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Archive for the ‘Kimberley Mum’ Category

gibb river road, home valley station

Pentecost River - Photo kindly borrowed from Home Valley Station Website

For many travellers the mention of the “Gibb River Road” conjures up a daunting, dusty, rough, wilderness experience.  However, the first part of the Gibb from the Kununurra/Wyndham end is almost 2wd due to the amount of road works undertaken over the past few years.  Dusty, but not daunting, there are a number of great places to visit within 2 hours of town which makes it a perfect weekend or even day trip for a family based out of Kununurra.

home valley station, gibb river road, kununurra, wa, the Kimberley

About 2 hour’s drive down the Gibb and over the Pentecost River (yes – you will need a 4wd for this bit!) is the recently established Home Valley Station (recent being approximately four years ago).  This is luxury camping at its best, with a choice of grassy powered or unpowered sites, eco safari tents, motel rooms or the complete opulence of private “Grass Castles” (check out their website for photos and more information).  There is a pool and licenced restaurant which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  But for families with young children, the best thing about Home Valley is the massive playground.  Now fully shaded, this is a kid mecca and if you have early risers, you may as well get a camping spot as close to the playground as you can, because it is filled with kids from dawn to dusk.  Conversely, if you like to sleep past dawn, camp as far away as possible to avoid the noise!!

Dusty's Bar and Grill - image kindly borrowed from Home Valley Station website

Grass Castle Accommodation - Kindly borrowed from the Home Valley Station Website

There are plenty of organised activities offered by the Station including trail rides of varying duration.  Whilst we haven’t taken up this option ourselves, the kids have been mesmerised watching others take to the saddle.  We have explored nearby gorges and tracks leading to the Pentecost River.  There is also an alternative campground very close to the River for those who wish to launch a boat and try their luck catching a barra, but my personal fear of very large, man-eating reptiles keeps us camped next to the luxury of the swimming pool.

Gorge Tours - Image kindly borrowed from the Home Valley Station Website

Our last trip to Home Valley was a couple of years ago on our return from the Mitchell Plateau.  We arrived into camp just on dusk, and booked my parents into a motel room.  This was great as it meant we could leave the kids with them while we set up the camper trailer, all had showers in the private luxury of their ensuite rather than tramping to and from the communal ablutions, and then we all had a sumptuous meal in the restaurant.  Luxury!

After a rough full day bumping along the Gibb, Home Valley can be an oasis and is highly recommended for families with children of all ages.  And for those who fell in love with the scenery from the move Australia, this is the place to go.  Sunset from a nearby ridge, watching the colours intensify on the Cockburn Range, is simply breathtaking.  Home Valley showcases the best the East Kimberley has to offer.

Pentecost Ranges on sunset - Kindly borrowed from the Home Valley Station Website

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Kimberley, elquestro, outback, gibb river road

Pre children, our idea of camping was to pack the double swag and mozzie dome and head off to somewhere promising great fishing. These days, it’s rather more luxurious with the fully decked out camper trailer complete with queen sized bed, fold out kitchen, sink and running water. The camper was ‘slightly’ more expensive than the mozzie dome, but it’s been worth every cent to experience the wonders of the Kimberley with kids in tow.

One of the local destinations we keep heading back to is El Questro. With an exotic name, this amazing location can cater for the rich and famous with an abundance of cash, who might lap up the luxuries of “The Homestead”. It can also provide a relaxing break for families less lucky with money, who choose camping as an affordable adventure! As far as Kimberley holiday destinations go, El Questro Station is one of the best.

Located along the Gibb River Road (which now has so many sections of bitumen), El Q is about an hour’s drive from Kununurra. It has a range of accommodation options including private riverbank camp sites, the large communal campground and chalets. 4×4 is recommended to negotiate a couple of creek crossings on the drive in. There is a restaurant and bar, and the Saturday night buffet BBQ is a must if you stay on a weekend. A little pricey but worth it – we’ve managed to strike a good chef each time we’ve been.

The private river camp sites are great if you are equipped for self-contained camping (and if desperate you can drive back to the main campground for ablutions). The cattle wandering freely around the main campground add a novel dimension, but be wary as our dog was charged by some cattle last visit and the kids were very close by. A bit too close to nature for our liking!

elquestro station, kimberley travel, kununurra, gibb river road

Elquestro Station Camping Spot

Take your bathers as a visit to Zebedee Springs is a must. It’s a very easy walk and the littlies will love it but the earlier the better to avoid the crowds. There are numerous Gorge walks which aren’t as kid friendly as Zebedee’s unless the kids are small enough to carry in a pack or big enough to negotiate rough terrain. El Questro Gorge is absolutely stunning but the full walk requires a fair level of fitness, some climbing ability and a plunge into the water half way along – but even to go to the half-way point is worth it.

Elquesto gorge, elquestro station, kununurra, kimberley

A trek into Elquesto Gorge

elquestro gorge, elquestro, kimberley, kununurra, gibb river road

There are helicopter flights, cruises on Chamberlain Gorge and loads of other activities – it really is a tourist mecca. They put on a good dawn service for ANZAC day, complete with Stockman on horseback and dubious sherry. It really depends on your taste and budget as to how much or how little you want to do. There’s always the option of just relaxing and lapping up the sounds of nature (corellas at dawn, kids arguing, cattle calling, kids complaining they are hungry, braying donkeys, the baby screaming, cicadas chirping, the kids complaining of boredom . . . )!

Kimberley, outback australia, gibb river

Note from the Editor: Thank you Kimberely Mum – this is a fabulous round up of a truly unique and beautiful location…worth coming all the way to the Kimberley to visit!!

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Travelling the Kimberley, Kununurra, WA

A trip to Kununurra would never be complete without a drive out to Lake Argyle. The 70km drive out is spectacular (even with Patsy Biscoe blasting all the way) and once you reach the ‘Village’ you’ll discover one of the most picturesque camping spots around. To date we haven’t managed to camp there ourselves, as we are usually day-tripping with various rellies who’ve come to stay. However, friends who have stayed at the Village rave about the kid friendliness of the place, and particularly the new ‘Infinity Pool’ (picture Elle Macpherson poised on a pool ledge with just the ocean in the background and you get the idea of what an Infinity Pool is).

Kununurra, WA, Lake Argyle

Lake Argyle - spectacular new infinity pool on the hilltop overlooking Lake Argyle

Past the Village you can drive to lookout points which will have you and the kids gasping at the awesome amount of water in the Lake. But the best is yet to come, as you get to drive over the dam wall itself, and then down to a grassed, shaded picnic area with ample parking, benches, toilets and grass. We’ve played many a game of cricket, frisbee and soccer with the kids while having a picnic and lapping up the scenery as the Ord River commences its journey out of the dam and into Lake Kununurra.

Kununurra, WA, Kimberley travel

If you’re lucky enough to own a boat or know someone in town who can fit you onto theirs, a day on the Lake itself is unforgettable and the will kids love it. On most days the lake is millpond calm and extends to the horizon, giving you a feeling on being on a very flat ocean. Find yourself a ‘beach’ on one of the hundreds of islands available and the day will fly past. Our kids love nothing better than swimming, fishing for the biggest catfish, building sandcastles and digging in the mud. The last time we went out for a day on the lake we took a ‘sea biscuit’. At the time I was about 5 months pregnant and our eldest was only 4 but was desperate for a ride behind the boat. So with little elegance or grace, I managed to haul myself into the biscuit, jam the 4yo on top and away we went. It was certainly not the most comfortable ride but highly amusing to our friends watching, with my head at one end and my lily white legs flopping out the other!

If you manage to get to Lake Argyle, whatever you do – don’t forget your camera. It is a landscape photographer’s dream, especially towards sunset when the red rocks glow with an unnatural light and the expanse of endless blue sky reflects in the millpond waters. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this special piece of paradise, just one of our Kimberley treats!

Kununurra, Kimberley Travel

Kindly taken from the Lake Argyle website.

Note from Editor – for more information on this wonderful Kimberley destination visit the Lake Argyle website..

Interesting facts:
> Lake Argyle is Australia’s second largest artificial lake by volume.
> Lake Argyle is 23 times bigger than the Sydney Harbour
> The lake was named after the property it partly submerged, Argyle Downs.
> The lake is home to 26 species of native fish and an estimated population of 25,000 population freshwater crocodiles.

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We’d love to welcome a new writer to the team, who would prefer to be known as ‘Kimberley Mum’. She hopes to provide you with a little insight into life and travel in the Kimberley – especially for those with children!

A little intro:
Although I was born in Kununurra, I spent most of my childhood in the South West of WA before heading to Perth for uni and subsequently work. In my mid-20’s work presented an opportunity to move to the Kimberley for six months . . . and that was 13 years ago. Love, marriage, three towns and three children later, we have been privileged to see the wonderful Kimberley from West to East. With a love of fishing, boating and camping, there is no better place to live. Yes, it is hot and wet for months at a time, but tourists from across the world will attest to the sublime conditions that the ‘dry’ can bring. For me the hardest part about living in the Kimberley is being away from close family and friends. But being a Mum in a small, remote town has many benefits – primarily an excuse to get out and meet new people who are in the same boat! My time in the Kimberley has provided many adventures, friendships, life lessons and laughs. It is a great place to bring up children with activities galore. Hopefully some of my stories will inspire you to visit and join in!” Kimberley Mum.

The Fertile Waters of the Ord . . .

Kimberley's, Kimberley, Kununurra, Outback Australia, gift shopping, handmade

Whilst Nicole and Keith’s Sunday Rose may be one of the more famous offspring to have been conceived in the wonderful East Kimberley, she is certainly only one of very many as a session at the local kindy gym “Crazy Crocs” can attest. After a highly uneventful post-Christmas period in town, local parents were obviously desperate for an excuse to get the under 5’s out of the house when Crocs started again. The air-conditioned, all weather venue meant a massive turn out for a couple of hours of chaos whilst the littlies burnt up some energy. It was a great opportunity for kids to catch up, parents to chat, and to meet some of the newest town residents who had been born over Christmas/New Year, a period renowned for an influx of new residents!

To say I am sick of ABC Kids would be an understatement, as well as an admission that I have been letting my children watch way too much TV. Interestingly, the state of the house has a direct correlation with the amount of TV that has been watched in the day. House tidy = lots of TV. House a bomb-site = little TV…or perhaps just an accumulation of small amounts of mess over numerous days . . .hhmmmm. But I stop short of labelling myself a ‘poor quality parent’ by reminding myself of everything we usually get involved with for the other 10 months of the year. And really, how much craft, play dough and baking can one do for two months without losing your mind??

Arial shot of Kununurra kindly borrowed from Grey Albatross' Flickr Photostream.

Kununurra is a fantastic place to live if you have young children, with a daily offering of activities available for the under-5’s (excluding Christmas/January of course)! So even though it is still hot and wet and we are all suffering from Cabin Fever, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Our town is coming out of its post-Christmas slumber and will soon be a hectic place for our children to once again indulge in stimulating, non-TV activities, including the many outback adventures on offer right on our Kimberley doorstep!!

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