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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 04 Aug 2015

Location: Kununurra, Australia

MapSpitting fish!! Who would have thought this was to be the highlight of the day.

We were picked up at the ungodly hour of 6.30 am to go on the El Questro Widerness Park Tour. The 4x4 we were supposed to have had ,had broken down the day before??? So we went on a sort of minibus with four other people. And once again, found lovely company.

The park is a good hour's drive away from here and is found in the Cockburn Mountain Range. It is Crown land but the government leases it out for pastoral purposes.The Solerno family bought a million acres under lease in the 1980s to build a cattle station and develop tourism, rebuilding Emma Resort after the floods in the 1990s. A few years ago, the lease was up but when they applied to renew it, they were told that they had a year to get out as an American mega company had bought it!!!!!! Mmmmm

Anyway, the places here are still named after members of the Solerno family. By 7.45 we were starting the four mile return gorge walk up the stunning Emma Gorge, following the creek bed over rocks and stepping stones through water.
At the top of the creek are the 55 m high Emma Falls, beneath which is a circular pool often used for swimming. We were not keen to go into the water, crystal clear but quite cool. Others in other groups were more fool hardy!! The only wildlife we saw was a tree snake on our pathway.

Morning tea at the plush Emma Resort was more than welcome on our return to the bottom after which we drove on deeper into the Park along the world famous Gibb River Road. The surface of this part of the road was not too bad and we only had a couple of wet creeks to cross plus the several dry rocky ones of course. This is the Aussie's must do 4x4 adventure, remote, isolated, very barren.....running across the top of Western Australia. Reports have been circulating that the conditions are very bad up there with corrugations of 10 to 12 inches in the road surface. We have heard of several who have come out and onto the highway. Imagine breaking down up there.
So we made do with a relatively small section. Next stop, crossing the bed of the Pentecost River, we came to the Zebedee Thermal Springs. Where we sat in our swimsuits in lovely warm water gushing from a thermal spring. The pools are very picturesque and are found fifteen minutes walk along a trail in the lush tropical Livistonia forest. Another lovely place where the palm trunks can grow up to 18 m thick. Set against the sheer red cliffs of the Savanna scree it was a stunning setting.

Onto lunch of barbecued barramundi at the El Questro station before driving for another thirty minutes to arrive at the jetty on the river through the Chamberlain Gorge. We boarded a flat bottomed boat for a gentle ride along through the gorge, about an hour and three quarters. The boat had to stop after that and turn round as a rock fall had blocked the river. But we paused here for a while to drink champagne and eat a selection of fresh fruits floating on very placid waters with the occasional rock wallaby raising it's head.
To our surprise, the ranger gave us each a cup of fish pellets. Each of these pellets we had to hold at chest height over the side of the boat. Talk about a rugby scrum. Obviously this had been done before!! Dozens of fish appeared from nowhere, all sizes, shapes, barramundi and catfish. And also the six inch stripy archers fish. These came to the surface in droves trying to push the others out of the way, pursing their lips and suddenly spitting you in the face to say, ' Drop that pellet now, I am ready',' which of course you did as you got a face full of water ......then satisfied, they disappeared only for another to take it's place.
Great hilarity and entertainment...

We got home from a very good but long day at 7 o clock....