And so on to Kununurra, where we are to meet up with Celeste and Lesley for a couple of days exploring some of the local attractions.
Our usual early start. We had noticed the dull red glow of a bushfire nearby during the night. Sure enough as we headed west, we soon entered a pall of smoke as we passed by yet another burn off. It would appear that half the countryside is either in the process of being burnt off, or has been recently burnt. These appear to be 'managed' fires, with the intent of burning off the old dry dead grass in preparation for the coming wet season and regrowth.
Again the scenery is more varied and we pass through a number of spectacular ranges, where the rock is exposed and towers over the surrounding savannah. Amazing hues of red and orange, and exposed strata that extend for many kilometres.
A brief stop for morning coffee at a roadside rest area near another amazing range of mountains. Entering WA from the NT you are warned to dispose of all fresh produce, so we finish off the last of our fruit.
On to the border and the quarantine checkpoint, where we are waved through with a cursory glance. Yet another rocky landscape greats us as we cover the last 50 km into Kununurra.
Forgetting the change in time zones, we arrive to early at the pre-booked accommodation we are to share with Celeste & Lesley when they turn up. 1.5 hours time difference. We think its almost lunch time, but here in Kununurra its still early morning. So we kill time by visiting the Kununurra shopping precinct, and collecting some mail from the Post Office. We have a sandwich and the worlds worst coffee at a local cafe, before getting a call from our accommodation to advise that our apartment is ready. A brief reconnoitre of the supermarket confirms that we are in relatively civilised surroundings and should be able to survive.
Marco has a run in with the local bottle-shop manager when he tries to enter the shop and discovers the doors are locked. When he gives the doors a good rattle, the manager opens them and scolds Marco saying “It's not 12 o'clock yet – can't you read the sign?” (Apparently in this part of the world, you can't purchase alcohol before 12 noon.) Marco responds by saying “We're from New Zealand!”
We head back to the apartment and the promise of a swim in the pool. A text from Celeste tells us that despite a puncture, they are on their way. We dump our gear in the apartment and hit the pool. Bliss!
Tomorrow – we will head up to El Questro station to visit one of the many gorges that offer an oasis in the otherwise blasted landscape that is the Kimberley.