The morning in the Wolfe Creek is warm, quiet and sunny. It's “summer” up here in the North, after all, and it's going to stay like this for the next few months. Not for me, though; my journey takes me away from these lands of spinifex and boabs and back to the winterlands.
With the Mornington now out of the way, I’m quickly approaching the other end of the Gibb River Road, and the last major stop on the way is the Windjana Gorge. On my way there I, as everyone else who travels these parts, notice a giant cliff next to the road shaped like a giant head: Queen Victoria’s, as the its name suggests. I’m not very familiar with the lady herself, though, so I can’t appreciate the similarity, if it does indeed exist.
After a chat with the mechanic, I’m slightly more relaxed about the leak, so I decide not to cut my trip too short and visit the nearby Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary as well. Galvans Gorge is just a quick stop on my way there, and it’s very pretty, too.
Before going to bed, I cut the top off a plastic bottle and put it under the car, where the coolant keeps dripping. In the morning, the bottle is already half full. Damn. Well, at least I get to put back in what's already out. Can't do that while I'm driving, though.
In the morning, I head over to the mechanic’s just before the opening time and start waiting. Twenty minutes later I begin to realise that something’s wrong: no one’s around yet, and the entire area looks like it’s been wiped out by a plague. I mean, it’s a small town, but on a Monday morning? I quickly check with Google, and…
Given that I’m still here, and the park pass gives me a few more days of exploration, I decide to visit a couple more places around El Questro—after topping up the coolant, of course. I head over to the 4WD Blanco trail, but even at the very beginning it looks way too intimidating: giant rocks all over the place, etc. Would be nice to improve my off-road driving skills… but probably not with an already leaking radiator (again, if that’s what it is). Some other time.
The night at El Questro was quite warm and pleasant. There was also a live music event of some sort: in the restaurant, a guy with a guitar and a hat was singing songs about red dirt and tool sheds much to the enjoyment of the crowd. Good thing that I camped far enough from all the noise.
I start my day at 6 in the morning (NT time? WA time? Who knows?) to drive a little further into the park and take another scenic walk, called Jarnem. No one’s around at this early hour, except for a couple of tradies who do some maintenance work at the campground.
In the morning I leave The Bungles: there’s still plenty to see outside this undoubtedly phenomenal place. On my way out I meet another 5 or 10 cars going in: poor people are driving straight into the morning sun and dust. It’s so much more rewarding to travel this road eastwards a bit later in the day, like I did.