Today is probably the halfway point of our trip, if we get home on the Friday before Tony gets back to work...
Caitlin wanted to get up and watch the sunrise from the top of the rock in the campground, so I made sure she was up in time and then I walked a little way in to the rocky area to watch the sunrise myself. I sat on Millie’s camel rock and enjoyed the peacefulness and the changing light. Again there were clouds but not as many as yesterday and there was some beautiful light on the cliff face. Caitlin enjoyed her spot too but said there was a tree in the way so the photos weren’t as good as she’d hoped.
Hanging around for the sunrise and to see if the sun got above the clouds meant that we didn’t really start breakfast until about 8.30. We ate and then started packing up. The kids played with their friends until they were ready to leave. They did some more painting and rock climbing and other games. After they left Caitlin spent a bit of time talking to the couple from the ranger station, and gave them some of the boab nuts she’d painted. Once I’d packed the car and trailer I went through our seats to make sure there was no fruit left anywhere – there’s very strict quarantine going into Western Australia along this road, because we’re going straight into an agricultural area that is free of disease and pests. I also went through Millie and LiAM’s collections of things that they’ve found and got rid of all the plants – the quarantine officials can search the car and trailer so it wasn’t worth trying to take anything through. I was doubtful that we’d be able to take the painted boab leaves and nuts, so we took lots of photos of them, and then put them in a bowl to ask at quarantine, and the kids knew that we might have to get rid of them.
We headed back out along the dirt road, filled up our water containers again, then back on the highway. I had been told there was a rubbish bin not far from the park entrance, but couldn’t find it, which meant we got to the quarantine station with all our stuff still with us. They wouldn’t take any general rubbish, but did take the bag that had our leftover fruit and peelings in it. We had to throw out the painted boab nuts and leaves too, which was quite disappointing even though we thought we were prepared for that. They searched through the stuff at my feet and our food tub in the trailer, and then we were cleared to go into Western Australia.
I had been feeling sad about leaving the Northern Territory, I love it there so much. Having those extra 2 days in Keep River National Park was a nice little bonus and I was ready to move on to WA.
I really want to see Lake Argyle and we tossed up whether we should go there first or go to Kunnanurra and come back later – we decided to head for town and get supplies and fuel and figure out what we want to do next and we can come back to the Lake when we are ready. We arrived in Kunnanura and rang a few caravan parks – the prices seemed quite high (up to $59 for an unpowered site) then rang one that was only charging $40. The reviews online were again mixed, people complaining about backpackers and permanent residents and dodgy amenities, other people saying it was the most lovely place they’d stayed and the amenities were great. So we figured that most people’s negative reviews haven’t really panned out in our experience, and we went to the Hidden Valley Tourist Park. We got a partly shady spot right in front of the National Park, with an entrance to a Park walk just down from us. It was hot, but we were able to set up in time to still have shade on us and got the awning up just in time so that we didn’t ever have to sit in the sun.
We went to the pool for a swim – a beautiful pool and the kids swam for ages. Tony and I had a quick dip then started figuring out what we want to do while we were here – wading our way through a pile of brochures and trying to look things up on the internet. We went back to the tent for lunch, and booked a morning cruise on Lake Argyle for Tuesday morning. Not as good apparently as the sunset cruise, but quite a bit cheaper and it will give us most of what we want to get from visiting the lake. It’s so easy to be tempted to spend more – given our limited budget though we’re happy to be able to do a greater range of things, by picking the less popular options when they seem good enough.
The kids spent the afternoon hanging around the tent, playing on the ipad or reading. Caitlin set up her tent and we chatted to our neighbours. Millie moved her chair over to join them while she had a drink. I talked to my brother on the phone for a while – getting some tips for our time on the WA coast, and hearing all about his new baby son. The girls and I went back to the pool for another swim, and LiAM and Tony went into town to get milk and supplies for dinner. The timezone change was weird – we’d gone back an hour and a half, so the afternoon seemed really long. When the sun set we were more than ready for dinner, but it was only 5pm. We ate not long after that anyway, as our body clocks weren’t going to wait until later just because the time on our phones had changed.
After dinner we finished setting up the beds and chatted for a while, then into bed to read Brisingr until Caitlin fell asleep. It was still warm, warmer than the last few nights have been, so will be interesting to see what the temperature is like here overall.