More Broome

Last few days for Mairead in Broome before she heads back home to Ireland. Great having you with us for the last 2,609 Kilometres . Safe trip home and Bebo (local aboriginal word for ‘until the next time’). Sampled the golf club in Broome – lovely course next to the ocean, very green despite the heat.

Broome

Broome is a pearling and tourist town 2,200 km (1,400 mi) north of Perth. The permanent population is estimated at 14,436, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season.

The town has an interesting history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880’s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheaply, and the town’s Japanese cemetery is the resting place of 919 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry. Many more were lost at sea, and the exact number of deaths is unknown.

Broome was attacked at least four times by Japanese aircraft during the Second World War, and the worst attack was the 3 March 1942 air raid in which at least 88 people (mostly civilians) were killed.

In 1889 a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Singapore, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach was given to the landfall site. It is situated 7 km (4.3 mi) from town along a bitumen road. The beach itself is 22.5 km (14.0 mi) long with white sand, washed by tides that can reach over 9 m (30 ft). Four wheel drive vehicles may be driven onto the beach from the car park. This allows people to explore the beach at low tide to a much greater extent than would be possible on foot. Sunset camel rides operate daily along the beach.

Mairead takes a day trip out to the Horizontal Waterfalls and to Cape Leveque.

Fitzroy Crossing And Geike Gorge

2 nights at Fitzroy Crossing gives us the chance to take a boat trip along the stunning Geikie Gorge, in its own National Park. The gorge was named in honour of Sir Archibald Geikie, the Director General of Geological Survey for Great Britain and Ireland when it was given its European name in 1883. Sir Archibald never visited the gorge and in due course the traditional owners, the Bunuba people, hope that it will be more generally known by its Aboriginal name, Darngku.

The gorge has been formed by the Fitzroy River and the level of the river in the wet season can rise by up to 16.5 metres (54 ft). The flood level can be clearly seen on the walls where the abrasive action of the floodwaters on the limestone has scoured the surface white. The limestone was originally a reef formed not by corals but by algae and lime secreting organisms that are now extinct. The river water sustains an abundance of life including barramundi, sawfish and freshwater crocodiles all of which can be found in the gorge.

The Bungle Bungles

The Bungle Bungles Range is one of the highlights of the trip so far. It has presented a problem – how to refrain from adding 350 photographs to the blog !! It was a challenging drive into the Range involving over 250 Kms of rough tracks with many creek and river crossings. But it was more than worth it.

The Bungle Bungle Range is the landform that is the major component of the Purnululu National Park in Western Australia.

The distinctive beehive-shaped towers are made up of sandstones and conglomerates (rocks composed mainly of pebbles and boulders and cemented together by finer material). These sedimentary formations were deposited into the Ord Basin 375 to 350 million years ago, when active faults were altering the landscape. The combined effects of wind from the Tanami Desert and rainfall over millions of years shaped the domes. Weathering also helped create this marvel. Water seeps into the rock, and at night it expands as it gets colder. This creates small cracks which eventually wears out the rocks.

Mirima National Park

Last day in Kununurra and its off to the Mirima National Park or Hidden Valley as it is known locally. Unusual sandstone formations dominate the park and are often compared to the Bungle Bungles. The area is of great significance to the local indigenous peoples, the Miriuwung, and several examples of rock art can be found within the park.