Where are we now
After Windjana we decided to turn right on the Gibb River Road (for readers not familiar with this Road it is a 650km rough gravel road on many four wheel drivers bucket list) and go as far east as Bell Grove. First day we travelled 80km and were pleasantly surprised the road surface is rough but very little corrugation. There are brilliant views of the various ranges and small flowing rivers, there are pull off areas for views and even some areas that have been sealed particularly on the steeper hills. We free camped at a small river called March Fly (thankfully no March Flys) with a few others very peaceful with lots of bird sounds and very little traffic.
Next day we’d planned to go up one of the side roads to Bells Gorge staying at Silent Grove Campground. On looking at the campground we decided it had nothing to offer just another dust bowl and a 200meter walk that we did in 5 minutes. We carried on the 10km to Bells Gorge where we walked to the bottom of the 4 tier waterfall and had a brilliant couple hours swimming and lazing on the rocks. Unfortunately no campground here so we went back to the Gibb and found a good overnight site to ourselves. The next day back along the Gibb past the turn off to Windjana and the road was being graded and further along a large stretch of bitumen and more to come as roadworks were in full swing.
Got into Derby by lunchtime, we’d decided to stay at the Kimberley Caravan Park to get our back log of washing done. We had a mountain – numerous towels and two sets of bed linen and clothes ended up to be 4 loads but thank goodness with 3 amenities blocks I was able to trot around and get every washing load on at once. Even managed to find space on a few different lines to get everything dry within a few hours. We then walked the couple of kilometres up to the jetty to watch the sunset & see high tide and also by chance a guy pulling in a large Jew Fish. After walking back we decided we deserved to dine out and found a great little BYO Italian Restaurant.
Next morning we drove to the jetty this time to see low tide, Derby has the highest difference in tide rise and fall of any area in Australia and about the 6th highest in the world. Very impressive watching the water churning in and then seeing the mud banks at low tide. After this we went to see the Old Gaol, just awful reading the history here and seeing the condition that prisoners, mainly indigenous, were kept in including being shackled in chains and attached to a metal ring at night – horrific. We also stopped to see a huge water trough built in1916/17 and still in use as well as another Prison Boab Tree.
Before too long out of Derby we join up again with the Great Northern Highway and on to a free camp area for the night. Another state run one already numerous vehicles when we arrive but we got a good spot next to a shelter. We were soon joined by others and had a lovely afternoon/ evening chatting.