Friday, October 26, 2012

Across Australia 7 Derby and Kimberley Gorges

We based ourselves in Derby for 3 nights and took another trip on a 4WD bus. It was along the first section of the Gibb River Road which takes a more scenic route 700 km back to the town of Wyndham. However this is the description.
The Derby Visitor Centre recommends use of high clearance robust vehicles, preferably 4WD, for DRY season (May to October) travel. Towing of any type is not recommended. However, well constructed off road trailers may survive the often corrugated conditions in the DRY. Caravans are definitely NOT recommended.
Wet season (November to April) travel can be severely restricted by flooding and road closures as the countryside can become very waterlogged. Access to the gorges is very often not possible and, if travel occurs, is restricted to the Gibb River Road itself and not to the sidetracks into the gorges. A 4WD vehicle equipped with a snorkel is essential once the rains have started.

Certainly not allowed in the rented motor home.

First we stopped at a very old boab tree and were told all about them.

 It is a deciduous tree that grows from 29 to 39 feet tall, and has been known to grow to 16 feet in width. In the spring, it grows large, white flowers. The boab doesn't develop annual growth rings, and stores water inside its trunk. Some are 1500 years old, so are the oldest living things in Australia.
Aboriginal Australian peoples used the hollows of the boab to collect water, the leaves for medicine, and the fruit for food and in art. We were given some fruit to taste. I am afraid I spat it out, uggh.

We went on to Windjana Gorge which was very spectacular and saw more freshwater crocodiles. These were smaller so we went within a few feet of them .
We were told the story of Jandamarra who led an armed rebellion against the whites in the late 1890's and hid in the caves in this area.

After lunch we went to Tunnel Creek Cave where Jandamarra was killed. This involved wading through the stream which can be above your waist but thankfully was only up to my lower thighs. I had to buy a pair of shorts in Derby in preparation. I never wear shorts.

The following day back in Derby we checked out the very high tides at the wharf.

Derby has Australia’s highest tides and one of the highest in the world.

We went to the Mowanjum Art and Cultural Centre.  Finally yet another sunset across the tidal flats.

1 comment:

Fran said...

I always like to think of myself as well-read about matters of geography and travel, but your posts have shown me how little I truly know. Wow, this journey never ceases to amaze me. Thank you so much for doing all of this post trip blogging!