Saturday, 2 August 2014

Diggers Rest Station & Wyndham

Diggers Rest Station & Wyndham 

We really liked Lake Argyle it was a beautiful place, but after 3 nights we had enough of caravan parks & were looking for something off the beaten track. We had heard of a place called Diggers Rest near Wyndham, so we decided to give it a go. On the way through Kununurra we stocked up on some fruit & veggies as we didn't have any due to crossing back into WA & the quarantine at the border & we also new it would be our last decent shop until we got back to Broome, so we grabbed what we could. 

We were soon heading north towards Wyndham & just before town was the turn off to Diggers Rest station. As soon as you turn off you have to cross a huge salt lake, luckily they have built up the road & it was an easy crossing, the dirt road that followed was pretty rough & corrugated, Ruby didn't stay clean for long, not even 24 hours, oh well. The road passes by the Prison Boab tree so we stopped for some photos, it is a huge tree with a hole in the middle, the police used to use it to "lock up" aboriginal prisoners, by chaining them inside & leaving a guard with a gun outside. The hole is just big enough for an adult to squeeze through. When you look inside the tree the cavity is quite big & you can feel how cool it is inside.  It is definitely worth stopping for a look. 

We took a bit of air out of the tyres on the car as the road was really rough & we were soon heading towards Diggers Rest. When we arrived we had to call at the homestead. We were greeted by 3 friendly dogs, heaps of goats & a female German backpacker who invited us inside to have a look around & meet the owner. We found a lovely homestead full of history & photos & the owner Roderick. He was a lovely bloke & pointed us to a campsite right on the King river. 

We headed down there & found any amazing campsite right on the bank of the river, with a huge Kimberley escarpment behind it, just lovely. We were super excited as we knew we had the place to ourselves. We set up camp & Mat soon had the cast net out to catch some live bait to try again for that elusive Barra. We went & collected some firewood & then spent the afternoon fishing & relaxing, enjoying the quiet. Catfish was the only thing we could catch, so it was pork chops & fresh salad for dinner, yum it had been a while since we have been able to have salad. 

Camp site at Diggers Rest

View from camp at different times of the day above & 4 photos below

I think we both slept the best we have in a long time that night as it was just so quiet, no other people noise, just lovely. The next morning & really the whole day was just a super lazy day, we fished, read & relaxed & didn't see another soul. Only catfish again for the day, so we had some of the mackerel Mat had caught on his charter with the rest of the salad for dinner, again another great day. That night we shone the torches down to the river & we could see a few croc eyes shining in the light, not many though & they looked like smaller ones. 

The next day we decided to go for drive around the area. First up we stopped at Moochalabra Dam on the road back out, this dam is Wyndham's water supply & you can have a look at it from a lookout, nothing on Lake Argyle but still pretty, there was also an aboriginal rock art site nearby that we climbed up to have look at. A lot of it was worn away, but you could make out some of the paintings, definitely worth a visit. 
Moochalabra dam

We started to head back towards the highway when out of the corner of my eye I saw a landcruiser ute parked at a weird angle in a creek, I told Mat to stop & as he did the owner was waving us down. It was an aboriginal guy & 2 women about the same age as us, they had been going fishing when their ute got stuck in a creek crossing. Beers in hand, they asked if we had a rope to pull them out. This would be interesting. The tide was coming in fast & the ute was getting more & more submerged. We said we had a winch & would help, so we took Ruby down near his ute, Mat got the winch ready & started pulling the cable out & the guy jumped in his ute ready, but Mat said well someone needs to hook it up, I think the guy got too excited thinking he was finally getting some help & there was no way either of us was going in the very crocy looking water. He finally managed to get the hook on his ute & we tried to pull him out, our winch control thing has been playing up & it wouldn't spool back in. In the end Mat just reversed with the ute on the winch rope & it pulled free. The next thing old mate is flooring it in reverse back up the bank towards us, but went off the road & hit a fairly decent tree with the tray, we were saying whoa whoa. Luckily he hit the tree or we reckon he would of reversed straight into Ruby. He finally stopped at at very bad angle & one of the girls unhooked the winch rope from the tray. Our winch controller finally worked & as we were spooling the winch rope back in, old mate was flooring it back through the creek, he made it up the other side this time & turned around to come back our way. We moved Ruby way out of the way & he floored it back across the creek, coming out the other side unscathed. Thank god. Big thank you's were given & we could tell they genuinely meant it. We were offered a beer & then a six pack, but we politely declined saying it was to early for us. They were really nice people & we were glad we could help. 

A little assistance was needed, the water was almost in the tray by the time we got him out

Well that was an interesting morning!! We laughed about it the whole way out the highway. We headed south for a bit & turned off to the Mambi Island boat ramp, we had heard the fishing was good here & also you could free camp, so we thought we would check it out before dragging the trailer all the way out there. It was a great spot, but all the camping was right on the banks & there was no grass just lots of creek sand & dust, it would of been really dusty, so we decided to give it a miss for camping. While we were there we took some photos & saw a fresh water croc sunning himself right near the bank, there were birds everywhere as well, it really was a nice spot. 

Mambi Island above & below

After that we went to have a look at Marglu wetland. It had a great bird hide & lots of amazing birds everywhere, another beautiful spot. By then it was time to head into Wyndham itself for a look around. It is an interesting little town, not much there, but as you drive further out you come to its port. A very busy place with huge tidal flows. We had lunch at a lovely little cafe, got some fuel & checked out the caravan park. It looked nice & we decided we would go there for a couple of nights  in a few days & get some power to charge everything before we explored the Great Northern Highway back to Broome. 

Marglu wetland

Back out to Diggers Rest & it was 4pm, as I looked out over the water I spotted a small croc, I got out the binoculars but couldn't tell if he was a freshie or saltie, but he was only small.  Another good day. The next day we decided to stay around camp & enjoy the peace & quiet for just one more day. We got the camp oven out & made some choc chip biscuits & I caught up on some blog posts. While the oven was out we decided we may as well do a roast as well, so roast beef & veggies for dinner. Another day without seeing a soul just lovely.  

The next morning we reluctantly packed up our amazing campsite at Diggers Rest & headed into Wyndham. We arrived at the caravan park, got given a choice of sites & set up under the trees & hooked up the power. A quick trip to the shops to get a few supplies (the $20 pumpkins stayed set the shop) & it was back to camp for a quiet afternoon, as we charged all of our camera batteries, satellite phone & everything we could possibly charge, to get ready for having no power till we get back to Broome. Mat also got to meet "Shaggy" Wyndham's resident donkey, who wanders around town. He has been around for years & loves to get a pat of all the tourists, a very gently sole. The Wyndham caravan park is really good, friendly people, clean amenities, a pool & large sites, definitely one of the better parks we have stayed in, the cost was $35 for a powered site & $25 for unpowered. 

The next day we had another explore around Wyndham & had a look at the jetty & also the 5 rivers lookout, on top of a huge hill that let's you see where 5 rivers join at the port of Wyndham, very cool. It was a really hazy day, so the photos don't do it justice, it was truly an amazing spot, definitely worth the drive. The rest of the day was getting sorted, doing clothes washing, filling water tanks & more power charging. All ready to go to leave for the Bungle Bungles in the morning, very excited we have been looking forward to the bungles for the whole trip, a definite must see on our list.   

Wyndham jetty

View from 5 rivers lookout above & below


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