This is a slight diversion from the Kimberley! I took this shot yesterday of 3 Southern Right Whales in Geographe Bay just off Castle Rock. I was up on top of the rock and waited for them to come past. As they went past Dad got a bit frisky and turned and fronted Mum, then span around. They locked flippers (I guess the whale equivalent of walking arm in arm!). The calf got caught between them and here you can see the calf’s tale in the air as it tries to get out.
I am not an expert on whales, but these seem to fit the descriptions of Southern Right whales – they are very large (the mother is around 50 foot long – 15m). One characteristic of the SRW is that their blow is V shaped and these whales exhibited that characteristic. According to Wikipedia there are only around 1500 of these along the southern coast of Australia.
From the Gibb River Station we returned along the Gibb River Road to Mt Barnett (overnight) and then down the road past Imintji, and to the turn off to Windjana Gorge. We travelled down this road towards Fitzroy Crossing. The road travells along and through the Devonian Reef – a range of hills that are actually part of an ancient Barrier reef. The land has been uplifted and now the reef is an interesting formation hundreds of kilometres long. One formation that is especially interesting is Tunnel Creek – a stream flows through a tunnel through the hills – you can walk through it. Just outside is a large slab of rock that has many fossils showing – mostly small stingrays. They are around 300 million years old.
The tunnel itself is dark and at various places you need to wade through water knee deep. There are many tours going through and the tours give all participants a LED torch. This image shows the lights of a tour group returning. This was a 30 second exposure and in the full size version you can just make out the images of the people – I assume they stopped to listen to the guide briefly and left a faint impression.
This was as far along the Gibb River Road we went and is about halfway between Derby and Wyndham. The pastoral lease is owned by the Ngallagunda Community. We called in here and met the locals – they told interesting stories. These are images of the original homestead which date back to the 1920’s. Although it is not heritage listed I understand there is interest in the community in restoring these buildings, both to attract tourists, and because many of them had a long association with the homestead (having either lived or worked in the homestead). I hope they succeed because these buildings are associated with the very early days of pastoralism in the Kimberleys. These buildings show just how hard life must have been here then. The original owners (Fred Russ and his wife) lived here until the 1960’s when they built their dream house nearby. Unfortunately their health deteriorated and they had to move to town (perhaps Kununurra) two years later. White ants have got into this new house and it is now unsafe to enter.
The homestead consisted of a number of buildings including a radio room, a meat store and a kitchen.
How would this be in your backyard? After a long hot walk to get to the waterfalls at Manning Gorge, a long cool swim is very welcome. Fortunately no crocodiles are here.
This pool is just below the waterfalL (you can see the waterfall on the far right). It must be impressive to see this river at the end of the wet season. It was a long hot walk to get to this point and we enjoyed a swim under the waterfall just after this photo was taken.
This is a popular gorge just off the Gibb River Road (about a 1km walk in) and a few km Derby side of Mt Barnett (Kupengari). We went there at sunset, but the sun sets behind the walls of the gorge and sunset was just a faint glow.
Manning Gorge is about 5k off the Gibb River Road and well worth the visit. This pool is next to the camping ground, but if you like you can take the 1 1/2 hour hike to the waterfall (pictures still to come!). I am now back in the south and as I post this I am looking outside at hail and rain – certainly different from the 38 degree warmth of the Kimberley.
I have been travelling the Gibb River Road in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia recently. The lack of posts to this website reflects the fact that I have been in an area with no Internet Access, no mobile phone access, nothing. (Approximately the road travels from Derby to Wyndham and is only open during the “dry” season”.
This road is rightly regarded as one of the “must do” trips for those wanting to explore the remote parts of Australia – gravel roads, remote cattle stations, gorges, you name it this road has it. My reason for travelling this road has been to investigate setting up Internet Access for the communities along the first 300 km of this road (measured from the Derby end).
For a while I will be posting photos from this trip – ranging from sunsets, gorges, ruins, snakes, crocodiles, more gorges, waterfalls, Jabirus, eagles, ranges, fossils, rivers, well you get the idea.
Here is the Derby Jetty. The tidal range at Derby can be over 10m, hence the long piles in the jetty. Sunset can be glorious although at this time of the year don’t count on clouds – I haven’t seen a cloud in a week. There is a great restaurant at the base of the jetty and they serve a mean barramundi.
Anyone in Derby should visit the Mowanjum Art Centre – about 5km along the Gibb River Road. The art at this centre is superb, and you can get Internet access – a by product of the system we have installed in the community.
On the way back from the wheat belt I drove along the Indian Ocean Drive and went past Cervantes. I called in to the Pinnacles and stayed until well after the sun set below the horizon. The moon had risen in the east by that time and although there were no clouds to make a classic sunset, the red glow in the sky made up for it.
No not a Tardis Truck! Tardun is an abandoned railway town on the Mingenew to Mullewa line. All that is left of Tardun are the buildings behind the truck and an old hall about 500m away. I didn’t bother taking shots of the buildings as there was a lot of broken asbestos in them, and the buildings didn’t look structurally safe.
I have no idea what sort of truck this is as all identifying marks have long since gone. This image was taken at sunrise. I bracketed a series of shots, picked an underexposed shot in which the sky wasn’t blown out, and then recovered the shadows in Lightroom.
A few days ago I posted a stitched panorama of a sunrise taken in the middle of a lake. This shot had the reflection of the sunrise in the water and it was a magical moment being there taking the photo. However downscaling a massive file down to web resolution loses a lot of detail and much of the impact of the image. I often see this with web images when the photographer makes comments such as “the detail in this photo is amazing!”, but of course only the photographer can see that at web resolution.
This photo was similar. It also lent itself to cropping to create new images. With images sizes from 20,000 to 30,000 pixels across, there are many ways the image can be cropped. Here are a couple – the first is a crop down to about one quarter the size of the original, and the second is a further crop of the first.
Of course when the original is printed at a large size, all these “mini” images in the original can be seen! Just a reminder – these are all straight out of the camera – the only processing is to stitch and crop – there has been no dodging and burning, no playing with saturation, vibrance etc.
Here is the scene – the lake bottom is full of black sticky mud – I walked out as far as I could until my boots got stuck. At this point the light show was nearly over.
I came across these flowers on my recent trip – it is obvious where they got their name from. However I saw them described in one Visitors Centre as “Reef Flowers” – I suspect the staff had misheard. These seem to be relatively rare and often found next to new roadworks where the seeds have been spread with the gravel. In this case the flowers were next to a road built for a mining project between Wubin and Paynes Find.
The yellow flowers in the second image have nothing to do with the Wreath Flowers – they were just sharing the same piece of gravel.
This image is typical of the West Australian Wildflower scenery – masses of everlastings – pink, white, yellow.This image was taken at Wubin Rocks, just north of Wubin. Wubin has had a below average rainfall this winter and scenes like this were hard to find this far inland.
This image was taken at the same lakes I took the sunrise image that I posted 2 days ago. This was taken later the same morning.
As I went on a trip to photograph wildflowers, it is appropriate I post some wildflower photos. For anyone contemplating a similar trip, I recommend the coastal areas – apparently inland they have not had enough rain, and the wildflowers are relatively scarce. Places to visit are the Chapman Valley, Mullewa, Coalseam National Park, Tardun. Ring the local Tourist Bureaus to get the best information. This photo was taken on the Wubin to Paynes Find road – from about 30-60km out of Paynes Find seems to be the best place.