Thursday, 25 August 2011

Derby & Broome

Derby is the 1st sign of civilization after driving off the dusty Gibb River Road. Derby is on the west coast of WA , 230 kms north of Broome by road. There isn't much to do in Derby apart from enjoying the sunset views behind the towns jetty, the amazing tide heights & a few other small bits of touristy stuff.
I think Derby has the biggest difference in tide heights of any where else in Oz - up to 10 mtrs high.

We visited the jetty on 3 occasions, during the day at low tide, evening high tide & evening low tide showing an amazing sunset behind the wooden structure. I love sunsets, & this 1 is our 1st on the west coast of WA.

20 kms out of town there's a fresh water wet land that I as a bird watcher, had to get Rod to drive me to (for company of course). The area is really pretty & there were plenty of birds to spot.
This little cute bird is a black fronted Dotteral.
There were also about 10 brolgas near the water edge when we arrived. 1 hour later, there must have been another 40 join their friends. It was an amazing spectacle to see so many in 1 area as once. There was no fancy dancing to show off that day though unfortunately.

There's a boab tree just out of town, that has historic significance. It is reportably to be over 1,500 yrs old. This boab has a large hollow in it's trunk & was used as a prison tree before transferring the prisoners to Derby town in the late 1800's to after WW2.

Not far from the prison tree, there's Australia's longest water trough. Built at 100mtrs long around 1917, it was used by the drovers along a very long stock route for their thirsty cattle.

Nearby also, a small swimming pool was built for the diggers during WW2. It's not very big, but a welcome cool down in the very hot climate of the NW of WA.

We also visited a very old Boab tree in town  that every photographer has to have a pic in their collection. I've got to admit, watching the sun set behind it was pretty amazing.

 We visited Fitzroy Crossing - the town - to go see Geike Gorge.
The town is on it's name sake River as well. Funny that!!!
The Fitzroy River is not the biggest river in Oz length wise, but is the largest for water volume &  in full flood during the wet season, it drains the equivalent of 1 Sydney Harbour volume of water every 12 hrs into King Sound on the coast south of Derby. Thats a massive amount of water. No wonder the bridge over the 100mtr wide River is so high & long!!   It's hard to tell from these pics. There's tonnes of sand everywhere along the river as well.

  This is the old Fitzroy River Crossing causeway before the newer bridge was built. Beats me how every one coped before the large bridge was built down stream from the old river crossing. People would have been stranded for months on end waiting for the river height to go down as the water level can rise up to 26 mtrs above the old concrete causeway. We had to give the old river crossing a test in our car. There's enough sand here to almost call it a beach.

On the way back from Fitzroy Crossing, we stayed at a camping spot not far off the road, on a cattle station called 'Ellendale'. We were camped next to the lake / dam & the views were relaxing. The dam is the drinking water for the locals of that particular paddock- friendly bunch they were too -  could almost pat them. Some of them were also licking the ash from peoples camp fires.
Whilst camping here, it was census day / night. 100 kms from the nearest town, census collectors turn up to give out & collect forms - just making sure we are all counted I guess :)

We moved onto Broome & the southern end of The Kimberley. Broome is famous for it's pearling history. There are hundreds of men buried in cemetery's in town. Japanese, Malay, Aboriginal & Austalian to name some who lost their lives to the pearling days.

Streeters Jetty is the original jetty built in the late 1800's for access across the mangroves from the street to the Roebuck Bay wharf used by the pearl luggers.
 I was a little disappointed the the jetty is now in disrepair as this is an important part of Broome's history.
The jetty  goes no where now :(

This is the newer deep water wharf  built in the mid 1900's......I think ???

Views of Roebuck Bay, looking back from the jetty.

Johnny Chi Lane was 1 of the lanes / streets of China Town during the early pearl lugging days when half of the towns population was from many Asian countries like Indonesia,Japan or Malaysia.

Cable Beach is a beautiful beach frequented by probably every traveller who comes to Broome.  The turquoise waters next the white sand was picture perfect.  This day is low tide.

One of the main reasons that Cable Beach is so popular, is for the sun setting over the Indian Ocean.
We bought ourselves some 'Noodle Box' for dinner, some beverages to toast the event & sat & watched the beautiful sunset hundreds of other like minded folks. We stayed up on the grassed area this night.
Cheers :))

I can't stop at just a few pics, & usually have trouble deleting them as well.

The Pearl Luggers Museum was interesting. Rod is trying out 1 of the helmets used by the divers from the late 1800's to 1940's. It weighs over 15kg.
We were given a 1hr talk & run through of the history of pearling in Broome. The shell on the left is from Cossack further south,  the right is a Broome pearl shell (bigger due to slightly better growing conditions) & the middle shell is an unusual large shell, also found around Broome.
Pearls were harvested originally for the shell only. - for buttons. Then it was discovered that some shells produced beautiful pearls - used for jewellery. The industry grew overnight after Europe had an insatiable desire for pearls.

It took 1 hr for the divers to get ready in the morning - donning at least 2 layers of warm under garments before the water proof diving suit

These are the heavy helmets worn by few men.

The shoes weigh over 35kg -  Each.  Can't imagine how they walked in them.
The divers also had lead weights around their necks, back & front. All up, the weight of the equipment alone was over 120kg - a weight to keep the diver down on the sea bed.

This machine is the air for the diver to breathe whilst on the ocean floor looking for pearl shells. An assistant on the lugger turned the handle all day long.

This pic shows a miniature version of a pearl lugger.

After the 1 hr history lesson, we were taken into the shop to be shown some gorgeous gems........................

We were allowed to hold this beauty & guess it's value. Some lady started at $500.... after being shown a neck chain of pearls worth $3,500............. daft woman.  I mentioned $10,000 & was told more....... so every one kept guessing upwards til we got to.....................................................................................
         $95,000.               What a little beauty - about the size of my thumb nail.          
I made sure they saw me replace it in it's box !!

Hundreds of 4x4 vehicles drive onto the sand at low tide to watch the sun setting.  We decided that we should join them !!  Another beautiful day turning into just as  beautiful a sunset. Looks like staircase to the sun :)
The sun looks magnificent behind those enjoying it on camels.

Thought I'd play around with the art work done by some sand crabs.

We drove out of town to a bird observery. The bay views are still pretty. Roebuck Bay extends for many kms.

Gantheaume Point is at 1 end of the 22km long Cable Beach, just on the south western  side of town. The area must cop some bashing from many a cyclone over the centuries. It is quite rugged but beautiful. We were able to wander amongst the rocky area that has a light house nearby.
The sandstone colours are gorgeous against the red earth & green trees behind.
This section looked like large pavers in an out door area.

Looking back towards Cable Beach

Cape Leveque is a 170 km peninsular that juts out from the mainland north of Broome. Access is by 90kms of sandy & corrugated dirt road. The rest to the tip of One Arm Point is bitumen.

Beagle Bay has a famous catholic church built around 1915 by the  German priests & brothers who lived in the area as missionaries to the local aboriginal people. ( they were under house arrest due to WW1)
The church is beautiful & constructed of hand made bricks & cement made by burning shell & used as the mortar & plaster.
The local aboriginal women helped decorate inside the church using pearl hundreds of mother of pearl shells, cowries, volutes & olive shells. The result is quite spectacular. Thousands of tourists come to visit Beagle Bay every year to see this magnificent wonder of workmanship.
Every window was adorned by mother of pearl shells

We decided to take our tent to Cape Leveque for our 2 day visit. We stayed in the Middle Lagoon area overlooking 1 of the beautiful bays on the western side. We were high above the beach & bay, separated by  red cliffs. This was our view from our tent / camp spot for the 2 days.

The secluded area called 'whale song'  with only 6 camp spots had unusual toilet & showers. I felt safe using both as you turned a wooden sign around 'free' to 'in use' even though both are in the open air. Very private !!
 A loo with a roof, but no door & great views of the bushes & birds whilst going about your business :))
This weird construction is the walls for the shower area. The sign is 20 mtrs back hanging from a tree - 'in use' or 'free'   Notice there's no roof or lighting, so we made sure we showered by 5pm. Nicely decorated with some shells & 'bouy's'.

'Stir case to the Moon' is an event that occurs during the months April to November. It happens when there's a full moon & the tides happen to be low, exposing the mud flats or sandy beaches depending where you are. Many tourists time their stay in Broome for this event. We were just lucky with our timing in Broome. I took this pic when we were @Cape Leveque. Grass fires around the area prevented me getting a decent pic in Broome the previous night -a thick smoke haze on  the horizon blotted out the rising moon.
My camera can only go to ISO of 400, so my pics aren't as good as expected. My pic is also over water as we were up on the cliffs.
Not a good copy, but this is how the stair case looks from a professionals camera. Put onto glossy paper unfortunately.

One Arm Point is at the tip of Cape Leveque. On that particular day, a blustering wind was blowing most of  us away in the Kimberley region !  So this is how the water was whipped up by the easterly winds coming across Kind Sound.

Further around the tip, the tide comes in & out through a 100mtr wide channel. The pic doesn't do justice to what I want to show you, but the tide is flowing fast into King Sound, but the waves are pushing against it.
The area around One Arm Pt is very rugged. The wind was so blustery, that we stayed in the car as much as possible. Shame, as the place was pretty.

One Arm Pt has an aquiculture centre, where trochus shells are farmed & then cleaned for sale to the public. Some of the holding tanks had marine creatures like these green turtles.

After leaving  pretty Broome we headed south towards Port Headland. 130 kms down the road is a place called Barn Hill. 10 kms off the main raod, it is a 430,000 hectare cattle station owned by 5 members of the 1 family but split up into sections. 1 female member, has ownership of some of the most pristine coastlines we've seen on this trip thus far. The cattle station has a 40 km beach frontage. Not just any beach either. We had the most gorgeous views out our back window of the van. There were cliffs & pillars of sandstone rock on the beach edge. Exploring the many bays was fun.

Can you see the formation of a frog perched on rock, also looking at the great views :)

I like to take pics of something other than the scenery :) The sand had these patterns every where at low tide.

Another sunset - Rod took this one whilst I was talking to some other Kedron owners. More fires in the area created this smoke haze that made this sunset different.
The area was so magical, that we extended 1 night to 2.   Bonus was Sunday night roast dinner for the campers who wanted to join in. $15 gave us a 3 course dinner, shared by 200 other guests.
We had to BYO everything - bar the food of course.
Roast Beef never tasted so good. It was our 1st roast in 4 months on the road.

I hope you enjoyed the area as much as we did.                  Love those western sunsets :))))))))))))

No comments:

Post a Comment