A Summer Holiday Down Under

Part 3: Mornington to Broome

Wednesday 4th and Thurs 5th June 2008 . . . Day seven and eight.

In brief : Our last full day at Mornington involved a trip to see Lake Gladstone with plenty of bird life, and the day ended up with me kissing frogs (?). Next morning an final early morning walk then off to catch the next plane, heading north west out towards the coast.

Weather : Kimberley dry season - Twelve hour days, blue skies and sunshine all the way.

We wake to sunlight and the sound of dawn chorus through the walls of our safari tent


We had spent the last few days exploring Mornington, including canoeing in Dimond Gorge and enjoying a rather nice champagne sunset at St John's.

Today we venture further afield as Gill takes us back up towards the Gibb Rover Road.

About an hour out of camp we turn and go in search of a different type of habitat, but with plenty to see along the way.

A fine Boab tree, so we stop for a photo. They are generally regarded as deciduous, shedding their leaves during the heat of the dry season.

However, this tree may have better access to water and so doesn't need to abandon it's leaves in order to survive.

We're out of Mornington Station territory now and back into cattle country.

These short horned, rough cattle are not used to people or cars and are consequentially, rather unpredictable. We gave then a wide berth.

The countryside here is dry, rather parched savanna woodlands. A short distance further on Gill takes the only right turn on the road and we head off into the bush.

There's a good track to start . . .
. . . which gets smaller and less distinct . . .
. . . but now she's driving through the trees!

She knows something we don't, and after parking the truck we grab the water bottles and head off into the bush.

A very slight downhill walk brings us to this wetland known as Lake Gladstone.

We hadn't noticed a stream or any river, but here was this tranquil, lily covered lake that was home to a whole new set of Australian wildlife.

Years back this was a muddy waterhole where the cattle came to drink. They churned up the bank, destroyed the vegetation and the area had few indigenous birds or animals. The conservation group arranged to fence the area and this kept the cattle out.

In just a few years the area has turned green, the birds have returned and it is now a wonderfully secluded wildlife haven.

Gill brought a spotting telescope and binoculars for us to enjoy the sights.

I tried placing the camera next to the telescope with varying quality of results.

A distant Cormorant across the lake . . .
. . . a beautiful Rainbow Bee-eater just above us . . .
. . . and a Spoonbill in the trees 100yds away.

Closer at hand, these two Eigrets foraged for food in the damp margins of the lake.

We turn our heads skyward for another look at that Rainbow Bee-eater.

Blue, orange and gold in colour, it sits high above us . . .
. . . giving numerous flashes of colour as it flies back up to its perch.

Our visit to the wetlands over, we return to the car and drive back up towards the Mornington Road.

In the tall grass, two Great Bustards (only one in this picture) They are the heaviest known birds still capable of flight.

One the way back too, this fit looking Dingo, obviously surviving well in this dry landscape.

Nearly home now as we reach Annie Creek.

This is the same creek that passes below our tent.

A warm evening quietly reading before bed . . .
. . . suddenly there was a commotion !

Ann was washing, felt something land on her foot and she came rushing out of the bathroom rather quicker than she went in.

I ventured in and found this small frog on the wall.

Did I mention kissing frogs ?

Well . . . I bent down to take a photo, and he jumped straight onto my mouth !

I too flinched slightly (!) before he jumped away again - attack was his best method of defence perhaps - Good job I had my mouth closed !

. . . but I did remember to take the photo.

In the morning I awoke . . . and found I had not turned into a Prince after all !

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Our last morning here at the camp so we were up early and managed another Annie Creek walk.

Half past six and Ann is up and smiling !

We spotted a large number of Crimson Finches in the trees.
Could this be the same Wallaby as last time ?

Smooth white barked gum trees.
A large Cicada Beetle - it has a 13 year life cycle

On the way back to the main camp for breakfast we were passed by this old pickup truck collecting the rubbish.

It looks like it is enjoying a considerably longer life cycle than the Cicada's 13 years.

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The camp is only open for eight months a year and the photo display back at the interpretive centre rather explained why.

Our Dry season camp site
Same place in the Wet !

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So we end our stay at Mornington.

A big thanks to all the staff including Steph, Amy, Diane, Rails, Gayle,

to Gill who was such excellent company and guided us on all of our trips out of the camp,

and the staff in the kitchen who provided us with such excellent food during our stay.

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Back at the airstrip ready for departure - note the superior departure lounge facilities to the right.

As we left, we circled the camp and then headed off past Mount Leake.

We flew past Fitzroy Bluff and Dimond Gorge seen here in the middle distance.

In the middle of nowhere - we fly over an extensive diamond mine - one of several in the Kimberley.

After two hundred miles and about an hour and a half later, we reached the coast at Broome.

The runway can be seen up ahead.

We circled over Cable Beach, it's golden sands stretch out below, and we lined up for our final approach.

Almost down.


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Read more about Broome

and the next stage of our holiday

by following the next link in the chain below.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . . plenty of factor 30 sunscreen.

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