Tuesday, November 15, 2011

M&M’s Tour Part II: Hann River to Home Valley

By this time we were getting along very well (to be fair, we had
gotten along easily pretty much from the start). M&M wouldn't let me
camp too far away from their trailer to keep an eye on me and were
nice enough to give me one of their spare pillows and let me use one
of their camp chairs around the fire, while one of them perched on a
slab or the stoop of the trailer. We shared the cooking and shared
the drinks (none of which I'd yet paid for) and shared stories of our

That night on the Hann River, we were pretty happy with our campsite.
There was nobody else around, and when one other trailer pulled in,
they were decent enough to park a way down the river. But after dark,
when we were watching the bush TV (the campfire), a car rolled in and
stopped right in front of Mick's bumper – so close that he would have
had to reverse to get out. This did not make for a friendly pair of
Ms and when the foreigners (who would have been forgiven if they
didn't have an Aussie in their midst) asked where we got our firewood,
Mick said, "Over the river, look out for the crocs," which of course
did not exist.

The next morning our neighbours continued to unwittingly affront us by
their mere presence, with one of their number going not very far away
to relieve herself. Mick turned around and was met with a sight,
which he infomed us was definitely an all-over tan. A site I'm not
sure he was that unhappy to see...

We continued along the GRR and turned off to drive 60km up the
Kalumburu Rd to Drysdale River Station, my first experience of an
operational cattle station. There we checked in for camping and
dinner and before we knew it, it was happy hour again. Dinner at
Drysdale was fantastic, with the chef putting in a special vegie
effort for me, and after dinner we joined the crowd around the
campfire, which turned out to be a friendly mix of staff and guests.
I chatted to some friendly foreign staff members over many a glass of
red, and started to wonder whether this could be a job for me.

The next day we hit the skies, in a scenic flight along the Prince
Regent River to St George Basin, taking in the King Cascade along the
way and flying over and around the Mitchell Falls a few times too.
Although it's possible to drive to the Mitchell Plateau and visit
these spectacular falls, the road was still closed from the big wet
and so a flight was the only way we could see this magnificent area.
And I'm so glad, as I'd have found it hard to justify the cost of the
flight otherwise and there's just no comparison for the site of this
massive almost entirely untouched area from the air.

Unfortunately, my indulgence of the night before had me reaching for
my Sic-Sac, a precaution which the packaging thoughtfully warned me
not to be embarrassed by, as 'even vetaran air travellers are subject
to occasional motion sickness'. However, I made it back to land, my
pride intact and we headed straight for famed burgers, at which the
chef again excelled with his vegetarian offering.

Our Drysdale adventure complete, we headed towards Kununurra with a
few days exploring still up our sleeves. Not far along we decided to
bush camp for a night at Russ Creek, a little spot where we met and
spent happy hour with a cheerful couple, the only others camped there.

On the way to Home Valley Station the next day, we had to cross the
Durack River. There's a practise of walking across waterways in the
Kimberley, to determine whether they're safe to cross. This is
obviously not a good idea when the waters are known to be home to
saltwater crocs, such as the Pentecost, which we'd be crossing the
following day. When we got to the Durack M&M decided they'd wait till
someone else came along to see how deep it was – even though Mick had
previously stated that the driver should really be the one to walk the
river, so that he could be sure of the depth, the sand at the bottom,
the holes, rocks etc. I thought they were just being lazy buggers so
said I'd walk it...something I've since learned is not advisable.

Anyway, walk it I did. It was a long walk, because I really was
scared and caught myself stopped in the middle staring back and
realising the quickest way out would be to keep going, but it was
barely knee-deep and perfectly safe to drive across.

Just before reaching Home Valley we stopped for a toilet stop at the
side of the road. It seemed to be a lookout of some sort, and there
weren't many places to hide for a wee. So I crouched beside a big
rock, trying to maintain some sense of decorum...believe what you
will. Upon our arrival at Home Valley, we asked about things to do in
the area. The woman who checked us in enthusiastically recommended
the 'Kissing Rock', apparently the place Nicole and Hugh had first
kissed in the inexplicably awful film Australia. Needless to say, the
Kissing Rock was quickly renamed and M&M greatly enjoyed my

Home Valley, whilst an impressive place to arrive at with three huge
Boabs marking the gateway, was a disappointing place to camp.
Although there are huge manicured lawns for camping, the operators
only allow visitors to camp in one section of lawn till it's full to
bursting, before opening up another section. We met some nice people
though, had a nice HOT gorge walk, a few beers and generally enjoyed
our stop.

1 comment:

KS said...

Great read! What an adventure!