred to the road as being "very ordinary", but I would have used stronger words than that. Of course these tour buses unlike ourselves don't bother in reducing their tyre pressures because they are all running to a schedule and we would never end up getting to our destination. IMHO I think speed and not reducing pressures may add to these road conditions. The 86 km dirt section took us 1 1/2 hours to complete.

We finally made the bitumen and stopped in at Beagle Bay to view the Sacred Heart Church. German priests who were interned here during World War One in 1914 and with the help of the local people began to build the church in 1918. Modeled on a photograph of a German country parish church it took two years to build and another year to decorate. Mother of pearl shell has been used extensively around the altar and as inlay along the floor.

Leaving Beagle Bay we continued north to Kooljaman Resort for a hot breakfast in their restaurant overlooking the western beach. We spent just on twenty minutes on the beach after breakfast before continuing for another 14 km onto One Arm Point for a tour of the aquaculture hatchery. Here we viewed tropical reef fish, trochus shell and feed huge barramundi housed in holding tanks. 

We were then transported to the airport where we boarded our 14 seat seaplane for the flight to the Horizontal Falls. We were flying into quite a strong headwind for the journey to Talbot Bay. Our flight path took us quite low across the Buccaneer Archipelago which is made up of more that 1000 islands.
Our plane was even supplied with a co-pilot:

Except for the wind during our flight our weather was perfect with beautiful blue skies and an amazing view. Our pilot made a perfect landing on Talbot Bay and we motored towards the pontoon. 

This whole setup is by no means small. The main pontoon in the photo above houses the people doing half day, full day and overnight tours. The smaller vessel at the top of the picture provides accommodation for people doing one of their four day tours. After our three planes dropped everyone off who were doing the Broome tour the pilots were off again to pick up more people from Derby, before returning later in the afternoon to transport us home to Broome. At one point we estimate at least seventy people on the pontoons and at a cost of a full day tour of $845 per person its quite staggering. 

After lunch we boarded our boats which looked more like Zodiacs on steroids, with their three motors equaling 900 hp.  
We ventured through bays and creeks before making our way back to the Horizontal Falls. We were taken into Cyclone Creek with its deep anchorage and which is surrounded by steep hills making it the perfect location to moor their pontoons during the wet and cyclone seasons.

Ros also took to the air in one of the helicopters for that birds-eye view. I declined because I'm not into flying where they forget to install the doors:

View of the 4wd's lined up along Cable Beach just before we touched down after a very enjoyable but very tiring day: