Sunday, April 29, 2018

Perth to Darwin - Day 28 - Further North to the Coast

We woke to find that our camp had been visited during the night and our ice chest, which has been left out, was pulled off to a neighboring tree.  There was still meat inside, one beer had been opened by not drank, and of course most of the ice had melted.  It wasn't animals...the meat was still there.  Guess the thief was hoping for more than a free meal and a beer.  It gave us pause though and we made a mental note to lock the front doors to the campervan from now on.  In the front seat were both phones, the laptops, cameras, and our bag with passports and money.  They could have easily opened the door and robbed us and we would never have heard them...yikes.

We departed early since we were REALLY AWAKE by then and headed north.  The drive was outstanding as we climbed into the Bungle Bungle mountains.

This is Pompey's Pillar...a lone stone monolith.

And another great boab tree.

We stopped for lunch as my sister and brother-in-laws rest stop.
And just before reaching the coast we popped in to see the Grotto.  A huge abyss with an amazing waterfall.

Yikes a long way down with no rail and steep sides.
The place has a beautiful waterfall in season.  

And there is a 300 ' deep pool at the bottom.
Just the perfect place for swimming with the giant lizards.

Perth to Darwin – Day 27– Mimbi Caves and Further East.

As lovely as our secluded haven was, it was hot and it was HOT all night.  Each time we got up during the night, the sky was a light show.  We slept in a bit, enjoyed a relaxed morning and Bobbie made us a big breakfast.  We contemplated staying another night after the cave tour but decided that since there was no electricity or water for the van, we better move on to the next fully serviced camp.  We said goodbye to our little paradise and headed over to the caves.

We were met by the local Aboriginal guide, Rose, matriarch of the family the claims ownership of the land.  She was charming and accommodating and very knowledgeable.  There were supposed to be others but nobody else showed by start time so we began as a private tour.  We drove a short distance to the entrance to the Devonian canyon were we took off on foot.  The exposed pre-historic reef was amazing and Rose told us a few local stories regarding Aboriginal traditions.  She pointed out many plants and trees used in tribal medicine.

At the cave we were met by five of her granddaughters, were smudged and given a stone offering for the serpent god.  We then entered the limestone caves, the largest cave complex in Australia.  The cave route is not improved by any means.  We climbed over rocks, dodged overhangs, all the while only seeing things with the benefit of her flashlight and our headlamps.  Upon entering the cave she warned us that we might encounter a few “small” pythons…LOL.

She continued her story telling until we were joined about halfway through the tour by the latecomers.  We viewed two caves in the system, some cave art, and enjoyed midday tea and a snack near the spring-fed pool.  At the end of the tour we walked back to the van and headed out to Halls Creek, our next stop three hours further down the road.

Once again the travel brochures promised a large visitor center, a well supplied town, and a full service campervan park.  The center was closed, as was most everything else in town.  The campervan park was clean and organized…no wifi.  Here as well we had planned to enjoy a few days base camp while we explored the Bungle Bungle region nearby and the several national parks.  The park attendant informed us that the brochures were not accurate and that we would not make the drive on unsealed sandy roads into the parks.  Once again we only booked one night with hopes of finding some success further on down the road in route to the coast.