More travels

The Kimberley Beckons

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Distance covered: 409 kmDistance covered: 409 km

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.

Hmmm.Hmmm.

As usual, I try to beat the crowds and head out to the Mitchell Falls almost as soon as I’m up. There's a few things to see on my way there, too. A couple of smaller waterfalls (Big and Little Mertens Falls) look very pretty at this hour.

The park awakens (and my auto-ISO goes nuts somehow).The park awakens (and my auto-ISO goes nuts somehow).

The walk is not that difficult.The walk is not that difficult.

At the Little Mertens Falls.At the Little Mertens Falls.

A view from the top.A view from the top.

The sun rises quickly.The sun rises quickly.

The walk is easy and shady for the most part, but soon enough that changes when I get to the river... which, apparently, I now have to wade across. Hmm. Didn’t expect that. As I consider the options (A – go forward, B – go back), a couple of helicopters quickly appear out of nowhere and disembark people on the opposite bank. Lucky bastards. I shrug and head into the river, and it turns out to be surprisingly easy: the water is barely thigh deep.

Gotta get to the other side!Gotta get to the other side!

The helos arrive.The helos arrive.

The only way is forward!The only way is forward!

The Mitchell Falls are quite spectacular (as long as you’re able to find your way to the lookout, which isn’t signposted in any way). Water plunges down, in three steps, with enormous power even now; I can only imagine how wild it gets here during the Wet. However, they say that it gets pretty wild in the lower pool, too: it’s quite close to the sea here, and the place has saltwater crocodiles. I'm not able to spot any from where I stand, though.

The Mitchell Falls.The Mitchell Falls.

The three tiers.The three tiers.

I make my way back to the helo pad and across the river. There I almost dunk myself and the camera into the fast-flowing waters, but manage to steady myself at the last moment. Should have brought that waterproof bag with me, after all! Once on the other side, I take a quick detour to have a look at the top section of the falls, and they're quite spectacular from this angle, too.

On top of the Mitchell Falls.On top of the Mitchell Falls.

Looks pretty awesome.Looks pretty awesome.

Looking down towards the Falls themselves.Looking down towards the Falls themselves.

Big Mertens Falls – as seen on my way back.Big Mertens Falls – as seen on my way back.

Leaving the camp and crossing a small stream.Leaving the camp and crossing a small stream.

I leave the campground at around 9:40. Initially I planned to see the Surveyor’s Pool as well, but the leak stresses me out more and more, so I decide to hit the road instead. The drive back to the Gibb is uneventful and non-scenic, but I have a destination in mind, so I drive fast.

At 3 o’clock I pull over to the Over The Range Repairs: evidently, the only mechanic’s shop along the entire route. The bloke is very welcoming and helpful, but he can’t do much either. Yes, it does look like a radiator crack. No, he can’t fix it here. Yes, there are people in Derby who can; here’s the card. And if I run out of coolant, I can just top it up with water, no big deal. Oh well. At least that’s comforting.

Shortly after I arrive at my second and last destination for the day: Adcock Gorge. Takes me a while to find my way in, but the gorge is lovely and shady at this hour of the day.

Entering the Adcock Gorge.Entering the Adcock Gorge.

On the banks of the stream.On the banks of the stream.

Such a beautiful tangle of plants and rocks.Such a beautiful tangle of plants and rocks.

The Adcock Gorge.The Adcock Gorge.

Standing by the pool.Standing by the pool.

Here I meet Libby and Jen, the Travelling Lesbians. Of course, I begin to chat the pretty girls up, and it turns out that we’re going to camp at the same spot later. Which we do in an hour or so, and a very lovely chat by the campfire follows. They’re both from Melbourne, and they’ve been doing the Big Lap for four months by now; their eyes widen as they hear that I did the entire thing in only three weeks a while back. They have a guitar, and we even sing a few songs (apologies, our fellow campers, if we bothered you with so much noise). Such a wonderful company. Certainly one of the best memories from the entire trip.

The Big Emu is flying over the Kimberley.The Big Emu is flying over the Kimberley.

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