Sep 7, 2010

Borroloola - Gulf Savannah - Gregory River

Left Lorrella Springs and the night was spent along side another river, another camp fire and a 100 million starry night, you just do not see night sky's like you see out in the bush when your away from the towns & cities.

Headed into Borroloola without thinking it was Sunday and everything apart from one store and servo was closed, Vickie did a small shop and was astounded at what it cost, the price you pay for being isolated. Fuel was $1.77 for diesel and as we needed that as well it was an expensive stop. Looking back i made an error of judgement, we should have gone out to King Ash Bay and camped and checked it out but i was in the 'no boat, so why bother' stage and didn't bother. Always next time i say.

Leaving Borroloola we headed to Wollogorang just before the Qld border. Crossing interstate we gave each other the high five and remarked that it was only in April that we were in Qld, Do we move too fast?? Haha ......

We stopped at Hells Gate and went in to see if they sold ice creams but no they didn't, i did buy a stubby cooler though. 50klms further on we took the track into KingFisher Camp, part of the Bowthorn Station. We had been here back in 2007 with our mates Kimbo & Ned and it was just as lovely again this time, we got the Kayak's in the water - No Salt Water Croc's here - that they are aware of ;-) and we had 3 lovely days peddling up and sown the river catching small Archer Fish & Black Bream.
No luck with the Cherabin or Red Claw though.

Where we camped we had quite a few Kimberley Karavan owners and we got on well with all of them and spent our evening's around a fire. One of the couples were very keen to check out our van as they were thinking of ordering a BT. They left after our 2nd night and we were then joined by a Jeff a late staying KK owner and Steve & Stephanie who tow a Kedron Top Ender with an extended 100 series Cruiser so it was another late night chatting around the camp fire. One day we were out Kayaking and i spotted a Blue Winged Kookaburra strung up in the tall paper bark trees by some fishing line, the poor thing was caught and hanging upside down. I went and got the Ute and came back with some strong fishing line and a sinker, it took me about 45mins of throwing the weighted line up and catching hold of the line and breaking it free, some luck also had me dislodge the lure that was caught in the tree and holding the bird. Finally i freed the bird and i was able to catch it on the ground and remove the rest of the line, it sat there with it's wing hanging for an hour before it recovered enough and flew off. It was a good feeling.

3 nights and we should have stayed longer, our drive to Adels Grove to book in for a stay at Lawn Hill National Park was a failure, we were unaware that we needed to book to stay at the Gorge and that the park was booked out even though we were told by other campers that there appeared to be plenty of space. We were told that the earliest vacancy was in two days time so I then made another mistake and booked into the Grove for two nights which was not what Vickie wanted to do, If we couldnt get into Lawn Hill then she wasn't interested in staying, As it turned out our allocated site already had campers on it so i went back and ask for a refund as we had changed our mind. I was greeted by Linda the not so pleasent person behind the counter who told me i would incur a $20 Admin Fee for cancellation, after some discussion on my part i told Linda we would stay - BUT move off the campers from our 'allocated' site, she could see it was not a winning situation so she reluctantly gave us a refund.

77klms down the track we came across Gregory River, what a beautiful place to camp. Just a klm away from the Gregory Downs Hotel we were able to camp right next to the fast flowing water on a bank of river stones, No Dust and next to a river!! we were in heaven. Vickie and i didn't waste anythime in getting in for a swim, the water though shallow in parts was flowing very quickly and we were soon walking up the river a few hundred metres and floating back further down 1/2 a klm or so. Vickie called the 1st bend in the river crutch corner as she copped a bruise on her thigh. It didn't stop us though and we soon thought of our life jackets and started wearing them to give us extra bouyancy.

The only way this could get any better was to be sharing it with good friends and that's exactly what happened. Life long mates of ours had recently bought a BT and were heading slowly back to WA, we had arranged to meet somewhere along our travels and as luck had it this was to be the place. Geoff & Vickie Parker pulled up next to us and the next 5 days we had the best fun swimming and catching up with all our news, family & travels and checking out their lovely new Van & V8 Toyota Ute, they sure are a popular tow vehicle.

We compared everything with our usual shit stirring nature, the early morning greeting was usually '12.6' Volts Mick what's your's plus a thousand other jibe's all in good fun, great friends and we hope to catch up with them and do an extended trip with them at some stage, but BOY can Vickie P talk !!!! After 3 nights we were also joined by Stephen & Stef whom we met at KFC, they fitted right in and stayed two nights with us, at one stage i strung a rope across the river and we were all in and holding on like a big bunch of kids, great fun - great company.

With Steve & Stef leaving yesterday, Parkers and ourselves almost did the same but we decided one more night as it was just to nice a place to leave. Today we did leave with Geoff & Vickie heading West and us now at Normanton where i have spent all evening catching up with emails and phone messages, the saddest of which was the news that our friend Frank MacDonald had passed away after suffering the past 20 months from cancer. A very sad day and our thoughts are with his wife Marg.

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