We’d completed some chores in Darwin and changed car oil and said goodbye see you soon please to the Metcalfes – leaving Humpty Doo was definitely a challenge given how much of an awesome time we’d had staying with them and having coffees and chats and beers with Chris and Rodney and lounging around their beautiful house and pool in tropical paradise. But it had to be done – we were on our way to WA today. We’d already done some of the drive down south to the highway turnoff in Katherine and dropped in on Mike and Cess and the kids in Tindall, and marvelled at how dramatically the temperature had changed over 2 weeks since we’d seen them. We left them on a 42 degree day, yikes! So, we started the drive from Katherine to Kununurra.
It was a pretty quiet drive and the heat was intense – the bitumen was melting and we stopped regularly at roadhouses to cool off and stand aimlessly in their air-conditioned shops. Even though we both hate buying bottled water (and have no need for it given that we usually are carrying about 60 litres of water in the car!) we have started buying it simply because it’s cold.
We crossed the border and gave up our fresh veggies (a bag of old beans and some tomatoes and onions) at the quarantine point. Apparently WA has managed to stay fruit fly free because of their border quarantine! Plus there are literally only 2 sealed roads in and out of the whole state – one up north that we entered on, and the one down south before the Nullabor that we will be leaving on later on in the year. Given how large of a state WA is, we both thought that was pretty impressive. So, we entered WA – our 6th state of the trip! And the boab trees appeared! Beautiful and hilariously varied trees that range from tall and thin and sleek to lumpy and round and comical.
We found a really huge one in a conservation park off the highway and discovered that it was quite a ritual to engrave them when you first see them. The engraving on this one was from 1856! Crazy. But people aren’t supposed to do it now because it’s really harmful to the tree. We pushed on along the highway and found some cool lizards at the rest stops and finally pulled in to Kununurra in the afternoon.
After the long drive, we were in desperate need of a shower or a large body of water and we found both at the Hidden Valley Caravan Park, which was actually quite a beautiful place given that it was a caravan park, which is very luxurious by our standards! There were huge mango trees everywhere providing much needed shade and also a huge amount of unripe mangoes free for all. Smash wandered around in the evening and picked some of the riper ones and managed to find a really ripe one up high that we picked by standing on the edge of the car doors to reach it. There were also banana palms with little bananas on them near the bathrooms! We figured we had made our money back from staying in the caravan park by picking the fruit that was just lying around for everyone there. Amazing! Cooked up some tabouleh for dinner and headed to bed, pretty knackered from the big drive over the border and keen to get a fresh start in the morning to explore Kununurra.