Author: Mr A
Ever been shot at by a fish? No us neither…but today was the day….read on…
After a cracking nights sleep given the exertions of yesterday, it was time for our first lay in since leaving the Hunter. A luxury indeed to get up after 6 am! Pancakes were on the menu for breakfast at the Zoners Caff (the Zone RV caravan that we call home now), blueberries from our freezer and a pot of T2 lemongrass and ginger…oh the joy of glamping.
We decided it was a clean up morning and did a bunch of washing, mostly in our on-board 2kg machine…so…many loads later we were done and off for a romp around. We had booked a boat trip on the property that would take us up the Chamberlain Gorge, but first did a little bird watching as we had heard there were Goldian Finches in this particular watercourse we drove to. Alas, none were about, but we saw lots of other birds and just loved their serenity of being on our own in the Kimberley bush.
The boat trip was fantastic – one of the guides in particular was so knowledgable on the flora, fauna and history of the place. He explained how El Questro had been initially purchased for a million dollars – a million acres! Since then its changed hands many times, and now is owned by an American hospitality group. Like the majority of Australian rural properties there is a violent history of conflict with the previous custodians of the land, and it was great to hear a tourist guide tell this story in a balanced way. The Lake Argyle guide didn’t even mention what happened to the local Aborigines when their land was flooded after the dam was built.
We learnt about the geology of the area, and why the sandstone is so red (the iron deposits) and that the staining on the rock is an algae that is the largest living organism, on the planet, and oxygenated our planet. Amazing…
We could see where the massive force of water during the west season carries huge trees down the river like matchsticks, and the river has been recorded rising up 20 metres!
Reaching the end of the gorge we were handed some fish food pellets and told to hold our hands out over the boat…yes I’m getting to the being shot at by fish bit finally…and jets of water were fired at the pellets by angler fish. Massive cat fish circulated and barramundi were spotted as well. A few rock wallabies were bounding along the gorge walls, all in all a quintessential Kimberley afternoon.
Before we left home for this trip I had started reading up about the history of the local art, especially the Gwion Gwion style (often called Bradshaw type, after the European who “discovered” it). It has been hotly argued over in terms of its age and origins. It is very unique in its depiction of human figures with very distinctive ornamental clothing, unlike anything else seen in this country. I asked the guide if there was anywhere I might see this type of art down the Gibb River Road. It’s often in very remote country on private property, but I had heard rumours there was some on El Questro land. He quietly said “look over my left shoulder”..and there it was up on a rock shelf. The property is in discussions with the local Aboriginal custodians to see if they can let visitors officially view it. I was really excited to have my first glimpse of this mysterious art that has fueled so much speculation about its original painters.