Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

The Gibb River Road is an unsealed road that runs for 600km between Derby in the west and Windham in the East. It was built in the 60's to transport cattle to the ports. The Kimberley region only has two seasons each year, the wet and the dry. In the wet the road is impassable as there are hundreds of creeks that cross it and several significant rivers and hardly any bridges. 2011 was the wettest on record and the road had only just opened when we got there. At the eastern end, the road crosses the Durack and the Pentecost rivers. The road reports said that the depth of the Durack was 800mm and the Pentacost was at 550mm but was tidal so it might be higher. Our car was OK for 600mm but 800 might have been interesting! (No snorkel). The levels had dropped each time we checked so we kept our fingers crossed that it would be low enough by the time we got to it about 19 days later.

Queen Victoria's Head

 

 

As we were on our fuel limit we decided leave Windjana Gorge until the return trip and head straight for Mount Hart. On the way we passed Queen Victoria Rock.

Taffy and Kim

We were hoping that Taffy and Kim who had been managing the Mount Hart Station were still there as we had been supporting their campaign to get a better settlement from the Department of Environment and Conservation. (It's a long story that you can read about here.) The information bureau in Derby said that the station had just reopened after the long wet but Taffy and Kim had moved out the day before. We turned off the GRR and starting making our way up the 50km track to the station when we came across a truck that had broken down. It was Taffy and Kim, their truck had broken down and they were waiting for spares. I don't think the country wanted them to leave just yet! It was good to meet them and chat about their struggle and the internet campaign giving them support.

A visit to their website is a must if you are thinking about going to the Kimberley, there is so much information about the area and its flora and fauna and the people who live there.

Testing a Creek Walker

 

The track into the station had about 30 creeks that we had to cross so it was an ideal opportunity to test on of the creek walkers. As it was only a shallow creek we used the shorter one.

The campsite was good and very quiet as it had only just opened. The homestead was interesting but DEC had not quite got used to running it properly yet.Mt Hart Campsite

Mt Hart swimming hole

 

 

Some of the gorges and walks were closed as the tracks were still washed out. There was a nice swimming hole along one of the tracks for us to cool down in

Olive Python

 

 

We had to hare the campsite with the local creatures including this 3.3mtr long Olive Python who appeared next to the toilet block one evening.

Orb Spider

 

 

And spiders of course!

Mt Hart Sign
Mt Hart turnoff