In the morning, when I crawl out of the tent, all tired and grumpy after a lousy night's sleep, I find out that the garbage bag that we forgot to lock inside the car was discovered by ants, and they ate a huge hole in its bottom. No other option but to put the damaged bag into another bag and throw it in the car as is, with the remaining ants. Soon the ants escape the bag and scout the Tucson's interior, and during the day we will entertain ourselves by spotting and killing them one by one.
We arrive to Fitzroy Crossing soon, where Alen is finally reunited with mobile coverage and becomes a happy camper again. After all necessary phone calls and a stop at the fuel station, we turn towards the Geikie Gorge National Park. It is situated on the banks of Fitzroy River and is famous for its deep and impressive gorge, which the river cut over the years through the ancient limestone. Unfortunately, the gorge can only be seen from water, and the boat tours only start from 11 a.m. We decide to see whatever's available from dry land and walk along the elevated river bank. The flood level marks are spectacularly high: it's hard to imagine this slow, sleepy river swell so much during wet season that it rises 20 metres above its normal level.
From the river we turn onto another short track, towards the place called Devonian Reef. We're already familiar with these limestone boulders and cliffs that lay dormant under the ancient seas for millions of years. The walk is scenic and quick, and there are practically no other tourists; probably, there will be more of them when the boat tours begin.
There's nothing else to see for us in the park, and we take off. Next stop (and the closest fuel station) is now 300 km away at Halls Creek. Along the road the same savannah and termite mounds are seen, interspersed with red floodplains.
Alen's phone call, apparently, was not very pleasant, and he says he may leave me in Darwin to fly back to Sydney. Or maybe not. It's at least two days until Darwin, anyway; we'll see how it goes. For now, we continue the trip and admire the beautiful landscape with the old and weathered rocky ranges far away.
The road from Halls Creek to Kununurra is, probably, one of the most beautiful I've seen so far. Small groups of short gum trees with white trunks are replaced by the termite mounds, which in turn are replaced by the huge rocky outcrops, looking like a giant, petrified layer cake. Somehow we don't take any pictures of all this beauty, though. Oh well.
Alen's issues, and my own travel fatigue, make me abandon the initial plan to stay at Purnululu National Park (a.k.a. Bungle Bungles), and this makes us jump a whole day ahead of schedule. The pictures I saw in the Internet were undeniably beautiful, but 60 km of dirt tracks (one way) are not something I would welcome at this stage, especially with these front tyres getting bald. I drive past that intersection with a mix of regret and relief. Some other day, perhaps.
It's almost 4 p.m. when we reach Kununurra. The local caravan park is not cheap, but it looks very nice and even has its own bar, which interests Alen very much. We quickly set up the camp and head straight towards it, where the Estonian (!) barmaid gives us our drinks. After two days of wilderness, the contrast is striking, and all my grumpiness and fatigue are now gone. As we sip our drinks and talk, the tropical night descends quickly: it's humid, but not as bad as in Karratha a few days ago.
An interesting feature of the place: the ablution block is guarded by a heavy door made of steel mesh and a metal guard below. A warning sign tells me to close the door carefully, unless I want to share the shower with a poisonous cane toad. Another nice little detail of the tropical surroundings.