Hitchhiking Australia Part 2 – Karijini, Broome and Windjana Gorge

Scotty and Tim were spearfishing and camping in Cape Range National Park. They take me from Exmouth to Nanutarra road house. I try to find a driver going to Karinjini National Park with no success.

Scotty and Tim with spearguns

Boys are working next day in Newman. I decide to travel with them to Port Hedland. A whole day of travel, but company is fun and entertaining, it’s an easy decision.

On the way to Port Hedland

We observe passing by sandstorm. I try to find couchsurfing host in Port Hedland, but fail. I find a quite spot and set my tent. A kebab from a mobile catering van cheers me up.

Scotty and Tim pick me up early. We visit McDonald’s for breakfast. Boys have a present for me, a fly net. I just need a hat and I’m set. I notice a book in the car, I read the first chapter.

“The Subtle Art of not giving a Fuck” is a good read. I think about my life, my expectations and dreams. I come to realisation. I experience travel in similar way to people enjoying food. It’s the first bite that is the most tasty. It is why I don’t stay long in one place. There are so many amazing spots and I would like to experience a tiny bit of all.

We all have our desires. We want to fulfil our dreams and complete certain objectives. It might be a fancy car, a big family, successful career or an unique experience. Whenever we pursue or reach our objective determines our happiness. The goal is to choose what you should give a fuck about. Fancy car will have a new model. Your kids will have their own dreams. Money is just a tool and the most meaningful moment of your life will not appear magically in a week, a year or 10. It’s here, right now, this minute.

Look at your surroundings, touch them, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Don’t concentrate on a single problem, but let your thoughts jump in and out. You will see a friend you haven’t spoken to for a way too long and a moment from your past that matters. Why is this person, a place or emotion important to you? Why should you care about them? Try to examine your feelings and answer these questions. It might change your mindset, make you laugh or cry. I’m going off track here, back on the road.

Tim and Scotty drop me at services close to Karijini. I don’t wait long. Hamish is in charge of land conservation in the area. He drops me at Karijini’s visitor centre. I pick up free maps, gather info and buy a hat for $20. A lack of rain and a constant heat increased number of flies.

My new fancy hat and fly net

I catch a lift to Dales Campground and set my tent at Dingo’s loop. Don and Robyn are volunteers who help rangers in the area. They give me some clues about the most efficient way to explore the area.

My tent at Dales Campground

I start to walk above and through Dales Gorge to Circular Pool. The pool is surrounded by high walls. It’s a dry season so no waterfall. The water is freezing cold, but I enjoy the experience. Rays of the sun above, the colour of water and rocks, birds and frogs around. It’s quite special.

Dales Gorge from above

Circular Pool

I backtrack and follow the stream down the gorge. The temperature is lower here. I find trees and spot dragonflies. Numerous people are sunbathing and chilling on top of rocks, close to Fortescue Falls.

Dales Gorge

Fortescue Falls

Fern Pool is lightened by sun. I swim and relax. Shannon and Cynthia pick me up back in Cape Range National Park. The road to Weano and Hancock supposed to open next morning. We arrange to sightsee together.

Fern Pool

Girls pick me up with their 4WD car. You need it to explore Weano area. We walk down Hancock Gorge through Spider Walk to Kermit Falls. It is steep, wet and narrow. You can walk in the water and swim or use narrow walls to climb through. We mix it up and enjoy the walk.

Hancock Gorge

The gorge is beautiful with its colours, rock structures and light shining through. It is an incredible experience.

With Shannon and Cynthia

Shannon is on her second year working holiday visa. She bought a car and looked for company online. Cynthia came to Australia on a tourist visa. Once she will finish her trip to Darwin, she hopes to travel the East Coast.

We walk down Weano Gorge. There are many slippery stones and rocks. Handrail Pool requires you to swim. I leave my camera with Cynthia and continue the last bit with Shannon.

Handrail Pool

Within seconds, I slip and land on my ass. I hear girls laugh. Both Weano and Hancock are the highlights of Karijini National Park. I love it.

Weano Gorge

Girls offer me lift to Port Headland. I try to organise us a couchsurfing host, but fail. We camp, share stories and bond. Girls teach me to play dice game called Yahtzee. Stars shine brightly.

We continue to Broome, backpackers mecca in Western Australia. I see many road trains in the area. A lorry with few trailers overtakes another road train… scary! Each vehicle is over 30 metres long and the road isn’t exactly straight.

Girls are excited about 80 Miles Beach. We drive several kilometres through sand. The horizon is clear. It’s a nostalgic, beautiful scenery. I run, scream and chase seagulls away. We take many pictures.

80 Miles Beach

150 km before Broome we turn towards Port Smith. No one mentioned this place to me. I would never seen it without Cynthia and Shannon. Mangrove trees, clear water and sky.

Mangrove trees

We arrive to Broome late afternoon. I see ibis scavenging for food. Fish and chips, while watching the sunset on Cable Beach. People with dogs and sound of guitar in the background.

Fish and chips at Cable Beach

Cable Beach sunset

Lester is a mango plantator, he enjoys quiet life outside Broome.

Crocodiles in the area are 5 metres long, hide well in shallow water, run quick on land and can climb trees.

Crushed termite mounds produce clay, which makes the surface of a tennis court more resistant.

Termite mounds

The road was widened and cattle is visible from a longer distance. There were numerous car accidents in the past caused by cows on the road. Government employees in the region are not allowed to travel after 5 pm.

Last time the area was flooded a year ago. A couple of bridges were completely washed away. Government organised air drops. It took several weeks for the area to clear. Bridges were rebuilt.

I see boab trees along the way. They produce big nuts, which Aborigines people use to craft art pieces. They can be pretty spectacular.

Boab tree

Derby’s population declined from 7000 to 3000 people over a couple of years. Local mines were closed and immigrants from a detention centre were relocated to other places. Only empty facilities remain. I collect info from visitor centre and continue hitch on the Gibb River Road towards Windjana Gorge National Park.

Kate is a cook on a cattle station, that has 1000 km square. She came here from Victoria for the season.

It’s already 3pm and I’m 80 km away from Windjana Gorge. I see 2 cars until sunset. Wallabies cross the road.

Sunset on the road

I watch the sunrise ready to go. I stop a driver and ask for spare water. I offer to pay, but he just waves his hand and wishes me luck.

Sunrise on the road

Max from Perth aims to conquer Gibb River Road. It’s mostly gravel and you need good 4WD. Sun shines through bush, colours and scenery are spectacular. We see eagles feeding on dead wallabies.

20 km left. Few cars stop, but have no space for me. Other ignore me. I spend hours updating notes for my blog. It is too hot to walk. There is an eagle circling above, looking for a prey. Is it looking at me? I wave my hand.

Bill is a teacher in Sydney and Pam is already retired. They finished exploring the Gibb River Road, they mention shredded tire and many beautiful places along the way. I have different plans. I refill my water bottle and hike Windjana Gorge.

Windjana Gorge

Imprint of fossil

Sweet water crocodiles are close to the shore. I’m not brave or stupid enough to approach them. Their prey is fish, but there might be a fussy one.

Sweet water crocodiles

The gorge is wide and long. The level of water is low and the walk is rather boring. I see birds feeding on bugs found in the roots of a tree.

Intermediate Egret

I’m disappointed with Windjana Gorge. I try to hitch for 2 hours with no success. During sunset Windjana Gorge rock formations look spectacular. Now I’m happy that, I’m stuck here.

Windjana National Park sunset

I discover a massive snake, most likely python. It’s looking right at me, I don’t stay long.

Massive Python

I inform people in the campsite about the snake, take hot shower and go to sleep.

A)Exmouth B)Port Hedland C)Karijini National Park D)Broome E)Derby F)Windjana National Park

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