Day 33 – Kunnunurra to Durack

Day 33 – Kunnunurra to Durack
Durack, Australia

Durack, Australia

Well we are still here to keep traveling and the blog to keep being written. No crocodiles visited us during the night because they are supposedly big up here in the Ord River and on going to bed last night all we could here in the water was splashing which was most likely fish eating inspects.

We continued on the dirt road we came in on heading west toward the township of Wyndham. As we drove along we noticed a road on the map to our right that took us across a place called Parry’s Lagoon. I had never heard of this place and it looked like the track will still bring us into town so we took it. WOW! So glad we did. We drove up this track to a ridge top that over looked the swap land that feeds into the Ord River. We could see birds a plenty off in the distance in the water but was really cool was the place we stopped at on top of the mountain. It was an old radio telegraph station set up to assist ships in navigating into Wyndham but was also used used during WW2 as a tracking station for German ships approaching our ports. This mountain ridge was home to about six families working for the Government. They had the best outlook. We drove down the mountain toward the Ord River continually being enticed by the abundant birds in the water. As we approached I noticed a bird hide and it became clear that this was a billabong just off the Ord River and part of Parrys Lagoon.

We drove into area opposite the Pelicans swimming and with the binoculars started watching a couple of salt water crocodiles on the other side basking in the sun. They were huge as estimate of size, and fat. These two would have been nothing less than 4 meters long each and so well fed. Then we noticed what the Pelicans were actually doing. They were swimming in a group of about 50 in circles and then simultaneously they all dived there heads down into the water for a feed of fish. They were actually working together to bring a school of fish in between them before diving and feeding. It was graceful, synchronized and mesmerising. We watched this for about half and hour before heading off across the swamp lands towards the township.

In Wyndham we were greeted by a sign advising that today was a safe day and no cyclones were approaching. There were about four different locations that these board and signs are posted within the township. We went to the jetty, visited the pioneers cemetery with headstones dating back to the 1890’s before venturing up to the five rivers lookout where we had lunch. Looking out to where the five rivers join to make one mighty size river heading out into the Gulf is incredible. You really get a sense of border protection up here when you see some of the radar and infrastructure in place.

After lunch we headed off to find the Prison Boab tree down a track 50 kilometers out of town. The road out again was across another swamp land and clay pan before it met up with the King River and followed its path. We noticed on the map an indication of “Rock Art” so we ventured off to find this also. We turned up a dirt road and there was an old sign in amongst the tree growth indicating Aboriginal Art site. We walked over to the side of a mountain and proceeded to climb up to the ledge above the river where we found the art. There was a good assortment and all of it looked really old and original with no touch ups. I took a heap of photos so I can have a proper look back home on a bigger screen but I am truly addicted to the original art sites. The sun was absolutely belting down now and it was bloody hot even in the shade. I would like to have explored this site more intensely but the day was getting on, we hadn’t reached the Boab and again we had no idea where we were going to camp. Next time I will make sure I have at least half a day here to explore.

We continued on down the track until we reached the Prison Boab. A magnificent sized tree with the entrance carved into the hollow of the tree. I reckon you could have fitted five prisoners in here at any one time and it was definitely secure. Only one way in and out and I’m tipping the exit was guarded with a loaded gun for those wanting to poke their heads out. The shame of it all was the carved graffiti into the tree. I know it was the thing that was down in the past but to see inscriptions from 2015 is just wrong. No wonder we get locked out of historical and ancient sites when a lack of respect is shown.

On to camp we headed. There was another track marked on the map that took us to the Pentecost River crossing on the Gibb River Road near Home Valley Station. As we were thinking about staying here it was decided that we would take this track. On reaching the gate I read that it was actually the Old Karunji Track of which I had read about years ago but had no concept of where it was. There was a warning that the track was not a Gazetted Road and not maintained but not to be deterred we thought we would have a look at it, after all it was only 52 kilometers long. After driving for about 2 hours and having covered about 32 kilometers we came across a nice clearing alongside the Pentecost River and decided that this would be camp for the night. The track had been deteriorating and becoming a bit more challenging so best finished after a good sleep and plenty of sunlight to assist. We had the place to ourselves and shared only with the cattle grazing nearby and walking past our camp. A huge day finished with an awesome campsite and cold beer. Utopia.

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