In This Post: Fitzroy Crossing – Derby – The Gibb River Road – Broome – Cape Leveque – Beagle Bay
The drive from Fiztroy Crossing to Derby was great. The rocket was running a tad warm, but all seemed to be going good!
Derby, a bigger town than Wyndham has the highest tides in Australia (2nd biggest in the world) and a jetty to match. A really friendly little town.
The Jetty at Derby
I had been speaking to friends Pete repeat and Joanne from Broome who told me about the Windjana Gorge. 120 kms from Derby on the Gibb River Road with about 110 kms of it being sealed, worth a look to check out the Johnston Crocs I was told.
Derby accommodation – miners cottage
So the next day I set off early to avoid the mid day sun. The rocket had just got onto the dirt, we were crawling along at about 5 kms per hour now, the temperature was rising as was the temperature of the car, when she did an almighty backfire and that was “it”, we weren’t going any further.
Stranded on the Gibb River Road
I tried in vain to clutch start the car, I probably pushed her a couple of kms over the course of the next hour or so, but she wouldn’t start. The angle of the sun was so high in the sky there was hardly any shade. Along came a semi and passed in a giant cloud of dust…..but he didn’t stop.
Clouds of dust as a semi passes on the Gibb River Road
I had to refer to the Travelling Australia Mick’s Way handbook……….. and rule number 1 – Don’t Panic. I got out the deck chair and the ukulele and as I was strumming along in true George Forby style was reminded of that old song “Mad dogs and English men go out in the midday sun”, I just changed the words to “Mad dogs and Sydney men go out in the midday sun”.
The audience of cows, kangaroos, wild boars the odd snake were all tapping along wondering what the hell I was doing, I was wondering the same thing there for a while myself, then along came Andrea from Elders who I think stopped initially for a sing along. Andrea was off to a cattle station about 100 kms down the road. After a couple of rounds of the chorus she was on her way and said she would ring back to Derby and organise a truck for the rocket.
In the meantime a couple for 4WD’s stopped for some photo opportunities, then Kate from Kimberley Wilderness Adventures arrived (I was having my own wilderness adventure), Kate had a big smile and gave me some water and something to eat. Kate was heading off with some other tourists on a Kimberley Wilderness Adventure but said that Richard from the same company would be passing the other way, returning to Derby and would give me a lift. I was so grateful.
Richard picked me up about an hour later and drove me to Derby, I left the rocket on the side of the Gibb River Road! He dropped me at Derby Stock Supplies where I filled in the afternoon helping Jo with the invoicing, folding envelopes and entertaining the customers.
The rocket arrived back in Derby on the back of Stewie’s flatbed truck and was dropped off to Derby 4 x 4 and Marine, for Greg to look after.
I hung out in the park with the locals who were there most of the day too, drinking and carrying on. It was entertaining hanging out with them while Greg changed the spark plugs, looked at the timing and the air system on the rocket.
After a tickle up from Greg, the rocket was ready to go again; at peak performance, sounding, and looking good just like her driver, it was off to Broome -120 kms away. No more dirt roads for the rocket, just the mention of the word dirt has an adverse effect on the old girl.
Driving out of Derby – no more dirt roads for the rocket!
When I got to Broome I was very lucky and grateful that Pete Repeat and Joey could lend me a 4WD to get on the dirt and venture up to Cape Leveque. I left straight away.
Cape Leveque is about 220 kms out of Broome, about 3/4 of that road being dust and dirt. A really pretty drive and Cape Leveque is simply stunning – blood red rocks to the oceans edge, amazing sunsets, sunrises, cool breeze off the ocean. So good to be able to jump back in the ocean with no fear of any crocs or sharks.
Red dust right down to the sand and the ocean at Cape Leveque
Stunning clours where ever you look
I pitched my tent under a lean to type structure at the camping ground, actually just the mosquito net was all that was needed as it was so warm.
Camping Cape Leveque style.
Another amazing sunrise for another magic day
Life is like a day at the beach
I could have stayed at Cape Leveque for a couple of weeks but had to get back on the road after only 2 nights. On the way back to Broome I drove to Beagle Bay to check out a church built by the Pallotine monks in the early 1900’s. It is absolutely in the middle of nowhere. I had heard it was worth a look as the inside is decorated with mother of pearl, cowries, volutes and pearls. This was the church depicted in the Australian movie Bran Nue Dae.
Sacred Heart Church Beagle Bay
The entire alter is made out of shells.
I made it back to Broome, car and me in one piece, thanks so much to Pete and Joey for the use of the car and their hospitality. I made it just in time to attend Broome’s annual Shinju Matsur festival with Pete Repeat, Joaey and kids.
Pete, Joey and “the kids” at the festival
The festival celebrates Broome’s multicultural community. There was a street parade with lots of different floats, a Chinese Dragon, dancing troupes, music and people everywhere.
Family Fun @ The Sun
It was really hot, but the local fire department helped out with that and hosed the crowd as they drove down the street.
It was a great way to spend my last night in Broome, followed by a good night’s sleep ready for the next long leg of the journey from Broome to Port Hedland, but I’ll tell you all about that in my next blog.
Until then…………Explore, Dream and Discover