Through to Broome and then East.

The North of Oz is truely vast and devoid of population. It may seem a bit desert like for half of the year, but there is actually so much water up here the rest of the year that it’s hard to believe there would ever be a drought in Australia. I’m not sure why it’s not piped down south. I’ve heard news that it’s too big a project, but if there’s already an 800km long water pipe line from Kalgorlie to Perth, I can’t see that really being true.

We camped in Broome for a few days. From memory that guy stayed a bit longer and I headed out towards Derby. This retired guy gave me a lift more or less to the Gibb turn off. He was wandering around Australia after his relationship had fallen apart. Like several other people whom I’ve met who’ve had long term relationships end, he was kind of fabricating reality a bit to justify the events of his life. He also was not the most confident of drivers. I actually asked him to stop half way and let me out. He stammered “W..ww..wwhat’s wrong?”

“Mate, you’ve driven into the dust twice in 20minutes and fishtailed down the road on a big wide straight flat road. You didn’t even bat an eyelid. I don’t think you’re capable”

He said he didn’t really have many passenger and wasn’t so good at concentrating and talking at the same time. He said he’d slow down. After that he was fine. It’s probably the only time I’ve actually asked to get out of a vehicle. We stopped at the Willare bridge roadhouse and sat there for an hour and a half drinking coffee and talking.

I’d been to Derby before and so hooked right just before there to go up the Gibb river road. 900km of dirt between Derby and Kunnunarra. Derby is interesting in that it has 9m tides like in the UK. It’s interesting that major natural phemonina exist, but no one ever really talks about them.

I think it totaled 10 lifts to make it up the Gibb and the maximum I waited for a ride was 6 hours. It’s a very unique landscape. Well I’m sure it’s similar at the same latitude in Africa or South America somewhere, but I’ve not seen anything like it since. Strange rock formations with intense colours.

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“Do you think it’s possible to hitch the Gibb River Road?” I asked

“Don’t be stupid, you’ll die out there.”

“That sounds worth the risk.” I replied.

“You’re mad!”

“Better than dying from stress in a job that you don’t really like. Who’s mad?”

Crazy is not crazy when everyone else is doing the same thing. If crazy is a definition of public opinion, then yes I am crazy. If it’s a definition created by logic, then I am very sane.

Worst case scenario in the NW of Australia. 300km between fuel stations or anything really. If I get dumped exactly half way, that’s a 150km walk. I know that even at a slow walk carrying 30kg on flat ground I can do 20km’ish a day. If I walk at night more. That’s 7.5 days walking at most. I did some more calcs and decided on 13 litres of water and 6 days of food. Chances of the worst case scenario. Not much. The reality. In the whole trip I never used more than 3 litres before a refill point and really only ever needed 2 meals of food on board.

The photos below.

  • A fancy dress party at an X’s house before heading off. Can’t remember what the theme was. Starting in Margaret River
  • The kit.
  • Fremantle port with new cars just landed from Korea or something. May future home several years later. Freo is a very calm peaceful place. It changed a lot between 1999 and 2012 when I left.
  • On the second day I made it to Carnarvon and camped in an avocado plantation. A 2 man tent tends to go unnoticed. You just have to watch out for sprinkler systems when you don’t have the fly on.
  • I can’t remember this dudes name driving. An excavator driver heading up to NT for work. His family were mega wealthy in the UK. This was when I found out what it meant to be a land owner in the UK. For all their wealth, they stuck their son in a boarding school and paid little attention to him. They somehow made everything about money. He told them to stick their wealth and he wants nothing to do with them. Then he moved to Australia and built himself up from nothing. He seemed pretty happy though and had built a bridge (more or less) over the past.
  • The bridge in this photo is somewhere an hour or 2 north of Karratha. It’s at least 10m off the river bottom we were driving on. Apparently the water comes several meters above it in wet season and always washes it out. The land up here is pretty much flat with not more than a couple of hundred meters in altitude I think.

To be continued.