Drying Out At Drysdale River Station
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Last time, we took on the deep clay and mud of a sodden Kalumburu Road.
A Hamburger And A Hot Shower
After packing down in torrential rain then driving through mud and slush on Kalumburu Road to Drysdale River Station, we decided we needed a treat. Drysdale obliged – we all had awesome hamburgers for lunch then we booked a cabin. The hot shower was fantastic!
So what’s at Drysdale Station? Well, they have a shop with basic supplies, two campgrounds, cabins, fuel, a bar and dining area, their very own airstrip… and of course, a fridge phone!
We had planned to spend some time at Drysdale and have a good look around. However, as you’ll discover this didn’t quite go to plan. Oh well, we’ll just have to go back and check it out properly…
Like any remote place, don’t rely solely on Drysdale River Station for food or fuel. Supplies depend entirely on whether the trucks can get through.
War Stories From The Kimberleys
Everyone we spoke to had a story:
- A tour bus was bogged at Windjana Gorge.
- A Nissan Pathfinder from Mitchell Falls would not engage 4WD, so his mate had towed him through most of the mud and slush on Kalumburu Road into Drysdale Station.
- The grader was bogged in black soil on Kalumburu Road past the King Edward River Campground turnoff. The driver – who also owns Drysdale River Station – had to be rescued by helicopter. On the return flight, they chanced upon a group of locals who were stranded and walking for help.
- A family with a camper trailer were bogged on Kalumburu Road and had to be rescued by chopper.
All pretty full-on and chaotic.
The people at Drysdale were fantastic. We were able to wash the mountains of mud off the Pajero and camper trailer. Then they let us set up the camper on a grassed area to dry out. This was brilliant. Being a soft floor camper, if we couldn’t have set up on grass then the whole floor would have been covered in thick red mud. Not the end of the world of course, but pretty messy!
Opening the camper proved quite a challenge. Any time we moved any canvas, sheets of water poured down onto us. And we hadn’t thought about the extra weight of saturated canvas! So we left the camper to dry and spent a night in our cabin.
Next morning the showers and drizzle stopped for a few hours, so our camper dried out. We moved across to the campground and claimed our patch of dirt.
Len was camped beside us and was originally from Newcastle in NSW. He’s retired and travelling alone in a 4WD truck with a self-contained camper built onto the back. An excellent set-up and perfect for remote travel. Len was a keen photographer. Based at Lake Argyle, he had tried exploring the Kimberleys a couple of times but rain had intervened both times. We were to meet Len in later travels.
Idiots Who Wouldn’t Listen
A group of six 4WDs towing camper trailers with boats arrived after lunch. They were a bunch of blokes from Melbourne on a fishing trip to Kalumburu. The bloke we spoke to wanted to turn around and go back but the others were gung-ho about pressing onto Kalumburu – even though the road was closed! Idiots.
The lady at Drysdale was trying to get through to them that the road was closed and they wouldn’t make it – after all, her husband was the one who had to be airlifted from his bogged grader. She also let them know about the $5,000 fine per vehicle for driving on closed roads. But they drove out anyway. She mentioned they would all have a nasty surprise when their $5,000 fines arrived in the mail.
Unfortunately this wasn’t our last encounter with these idiots. We encountered them again at Kununurra caravan park. They made it through to Kalumburu, winching and towing each other through – destroying the road in the process.
Time To Move… Again
Showers continued all night and by morning it was raining continuously. We spoke to the locals at Drysdale about our options. They said the Gibb River Road would close if the rain kept up and wouldn’t re-open until after a few sunny days.
After another wet pack down, we were ready to go by mid-morning. Three of us left together – us, a Troopie with 3 backpackers and a couple with a Jeep and camper trailer. We’d be able to help each other if needed.
Our next adventure was about to begin…
If you’re looking for Kimberley tours, cruises or places to stay, TourRadar have a good selection for you to choose from.
Next time: Gibb River Road and more mud!
Any errors or omissions are mine alone.
BONUS: “The Gibb River Road – A Traveller’s Guide”
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