Wednesday, July 09, 2008

DAY 255: Day 3 off in Kununurra

Sat 5th July 2008
Sunny, 30 deg C
Elevation of /destination 55 m
Distance to date 15063 km (9414 miles)

My wonderful young camping neighbours were up at 5 for some reason - and made sure everyone else heard them, crashing pots and pans around, shouting and laughing loudly - lovely people! So I didn’t sleep after that and just fiddled around passing time until I was collected for the El Questro day tour bus at 7. Driver Denis was an old hand at telling stories to keep the punters amused, such as this one: ...we passed a creek bridge called Cheese Tin Creek (they all have names and are all signed), and he explained the origins of the name. During the early days of white settlement Afghans and their camels were the main means of supplying goods, but these devout Muslims would not carry and pork products and threw them away if found. They became suspicious about every unlabelled package, and when they saw some large tins with no labels they assumed it was pork and threw them in this creek - in fact the tins contained cheese! And the rest is history as they say...
We full busload of customers were taken out firstly to Emma Gorge, where at various speeds we scrambled up the 2km rocky path through magnificent rock formations, up to the large pool at the top of the gorge. A waterfall cascaded some 100m into the pool below, in which several of us unwisely were determined to have a swim. The sun rarely gets into the narrow gorge so the water was icy cold despite a warm spring entering at one end, nevertheless a swim is mandatory and in we went, to many oohs and ahhs as the chilly water bit the warm skin. I didn’t stay in too long but found it very refreshing and invigorating. The setting is very nice indeed, beyond my humble adjectival efforts; hopefully the pics will demonstrate. The descent back to the car park was even more hazardous than the ascent, the diversely-sized and sometimes loose boulders threatening to snap the ankles of the less than wary. My new sandals were cutting into my big toe despite me loosening off the velcro - not as comfy as the defunct Shimanos though probably more grippy in these conditions. (Did I say that the Shimano's straps snapped yesterday?)
From here and after smoko (morning coffee) we were bussed to Zebedee Springs for a short walk up the steep-sided creek culminating in another, this time warmer, dip in the warm springs feeding the watercourse. A few of us sat chatting in a small pool, enjoying the luxuries of the lush green setting. Unfortunately I took no pictures here.

We were finally dragged away to have a delicious beef and barramundi lunch at El Questro resort (all the places we visited are part of the million-acre EQ estate) in the pleasant steak al fresco restaurant, where we dozen folk got to know each other better. During this short drive we passed Alistair plying his way through dusty clouds and river beds, just about to arriver at EQ, and I sat with him for a while before and after lunch. He seemed to be enjoying the Gibb so far, though had been told that the road gets worse further west.
After lunch we were taken on a cruise up the Chamberlain River gorge and regaled with jokes and facts by the competent guides. I was interested to learn more about the Boab trees which are such a feature of this area. Many of them are a thousand years old and more; no two look the same and there are fat ones, thin ones, short ones etc; they can grow when not in leaf because the bark can photosynthesise, and so on. We were also showed some fossils of the waves formed on a patch of sand, and told that these ancient rocks - 1600 million years old - predate life on earth so contain no fossilised flora or fauna. The diversity of bird life is amazing here, and rock wallabies could be seen jumping around on the narrow, vertical gorge sides. It was very relaxing, and on the way back upriver we were plied with fizzy wine and mounds of watermelon, whereupon everyone became very chatty indeed... he he...hic
We landed back in Kununurra at around 7, and though a long day it was very enjoyable and worthwhile; I’m glad I chose this one.

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