Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Hello, boys and girls, here we are again with another exciting instalment in our adventures.  At our last get together, we were at lovely Lake Argyle, near Kununurra.  After a relaxing few days there, it was time to move on and to say farewell to the rest of the travelling party.  The latecomers, Skinner and Diane from Drysdale, Nick and Debbie from Bellarine and Pete from Darwin were all on their way home in the next couple of days.  Our long term companions, Peter and Judy, were also homeward bound, very reluctantly.  Jude was only going home on the promise that she would get to Broome one day soon.  We had greatly enjoyed their company on our travels over the past 5 weeks and look forward to further adventures together.
Having said our goodbyes, we were westward bound towards Broome (after a little bit north to Kununurra and a bit south to Halls Creek).  From there it was the longer than expected stop in Fitzroy Crossing.  Enough has been said about that previously, so let’s all move on and enjoy the rest of the trip.
Broome was a delightful destination for the next four days.  We had been there about 15 years ago and there have been huge changes.  There is obviously a housing boom in Broome, with new estates of houses in several areas.  So developed is it now that there are both Coles and Woolies supermarkets, and a McDonalds!  Not quite the picture most of us probably have of Broome.  However there is still plenty of charm in the town.  The beautiful beaches and turquoise water haven’t changed!

Chinatown has interesting shops, the reknowned Sun Pictures and pearl shops aplenty.  Looking in the windows was as far as I was allowed. 

Broome’s pearling history is well known and recognised in the tourism aspect of the town.

We stayed at Cable Beach Caravan Park, just behind the famed Cable Beach Resort.  It was a lovely park, lots of long term residents, very friendly staff and a gorgeous pool. 

It wouldn’t be a real post without some mention of food, so just a couple of pictures of some lovely places to eat.  Matso’s is a brewery and restaurant and is apparently well known for it’s ginger beer.  Not being a fan of ginger, I didn’t try it, but Alan did.  He also tried several other of their products.  It is on the site of an old store, Matso’s Store and there is a lot of memorabilia to look at.  The food was good, too!

Another delicious lunch was had at The Aarli, right in town. 

While we were in Broome, there was a full moon and it was the right time of the year for the Stairway to the Moon that happens about 4 times a year.  It has to be when the tide and the moon are in the right places.  We had seen this last time we were in Broome and were somewhat underwhelmed then, so we didn’t bother this time.  When we have the full moon coming up over the lagoon at home that is pretty amazing, so I guess we are a little spoilt.

We decided to be a little extravagant and take the full day tour to the Horizontal Waterfalls.  We had flown over them on our previous visit, but this tour offered the opportunity to land in a seaplane near the falls.  The day started at 5.30 (yes, a.m.) with our being picked up by the large 4WD vehicle called Big Foot. 

We travelled along a red dirt road (is there any other kind in the Kimberley?) to Beagle Bay.  This is an aboriginal settlement started as a Catholic mission in the early 1900’s.  The church there has an amazing pearl shell altar.

From there we headed for Cape Leveque where we had breakfast at the lovely resort.  This is quite a spectacular place with the red cliffs and rocks coming right down to the beach.  The water here is the same beautiful turquoise and crystal clear.

After a walk on the beach we drove on a short way to the One Arm Point community where the local people are being assisted in developing an aquaculture hatchery.  Barry is the man in charge here, and he was quite a character.  There were all sorts of marine creatures to see in the hatchery.

The airstrip where we boarded the seaplane for the trip to the Horizontal Falls was just near the hatchery and after refuelling the plane we boarded for the 30 minute trip over the Buccaneer Archipelago.

We flew over more spectacular scenery including 1000 islands in the Archipelago.

After landing near the houseboats and pontoon we were all loaded on to a jetboat for the trip to the Horizontal Waterfalls.  This has to be timed just right as the water flows through the gap in the cliffs so fast that it can’t be done at just any time of the day.  We were able to go through the larger of the falls, but not the smaller one until later in the day.  The driver of the boat (who looked about 14) said he could get us through, but we wouldn’t be able to get back due to the force of the water.  We would save that one for later in the day.

After that it was back to the boat for lunch and a swim with the sharks that live in the water around the pontoon.  It was promoted as swimming with the sharks, but in reality we were in a cage in the water looking at the sharks.  They were pretty scary though!

Back in the jet boat after this, we had a leisurely cruise around some of the untouched surrounding bays and creeks.  Some of the rock formations were amazing.  We were then able to head back to the smaller of the falls and go through the surging water.  Very exciting!

Then it was time to board the seaplane again for the 1 hour flight back to Broome, along the coastline. 

We landed at Broome and were taken back to the caravan park at about 4.30 after our very long and tiring day.  Another stunning memory for us!

This post comes to you from Exmouth where we are spending a couple of weeks, and courtesy again of John’s expertise in being able to access the WWW. For the fishing enthusiasts, there has been some fishing with good catches, very windy most days here. You are now only about 10 days behind us in our adventures, so we might actually get caught up soon.  Hope you are all enjoying the trip with us.  Big hugs for all the family, miss you heaps. xxx

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