Thursday, June 11, 2015

Wyndham 10 June

Wyndham is only a relatively short distance from Kununurra but we managed to find enough places to visit to fill a whole day.

It began with Molly Spring in a conservation area about 15 km west of Kununurra. It runs all the year and still had a substantial flow and waterfall and was surrounded by pandanus palms. The swimming hole at the spring was beautifully clear, but it wasn’t hot enough for a swim that early in the day.

The next stop was The Grotto, a 300m deep gash in the earth, which, in the wet season is a popular swimming spot. However there are 140 man-made steps to the bottom, with no handrail. Although we could see a pool of water at the bottom, it still wasn’t hot enough for a swim, although we would have needed another one if we had climbed down and then back up. It’s safe to say the Grotto is not at its best in the dry.

The Cockburn Range is magnificent in this area as well. It really dominates the landscape.

The area is truly the home of the boab tree. I’ve never seen so many in one place as today. We also tried to sneak up to an eagle enjoying fresh road kill. Couldn’t  get close enough for a good photo before he flew away.

Our next detour was to Marlgu Billabong, via the Old Telegraph Station which had a key role during the sinking of the “Emden” in World War 1. The whole telegraph station is now overgrown with boab trees which obviously grow more quickly than I thought as they have all grown there since 1921 when the station fell into disuse.

Marlgu Billabong was a total surprise. We had driven through dry, mountainous and rocky areas for quite some time when suddenly the Parry Creek Wetlands appeared. Flat, lush, green and water filled with abundant bird life and water lilies. The Billabong is part of this system and is an amazing tranquil place.

Next we travelled about 10km into Wyndham which is a town in decline. It’s position as a port on the Cambridge Gulf made it possible for the meat industry to thrive in northern Australia. Sadly it is no more. Cambridge Gulf is at the confluence of 5 major rivers in the Kimberley region, and the view from the lookout is worthwhile.  A nice place to have lunch while enjoying the view.

After lunch we set off down the King River Road to locate further attractions of the area.  A natural rock spillway, some aboriginal cave paintings and  boab tree used as a prison were on the list so we set off to find them. The spillway was impressive, but would have been more so if there had been water going over it.
The aboriginal paintings were much more worthwhile. We scrambled up to a rock ledge expecting the paintings to be staring us in the face. They weren’t. However we did find them after a while, mostly on the underside of an overhanging rock ledge. Photographing them wasn’t always easy.

The next stop was the prison boab tree. Why anyone would bother imprisoning anyone in a tree more than 20 km from the middle of nowhere is beyond me. It is a very old and enormous tree, hollow in the centre. Not a nice place to be imprisoned at any time.

We returned to Wyndham, topped our fuel again and headed for Parry Creek Farm for the night. Tomorrow the Gibb River Road beckons, at last.

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