We said goodbye to Kristy, Jeremy and their kids and said..”we might see you on the track heading east”. It was sad to leave El Questro and the Gibb River Road and we definitely were not ready for the bitumen so we turned west back along the Gibb River Road and turned right onto the Karunjie Track a ‘private road’ (we think it’s owned by El Questro and other nearby stations.) which would take us up to Wyndham. The Karunjie Track originally a stock route to Wyndham was a really beautiful scenic route into Wyndham across savannah grass plains and woodland areas. The track winds along with the Pentecost River on the left and the Cockburn Range on our right.
The track is 4×4 only and there were some parts that were a bit dubious but otherwise it was a fairly easy drive. It passed thru some wetland swamp country which would make the track very interesting after some rain. The track also passed over some mud flats and through some bush scrub.
Along the track there were herds of cattle and we stopped for lunch under a tree with a view Pentecost river and we had to get a cow to move out of the shade we wanted for our lunch spot.
There were a couple of stations that offered camping along the way we decided to stay at Diggers Rest – because it was that time of day – we usually try and set up camp by 3pm but its not always possible. When we checked in and paid for camping we met a gorgeous little kid…a real baby goat kid which we all enjoyed patting.
Diggers Rest had campsites down by the King River but they warned us not to go near the water and keep the children well back. Diggers Rest also have a lot of horse trail riding plus it is a working cattle station.
Our campsite was on the bank of the river and I was suspect that we were too close to the river. (getting a little croc paranoid – better safe than sorry!) After a lovely camp fire dinner we read by the fire before the children went to bed. Andrew and I were reading by the fire and I heard something large splashing in the nearby river…yikes!
Later whilst in bed we heard a couple of horses galloping in a nearby paddock and I almost couldn’t get to sleep thinking of the crocodiles in the river.
We were on the move again the next day with sights to see on the track. We visited a rock art site found quite a few paintings close by under the roof along the cliff face – a beautiful spot. There was a nearby swampy area and here a number of Brolga were walking thru the grass. Along the road further we found a sign indicating that the area was a crocodile reserve…hence the activity we heard the night before.
The next day we drove along the Parry Creek road so that we could camp at Parry Creek Farm, a station which has been converted for tourists to access the nearby Parry Lagoon wetland and provides a meals, bar, pool, camping, and bird hides for bird watching. We arrived and Aaron and Holly chose to head off bird watching whilst our water baby Bianca had a swim in the freezing pool – much to the amusement of the grey nomads having a drink at the nearby bar.
Ironically we had set up camp next door to our friends Judy and Stuart. After dinner Judy came over for a chat as Stuart had retired to bed early due to an upset stomach. After a chat and a sit around the fire we were all into bed early tired after a big day travelling.
The next day we said goodbye to Stuart and Judy and we were off continuing on the dirt into Wyndham.
On the way we passed the historic Wyndham Boab Prison Tree – which was also used for holding prisoners on route to the local prison. The track was fairly easy and very pretty passing thru high spear grass and woodland country.
We also drove along the old Halls Creek Road which was then main route between Halls Creek and Wyndham. It was used year around to get supplies through the rough country and because the ground was often wet and muddy a track of cobble stones were laid to make it easier for the wagons. You could easily spot the cobble stones and in some parts there were two rows of rock.
At Wyndham we saw the BIG CROC…in the main street, we visited a café and had coffee and smoothies before visiting the Wyndham Museum which had a collection of stories, photos and old artefacts from the area on display. It was worth the visit.
Wyndham’s other major attraction is the view of the five ways – where five rivers flow into the ocean being The Ord River, The Penetecost, The Durack, The King and The Forest River all flowing into the Cambridge Gulf quite an amazing spot. It was an amazing spectacle but we must have talked it up a bit as Aaron said “gee I thought that would be a bit bigger and better than that” as we stood and looked at the view…
After a minor restock (feels like always shopping for food – can’t fit enough in the car pantry and fridge) at Wyndham IGA it was off to Purnululu (the Bungle Bungles).