Day 2 of our tour (Monday) was spent in and around Broome, after some minor mechanical difficulties necessitated some repairs of one of the vehicles. In the morning we spent time at Ganthean Point looking for dinosaur footprints; we eventually found some, which was amazing. We then ate lunch on the grass overlooking Cable Beach and enjoyed a cooling dip. This was followed by mini golf, then it was back to the caravan park for dinner and bed.
Day 3 (Tuesday) took us ‘off the grid’. We were all up early (well before 6), we packed up our swags, ate breakfast and headed to Derby, where we spent the morning at the Mowanjum Art Centre. This amazing building, which looks from the air like the Wanjina creative spirit, is both an art centre and a museum. As well as learning about the culture of the Aboriginal people from the north west, students created some pieces of art using traditional ochre from the land. After eating lunch at the art centre, we stopped by the Boab Prison tree just outside of Derby then drove on the Gibb River Road to our destination which was a bush campsite at Silent Grove camp. This was quite a long drive so we were very pleased to arrive, disembark and set up camp. We ‘hit the hay’ quite early, so we could get a good night’s sleep and recharge our batteries ready for Day 4.
Day 4 (Wednesday) started with another early morning. The stars are amazing up here, and the noises at night are very different to what we are used to in Perth, particularly the bird life. We had our usual breakfast then packed up and headed off to Bell Gorge. Bell Gorge is a short walk from where we parked the buses, and is a picturesque gorge that is a superb swimming spot. We enjoyed the lovely, refreshing water after coming across a very confident water monitor lizard along the way. Then it was time for lunch before we headed to our next stop, Winjana Gorge campsite. This too was ‘off the grid’ and we arrived and set up our swags. This took over an hour the first time we did this in Broome, but we are getting much more efficient as the tour progresses. While our dinner was being prepared, campers chilled by the fire, chatted with new friends and kicked the footy. Campers are involved in helping to prepare the meal, and with cleaning up afterwards.
Day 5 (Thursday) involved a sleep in until just before 6 a.m. After breakfast we headed into Winjana Gorge, another majestic gorge that was the home of a number of fresh water crocodiles. We went on a short hike through part of the Gorge and heard the story of Jandamara, also known as Pigeon, the famous Aboriginal man from this region who organised armed insurrections against the colonisation of the north west of Australia by Europeans. Jandamara was from this part of the country and a battle he was involved in was held at the gorge. We then had some morning tea and hit the road to Fitzroy Crossing, where we set up camp and had a most welcome refreshing swim in the pool before having dinner and hitting the hay.
Campers are working very well together, cooperating with each other and helping out where needed. We can’t wait to see what the next few days brings!