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Australia Counter Clockwise Part 2

Travel TSoderstrom COMMENTS 17 May, 2019

May 15 
Early start again as we had to get to the Adelaide River for our morning cruise on the river with Adelaide River Cruise. Start point is quite remote and if it wasn't for the well marking with signage we would had turned around and thought we done the wrong turn.
Got greeted by Captain Harry and crew Adam who set up the boat for the trip, it was the first for the season. We were only 10 customer so it was plenty of space on the boat, nice small operation.
It didn't take long before the first crocodile was showing up for a morning snack of buffalo meat. The idea is to get the Crocs to jump as far out of the water as possible for some great pictures. The hour tour is not just about just jumping crocodiles, you see a lot of of birds as well on the beautiful river.
This is a must-do if you are in the area of Darwin or Kakadu.

Calm water on Adelaide river
Beautiful morning on Adelaide river.

Brutus 5.5 metre 1000kg monster croc
The famous Brutus, 5.5 metre long, weight approx. 1,000kg and 80-90 years old. The Crocodile of all Crocs.

Brutus have caught a Bull shark
Brutus have manage to catch a Bull shark about 8km up the river from the ocean! Please read the amazing story here.

Jumping crocodile
A young crocodile didn't miss the chance to get a morning snack.

Lunch break in Humpty Doo tavern where part of the movie Crocodile Dundee were filmed.
Manange to get new tyres for the bike on the way into Darwin at Holeshot Yamaha bike shop in Berrimha, great fast service.

The Baby getting new tyres
The Baby getting new shoes (tyres). 

May 16
Another early start to Adelaide river but now by van as we got picked up by Alex and Kelly from Adelaide River Tours who runs full day trips on the river. 
This trip doesn't involve any feeding or jumping of crocodiles but you spend a day on the river with Crocodiles everywhere, amazing Bird life and Wollybies. Forgot to mention the thousand of Fruitbats in the bambo along the river that took off to show a great display when we moved up close. 
Add to this a great BBQ lunch on the riverside (yes, right next to a river full of Saltwater Crocodiles, hmmm).
Cruise up a bit further on the river to check out some more wildlife and finally to get onto the Goat Island, a privatly owned island in the middle of the river where King Kai rules. King Kai is a real character who has 4 rooms for rent on the island who cater for the sportfishing customer on the river that don't want to go back and forth but just stay on the river. Very well stocked beer fridge to make sure the customer don't leave thirsty.
This is another must-do if you are in the area and if you are staying in Darwin it is so easy as they provide transfer. A really great day.  
The evening in Darwin finished off with the outdoor Deck Cinema, quite nice concept but unfortunate so was the movie not up to the same standards, anyway a nice experience.

Nice calm morning on the river
Lovely calm morning on the river.

Sunbathing crocodile
As we moved away from the jumping crocodile area and the sun comes up higher we saw more crocodiles on the river bank sunbathing. They need the increase in temperature to digest their food.

Unusual sighting of a Freshwater crocodile
An unusual sighting of a Freshwater crocodile on the river bank. Don't mix so well with the Saltwater version as they easy become prey due to the smaller size. Note the different size of the mouth.

BBQ on the riverbank full of crocodiles
BBQ lunch just off a river full of crocodiles, hmmmm who come up with this idea. 
Axel and Kelly have a great set-up for the tours including a lovely lunch. Very nice group of customer they got together as well with a mixture of nationalities.

Fruit Bats got scared of their resting place in the bamboo
The bamboo along the river was full of Fruit Bats that got a bit nervous when we got too close.

Goat islands welcome sign
Welcome to Goat Island, where King Kai rules.

May 17
Left Darwin early morning as we were going to try to catch the 14:00 (2pm) tour up the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge 30km outside Katherine. Lovely morning and we did very well, so well so we decide to take a D-tour after we had breakfast and fuel stop in Adelaide River. Got on to road 23 that starts at Adelaide River and comes out on the main A1 just north of Hayes Creek, added approx. 20km to the trip but beautiful bike road and nice scenery too.
Had already booked the Katherine Motel where we stayed on our way up north and told them we need the room early so they were nice to let us check in even before 12noon. Got rid of the luggage in the room, went online and booked the tour and off we went the 30km road to the river where the tours starts. 
Not too much people joined the tour so it was nice, lovely scenery and sure enough we also manage to see a crocodile. Leary coudn't bother to get his phone up even if it was a fully grown Freshwater crocodile laying at the water edge. Think we are Croced-out. The tour was nice and I remember Allan and I did the same tour back in 2011. It's a divided into two boat rides with a little walk between that was nice.
Dinner at the Chinese restaurant at the motel for a change, nice with rice sometimes.

Nitmiluk Gorge (Katherine)
Nice calm afternoon on the river going up the Nitmiluk (Katherine) Gorge.

Waking between the gorges
Lovely walk between the two gorges we visited.

Katherine Gorge
Impressive how water can cut through the rock to form the sheer walls in the Gorge.

May 18
Left Katherine with overcast weather and it was nice as it stayed a bit cooler (by no means cold) for the first couple of hours. As we headed straight west on Victoria Highway the sun was not an issue in the morning. Travel through mostly farmland with Cattles until we hit the Victoria River area where the landscape dramatically changed into long ridges and beautiful scenery.
Had brunch and fuel stop at Victoria River roadhouse in a very nice setting between the ridges.
It got very hot in the middle of the day so we needed a few waterstops on the way to Kununarra where we had a room booked at the Lakeside Resort. Nice place, a bit on the high end of what we normally pay but you get what you pay for and Saturday seems to always be the most expensive day of the week for accommodation. Got the laundry done as we start to run very low on clean clothes. 
Nice bar/dinner area next to the pool, great to wind down with a Pale Ale after the day riding.

Garden of the Lakeside Resort Kununurra
Morning view from our room at Lakeside Resort, Kununurra.

May 19
Started with breakfast for a change as it was included in the room price and then headed to the start/end of the Gibb River Road that we plan to ride next year from Derby, approx. 7,000km of dirtroad.
Back on track towards Halls Creek but needed fuel in Warmun to be sure we would make it all the way. Back in the area where you don't drive pass a roadhouse without filling up water and fuel.
Did the same in Halls Creek as it was the last place for fuel before Fitzroy Crossing, 300km away and our final destination for the day.
The landscape changed a bit after Halls Creek as we getting little bit further away from the mountains of Kimberly. A bit more flat and straight roads but still nice.
Got into Fitzroy Crossing and checked out the three options for accommodation and ended up in Fitzroy River Lodge. Learned something, if you are on a budget, plan your trip to not overnight in Fitzroy Crossing as we ended up paying way over double of what we have paid in other places during the trip for a motel room. There are no cheap options unless you want to put your tent up. Saying that the resort was nice. 

Along Great Northern Highway
The Great Northern Highway (A1) follow the outskirts of Kimberly and offer some spectacular sceneries.

May 20
Easy start as we only had Broome as today's target with all blue sky, not exactly what you want in the heat up in northern WA.
A few Wollybies outside the room feeding on the grass.
It was quite hot from start and you could clearly see we were moving further away from the Kimberly, straight and flat. 
First rest stop at an enormous Boab Tree, probably close to 1500 years old.
Fuel and brunch at the Willare roadhouse, the fuelpumps were a bit runned down and need a bit of maintenance or replacement, took forever to get it going.
A fairly easy ride from the stop into Broome where we went to the Cable Beach for a drink before we went to the hotel to check in. Roadwork everywhere so it took us a few attempt to actually get to the hotel.
After dinner we went to the Sun Picture open air cinema for a 3 hour movie, Avengers Endgame, Leary loved it. 

Leary having a rest under a giant Boub Tree
Having a break under the giant Boub Tree.

Cable Beach at Broome
Cable beach in Broome, lovely place but we were a bit overdressed for the occasion.

May 21
Early start as we had a big day in front of us and it for sure will be a hot day. 
First break at one of the many 24-hours stop places along the road, fully equipt with toilets, water, hotplate, shade and you name it. For me this is quite unique to have places like this out in nowhere for travellers to use for free, quite well maintained as well.
Brunch and fuel in Sandfire roadhouse and now it was hot already, really hot. You need to stop more or less every hour to drink some water. We brought the Camelpack to Perth but could not fit them on as we are two on the bike and no space between or behind us, could have done with them here.
We were aiming for the Whim Creek Hotel and it looked really cool when we got there but a bit quiet as it was closed. Learned later it was damage in a cyclone not long ago.
Off towards Roebourne 82km west but when we got there it looked like a ghostown and the advertised accommodation was not to be found, it least we didn't. Went out to Point Samson where we manage to get a room at Point Samson Resort just as they were closing, now it was getting dark.
Nice quiet place Point Samson, right at the waterfront.
Finished the day with dinner at the Tavern and a couple of cold ones. 
820km, the record of the trip.

Samson Beach Tavern for dinner
Point Samson Beach Tavern, the place to be in the evening as it is the only place in town after sunset.

May 22
Got under way fairly early to get out on the main road and just past Karrata for fuel. Breakfast at Fortescue roadhouse, a small place but got us filled up and it was all what we needed.
Didn't feel as hot as the previous couple of days but you still make sure you stay out of the sun when you stop. Fuel and drinks at the Nanutarra roadhouse, about half way of the days distance. Apart from some water stops the final fill up of fuel was at Minilya bridge roadhouse where we again run into a couple on a sporty looking Harley we have seen since our first stop in the morning. 
Rolled into Carnavon at 16:00 (4pm) and it was significant cooler, very nice. No problem to find the Carnavon Motel that we had pre-booked and in front of us were the Harley couple again. 
Made an issue of making the Happy Hour in the bar at 17:00 (5pm) something we haven't manage or even bother about before. Think we wanted to celebrate we were back on the west coast again and could see the Indian Ocean. Leary found some arcade games to entertain him while I had some beer and supported his racing in the machine. 
Nice dinner in the hotel on Hot Rock, Leary wasn't sure at the first look but got quickly into it.

Leary filling up for the day riding
Leary making sure he won't go hungry until dinner, a roadhouse brunch for big boys.

Leary as a racing driver
Leary having fun with the arcade games.

What am I going to do with this
Leary wonder what to do with the raw meat, didn't take him long to figure it out and it was nothing left.

May 23

Sunrise in Carnavon
Sunrise in Carnavon.

Had a nice breakfast at the motel before we rolled away in no hurry as we only had a short ride. Filled up fuel in Wooramel roadhouse with a break for drink. Turned off the North West Coastal Highway towards Shark Bay and the lovely ride to Monkey Mia.
Checked in at RAC Monkey Mia resort and already when we had a drink at the bar in the afternoon we noticed dolphins cruised by close to the shore. A nice place and it look like it is a lot to do and see in the Shark Bay area. 

Leary relaxing at the Monkey Bar
Relaxing in the afternoon at Monkey Bar watching some dolphins cruising by close to the shore. 

May 24
We got up and out early to check out the very nice sunrise over Shark Bay and to get ready for the dolphin experience, the highlight of the area and the main tourist attraction. 
It's very organised in the morning with everybody assemble at the deck in front of the beach at 07:30 to get the briefing of what is going to happen. Then move down to the beach where you can see the dolphins moving closer to shore. More information is shared before the buckets of fish comes down to the beach and the dolphins get a small snack. Not enough to live of so they still need to go out and catch their own food. This started in the 60's when the fishermen come to shore and started to share a bit of their catch with the dolphins and it soon become a tourist attraction.  
This happen three times in the morning between 07:45 and noon and I think it's smarter to not do the first one as it is a lot of people doing it but many leave after the first feed. Of course this is IF the dolphins are coming back for ther second and third feed. 
Leary and I left to pack up and get ready to leave as we had around 400km to go. Our first target in the morning was Overlander roadhouse for brunch and then fill up fuel at Billabong roadhouse to get some short breaks in along the way. Turned off the main highway about 130km south of Billabong towards Kalbarri, a 60km ride down to the coast. 
Kalbarri is a beautiful little place with a lovely settings at the waterfront in a nice protected bay.
Checked in at Kalbarri Motor Hotel and soon after did Graham arrived with his mate Len from the time up in Port Hedland where both of them were working for years. 
We soon hit the bar and a few stories were exchanged.......

Sun rising over Shark Bay
Sunrise in Monkey Mia.

Leary with an Emy at Monkey Mia resort
We were not the only one up early in the morning.

Line up to watch the dolphin getting fed
Not only humans were waiting to see the dolphins get fed.

Dolphin feeding
The dolphins comes very close to shore to get their little treat in the morning.

May 25
Graham took us around in his car to the main tourist attractions in Kalbarri National Park.
Visited places like the Window and the Z Bend, great gorges and very accessible from the car parks with only a few hundred meters to walk. The numbers of flies made you feel like you were right in the center of Australia.
We turned Australian in the afternoon, got glued in front of the TV in the bar at the hotel for the Footy, Adelaide Crow (Graham and Leary's team) against West Coast Eagle's (Len and Tommy's team) that turned out to be a great game. Looked like the Crow's was going to run over the Eagle's at half time but after the 3rd quarter it tuned into a nail-biting game.
Dinner and then ready for the bed as it is hard to play Footy all afternoon, specially in the bar.

The bay of Kalbarri town
Beautiful bay of Kalbarri town.

Natural Window at Kalbarri National Park
Natural Window at Kalbarri National Park.

Watching Adelaide Crow's against West Coast Eagle's
A sport afternoon in Kabarri Motor Hotel, four exhausted players discussing the result.

May 26
Easy morning as we were not planning to leave until 09:00 but Len and Graham took off an hour earlier as they had a bit further to go.
It actually started to rain as we packed the bike for the final leg on the trip, something we haven't seen since the east coast, not very much but enough to make the seat wet. We headed straight south from Kalbarri on the road that connect with the North West Coastal Highway (1) at Northampton passing a lot of scenic sites along the way like the Pink Lake to mention one. Fueled up and lubricated the chain for the last time in Northampton, it will go in the bin when we reach Perth as it has done its job. 
The target were Leeman on Indian Ocean Drive (60) were we met up with Mark, Jaime and Buck (DR650 riders) to do the final 250 plus kilometer together. After a little chat aside of the road as we actually met up just south of Leeman we headed for the Pub in Julien Bay for lunch but the kitchen was closed already so we had to settle for some drinks. Time run out or rather the sunlight so we had to head for Perth and get a meal in the Indian Ocean Hotel where we had booked ourself in until the flight back to Manila on Tuesday night.

May 27
The trip around Australia was now completed, 20434km in 7 1/2 week and quite a sore bum was the result. Just because we got back to Perth didn't mean the trip was completely over, we had booked ourself on a Tunnel tour at the Freemantle Prison around noon. We took off after breakfast as we wanted to squeeze in another tour before the Tunnel tour to get a bit more information about the history of the place. Quite a story starting in 1850 with the convicts coming out to Freemantle from England.
The Tunnel tour was quite interesting and it was great as we were only three of us on the tour, me, Leary and Laura (Crew Cheif Mark's daughter) so we had full attention from the guide who was very good at was he was doing. If you have a sore back don't go down there as you are walking around folded up all the time apart from the little boatride 20m underground. 

Leary in the yard of the Freemantle Prison
Freemantle Prison, built 1852 to 1859 by convicts who started to arrive to Freemantle in 1850. First is was called The Convicts Establishment but change name to Freemantle Prison 1867.

Freemantle prison inside view
The view of a prison you never like to see, from the inside.

The participant of the Freemantle prison tunnel tour
The Tunnel Team, Leary, Tommy and Laura (Crew Cheif Mark's daughter) went 20 metre underground in the watercatchment system that once supplied the entire Freemantle with water. 

                                                                THE END

Special thanks to:
Crew Cheif Mark Askew,
who looking after the bike in Perth, had it all ready for the trip and for logistical support. Note, nothing went wrong with the bike during the 20434km.
Head of Safety Jaime Stalker,
who lend us his emergency beacon that Leary had in his pocket during the entire trip. Glad we never had to use it.
Graham Nash,
who saved us with dinner in Albany and gave us a lot of good input and recommodation during the trip. We would have missed Kalbarri without his advice.
The Suspension Guru,
who set up the suspension perfectly, despite all the weight we had on the bike it handle perfect.
The Nash Family and Nik Day,
for a lovely dinner and company in Adelaide, really nice to catch up.
Rob & Ning Clark with son George,
for a lovely time and great hospitality on Merryville Station. Leary will never forget what a Serrated Tussock looks like.
Danny and Sharron Dwyer with the PADI Team,
for the update (a bit of business) and great time in Sydney, really good to catch up with the team at PADI Asia Pacific. 
Peter (Wrongway) & Renee (Long time co
our Hash friends who come out to see us while in Mount Isa despite they had been sitting on a bus all the way from Cairns.
Have to mention Telstra who provides mobile coverage almost all over Australia, huge distances with very few customer using the service.
Also the Australian Main Road Department who keeps the road in surprisingly good condition dispite the few users outside the big cities.

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