We set off from Broome at about 7am as we had things to see and kilometres to drive. We got to Derby early, topped up with fuel, and started the trek on the Gibb River Road, it starting just near Derby to its east. Initial travelling was all on sealed road, from Broome to Derby, and then at the start of the Gibb, so we made good time. Soon enough out of Derby though we were on the dirt, the red compacted earth and the multiple corrugations. In time too we got the jist of driving a bit faster, being around 80-90 km and then less jolting. Very little traffic on this first day too, although a few more as the day progressed and others caught us after we stopped for various attractions.
We had planned two main stops, being Windjana Gorge and Lennard Gorge. Tunnel Creek on from Windjana was a possibility but we calculated lack of time and my TP was less endeared with the prospect of walking in a dark cave, waist deep in water, with freshwater crocodiles about, and bats hanging from the roof. We can still get there later from Fitzroy Crossing next week although maybe not.
As it turned out, Lennard Gorge was closed so today’s main attraction was Windjana Gorge. It was beautiful, with ancient black rock structures rising up from the plateau, with a gentle stream and pools running through. Looks quite a peaceful place for a swim if only for the plethora of freshwater crocodiles. Supposedly they are timid, as long as you do not get between them and their water, or corner them. No chance of that, and the swim was put on hold. In any case, we were able to approach these crocodiles quite close, and it was interesting seeing them lying in the sun, and very slowly cruising through the clear and calm water.
We arrived at our night’s accommodation in Imintji after a short stop at the adjacent store for an ice cream and fuel. Diesel was $2.00 a litre and our magnum ice-cream $6 each, but hey, who cares in this beautiful and remote place. People there were friendly while all the visitors were also and usually in high spirits relating stories of their recent adventure or imminent destination.
Our accommodation turned out to be our second highlight for this day, given the hospitality, wonderful staff and three course dinner with some wine. We had the company of a visiting Hawaiian tourist at dinner, and a great chat. There was also around another 20+ guests who were on an organised APT bus tour concluding their Kimberley experience and they were in high spirits. We also had to put on several layers and were provided with ponchos as the evening progressed as the night here was quite cold, at least relative to what we have experienced for the past months. So cold overnight and in the morning but warms up again soon enough.
In to bed by around 8pm and soon off to sleep, on the gorgeous Kimberley, just 200m off the Gibb River Road.
First stop before the GRR, the infamous and ancient prison tree just east of Derby.
Rest of pictures are of Windjana Gorge. Note the fresh water crocodiles to the right on the last picture.