Back again

Dust at sunset near Windjara Gorge

Well, I’m back from the wilds of the Kimberley! It’s a huge place – about twice the size of Victoria, or six times the size of England, but with a population of only 35,000 residents. There are only two main roads – one sealed, and the other, the Gibb River Road, which is dirt and corrugations all the way. We traveled along both of them in our trusty 4wd campervan.

Glad the camper came with a snorkel

Strangely it already seems like I never went. Sometimes I wonder if holidays are affected by some sort of strange space-time loop, so that they seem to scoop out of the normal time flow. In fact, thinking about it, the Kimberley itself has something of that nature. Mostly, it is arid, flat country, which you can drive through for days on end without anything much to relieve the horizon. Sometimes, I confess, everyday life can seem a bit like that.

The landscape is a mosaic of small bushfires

However, get off the beaten path a bit, and there are the most amazing gorges, with lush vegetation, waterfalls, and wonderful wildlife.

Boab tree, used as a jail in the bad old days. The jailer used to sit inside in the cool, and tie the prisoners around the trunk.

Rainbow bee-eater having breakfast

Combined massage and shower – Kimberley luxury treatments

El Questro Gorge – a gem in the arid landscape

Canoeing on the Ord river

But think twice about swimming!

The Kimberley is also the home to the Bungle Bungles, which you may have heard of. They are striped beehive shaped mountains, only a tiny part of which is accessible on the ground. If you haven’t had a chance to visit them (and it does involve traveling fro about 2 hours along a 53km stretch of very windy dirt road, with lots of dust, and lots of blind corners and crests), then try and get out there soon, as they are eroding at a startling pace.

The beehives of the Bungle bungles (Purnululu National Park) 

Astonishing red cliffs

I said in my last post that I would take my notebook and sketchbook, in the hope that inspiration would strike. I’ve got to be honest, and say that I hardly touched either of them – we were too busy! I’m not sure if this makes me a lazy writer, or just a frenetic traveler. Perhaps a bit of both. πŸ™‚

I did think of one novel idea, which I have since been working on, and am about 3,800 words into, so fingers crossed that will go somewhere, even though it is very different to things which I have written in the past.

Looking forward to seeing what all of you have been up to in the last couple of weeks!


11 thoughts on “Back again

  1. Fantastic pictures! I think a lot of writers need to digest experiences before being able to write about them. At least, I’m that way. So you may not have written as much as you would have liked while on your trip, but those experiences will come out eventually in your work. And I’m curious about the new novel idea.

  2. I’m with billgncs: Australia and now the Kimberley is definitely on my list to visit! Thanks for a fascinating post. Good luck on your new idea! (And welcome back πŸ˜‰

  3. Wow – I love the ones of the brush fire and the jail. It looks like such an adventure. I know what you mean about that strange space-time loop – I’m glad you made it out of there! πŸ™‚

  4. I have always had a dream that I would retire to a lighthouse in New Zealand, but now I kind of want to build a small cabin in the Bungle Bungles and stare at the rocks all day instead. I will even change my name to Mr. Bungle, and then I will sue the band Mr. Bungle for infringing on my good name. With that money, I will start a fund to save the Bungle Bungles from erosion, and we can get some good Australian wine with the profits. You guys are totally my second favourite Commonwealth country.

    • Jamie Bungle doesn’t sound quite right, so you might have to change your name to something with more of a ring to it. How about Jungle Bungle?
      I’m not sure that a cabin in the Bungles would be very comfortable in summer, so maybe consider a cabin somewhere closer to the production of those great Australian vintages. Apparently in the Hunter valley they make Dr. Jurds Jungle Juice (I kid you not!) – perfect for the new moniker! πŸ™‚

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