Gibb River Road, day 3 – Bells Gorge.

We awoke early, as one would expect after such an early night at Windjana, and lay in bed until it was light. Paul was getting to be a dab hand at dropping the tent by this stage, so after a quick cuppa and a bowl of yogurt and fruit, we were packed up and on our way.

The roads at this stage of our trip although dusty were quite good, and the corrugations moderate.
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Gibb River road, days 1 & 2, Windjana Gorge and Tunnel Creek

The road from Derby to Windjana Gorge campground was good, much of it was bitumen, and the dirt sections of the road weren’t too corrugated. We arrived at 9.15am, and clearly our advisers from the night before hadn’t been exaggeration – the place was massed with prickles and burrs.
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Quick update on the Gibb

Thought I’d post a quick update to let everyone know we finished the Gibb River Road today. We now have a couple of days to re-group, do some washing, and a grocery re-stock before we head off on the next leg with the tent, which is up to Cape Leveque.

We’ll try and get started with downloading photos and getting some posted before we head back into the dark ages again (no internet or phone cover up at the Cape).
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Final preparations for the Gibb River

This will most likely be my last blog post for a few weeks. We’re unlikely to have any cover for phone or for the net after we leave Derby tomorrow night, so won’t be able to make, or receive phone calls or emails from anyone. If anything occurs that’s urgent, we’re heading to Derby tomorrow to stay overnight, then heading in an Easterly direction across the Gibb River. I’m sure the police will locate us via the grapevine if the need arises, but I’m sure that’s not going to be necessary…
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Broome’s own Jurassic park

We took a sunset flight on a Broome’s hovercraft, Big Bird yesterday evening, curtesy of Alice and Paul (this years birthday present). And yes, it is ‘a flight’, and not, ‘a ride’. The hovercraft hovers approximately 3 feet above the ground, so it is technically flying, and the person directing it is termed a hovercraft pilot.

Big Bird

I must admit, although I’d heard of dinosaur prints in Broome, I hadn’t really taken much notice. I think I had a certain of amount of scepticism too – thinking it was perhaps a lot of hype. After all, wouldn’t footprints, no matter how big and deep, disappear over the passage of time? Seemingly not, and we’ve now seen the proof, proof which was absolutely clear.

We were the first to be picked up from our accommodation at approximately 2.45PM. Our driver quickly whizzed around Broome picking up the rest of yesterdays tour, and after the usual safely information, we boarded the craft. Our pilot, Miles, visually, and quietly, assessed us (for weight) as we boarded, and directed us to where we needed sit. Apparently, weight distribution is important. Then we were on our way.

Big Bird is housed at the top of a ramp overlooking Roebuck Bay. I’m not sure if it’s possible for them to be flown in reverse, I think Miles said not. Anyway, he did advise it slides of it’s own accord down the ramp and onto the Roebuck Bay mudflats. It felt like we were travelling very slowly, so we were all surprised to hear we had been flying along at around 40 kms per hour. We were lucky enough to be seated on the left side of the craft, and yesterday, most of greenback turtles resting on the mud flats where on our side.

Greenback turtle resting on the mudflats.

We came to rest on damp but firm, tidal mud flats across the bay. Miles then took us to where nine footprints of an adult dinosaur are, plus several smaller prints that have been identified as a juvenile of the same species. Miles did say what type of dinosaur it’s been identified as, but the name escapes me now. It has been identified as a herbivore though, that I remember that much. Apparently these foot prints were made approximately 120 million years ago, how awesome is that.

To demonstrate the regularity of the prints, Miles picked nine of us to each stand in one of the adult footprints. They were definitely a regular distance apart, and one could almost visualise the huge, gentle giant meandering through the clay with her feet sinking several feet with each and every step. Clearly, from the small footprints, the juvenile was wondering along in the care of it’s parent, presumably it’s mother.

I don’t begin to profess an understanding of how the footprints came to be preserved, but from the explanation given, I have a vague idea. It involves solidification of the mud, and the rising up of Gondwana…..Ha, that much I got!  Those nine prints are something that have to be seen. Photographs couldn’t show the regularity that demonstrates clearly what they are.

Next, Miles showed us two more footprints, these ones on a higher rock shelf. In these ones it shows the compression of the foot prints. Paul’s attempted to photograph these. Knowing what it is, we can clearly see the absence of the layers caused by the compression, but I’m not sure it’ll be evident in the photo to anyone who wasn’t there to see it in person. Anyway, see what you make of it….

Giant foot print

Apparently, the Kimberley region, and particularly around Broome, there’s an unparalleled number of dinosaur tracks, Australia’s own Jurassic park. 21 species of footprints have been confirmed, with one of them being the only confirmed evidence of the Stegosaur. Additionally, the largest footprint ever recorded has been found here. By contrast though, no skeletal remains have been found here. Apparently, the climate here means the bones would have been broken down but the elements and literally would have turned to dust.

After the science lesson, we were presented with a glass of bubbly, and a table was set up on the mud flats with a fantastic variety of canapés as the sun set. We hardly needed dinner when we arrived back at our caravan park.

If you have an interest in pre-historic life, then this tour is a must. And if you don’t have much of an interest in pre-historic life, I’m sure this tour would tweak your interest. It certainly did for us. Dinosaur stories will never be the same again – it’s given them a reality that goes way beyond the Jurassic Park movie.

Entrance Point – Broome

Our last stop before reaching Broome was at Stanley, a roadside rest area 211 kms south of Broome. As far as rest areas go, it’s up there with the best in WA – very roomy, clean loos, and it even has some concrete slabs.

We’ve now been in Broome for four nights, and we’re loving it. We’ve been enjoying lots of walks, swims and drives along Cable Beach. We’ve given the van a rough clean to get the worst of the red dirt off, and we’ve shopped and restocked.

Yesterday morning we enjoyed a long walk along Cable beach in the morning, followed by a half hour on our boogie boards. Nice gentle waves with little danger to young children and grannies – perfect for me. After lunch we made a list of the Broome beaches to peruse during the afternoon. We’ve never spent long enough in Broome before to have time to explore much beyond Cable Beach. We expected to tick all the beaches off in one afternoon, and didn’t expect any would tweak our interest enough to warrant a second visit as an occasional alternative to the stunning Cable Beach.

How wrong we were. We didn’t get past the first beach on our list. Entrance Point, is near the Port and Broome fishing club, a good place to throw in a line (i’m told preferably on an outgoing tide – unusual). The beach is firm packed red sand at low tide, and with several boat ramps, a perfect place to launch a boat. Such an interesting place to walk, full of rock formations that arguably rival, and in my opinion, surpass the famous rock window at Kalbarri. We spent the entire afternoon at the one beach, so the other beaches on our list will have to wait for another day.

Entrance Point is a popular place for weddings and wedding photographs. Here’s why:

Low tide on the beach, looking though a gateway to the ocean.

Giant rock cliffs.

Caves visible on the low tide.

One of the many windows.

It was while Paul was photographing this that a couple of dogs out for a walk approached me with their owner. As always, I was eager to say hello to any little hair balls and give them a pat. The owner was most apologetic when they barely gave me a cursory ‘how do you do’ before scampering off. Apparently nothing gets in their way of them exploring all the little nocks and crannies this beach has to offer. It was easy to see why, and I can’t wait to bring our own little fur ball back there next year.

This window had a perfect natural window sill with green strata layers.

A perfect natural frame for your loved ones.

The receding tide hadn’t yet reached these rocks.

A door way through which to view the ocean.

And another window.

An interesting beach to walk along, lots of hard packed sand between the ground rocks.

Towering, stand alone, weather sculptured rock formations.

Gateway to ocean.

Just like an interesting garden with windows framing points of interest, walls, windows and doorways leading visitors to yet another vista – Entrance Point has it all. No wonder it’s famous for wedding photography, so many natural frames. Im sure a landscape gardener couldn’t have planned it better. As if Cable Beach isn’t enough, Entrance Point, a total contrast, full of interest, different – and just as perfect. A real pleasure! We’ll be back.