Thursday, June 25, 2015

Drysdale River Station 15 -16 June

Drysdale River Station is about 140 km from Ellenbrae, and  60km up the Kalumburu Road. It is a stopping off point for people planning to travel on to Mitchell Falls and Kalumburu.  At the Gibb River crossing we met several people who had just returned from Mitchell Falls and all they could talk about was how bad the road was. They didn’t mention the Falls. This wasn’t encouraging. We proceeded on to Drysdale over a very corrugated road in a state of indecision about whether we really wanted to continue on to Mitchell Falls, wonderful as they might be. The 3 hour walk in was also a consideration.

The Gibb River at Kalumburo Road
In the end we chickened out and decided to take a 2 hour flight over the Prince Regent River, King Cascades, St George Basin and Mitchell Falls instead. The flight in a Cessna 6 seater was wonderful. Unfortunately our photos aren’t fantastic as they are taken through perspex windows. The flight really gave an excellent bird’s eye view of how rugged and unsettled this part of the country really is. The rivers too are enormous, especially the Prince Regent which is very straight as it flows through a natural fault line in the sandstone plateau.
Like all the other places we have stayed there is an excellent swimming hole in the river which was an absolute necessity for cooling down as it is still over 30 degrees every day. This time we decided to camp near the river so access was easy.

Our pilot re-fuelling

The mail plane arrived just before we landed

The pilot at the controls

Drysdale is one of the few places on the Gibb River Road that sells fuel, so we topped up at $2.15 per litre. It also has a shop/reception area and bar/café/restaurant. There is also a nice green lawn to make you briefly forget the dust. Its airstrip is well used by scenic flights, the weekly mail plane and private individuals. There were 3 small 2 seater planes there which belonged to people flying around Australia in their own planes.

As we have our daily swim I keep thinking of the cold and wet winter weather we are missing out on, and feeling a bit sorry for everyone at work in the cold. As there is no mobile or internet coverage out here it is quite difficult to keep up to date with what’s happening. Perhaps that’s not a bad thing. However David is getting worried about the imminent State of Origin match as he doesn’t think there will be anywhere to watch it.

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