Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Cruising down the Queensland coast

Crystal Creek was a tiny caravan park on the highway, we nearly had the entire park to ourselves, sharing only with our friends the Cooksons. The kids were so excited to see a camp kitchen with TV and fans! They claimed ownership of the couches and spent their days divided between the pool and the TV. We crammed some more schoolwork in each morning in the hope that the pile of unfinished modules would reduce to zero. We hung out with our friends, sharing many cups of teas and a few ciders. We swam in awesome rock pools, went to visit more waterfalls, national parks and ate so many pineapples and mangoes from road side stalls that we started turning into tropical fruit!!! 

After a few days kicking back we moved on to our next stop. Airlie Beach. The time we spent in  Airlie Beach is one of my favourite passages of time on our trip. We spoilt the kids against appreciating the attraction of free camping ever again and went to the Whitsunday Big 4 resort as they had a special for only $20 a night for a powered site for the month of October. Mike decided there and then that he was staying for the entire month, and he nearly did! Set up with a pool, water slides, an awesome camp kitchen, table tennis table, mini golf, tennis courts and pedal cars we were in holiday luxury!!! Nearly all our travelling family joined us there and the kids spent many many happy days hanging out with the posse! The adults also hung out in our posse, many a games of uno and sequence were held, table tennis challenges,  tennis games played and morning walks along the beach for the ladies. It was heaven on a stick!!! I am even erasing the most terrible time I had with the migees from my memory and pretending that it never happened!!!

On my last day in Airlie before flying back to Sydney for Bernie's surgery we all cruised out to go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef and swimming at White Haven Beach. Decked out in our flattering stinger suits the three travelling families  had the most amazing time snorkelling around checking out the coral and fish. I enjoyed having the snorkel back on, time certainly stands still as you watch turtles, fish and sea life drifting around the colourful  coral as you float in the turquoise waters. I am so proud of all my kids who have tried so may new things on this trip, snorkelling, swimming with whale sharks, hiking in spectacular gorges, they have done such a great job. I do hope that even though they have lost the travelling mojo at the moment that they remember the good times we had together as a family, celebrating life with our new friends and seeing what an amazing and special country Australia is. 

I will always be grateful for the generosity and care our new friends showed to my family as I flew in and out to Sydney as we made our way down the east coast. It made it so much easier to leave my babies knowing Mike had friends around to share the load with and to spend time with. Their concern and love is appreciated and will remain a special part of this trip for me.  

So leaving Mike happily living the dream in Airlie, I jumped in the backseat of the Warren's car and happily chilled out listening to Greg's awesome music selection as they drove me to the McKay airport. I flew back to my SIFELY duties and Bernie whilst she had her operation. In what can only be a demonstration of Bernie's determination (some like to call it stubbornness) she recovered incredibly quickly like the champion that she is! I'm not sure if it was Bernie's immense patience or the awesome drugs she was taking, but she coped incredibly well with me asking every five minutes, 'are you ok?', 'Do you need anything?',  'On the scale of 1-10 what is your pain today?'  'Are we annoying you?' 'Can I get you a drink?' 'Are you hungry?','Do you feel like anything?'

After a few days of waking in hospital to my face beaming inches away from her slumbering body the doctors decided Bernie was ready to go home. After a million trips to the car to take down the billions of floral arrangements that Jerusha and I sent to Bern, the numerous patisserie delights that Jerusha and I whipped up and the meaningful gifts that Jerusha and I purchased (hehe, we totally changed the names on all her gift tags to be from us), we were on our way home. They do say that laughter is the best medicine, and I attempted to provide the best care possible as Bernie convalesced at home. However I'm not sure they should say that when an abdominal surgery is involved and I'm sure poor Bernie was glad to see the behind of me when I finally left her in Mum's capable hands and made my way 'home'.

2 and a half weeks later it was time to see my babies, I flew into Harvey Bay happily walking across the tarmac to be leapt upon by my babies! It was soon good to squish them all and I think Lola never left my side for about 48 hours, clinging to me like a life jacket! The weather varied in Hervey Bay and we spent a cruisy couple of days watching Disney movies, walking along the foreshore, swimming in the warm sea and generally lazing about.  In what was a stroke of luck Binny was in Hervey Bay at the same time so it was great to catch up and have breakfast with her at the cafe on the beach whilst she was there. 

Realising that Christmas was fast approaching and that we still had a few stops before landing on the Brisvegas Saunders' we packed up and drove the short distance to Noosa for a few nights. Noosa was amazing, we had a few cracking storms with lots of thunder and lightening it was cool watching the lightening crack over the ocean. We wandered around town seeing how all the beautiful people holidayed, there were lots of beautiful shops, resort style accommodation and fine eateries that after 9 months in camp clothes certainly made us feel a little shabby.  We did some beautiful walks through the national parks, lots of gorgeous forest trails and walks along the cliffs over looking the ocean. I can't wait to return and be one of the beautiful people in the resorts one day (when we finally scrub the last of the red dirt of our feet!) 

Atherton Tablelands

 
We hit the amazing Atherton tablelands and after the best pub lunch in Mareeba we drove on to Lake Tinaroo. This idyllic setting was our home for the next 10 days. From here we explored as much of the tablelands as we could. All the small county towns had beautiful jacarandas trees coming into bloom, the beautiful purple looked so stunning against the rolling green hills and all these majestic old trees truly made for spectacular scenery.  We enjoyed relaxing as a family and spent many mornings catching up on schoolwork and then the afternoons exploring the many scenic drives and destinations in the area. 

We went for a beautiful rainforest walk at Lake Berrine, conjoling the kids all the way around with the possibility of ice cream at the end. We explored the many waterfalls and had a dip in as many as we could, we desperately tried to see a platypus on the platypus walk but had to 'settle' for only seeing the tree kangaroo, we visited cheese dairies, drank some great coffee at Coffee Works and watched the kids as they excitedly climbed the massive cathedral fig, I closed my eyes and didn't thinks of all the snakes and spiders that could have been lurking In the twisted boughs.  

We had an awesome day at the Yungaburra festival, wandering through the market in the morning and then chilling out in the arvo, listening to lots of cool music, ukele players and cool little trios rehearsing in the rehearsal stage. The kids had a ball with their friends in the kids area, lots of crafty goodness and dress ups to amuse them all, Mike was so impressed by the amount of crafty artwork that the kids brought home to fill our campervan with crafty love! We finished the day with a beer and cider at the pub with Deb and Greg, another beautiful day to store as a memory when the doldrums of real life set in. 

We were lucky to spend this time at Lake Tinaroo with our travelling friends. After exploring all day, we would enjoy many a peaceful happy hour watching the kids running around and enjoying all the space around us. It was even cold enough for a few fires at night. We stayed on a few days longer than our friends and had the whole place to ourselves. Little Lola was happily ensconced in the happy hour tradition and I found her making a great happy hour snack for Mike, salami, crackers, cheese and a beer on a platter, she surely knows the way to her dad's heart. My favourite happy hour was when she decided that we should have naked happy hour, she stripped off and happily ran around in the nuddy, coming back for a bite to eat before running off with Scarlett like a little forest elf frolicking in the gassy clearing. 

The following week we packed up and made our way down from the tablelands, we meandered down slowly checking out all the amazing waterfalls and soaking in the goodness of the rain forests. Mike dropped me off in Cairns to fly to Sydney for what was meant to be Bernie's second round of chemo and went to spend a few more days with the Warrens in Innisfail. 

So thinking chemo was looming on the Monday, Bernie and I made the most of the weekend, markets, shopping, movies on the Saturday and then an amazing long lunch on the Sunday for Jerusha's birthday. The weekend passed super quick with us trying to ignore the thought of chemo.  Then in a world wind foggy daze, chemo treatment no2 quickly turned into organising surgery for a few weeks time. I flew back into another regional airport earlier than anticipated and found my family set up at a tiny little stop on the highway called Crystal Creek.

Friday, 5 December 2014

The Wandering Watsons arrive in Queensland

So there I was thinking the worst of the long boring drives were over, I didn't factor in the long long drive from NT to QLD. To say that this was one of the longest boringest drives is an understatement. I kept laughing at my previous thoughts that the trip to Alice would be boring, but this drive was just  long stretches of nothing but dry paddocks. The only thing I kept thinking was how do farmers survive out here, how do the stations keep operating in this desolate country. The days were scorches, everyday was over 35 degrees and with the goal of palm trees and beaches firmly in our minds we just kept driving and driving and driving. 

I was anxious to be on the east coast, to be closer to airports to fly to my sister, to not be in the middle of nowhere with our unreliable car. So we just kept driving, the kids were troopers, enjoying movie after movie after movie. I wore out the iPod listening to our tracks over and over agin, even the kids were sick of the same songs. We stopped briefly for lunch in any little rest stop we could find but the temperature and bloody flies kept us moving quickly. After a massive effort we made it across to Townsville in 3 days. Some days we drove so long on hot roads that by the time we arrived the water in our camper tanks was boiling. The only highlight of this leg (well for Mike anyway) was the day our bike rack slipped from the back of the camper and dragged for at least 100 ks behind the van. When we finally were passed by someone and they flagged us down, Mike stopped to see what was wrong, well I don't think I have seen Mike so happy! He hated the bikes, the constant taking off and putting back on to set up, (even though that was always my job) Our poor Lola was devastated!! She couldn't believe we had to leave them to the Highway Gods and was shattered when she found out that we couldn't fix her wheels! All our travelling friends enjoyed the laugh when we showed them the pictures as they had seen the bouncy bikes on the back as we travelled.




So bikeless but in good spirits the landscape changed again from barren paddocks of highway driving, to the hot red dust of Mt Isa we made a final champion effort and pulled up in Townsville for a few days of RnR. We found the cheapest accommodation we could, at the local Seventh Day Adventist conference centre.  Being the model guests we are, we joined the other campers in unhappy hour, (disguising our alcoholic beverages in mugs) we relaxed, cleaned the red dust of every surface and crevice we could manage and enjoyed being back on the east coast again.

Highlights of Townsville: for me it was walking into a shopping centre to see a Myer! (Hehe) For Mike it was making it all that way without the car breaking down! And for the kids it was all the beautiful fig trees to climb in, they created such adventures playing in the branches and the vines of the trees. The one thing we all agreed on was that after months of dust, red dirt and dried earth it was heaven to have lots of lush green grass underfoot, the girls did somersault after somersault enjoying the softness. 

After a lovely relaxing few days recovering from our massive drive we slowly made our way up to our friends in Innisfail. It was a great reunion with the Warren families, the kids were so excited to see Priya and Toby and happily swam in the pool at the drop zone, whilst the adults caught up win another awesome happy hour. 

We filled in our time, celebrating Toby's birthday at the local gardens and hanging out in a little spot of paradise at Etty beach. We had so many awesome days relaxing with all our travelling friends and watching the kids playing together, building forts on the beach and performing shows for us!  We devoured awesome fish n chips at Etty beach and was so lucky to see a cassowary wandering on the beach after tea. (another bucket item ticked off) We found more falls and creeks to swim in and enjoyed the beauty of the rain forests and natural watering holes.

  



Mike also ticked an item off his bucket list and crazily jumped out of a plane! After updating the will and life insurance policy the kids and I all watched on safely from the ground whilst Mike tandem jumped with our friend Jess out of a plane! Oscar was so incredibly jealous as he watched his dad parachuting down to land! Although he was glad to have done it I don't think Mike will be doing it again, I think it took him the rest of the day for the adrenalin to stop cursing through his veins and for his legs to stop wobbling! 

    


During this time I found it difficult to enjoy the magic of FNQ. My beautiful sister was diagnosed with breast cancer and the waiting to hear about appointments, tests and ultimately when treatment would commence was unbearable. It is awful feeling so far away when all you want to do is hug your sister and never let go! 

As soon as we had a treatment plan I left Mike and the kids to enjoy Cairns and Wonga Beach  and set off for Sydney to be with my sister. In amongst the angst and waiting to see how Bernie would react to chemo we tried to fill in our days as much as possible. I won't lie and pretend that after 7 months without a single day away from Mike and the kids I wasn't trying to make the best of a shit situation. We kept busy......we had pedicures, went to markets, went out to quirky caf├ęs for lunch, coffee and tea. Hell Bernie even got me to mass (there was promise of dinner out after it!) The dreaded day arrived for chemo and I think every Saunders family member and all our friends was sending love, support and prayers for my sister. I'm sure the earths forces were shifted by the thoughts and positive vibes being sent Bernie's way as that night Sydney was hit with an horrendous storm, the crashing thunder and lightening certainly matched our moods, but as the sun rose, the weather calmed and a new day emerged breathing renewed purpose and hope. 

The rest of the week passed with me proving my skills as a SIFE (sister wife (but not in a Mormon Sister wife kind of way, just as a sister performing some '1950's wifely' duties kind of way), Dom should be proud that my tea making skills have improved vastly, and they no longer taste like dishwater!!! I also used the excess energy to reorganise Bernie's apartment. Nothing like a good bout of worry to send me into a sorting frenzy. I'm now taking appointments for all of Bernie's friend to declutter their apartments.! I think I have found my calling! 

After nearly two weeks of SIFELY duties, I left my dear sis in the capable hands of her friends and returned to my babies.  After an anxious flight,  where I felt so torn between wanting to stay with my sister but also desperate to see my babies, a delay with the transfer from Cairns to Port Douglas, it was pure bliss to see their little bodies running towards me and to be able to give them a super squeezy tight hug! 

We stayed the last night at Wonga beach, Lola was so excited to take me for a walk in the morning,  showing me the beach, where she thought some crocodiles lived (I hoped she wasn't right) and the pool, I swear she grew a foot in the time I was gone.  We packed up the camper and as it was so hot we all jumped in the pool to cool off. It felt so cleansing to be swimming, with the warmth of the sun feeding you with its happy rays. Refreshed and ready for another leg of our journey we headed towards the Atherton tablelands.


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The Red Centre!


I wasn't looking forward to the long drive down from Darwin to Alice Springs. I was still annoyed our time in Darwin was cut short and even though I was looking forward to cooler nights, the thought of being in the middle of nowhere again was unsettling me, I was longing for people around, beautiful beaches and palm trees, not more harsh desert and red dirt. 
We left Mataranka and I braced myself for what I though would be the most boring drive of our trip, but again I was mistaken. As we drove down the long highway and I looked out at this great expanse I really felt I was embracing just how magical this land we live on is. Australia has such a diverse landscape, that changes so dramatically depending on what state and even what part of the state you are in.

On the way to Alice I really was just thinking 'I'll just do this bit of central Aus really quickly and and then we will make our way across to Far North Queensland'. Instead, I watched the passing landscape of Central Australia refresh me, the amazing desert flowers all just coming into bloom, the constant red dirt and rocky hills, the dry spinifex, the burnt bark of the tree trunk contrasting against the lush lime green leaves of the new growth was intoxicating........so much so that all the  beautiful scenery got my creative juices flowing and for a brief moment I had images of me setting up an easel in the middle of the dry bush and painting the visions in my head.....that was until I remembered just what a shit painter I am and that Lola could paint a better picture than me!!!! 

So putting all these creative scenarios behind me I concerned myself with what Alice had to offer the wandering Watsons, and boy it did not disappoint! Alice was a little surprise package that I had so much fun exploring. We arrived for the last day of the desert festival and wandered through the Todd mall, the kids were excited to take part in the 24 hr dance-a-thon, but decided that dancing through the window was enough. We spent time looking through the art galleries in the mall,  we went to the desert mob exhibition at the cultural precinct and was blown away by the colours of the artwork in the exhibition. We visited the school of the air, looked out at the amazing landscape from Anzac Hill. From the East Mac Donnell ranges walking through Tryphena Gorge to the West Mac Donnel ranges and swimming in Ormiston Gorge the beauty of the landscape was amazing. 
                                

The dry heat of the day and the cool air at night was so refreshing. We set up camp at the showgrounds and within a few days we had some of our own travelling family around us. We revelled in having the Cookson family with us for our central Aus time, so many enjoyable nights together hanging out, sharing meals and many many laughs (mostly at poor Steve's expense), we forged friendships with lots of new friends too and enjoyed some great morning and afternoon teas together. 

The highlight of my time in Alice was catching up with my dear school friend, Hayley. After 20 years, we chatted as if we had seen each other only yesterday, we ate till our stomachs burst, the generosity and warm spirit of my friend was still at the core of her being, that and her dry sense of humour. We had a brilliant night, the kids lounged like sloths on Hayley's couch watching as much TV as they could possibly squeeze in! Oscar was so excited to feel carpet under his feet and have a remote in his hand!!!

Hayley generously cooked up a feast fit for a king and when we thought we could fit no more in she generously filled our freezers with more delights! We were the champions of morning tea the following day when we produced rocky road, chocolates and macaroons, all thanks to Hayley! 

After exploring Alice we made the track across to Uluru. Let's not even talk about the joys of our car breaking down again.... as it was my birthday I completely ignored what had happened, grateful again to be travelling with our new friend Steve (who is a diesel mechanic, but don't tell anyone camping near him that!!) and let Mike sort out the lemon that is our car. I remained focused on where we were and how special it truly was to be in the centre of Austrlalia.....and what a majestic spot it is!!! The walk around the base is just stunning, the many changing facets of Uluru leave such an impression with you, and watching the sunset on the rock was so very beautiful. 

I ticked another item of my trip list when the Cookson and Watson family rode our bikes around the base, what an adventure that proved to be as we conjoled the kids to keep riding (ie bribed with lollies). Again we were grateful to Steve for his careful planning for the 'what if' scenarios, as our bike proved to be made by Nissan just like our car and the pedal kept falling of! Lucky for us Boy Scout Steve had a spanner in his bag and kept our bikes going all the way to the end!! 
  

We were enamoured by Uluru and the Olgas, their size, stunning colour and the amazing scenery is just beautiful. We have been privileged to see so many of the exceptional natural wonders in Australia like the Bungle Bungles and Karijini, and the rock is another iconic spot in Australia that you find hard to leave without being grateful to have been there. 

This trip is reminding that we r just a blip in the radar, that I am so very grateful for this time with my family. All the grumbling about distance ed, being hot, being bored in the car, being hungry are so insignificant against the amazing opportunities are family are experiencing. The most significant, is that I hope my children are getting a crude, basic glimpse into the oldest living culture in the world. When you see the land, hear the stories and watch your children make connections I am grateful that they are getting a greater understanding than any classroom lesson will ever skim over. They will be the next politicians, engineers, social workers etc in the future and I hope this trip and what they are learning and seeing and living will assist them and shape the decisions they make in their future careers. I love that Oscar makes connections to Uluru when he is engrossed in minecraft, that the gorges, rock formations and geology are relevant to his gaming addiction!  

  

So from Central Australia to Far North Queensland the adventure continues!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Darwin

I can't believe we are already halfway through our 5th month on the road. There has been many amazing highs and a few low on our travels. I am already wistfully dreaming of boab trees and the amazing spirit of the Kimberley's, I'm reminiscing of boat cruises on the Indian Ocean drinking champas with my sister, swimming at cable beach and snorkelling at Coral Bay. How quickly it feels these experiences in WA are becoming memories as we continue to fill ourselves up with new moments in the NT.

We have been in NT for over a month and have enjoyed the beautiful 'croc free' swimming holes of Edith falls and Litchfield National Park. We spent a week engrossed in the culture of Kakadu, listening to ranger talks, talking to people, taking in the spectacular stories depicted in the rock art and sprituality of this amazing part of Australia. We also spent the time being eaten by mozzies, poor Scarlett blew up like a balloon, reacting to all the bites, she looked so sad, she has certainly inherited her mozzie loving blood from her mother. The dawn wetlands cruise was amazing, so much birdlife, animals and the scenery was spectacular. I think the next visit to the Northern Territory will need to be in the wet so I can fully appreciate the changing seasons. Our last night at gunlom falls was a perfect way to end our time in Kakadu. As we travelled on the 4x4 track into the falls I was cursing Mike as all I wanted to do was get to Darwin, we were driving into fires on either side of the vehicle but there was no turning around and by the time we made it in and set up in the dust bowl camp site  we were all so grumpy that we decided to head straight to the falls. After a very steep climb up we where greeted with a magical  spot of little rock pools to swim in, the view was amazing and definitely worth the climb. We lazed around swimming, exploring the little pools and taking intake amazing scenery. I could only imagine what it would be like I the wet. 

The next day we prepared for the terrible drive out only to find the road had been half graded and was a much better return trip, we cruised along the highway eager for some cultural delights and Darwin did not disappoint!!!

Darwin is one of my favourite cities, so relaxed, people are  chilled and always seem to be smiling. We had such a great couple of weeks doing as many touristy things as we could! We visited the Mindle markets, enjoying the amazing food, great music, performances and time at the beach watching the sunset, sharing it with new friends from our travels. We visited every water playground, splash park, pool,spring or lagoon we could find. The kids had a great time swimming at berry springs, jumping from the rope swing into the water! (About a week after we left they did find a large female saltie in the springs, so I'm glad it wasn't looking for lunch the day we were there!) I visited every market I could get too, Mindle, Parap, Northcliffe, Palmerston, Cooinda... It was lovely to have a bit of time wandering around, and having access to fresh and cheap produce again! We spent time with our dear friends the Cooksons, Rosey and Megan are the same age as Scarlett and Lola , it was lovely watching them going off exploring and forging new friendships. 

Another great highlight of our time in Darwin was catching up with the Heath family. We first met them on our trip 3 years ago when we crossed the Nullarbor together, it was great to hear all about their adventures as they have been on the road for all that time. The boys had a great time together, their friendship kicking off from the last time we saw them in Esperance 3 years ago!

Each day was getting a little hotter and hotter, the locals said the build up was about to start and I knew this was signalling our imminent departure, I made a list of the last few things I wanted to do but our plans were quickly thwarted when we had to make a rush departure due to 'he who will remain nameless' not extending our stay!!!! With a lot of 'dagger eyes' and some fairly loud expletives we packed up unsure where to go next. 

We made our way down to Douglas Daly checked out the hot springs to find they had been closed due to a recent croc sighting, so we hightailed back to the caravan park for a respite from the heat in the pool. The next day we travelled on to Mataranka and spent the next three days drifting in the spectacular thermal pools. Lola had the best time swimming in the pools and riding her bike around and around, I don't think she even noticed the weather as it creeped up to 38, but it certainly meant she slept well at night!

So with the big drive to Alice looming we packed up and set off, Oscar was excited about a 10 hour car journey, because it meant they could have an adventure time marathon all the way down to Alice! 

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Northern Territory

We have hit the Northern Territory!

We crossed over to NT and felt a little closer to home as we moved our watches forward an hour and a half, only 30min later than Victoria time. We said a fond goodbye to the west and were excited to be making our way back to our travelling friends again. We arrived at Edith Falls set up camp and Lola excitedly asked "When's happy hour???" So happy hour it was, for many hours, being the thinker that I am I prepped dinner early, just in case the sangria filled my veins and I forgot to fill my kids tummies, and it was a good thing too as the sangria was freely flowing for many many happiest hours, we caught up with our dear friends, Deb and Greg.

With a few sore heads the next morning we all took off on a walk to the upper pools, the small waterfall and rock pools were beautiful, after a quick,dip we ventured down and spent the remainder of the day relaxing, reading and swimming in the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls. It was a great start to our time in the NT.

The following morning we slowly made our way up the highway and cracked a beautiful caravan park just out of Litchfield National Park. Big grassy sites, lots of beautiful shady trees, with a definite hint of the tropics, we had a great time staying here using it as our base camp, we travelled into Litchfield and jumped in rock pools, swam in the falls, did a few of the walks, it was beautiful! We spent a day at the Wildlife park, wandering around, checking out the wildlife and enjoying the beauty of the different seasons and climates on display, NT is truly amazing!

Of course we spent many nights in the company of good friends and good wine! Lola must feel the change in the day, glances up from what she is doing and asks, 'is it happy hour yet Mum???' I may have a terror on my hands in years to come! 
 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Good bye WA

Well we have crossed the four month mark of our trip, spending the majority if our time in the amazing WA. We have had such a wonderful time exploring as much as we could of what WA has to offer. We loved the beautiful forests in the South, the amazing Karijini National Park, the Bungles Bungles, and of course my favourite, the spectacular Coral Bay. Our final hit was through the magnificent Kimberley's, I'm sure there is a little bit of magic in this area as it has the most special feel about. 

We left Broome and made our way to the Gibb River road for Mike to tick an item of his bucket list, and although we didn't go the entire way and only went to Windjana gorge and through to Tunnel Creek, coming out near Fitzroy Crossing, we still managed to do a tyre before even getting to the corrugated road! Windjana Gorge was beautiful, the walk was through stunning gorges, lots of freshwater crocs floating in the creek, Oscar and I watched as the sun set over the gorge, illuminating the rock to a deep red colour, it was stunning. The next day we headed off to Tunnel Creek, grabbed our torches and wandered through the tunnel spotting fresh water crocks and wading through small pools of water. The girls thought it was cool getting wet nearly waist deep in some parts. We then slowly drove one of the roughest roads all the way out to Fitzroy Crossing, I sat in the passenger seat, mindfully chanting my mantra of 'round tyres, round tyres, round tyres' for the entire drive as we had no spares left and no reception if we blew another! Luckily we made it through ok and continued on the highway heading for the nearest tyre repair store and then on to the Bungle Bungles. 

The Bungles were incredible, the walk to cathedral gorge was an beautiful walk, the kids were energised and excited to be out of the car after a very bumpy 2 hour drive in! We wandered around climbed up ledges, watched sunbeams dance around the domes and change the way the the magestic rocks looked. It was a reminder of another area of the Kimberley's that has remained untouched for so long, and the beauty and the impression it leaves with you, I can understand why areas of Australia like this hold such strong connections for our indigenous people. 

We continued on to Kununurra and spent a relaxing few days exploring the town, the kids made friends at the caravan park, we had movie nights down at the river, saw some live music and we swam and swam and swam for most of our stay. After restocking we headed out to Lake Argyle for the final few nights of our time in the West. We spent time swimming in the infinity pool, over looking the amazing lake, we went on walks to amazing lookouts and did a spectacular cruise on the lake, the people running  it were so informative, the kids got to try some bush tucker and we learnt so much about the lake and the ord river scheme.  We watched the super moon rise over the lake, enjoying our final Kimberley sunsets, with mixed emotions wondering when the next time we would be in the special region of Australia.