From Fitzroy Crossing to Wyndham, then Kununurra
Today we drove 763 kms, from Fitzroy Crossing to Wyndham, then Kununurra. First stop was supposed to be Geikie Gorge, just outside of Fitzroy Crossing. But it didn’t take long before we reached a river crossing where the fast flowing water brought us to a halt. The water in places was already higher than the leaf line of the well established trees that previously lined the banks of the Fitzroy. As I stood at the waters edge, I could see the waterline creeping higher and higher up the bank. So we continued to drive east, intending to check out Wyndham as a possible destination for The Rattler when she journeys across the Top End in April.
As we ventured further and further into the Kimberly Region, the rocky peaks got higher and more impressive. We passed the eastern entrance to Gibb River Road as we were about to enter Wyndham, which is still closed to all traffic. Wyndham sits on the northern coastline in the Cambridge Gulf and is the northernmost town in the Kimberley Region. We were greeted by the 18 metre statue of a saltwater crocodile which was pretty impressive. As we drove further in, it was obvious that many past inhabitants have moved away, leaving derelict buildings lining the street as you head to the wharf. Whilst I understand that the Port is still in operation, there were no signs that it had been in use recently. We saw a few locals sitting around in places, but were left with the impression that it was on the verge of becoming a ghost town.
Next stop was Kununurra, situated only 37 kms from the Northern Territory. At the town entrance lies the Ord River Diversion Dam Wall. We drove to Ivanhoe Crossing where the water released from the dam flows steadily, preventing any crossing at present. We were on the lookout for saltwater crocodiles, after receiving a tipoff from a local. Unfortunately these elusive creatures continue to evade us, although we certainly didn’t get close enough to bait them! There were a few fishermen sitting on the bank with lines in the water hoping to catch barramundi. Apparently crocs don’t like coming onto the rocks, so you can fish ‘safely’ from the rocky banks.
After a walk down the river, where we were somewhat distracted as we kept a lookout for those crocs, we headed off to our hotel for the night. Tonight we have been to the waters edge outside the hotel, shining torches at the lake, illuminating the many freshwater crocodiles eyes. Little reflective dots are everywhere in the lake, so I would not recommend dipping your toes in this water either!
Tomorrow we head to Lake Argyle, about 75 kms away, which has 22 times as much water in it as Sydney Harbour!