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Day 88 - Wednesday 1 August 2012

Kununurra - El Questro Tour

We were up at 5:45 am this morning so as to be ready for a 7:00 am pick up at the entrance to the Caravan Park for our day tour to the El Questro Resort. By the time that we had done the rounds of the caravans and resort hotels we had a near bus full and were finally on our way by about 7:30 am. Our route took us west from Kununurra to the Great Northern Highway where we turned right towards Wyndham until we got to the Gibb River Road. After about 40 kms on the Gibb River Road we turned left and travelled about 16 kms to the El Questro Resort. Major roadworks are being undertaken to re-align and seal the Gibb River Road as far as El Questro.

Waiting for our bus at the entrance to the caravan park

Waiting for our bus at the entrance to the caravan park

View from the Gibb River Road - but what about those corrugations?

View from the Gibb River Road - but what about those corrugations?

View from the Gibb River Road

View from the Gibb River Road

Road works on the Gibb River Road

Road works on the Gibb River Road

Our first stop was at Emma's Gorge Resort for a walk into Emma's Falls - about 2 kms each way over very rocky terrain which took about an hour each way. When we got there some of our party were enticed into the water - but it did not meet the warmth test for a couple of Tasmanians. At the head of the Gorge there was a sixty metre waterfall with water for a change. It was quite cool in the gorge with a rain forest feel and lots of ferns. After our walk we were treated to Fruit platters, cold drinks, tea or coffee and cake at the Resort - very nice!

While we were at Emma Gorge we got talking to another couple from Tasmania - Graham and Rosemary Sargison - friends of Jim Laver and Owen Carington Smith. Graham remembered David from Forestry Tasmania where he worked as a Forester prior to his retirement a couple of years ago. David was in charge of the external audit at Forestry Tasmania for many years before his retirement 5 years ago.

Emma Gorge walk - very rocky

Emma Gorge walk - very rocky

Emma Gorge - many rock pools

Emma Gorge - many rock pools

Emma gorge cliffs

Emma gorge cliffs

More cliffs in Emma Gorge

More cliffs in Emma Gorge

The Kimberly Rose - looks more like a dead tree

The Kimberly Rose - looks more like a dead tree

More cliffs in Emma Gorge

More cliffs in Emma Gorge

Change of flora - almost temperate

Change of flora - almost temperate

Another rock pool in Emma Gorge

Another rock pool in Emma Gorge

Torquoise Pool in Emma Gorge

Torquoise Pool in Emma Gorge

Water Monitor enjoying the sun

Water Monitor enjoying the sun

The Emma Gorge Falls

The Emma Gorge Falls

Di resting at the falls

Di resting at the falls

Another walker with a friend

Another walker with a friend

After our morning tea it was back on the bus to be taken a short distance to Zebedee Springs where the water temperature is always between 28 and 32 degrees. Di and David both ventured in the water which flowed through a number of small rock pools where you could sit in the warm water. The springs are shaded with very tall Livistona Palms. After our swim it was back on the bus to take us the the main El Questro Resort for lunch at the Steak House Restaurant. Beef and Barra with chips and salad - very nice!

Our tour bus

Our tour bus

Palms at Zebedee Springs

Palms at Zebedee Springs

Rock pools at Zebedee Springs

Rock pools at Zebedee Springs

More rock pools at Zebedee Springs

More rock pools at Zebedee Springs

Livinstona Palms at Zebedee Springs

Livinstona Palms at Zebedee Springs

King River water crossing on the way to El Questro

King River water crossing on the way to El Questro

Blue Kookaburra looking for lunch at the Steak House Restaurant

Blue Kookaburra looking for lunch at the Steak House Restaurant

After our lunch we were herded back onto the bus for a cruise up the Chamberlain Gorge. At the bottom end of the Gorge just above the Homestead only 2 or 3 mature trees remain after the 2011 flood that washed away nearly all the mature trees and went close to washing the Homestead away as well. The Homestead is used as luxury accommodation for a maximum of 16 people - the going rates vary from $1,939 to $2,639 per couple all included - no children allowed. Our cruise was about 30 minutes each way up and back down the gorge, with a 30 minute stop for fruit and copious amounts of champagne.

Chamberlain's Gorge

Chamberlain's Gorge

Looking back to the El Questro Homestead - only 2 mature trees remain after the 2011 flood

Looking back to the El Questro Homestead - only 2 mature trees remain after the 2011 flood

Reflections in the Gorge

Reflections in the Gorge

More reflections

More reflections

Still more reflections

Still more reflections

On our way up the Gorge our guides talked about the crocodiles and water depth in the Gorge. The Gorge is quite shallow in parts with about 20 fresh water crocodiles and a couple of salt water crocodiles. The rangers use white buoys to mark the rocks that they might hit on the way up the Gorge. The freshwater crocodiles chew the buoys then realise that its no good to eat, however the saltys are annoyed by the buoys and drag them out of the water, so the rangers often have to pick up the buoys and put them back.

Buoys near the rocks

Buoys near the rocks

Our cruise boat

Our cruise boat

Just to prove that we travel together

Just to prove that we travel together

Late afternoon sun

Late afternoon sun

The El questro Homestead from the jetty

The El questro Homestead from the jetty

About 5:30 pm we were loaded back on the bus for the return trip to Kununurra. All was well until we were about 15 kms from Kununurra when an inner back tyre on the bus blew out. It was at this point that we found out that the jack was only just up to the task, and our driver was not much better. The bus fell off the jack once, luckily the tyres had not been completely removed and there was no-one under the bus. At about this point our retired truck driver passenger took over to complete the task. Most of us learnt a thing or too about dual wheeled tyres and the double nuts that keep the wheels on. A Semi-trailer driver stopped to make sure all was well but he was not needed as we had our own trucky. What should have been a 90 minutes trip ended up taking nearly 2 and a half hours.

Posted by TwoAces 06:44

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Hi David and Di,
Your tour report to El Questro was great, we should have done it last year.
Frosty.
(Your Trailblazer twin)
PS: We arrived at Broadwater Tourist Park, Southport yesterday, here until 22nd Sep. Will our paths cross this year?

by snowman3195

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