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WRAP UP {EDITION 27}

 

HELLO + WELCOME to the Wrap Up of what’s been cracking as we make our way from Sydney to London, via the East Coast of Africa.

It’s Gee here today with a long one so bare with me.

Things are moving along nicely at the moment but we have had a few hiccups.

 

Aussie Overlanders Yellow Divider1

Aussie Overlanders Yellow Divider1

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

We were both very excited to be entering W.A. so we got up early in our last N.T. camp and headed off towards the border. A few photos and then through the Quarantine Station. We handed over our honey and a couple of pieces of fruit to the very serious and tired looking officer who reminded us of the 90 minute time difference. We rolled our clocks back and hit the road.

 

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GIBB RIVER ROAD: EL QUESTRO GORGE

Kirst and I knew there was a lot to do and see along the 654km stretch of the GRR. We picked out the gorges and detours we most wanted to see and hit the dirt road. Our first stop was El Questro Station.

Rolling into El Questro seemed to us like driving into an amusement park. Except the theme was nature. It was late arvo and the sun was creeping its way down below the horizon. We parked up and set up camp in the common campground. Three minutes  later we were ready to crack our bottle of champas (yeah it doesn’t take us long to set up) to celebrate arrival in W.A. A beautiful evening. Cheese and bickies, champas and a hot girl. I was very happy.

El Questro Gorge was on our mind so we set off at 6am. With the campground being full we knew that to get some quiet time it had to be an early trek. After scrambling over pebbles, then rocks, then boulders we reached the end of the trail. A couple (Phil and Ali) who we met in Katherine Gorge told us that once we get to the end of the trail, turn left and continue further on to the waterfall and rock pool. Lucky we had that advice because if you didn’t look any further you could miss it. So we had this fantastic fresh water swimming hole to ourselves for the next hour.

 

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> Driving into El Questro Gorge was fun with a couple of water crossings

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> El Questro Gorge: Check out the face in the boulder I’m standing on looking up to the left { Thanks JS for spotting it}

The next night at El Questro we stayed in one of the private camp grounds. Well worth the extra $5 per person. Secluded, private and by the river.

 

GIBB RIVER ROAD: MANNING GORGE

Manning Gorge was sensational! After a short drive in through the property we hit the camp ground. To get to the falls we pulled ourself across the river in a small dingy attached to a rope with a pulley either side. Then it was a 5km easy walk over rocks and through high spinifex. Once we headed down into the gorge we were hit by a beautiful waterfall which spilled into a deep waterhole. It then flowed off down through the gorge and into the river. We had heaps of fun swimming through the waterfall.

We walked back the 5 km’s to the dingy where we noticed it was on the other side with some young aboriginal kids mucking around in it. There were also three Aussie tourists trying to walk across the river. It was deep in sections and I yelled out to the bloke holding his bag above his head that “It’s deep there mate”. He suddenly went under and all we could see was his arm and hat above the water. It was quite funny really until he poked his head up coughing and spluttering. He had just swallowed a lung full. His wife and mother called out to the him “My iPod is in that bag”. We yelled out to the kids to pull themselves across to the struggling tourist who was drowning. “Yep no worries, can you help pull?” So we started pulling. I don’t think any of the ten kids on the sinking dingy were even touching the rope. They were too busy laughing, eating their packet of Shapes and drinking their Coca Cola. The silly tourist was still trying to walk across whilst drowning so Kirst started to strip down preparing for a rescue. Haha. I got the dingy to where they all had stopped and pulled an extra three adults along with the ten kids to the back. We wished we had the camera with us because it would have been an golden opportunity for a photo.

On our way out of Manning Gorge we were lucky enough to have an idiot speed past us on the GRR in a this two lane section of it. A decent sized rock flicked up and smashed into our windscreen.

Another cost to add to vehicle maintenance list and all because of the one-percenters who think it is within their God given right not too slow down when passing other vehicles.

NO PHOTOS OF THIS YET BECAUSE OUR GOPRO WHICH WE USED TO TAKE PICS IN THE WATER IS STUFFED.

WILL SHARE ONCE FIXED.

 

GIBB RIVER ROAD: MITCHELL FALLS

Mitchell Falls has long been on our lists of things to do. After a long bumpy drive, full of corros and crazy drivers we got there. We had an ‘altercation’ with some 60 year old tool driving into the Falls along the narrow corrugated road who insisted he had to maintain his speed while driving past us. We had to veer into the middle to miss a pot hole and all the time trying to avoid him. I tooted and flashed our lights hoping he would slow. We knew he was flying by his massive dust cloud. It started with him stopping and reversing his car to “tell us off” and finished with Kirst getting out and yelling at him to “Slow the HELL down before he kills someone”. The tough guy started his car back up, dropped the clutch and sped off with his tiny little tail in between his legs. Whatever happened to common courtesy?

 

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> Mitchell Falls from the air is so beautiful

> And from the ground

On arrival to the falls we stayed at camp for the evening excited for the next day. Morning came and after a 50 minute walk into the falls we were blown away by the site of it. Sheer rust red cliffs either side and this amazing tiered water fall billowing over into separate pools of fresh clear water. If there is a must do when in W.A. then this would be at the top of the list. Another must do when at the falls is the helicopter flight back to camp. It is a short flight and it cost us $115 each but money well spent we say. Truly breathtaking!

 

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> Our first helicopter ride…Excited much!?

Once back at camp, still buzzing we decided to hit the corros again and head back to Drysdale. It normally takes us around ten minutes to pack up if we have awnings out. This time it took a bit longer. When I went to lower the roof, SNAP. The knuckle on the gas strut sheared off and the roof collapsed on my head. No injuries thankfully but just a massive inconvenience. We used our sat phone to text the Expedition Centre, who constructed it, for help and arranged for the appropriate gear to be sent to Broome. It is great to know that we have trusted people to help when needed. With no hardware store around and no real tools to fix it I spent the next two nights sleeping on the ground outside under the awning. It was pretty nice actually thinking about it now. Kirst slept on the “emergency bed” inside which she described as a coffin with the roof being down. Hot and claustrophobic. We were both kicking ourselves that we didn’t bring a small tent as a back up. So without any cool sleeping arrangements we decided that after a few more gorges we would head down to Broome for some supplies.

(Note from Kirsty: Not being able to sleep in our vehicle or pop up the roof was absolutely awful. Inside the vehicle it was 30-40 degrees and I flipped all night between the need to cool down and giving in to cracking windows and being attacked by mosquitos. We’ve had it on our mind for a while now to put mozzie grills on the side of the Troopy. That will soon be happening. Also, Gareth is being positive (as he always, so wonderfully is), but the truth is he slept on the ground in amongst spiders and bugs. At one point, after a bloody long day, and setting up camp we realised he was surrounded by about 100+ spider eyes glowing in the grass and had to move the vehicle. The roof breaking has been a massive upset for us, obviously, it’s something we didn’t expect to have happen.)

 

BROOME – CAPE LEVEQUE and THE WORST BACKPACKERS IN THE WORLD

Wow, Broome is hectic. We arrived late afternoon with no where to stay. Without wanting to sleep on the ground we decided to check into a backpackers. The cheapest one in town was “Broome’s Last resort Backpackers”. Well let me tell you the name says it all. Dirty, filthy bathrooms, dusty air con filters and stained bed sheets. What a disgusting mess of a place. We walked in and had all the “residents” stare us down as we made our way up to our room. You know when you have that feeling of being watched.

I say this because we found out later that all of these residents who were staying there kept us up until two in the morning. There was a strict ‘no noise’ policy after 11pm, so these losers kept their party going in the carpark of the government office’s next-door. Where they sat and drank on the ground with some local alcoholic Aborigines. Classy!

 I thought there was a pub or something next door but when we looked outside we could see what was happening. I went out to take a leak at 1am and was met in the hallway by two residents who could barley walk. I said “G’day boys” but they were too wasted to even respond. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t afraid of a party but when the two Aborigines started fighting, we called the cops. We were sick of the noise anyway. 30 minutes later the Police arrived and told the derros to throw out their alcohol. 30 minutes later again and they wound up their party in the carpark and all stumbled back into the hostel.

 

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> Red is the Devil’s colour

The next day we woke up early to get the hell outta there. We were greeted by three middle aged ( 50 + ) men, who stank of vomit and booze smoking in the common area. I asked one of the older men where we could put our linen. He was un-stacking stools so I guessed he worked there. He pulled the cigga out of his mouth and mumbled in a blubbery drunken voice “Aaah just drop ‘em there”.

Moral of this disgusting hole of a place: sleep in your car because The Last Resort Backpackers in Broome isn’t worth your hard earned coin. We then drove around and found a Caravan Park with the motto of “the quiet alternative”. After  night prior I reckon a garbage bin would have been better. At least it wouldn’t have had bed bugs!

 

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> A lovely sink to have a shave in

A couple of days exploring Broome we decided to head up the Dampier Peninsular to Cape Leveque. We checked into Middle Lagoon, because Kooljaman (which is like an El Questro) was booked until the 18th. A beautiful spot to stay for a couple of days. Next stop was Chili Creek. The mozzies there drove us out but if you are ever up that way it is a must do, to experience the beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise waters.

 

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> On the beach at Chili Creek, Dampier Peninsular, Western Australia

So, that is where we are at the moment. Broome and Cape Leveque with its stunning beaches, filthy backpackers accommodation, broken windscreen and broken pop top. With the little things that have gone wrong we are still very lucky to have no major mechanical issues. The Troopy is AMAZING.

Our spirits have been lifted by all the positive comments through Facey and our website. If you look to the right of your screen, you can see a taster of some of our favourite words readers have sent  us.

 

STUFFED BATTERY… NEW BATTERY: CENTURY YUASA

We drained our Aux battery in Darwin beyond saving. Luckily for us Century Yuasa Batteries came on board to support with a brand spanking new 100AH deep cycle battery. It was nice knowing that we were putting a new battery into the car made by an Australian company, with a proven track record. We always support Australian made when possible.

 

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> A quick and easy replacement

LOVING + NOT LOVING SO MUCH

NOT LOVING SO MUCH:  Idiots on dirt roads who have no 4WD ethics + The Last Resort Backpackers + expensive diesel (still) + smashed windscreen + busted gas strut knuckle on pop top roof + not being able to sleep in our home for a couple of days

 

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LOVING:  Kirsty + Broome + West Australian winter weather + Matso’s Brewery Mango Beer + beach driving + our BFGoodrich Km2 Muddies (these are a wicked set of tyres) + our DRIFTA set up (yeah I can’t stop talking about it) +  LIFESAVER JERRY CAN workouts (video to follow) + my Mac Air + fresh air + diminishing fly numbers + cooler nights + slowing down + my Mum + camels on Cable Beach + Manning Gorge + our Troopy + runs on the beach + bush mechanics and a SPEEDY response from the Expedition Centre

 

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> Life is so hard right now

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> Kirst stretching it out after a short 20km run…..nah just kidding! 7km.

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> Cable Beach, Broome, Western Australia (The first time the umbrella has been used!)

 

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Well that is it for the week guys. It has been a pleasure keeping you all up to date and I hope you have enjoyed it.

We have now decided to drive back across the country to Sydney via a few tracks and interesting places. We want to be in Africa at the right time of year to experience it in it’s best season. This will also let us fine tune a few niggling things,  remove any un-wanted gear and spend some good quality time with our family.

See you next time with more BIG news to be announced.

If you are keen for more updates and pictures, follow the Aussie Overlanders on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Everyone is most welcome!

 

Cheers

GK Signature

 

 

Aussie Overlanders Yellow Divider1

Aussie Overlanders Yellow Divider1

 

 

6 Comments

  • Chris Scott Says

    Hey mate, you must be getting old. I remember having breakfast with some drunken young louts a few years ago in Darling Harbour. Do you remember that morning?
    Cheers
    Chris

  • That idiot who broke your windscreen might have been a tour driver from Cape York! Flat out, straight down the middle, and the hell with you! We soon learned to get off the road and let the clowns have it. They obviously get paid trip money, and not by the hour!!

  • John Says

    Thanks for the wrap up of the Kimberley. After reading that, I think we will stick to the east coast.

  • Paul G Says

    Hi,
    Must have missed it before, but just read that your going back to Sydney?

    If your coming down south west WA, Albany, Happy to help out with anything you need and any info etc, welcome to come past for a hot shower and cold beer if you need.

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