Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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3 August 2006 - Fitzroy Crossing to Turkey Creek

Location map The Great Northern Highway returned to its usual good quality surface leaving Fitzroy Crossing towards Halls Creek. We were still passing through scrub and grassland of pastoral leases with a few grids across the road and cattle occasionally in sight. The road remains in the Fitzroy River valley until reaching Ngumpan Pass where it rises 100 metres up onto the Kimberley plateau south of the far more rugged main ranges in the Kimberley. The main highway has been routed to avoid the mountain ranges to the north and the sandy desert to the south but the area is officially classified as semi-arid so travellers must carry their own water. Grassland became more common on the slightly higher ground to Halls Creek. Burnt out areas were frequent; sometimes the grass had time to grow again, in other places the fire was so recent that everything was still black. Clumps of burnt spinifex had left black or grey ash circles of different sizes in an unusual pattern. Everything above ground on a spinifex plant was burnt so any regeneration must be from below-ground roots. Traffic going in the oppposite direction was moderately heavy at first, mostly caravans, motorhomes and campervans. The number of trucks and road trains has decreased since we left Broome and those we passed were carrying petroleum products or cattle.

Woodland beside the Great Northern Road about 10 kilometres east of Ngumban cliff. This point is about 15 kilometres east of the Cadjebut mine marked on the map below.
Termite mounds and grasses about 10 kilometres east of Ngumban cliff.
We stopped in Halls Creek for petrol at the Coles Express service station which really wasn't organised well enough, or big enough, for the number of motorhomes and cars towing caravans getting fuel. Petrol stations have to provide unleaded and premium unleaded petrol as well as autogas and diesel and several bowsers are needed with a lot of space for motorhomes and caravans to queue while waiting for their turn at a bowser. Halls Creek is probably our least favourite place in Australia; we stayed there once and now refuse to use the run-down, decaying caravan park where signs warn travellers to lock everything away at night.

After Halls Creek the road turns north towards the coast but remains at about 400 metres elevation for a while before beginning a gradual descent towards the coast. Once the road enters river valleys the scenery changes to red rock and green spinifex and the road turned frequently. We stopped for the night at Turkey Creek roadhouse (elevation 260 metres) which didn't have a formally organised caravan park but fitted vans into odd corners with wierd electrical power arrangements. The amenities block was very basic and Mary refused to use the showers which lacked privacy. Turkey Creek Roadhouse is the headquarters for ground tours and helicopter flights into and over the Bungle Bungles (in Purnululu National Park).

Ridge overlooking Turkey Creek.
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