4 August 2006 - Turkey Creek to Kununurra |
We were up and away from Turkey Creek in the morning heading north to Kununurra. The road surface was good but the route had quite a few bends as the road made its way towards the coast along the broad valley of the Ord River and across subsidiary streams; the road crossed the Ord River and several substantial tributaries. The scenery was now dominated by red rocks, red mountains and red cliffs. Vegetation was open timber, with grass and spinifex and a number of kapok trees; these are spindly trees up to three metres high which lose their leaves but retain large yellow flowers. Many bridges were a single lane wide with a few metres clearance above the water (or more often dry creek bed). We came onto a flooded ford at one stream and had to negotiate a wide pool of water about 20 cm deep across the road.
||Typical red rocks and hilly terrain south of Kununurra. Kapok trees with yellow flowers and no remaining
foliage are growing among the rocks.|
||Turkey Bush provides a fairly frequent splash of colour during the Dry Season in the open woodland
(see - Turkey Bush).
||Cockroach bush is one of the more unusual plants growing beside the road.|
The bridge across the Dunham River (a tributary of the Ord) is a single lane low-level structure being replaced by a new higher level bridge. At first sight it was strange to see an existing bridge being replaced while nearby there was a ford covered by water during the dry season but the bridge on the Dunham River being replaced was flooded during the last wet-season and cut the road from Kununurra to Perth so the melon crop from the Ord Scheme could not get to market. At the same time the road east of Kununurra was cut at Victoria River for four weeks when 400 tonnes of grapefruit was waiting to go to Woolworths in Sydney and Melbourne. And there are no other sealed roads to/from Kununurra. Major Kimberley industries (pastoralism and tourism) have adapted to the seasonal cycle of flooding and isolation but horticulture in the Ord Scheme around Kununurra relies on timely access to markets when crops are ready to sell and cannot accept the seasonal cycle. So now reliable all-weather road access in the Kimberley has become essential.
Kununurra has an excellent system of signage to caravan parks so we followed the signs to the Town Caravan Park and checked in. This
park is five minutes walk from the shopping centre so we can walk to the shopping centre and can leave the Territory at the