Day 78: 15 August – Grand country

Author: Mr A

Location: Kennedy Range National Park

Distance hiked: 12 km

Floors climbed: 22

This is big, magnificent country with the sandstone escarpment of the Kennedy Range towering over our van. We had planned to go walking today if the weather fined up, and it had. So a foundational breakfast was called for. Using the fresh tomatoes, garlic, red onion and basil from the market gardens of Carnarvon we mixed up in the hand blender some bruschetta. I had spotted some packaged bread especially for bruschetta when we were in Woolworths. On inspection of the packaging it had actually been made in Italy, shipped to Brookvale (a kilometre away from our house in Sydney!) then onward to Caranarvon. Well travelled bread indeed. Tasted great though!

Fortified,we were on our way. The first walk took us up a steep path to the top of the escarpment, 800 metres above our van with views out over the plains. It was just a majestic place. 

After a clamber back down we marched off to the next walk around the side of the range. The rock formations were amazing. The colours of the rock are so different to anything we have seen before. Rich purples, glowing organge, huge blocks of rock strewn everywhere, it was quite an overwhelming landscape. We came to a huge natural amphitheatre and just sat there. I just listened to the sound of blood rushing through my ears, because the silence was so loud. It reached out and enveloped us in this beautiful stillness, That’s the magic of country.

Back at the camp, we wandered over to the communal fire. A dozen other campers were there, pretty much everyone on the site, and we just drank some wine and chewed the fat. A lovely bunch of people…again. From all walks of life…some Australians, a German paramedic travelling round on his own, it was another great opportunity to understand others’ perspectives on the life decisions that brought them to this place and time. 

Day 32: 30 June: Mudflats and horizontal waterfalls

Author: Mr A

Our day started with a dawn cycle across the mudflats that surround Derby. 

Big Bertha, as I call my big old fat bike, loved ploughing through the dried mud that stretched to the horizon. Quite an eerie landscape. 

The sun climbed up once again into a perfect blue sky, and the mud flats glistened. Miles and miles of nothing but caked mud out to the horizon. 

We were soon back and coking up a BBQ brunch as we had to get ready for our big trip out to…the “Horizontal Waterfalls”. Let me explain..Derby has the second highest tidal changes in the Southern Hemisphere, and we had booked a trip out by seaplane to see them up close. We were waiting to board and the pilot asked for a volunteer to be “co-pilot”. I piped up and was in the hot seat. 

We took off and climbed to 5,500 feet and flew out over some of the 1,000 islands that comprise the Bucaneer Archipelago. Between several of these islands there is a tidal race that is called the Horizontal Waterfall, as up to 5 metres of difference in height can exist between the two sides of the race. We flew over and saw the huge volumes of water pouring through the narrow gap. 

We landed on the water, (odd feeling – our first time in a sea plane)  – I kept well away from the controls, and within a few minutes we were transferred to a powerful speedboat and were racing off to the “falls”. This boat was amazing – it took us up to speeds of 120km an hour and tore across the water towards the gap. Wow what an adrelinin rush as we weaved our way through the maelstrom of water. Back and forwards though the gap we raced, bouncing around like a ….well….fly in a cyclone. 

As the sun started dipping it was time to head to our home for the night on this large houseboat. We were offered a swim in a shark tank. Catherine of course was straight in, well someone needed to man the camera and that was me.

The same sharks (Tawny Sharks) have been fed and handled for 10 years, seeming to enjoy the interaction, or more likely associating human noise with being fed chunks of barramundi!

Dinner on the top deck was freshly caught barramundi for us too, just delicious, and there we are in the middle of this huge wilderness of islands, staring up at the stars and feeling very privileged to be here.