We left around 8.45am and headed off for Timber Creek. We left a bit before Bruce and Linda as they drove into the town to do some grocery shopping. We all wondered what the countryside would be like because for the first time on this trip we are travelling in unchartered territory for all 4 of us. I actually thought it might be like the wide open plains like the Hay Plains. How wrong could I be! The scenery was once again amazing. We travelled through quite heavily treed land on once again very good roads. These are the first roads with some undulation so it was bumpy in places but there was nothing wrong with the road itself.
There were rocky escarpments, sometimes on both sides, and for as far as we could see. Then we would enter savannah-type country, but still heavily treed. The trees were a good size and all types of gums and scrubby bushes. We saw the occasional wallaby (2) and fortunately once again, very little road kill. There were the odd small herds of cattle and we also saw a couple of large herds in cattle yards – probably awaiting transport of some sort. Ian actually talked to a Cattle Road Train Driver here at Timber Creek and he was transporting cows to Boorooloola from down the Duncan Road – just before the N.T./W.A. border. These cows came from a station down that road. One thing we have noticed with these large cattle transports is that all the cattle face outwards (as though they are in stalls) and so Ian asked the driver how do they manage to get the cattle standing that way. His answer was that they naturally do it – it may have something to do with getting a breeze on their face as they travel. These cattle are not unloaded during the whole trip – the driver said they will easily travel up to 28 hours before unloading. Seems tough but the driver said they arrive in good condition. These road trains carry 3 double decker trailers and each trailer carries 48 cows.
Our first stop today was a couple of hours down the Highway to a petrol stop/caravan and camping park at Victoria River. Wow, what a beautiful spot. The river was full and flowing and there was a walkway along the bridge for us tourists so we could take photos. Absolutely lovely. The Park itself was very well set out as well – beautiful picturesque mountain ranges all around. Magnificent. We had originally planned to stay the night there, but had changed our minds this morning. It would have been a lovely spot to stop.
We then drove to just a small nearby Creek to have a look. It was a 2 km. drive in on a dirt road and it was quite nice, but there was no water in the creek – strange considering the River just nearby was flowing so well.
We then continued on to Timber Creek. This again is a petrol/2 caravan parks/ hotel/ small supermarket and a small township. It is very neat and tidy and the Park we are in is quite small but more than adequate. There are a rowdy flock of cockatoos in the trees here but once the sun set they quietened down.
This township has a bit of history. In 1855, the explorer Augustus Gregory named the nearby Creek, Timber Creek, when they were seeking timber to repair his boat. There is a boab tree about 9 kms out of town where Gregory inscribed the name and date of this expedition. We will try to see it tomorrow.
We have seen a few boab trees on our trip, but today we have seen plenty. Some of them are huge. Because they are deciduous, dropping all their leaves in the dry season, we tourists only get to see the trees bare, but they still look great.
Just a few kms. before Timber Creek is a monument to the Durack family – pioneers of the cattle industry in this area. If you can get a copy of Mary Durack’s book “Kings in Grass Castles” it is a great read. It is a record of the life and times of the Duracks right from their arrival in Australia as Irish Immigrants to the establishment of a major Kimberley cattle industry dynasty. She also wrote “Sons in the Saddle” Good read.
We booked into our Park before lunch. Bruce and Linda came mid afternoon. It was quite hot (31C but our Van is under the shade of a lovely big tree so that it made it less hot).
We all piled into the Landcruiser and drove back out a few kms. to a turnoff to have a look at Bullita Homestead and cattle yards. It was a 47km dirt road in, but it was worth the trip. The cattle station was abandoned in the 1970’s owing to continuing drought, but the Gregory National Park is undertaking its upkeep as an historical record of its district’s past. There were some amazing stories written up in the notice boards inside the empty homestead. This station is right on the East Baines River which flows in to the Victoria River. There was a lovely amount of water flowing through this river. One of the stories written up was about a terrible flood which all but destroyed the farm. Floods and drought sure have taken their toll in this vast land of the N.T. On our way into this homestead we saw a bustard and managed to get a photo.
We also saw a Jabiru (black necked stork) but we were unable to get a photo as it took off from the creek we were passing and flew away. Magic! This 47km road in had a few creek crossings, and two of them actually had running water flowing over them. It was in one of these that we fightened off the Jabiru.Timber Creek behind us at this Park also flows into the Victoria River. The Victoria River is a very large River and is tidal right up to this Creek here. In the early days boats could come up this river and unload before the goods were transported overland to other places around the Territory. There are crocodile warnings around here too.
Today we saw a sign on the side of the road asking people to check their cars and camping gear to make sure they have not accidentally brought a Cane Toad across with them. YUK. So far this holiday, Ian and I have seen just 2 (and they were both dead) but Bruce and Linda saw a few at a place called Mt. Bundy Station, just out of Adelaide River.
We will cross the W.A. border some time tomorrow morning.
Sorry to any who have found a few pictures unable to download. All my published blogs on my computer do not show any trouble. I have no idea why this might be happening. Hope it doesn’t happen too often.
Love to all, Janese and Ian