Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Katherine & Kununarra

Today is the day of the trip with the most travelling and least actual sight seeing. We got up at 05:30 for an early boat trip within Katherine Gorge National Park or Nitmiluk. Katherine Gorge is a string of 13 gorges with high sandstone walls and permanent water. We only had time for the trip that covers the first 2 gorges but it was still worth it and we had breakfast on the boat. People spend whole holidays at Katherine Gorge, canoeing up the gorges and camping at various spots on the banks. Something I quite liked the look of like of.

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After leaving Katherine Gorge we started the long drive out of the Northern Territory and into Western Australia and The Kimberley. I’d love to come back to the NT. We only scratched the surface of Kakadu and Nitmiluk. There are companies that do 3 week walking trips through the parks seeing the sites that you can’t get to by road and you’re almost guaranteed not to come across another single person.

We headed West from Katherine, driving for about 2 and a half hours. As we headed west we started to see Boab trees, that only grow in North West Australia (along with East Africa and Madagascar.) We just make a quick stop at the Victoria River Road house. The sign made me laugh…

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We stopped for lunch at the ‘Gregory’ Boab tree. The tree contains some 1856 Graffiti from one of the first expeditions to this area. This is the spot where they were ship-wrecked after sailing up the Victoria River.

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After lunch, about another 2 hours drive to the Western Australia Border. The NT and WA state border has more formalities than most European national borders. Nothing to do with people…all to do with the transmissions of pests that WA currently doesn’t have. Before reaching the border we had to throw all our fruit away. The quarantine inspector came on board, was friendly, just asked us all if we are carrying any fruit or veg. then let us through. As we crossed into WA we put our watches back 90 mins to Western Australian time. Now GMT+8 compared to GMT+10 in Queensland and GMT+9.5 (why !?) in the NT.

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Another 45 mins drive and we arrived in Kununarra, the start of the Kimberley region. Kununarra is the second biggest town in the Kimberley with a pop. of about 8000 people. Broome on the other side is the largest town with about 20,000 people. In between you have an area about the size of California with not very much else. There are lots of gem shops in Kununurra as the Argyle Diamond mine is very close.

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I’m pretty sure this will be the last Internet access until Broome. We’re off into the Bungles tomorrow. I think I’ll carry on updating this log offline (if I can charge the laptop battery), then upload lots of entries from Broome. Bye for now!

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