Benhams go Walkabout WEEK 8 - THE GIBB RIVER RD, HOME VALLEY STATION TO MANNING GORGE

Fellow Camper Advice - Let your kids wear the same clothes until they are too crusty or stinky. And put all your washing up in a plastic box until you run out of plates etc and do one big wash up. Both simply equate to lowering your standards of cleanliness…...eeewe! (but let’s not pretend I am not already there)

MY HIKE DAY - HIKES ARE TOO HARD WITH 3 KIDS. 

Goodbye to unsealed roads for now. Let’s see how bad this road really is. Turns out it,s not so bad when it is freshly graded at the start of the dry season. We bypassed El Questro which is the first station on the Gibb. The Cockburn Ranges are particularly stunning to drive past in the early morning or afternoon light so we didn’t mind covering familiar ground. Then came The Pentecost River Crossing. Sounds serious and gets everyone talking to each other as they approach it from either side but it was just a bit bumpy, quite wide and not so deep. No water in the doors like one of the crossings in El Questro where we also lost gears. Common problem apparently if you let the clutch cool while it is still wet.

Home Valley Station was much smaller than El Questro, neither of which were the ‘working’ farm like West Leichhardt at Mt Isa. Stayed at the river camp which was very ‘bush’ with basic toilet and shower facilities and amazing views of the Cockburn Ranges. I realised how de-sensitised I have become as I was ‘utilising the amenities’ and a crazy cricket lacking direction bounced madly around the cubicle, 2 cane toads hopped past and I didn’t flinch a muscle. Hottest days so far. 30 deg by 8am and up to 37. Not extreme but it was crazy just how early in the day the heat rendered you vegetative. We ended up spending most of our mornings at the pool (another surprise in this remote part of Oz) near the fancy powered camp sites. Afternoons we escaped to the air con in the car and went for a drive to get Duke and Solly to sleep. Whilst Angus was photographing the Pentecost River I kept the car moving for sleeping cherubs by doing the river crossing 4 times so when you see the drone footage, note my impressive 4x4 driving skills.

Stopped in at another station for famous scones on our way and found out the station we were going to stay at was closed so we stayed there for the night. Then on to Manning Gorge. This turned out to be a favourite so far. Stunning waterhole right at camp, great walk, allowed campfires (finally!), attempted some camp oven cooking with little success and celebrated Duke’s 3rd birthday. I enticed a lovely family with a similar aged boy to join us for celebrations consisting of a roadhouse ordered cake. Dukey had asked for “lollipops and jelly” so he got it, along with a boab nut hand painted as a beetle by Eddie. He has since been named Bob.

     

We were almost undone mechanically as we felt an issue with the gearbox. Fellow camper promptly pulled it apart, found the very obscure problem, found a replacement specialised bolt and put it back together. Would have been a tow out job if we had gone much further. Shout out to Alistair of Wedmaier Mechanics in Brisbane!

Quote of the Week - Eddie “There are too many cool things to do” after talking about being a drummer, a mechanic and a ship sailor.

> Go to Week 9