Wednesday, September 13, 2017


After two nights at Spring Creek Rest Area it was time to move on. We have a long haul to Derby… by the time we get there we will have driven from the east coast of Australia to the west coast of Australia and more importantly, from our home in  Rockhampton which is near the mouth of the Fitzroy river in Qld to Derby at the mouth of the Fitzroy River in Western Australia. 

At one stage we were looking at staying somewhere around Fitzroy Crossing and checking out Geikie Gorge, but with delays in Emerald and then again in Alice Spring, we have lost almost two weeks, so decided to keep pushing on towards the west coast as there is still so much to see there… 

We stopped at Hall’s Creek to refuel and then headed through to Mary Pool where we stopped for morning tea. 
Mary Pool Rest Area WA

 It is a another one of the rest areas we contemplated about staying there overnight, but it really was too close to our departure that morning. Mary Pool was a lovely rest area though right on a river with plenty of shady trees, so have made a note to consider it if ever we come this way again. Whilst we stopped for morning tea, Steve decided to throw his line out a couple of times to see if he could get a nibble. Not a bite so after about ten minutes he came back to the car and we were on our way once again. 
Ngumban Cliff Rest Area

Love all the clumps of Spinifex grass
Amazing scenery and colours of the landscape
Steve walking out along the cliff top...
Lots of bush fires in the background
Amazing views from Ngumban Cliffs
Looking back to our vans
Panoramic shots taken at Ngumban Cliff
Photographing the wild flowers

We had also been told about another free camping area called Ngumban Cliff, so when we saw the sign for it, we thought we would check it out also. There was no real shade there but the views were quite spectacular and we took lots of photos. John and Barb had missed it when they came through as there was quite a bit of back burning going on at the time, and there was smoke everywhere. We could quite easily have stayed here also.
Some pretty impressive scenery along the highway
The mighty Fitzroy River at Fitzroy Crossing in WA
Our next stop was Fitzroy Crossing, where we had planned to stay for lunch. We drove around town looking for a park with picnic tables, but couldn’t find any. We did see a post office and IGA, so stopped to post letters home to the kids, and grab a loaf of bread. Everything here is all grilled or barred up like a jail. Even the service station has security grills and then roller doors down over that as well. There were lots of Aboriginals’ sitting down under trees around town.

 As we were heading back out towards the highway, Kathy spotted a few table and chairs under the awning at the Info Centre so in the end, we pulled into the car park there and had lunch there. Ian went in and asked about parks in town, and was told there weren’t any picnicking facilities, and that we were free to use their table and chairs.
We camped right next to this covered picnic table
Our camping spot for the night
 We decided that we really didn’t want to stay there so we kept pushing on closer to our destination of Derby. We ended up pulling into the Ellendale Rest Area for our overnight stay. We had considered going a further 5kms down the road to the Ellendale Lake, but had been told there are no facilities there, and if we wanted to use the toilets it was a 5 km drive back to the rest area. As we really only wanted to stay the night, we ended up deciding to stay in the Rest Area where we didn’t have to unhitch and where we had access to toilets. Still there were no showers, and after two days of sponge downs, both of us really felt like a shower. Out came our Shower system. Good thing it only takes about five minutes to set up and we both had great showers even if they were pretty short. 
Impressive full moon rising tonight at Ellendale Rest Area in WA>
Rising moon at Ellendale Rest Area in WA.
 The sunrise the following morning was equally impressive..
Sunrise at Ellendale Rest Area in WA.
The sunrise as a backdrop to our vans at Ellendsale Rest Area in WA
Sunset was quite spectacular, beautiful shades of pinks, purples, apricots, golden hues, and after enjoying watching it, we turn to the opposite direction to see the rising of a stunning full moon. God is so good. Talk about feeling blessed. We didn’t unpack much, as we were keen to get going first thing in the morning. In fact our table and chairs didn’t even come out. We just had our dinner at the picnic table near our van. We didn’t sit there too long as the seats were narrow and darn uncomfortable.

 We didn’t have to get away quite as early the follow morning as we only had about 250kms to get to Derby. We usually find when we camp at the free rest areas we are well and truly in bed by 10pm. We were away around 8am the following morning on our way to the coast, from the east coast of Australia we were about to reach the west coast of our vast country. 

 Nice feeling to think we were going to get out of the red dirt (or so we thought)
 Today we saw clouds,  it has been weeks since we have seen clouds in the sky.  Mostly we have had heat, blue skies, and sunshine, so it was nice to see some clouds, and some beautiful patterned ones at that.  The things that you take for granted and the things that take your fancy.
Clouds in the sky...not sure if it is because we are getting closer to the coast, but we enjoyed seeing them..
We reached Derby around 11am, and found the caravan park. Before we could decide on how many days we would want to stay, we needed to know when we could get on a flight to do the Horizontal Falls Tour. Derby was booked out for six days, so if we wanted to do it from Derby we would need to be there for a week.

 We decided to ring Broome and see when we would be able to get on from Broome as we really didn’t want to spend a whole week in Derby. We were prepared for about three or four days but not a week. Anyway it turns out that an hour or so before we rang, they decided to do another trip out to the Horizontal Falls on Saturday, so they had vacancies. We booked them straight away for Saturdays, and this then determined how long we were going to be in Derby. It meant that we would miss Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek, as we could now only stay one evening in Derby. 

 The trip out to the Horizontal Falls was Steve’s big bucket list item, so we felt it was the more important thing to do, and we are realizing that there is no way we are going to fit in all the things we want to see… some sacrifices are going to have to be made somewhere…. 

With our decisions made, we booked a nights accommodation in Derby and then set about setting up our van and getting our washing done again. We spent the afternoon driving around and looking around Derby. 

Prison Boab tree just outside of Derby WA
Door into the Boab Tree
Steve an I at the Prison Boab Tree
Massive tree and completely hollow inside..
Our first port of call was out to the famous Prison Tree. It was huge, and Steve was delighted to find there were some natural bee hives in it. 
Bees have made a hive in the Prison Boab Tree....
Bee hive
There were also several other attractions out this way as well including the Cattle Yards, and Myrall’s Cattle Trough – the largest in the world and it can feed 500 head of cattle at any given time. We also saw the Windmill and Frosty’s Pool – which was a very small swimming pool built from the service men back in war time.
Myrall's Cattle Trough - largest in the world, can accommodate over 500 head of cattle at one time
Cattle Yards
The windmill feeds water into the Cattle trough
Feeding water into the cattle trough
Frosty's Pool - a small pool built for the officers to take a dip in during the war..
Steve at Frosty's Pool outside of Derby WA
Kathy at Frosty's Pool - Derby - WA
 From here we headed down to the Jetty in town. Steve was keen to throw a line in and have a bit of a fish. We took a nice long walk out along the jetty, and then left Steve whilst we ducked home for a bit.
Out on the Jetty in Derby WA
Keen to check it out... keen to go back out and have a fish.
From the Fitzroy River on one side of the country to the Fitzroy River on the other side.
Steve and I in Derby
Chatting to all the fishermen
Ian and Kathy celebrating at our crossing from one coast to the other...
Jetty in Derby
It was hard to believe that we had left Queensland, 10 weeks earlier from Rockhampton which is near the mouth of the Fitzroy river in Qld and we had crossed this vast country of ours and were now standing at the mouth of the Fitzroy river in WA to enjoy a sunset. 

We went back to the Jetty for Sunset – it was lovely, Steve hadn't caught any fish but he had met a lovely Aboriginal couple who he spent ages talking too. Sam and Roseata were their names, and they had lived in Derby for all of their lives and were a wealth of information.
Sunset at the mouth of the Fitzroy River in Derby WA
Derby Sunset

We were not alone in enjoying the sunset on the wharf. It seems like it is a favourite past time for Derbians, as there were quite a few people set up with their wine, cheese and crackers along the sides of the wharf.
Derby Jetty at dusk
We met a lovely Aboriginal couple, Sam and Roseata and spent ages chatting with them
Wood swallows had built a nest under the jetty
 We had planned to do like wise near the Century Pavilion, but when we were there earlier, we had been biten alive with sandflies, so decided to head back to our van and have it there instead. We fuelled up with fuel on our way home so that we would be ready to leave first thing in the morning. 
Century Pavillion Mosaic in Derby - down near the Jetty...
 The Park we are staying in here is quite small, only 20 van sites, and it is the first park we have camped in that is only for adults and child free. The toilets and showers were immaculate, and it was so NICE to finally have a nice hot shower after three days on the road… It is also the first caravan park we have come across that also has a laundry trolley for quests to us, and stools out near the clothes line that you can put your baskets of laundry on so that you are not constantly bending down to the ground to get your washing to hang up. It was these little things that made it a bit special. It would have been nice to have stayed here for a couple of days.


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