Mission to Broome

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So where were we? After leaving Kununurra, we headed off into the West Australian landscape. Maybe it was the time of the day, or the fact that we were just so relieved to have made it across the border, but the scenery was just stunning.

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We travelled down the Victoria Highway, as our poor clunky van was definitely no match for the Gibb River road.

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The weather was getting unbearable (for bears used to the cool breezes of Hobart) and we were fantasizing about being by the water in Broome, and praying that it wouldn’t be a mirage.

We had started waking up pretty early (and by pretty, I mean a very ugly 5am) when the sun was coming up, as most days it was getting to 30 degrees or more by 9am. With our early start, we hit Halls Creek by about 9am and did a quick visit to the little China wall – a natural quartz formation set in the landscape, which was a pretty interesting site.

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Wasting no time, we kept going until Fitzroy Crossing, where we stopped in to the Hotel to pause in the air-conditioning and enjoy a cold cider. We met a local lady at the petrol station there who took us down to the river and talked to us about her culture and some Dreamtime stories. While I think she was motivated by the need to find a lift home, I felt privileged that she was willing to share with us.

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With the afternoon closing in, we decided to keep on truckin’, driving to a rest stop an hour or two out of Fitzroy Crossing. We stopped at the aptly named Boab rest stop to bunker down for the night, but ended up deciding to take off again. We had heard that there were markets and festivities in Broome once a month around the full moon to celebrate the ‘staircase to the moon’, a natural phenomenon that occurs when the reflection of the moon on the mud flats makes it appear as though there is, well, a staircase to the moon. We knew we were close to that time, and being a Friday we figured there was a good chance they’d be on that night. Onwards!

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By about 7.30pm, we still had 150km to Broome and I was too tired to go on. We stayed overnight at a deserted rest stop and headed off early, reaching Broome by about 8am. After a truly disappointing breakfast at Aarli Bar (baked beans arriving with hunks of meat in them – my bad for not asking, was so hungry and eager to eat – but since when do baked beans come with meat? And if so, surely you’d write it on the menu? Annnnyway…) we headed over to the caravan park in Roebuck Bay to treat ourselves to a couple of nights of relaxed accommodation (and showers). (note: there was a cute little café further into town – I think it was called Dragonfly café or something. We ended up having a coffee there one day and the menu was pretty vegetarian friendly and looked like there were a few items that could have been easily veganised. Ah well, next time.

We were stoked to get a waterfront view, and we pretty much spent our days chilling at camp, swimming, and browsing the markets. The stairway markets were on Saturday and Sunday night just next to where we were staying, and there was a bigger market in town on the Saturday morning too.

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We even had a chance to visit a neat little brewery called Matso’s to try some of their beer. Unfortunately we happened to go on an Oktoberfest themed day, and they had silly gimmicks like having to buy tickets at one end of the bar and then exchange them across the bar for a drink to make it more authentic (though I don’t remember any tickets at the actual Oktoberfest…). After getting over the shock of $12 pints – yep, definitely not in Melbourne anymore – we managed to find a step to sit on amongst the crowd and listen to some shitty live music. The beer was decent though. I am keen to try their desert lime and ginger cider, but couldn’t tackle the environment at that time. Hopefully we come across it in a bottle shop somewhere.

We really enjoyed our short stay in Broome – apart, of course, from the ‘incident’ which kind of soured it on the last night. These things happen though, and nobody got hurt which is the important thing.

It sure doesn’t change my view of Broome being a really beautiful place.

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Heading West

We left Darwin on a rainy afternoon – the first real hint of the wet season approaching. I say rainy, but this was not your regular rain…it was drenchworthy with massive bolts of fork lightning and possibly the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard. It was something else.

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After revisiting Katherine and stocking up on supplies, we started travelling west towards the border. Unfortunately, ZZ decided it was the perfect time to BANG and break down in the middle of nowhere (between Victoria River and Timber Creek to be precise). I shouldn’t be mean…it was not his fault. We had had him serviced a few days earlier in Darwin to prevent any potential situations like this one from occurring, and the guys didn’t put the points in correctly. Isn’t that always the way? Breaking down after having it tuned up? So frustrating!

Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. A lovely couple and their kids who were on their way home from a holiday in Bali took pity on us and pulled over. No party had any reception, so they agreed to call RAC on our behalf when they got to the next town. About an hour later, the guy appears again in his car. He had called RAC only to be told that it would be about 3 hours until someone could get us (and it was already 4pm and we were stuck in not the safest of places just over a bridge AND there was a storm on the way), so he bought a tow strap, drove back and towed us into town (and got saturated in the rain and would not accept any money for petrol or the tow strap). The goodness of people! We were able to track them down when we went through their home town a few days later and gifted them with some beer and chocolate.

We were stuck in Timber Creek for two nights, which, while far from the end of the world, it wasn’t the most exciting time of our lives. We had also brought no fresh fruit/veg, as there is a quarantine at the W.A. border and we were planning on being over there pretty quickly. The only store in Timber Creek was attached to the Roadhouse/caravan park, and they were charging $9 for a piece of watermelon. Crazy.

Finally the local mechanic was able to sort us out and we were on our way, driving straight to Kununurra, just over the border of Western Australia.

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We were pretty stoked to be over the border and on the move again, as after a couple of overcast days providing some relief from the heat, it was really starting to get hot and sticky again. We pulled into Kununurra and went and immersed ourselves in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket, getting excited by all the options. After running all the necessary errands, we enjoyed some delicious tofu and salad wraps on the grass, then popped by Wild Mango (a café we had parked in front of) to enjoy an icy cold fruit granita.

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This one was citrus flavour, full of freshly squeezed juice. It was so delicious and super refreshing. I wished that it would never end. Mmm icy treats.

Then it was time to plan the next leg of our trip, destination: Broome. Stay tuned for more..

 

Wild Mango
20 Messmate Way, Kununurra W.A.
Open 7 days, breakfast and lunch