Considering our initial plan for Christmas & New Years was to stay at home and have a quiet one, it was bloody great to end up having Christmas in 3 different states; spending time with my family and celebrating New Years Eve on the sandy bank of an outback river with the camp oven cranking!
It all started with Sue commenting that she was feeling good and strong so “how about a road trip and a bush Christmas?” Well of course Chels and I were all for a road trip so we were on board immediately! Sue came up with a the great idea of spending Christmas in the bush somewhere part way to the outback town Kununurra, and hiring a house boat on the Ord River for 3 nights including New Years Eve. So a spur of the moment decision was made and it was booked…and the planning came later!
Around this time I also realised that with my parents selling the family home this would be the last year the family would get together for Christmas in the home we all grew up in. And so another spur of the moment decision was made an I booked a ticket home for Christmas day (literally for just the day). The plan I made was to fly home and surprise the family for the day, fly back to Darwin Christmas night, have a sleep, then road trip to catch up with Chels, her Mum and sister somewhere out bush.
The plan all worked perfectly. I called my little bro, Paul, and he was stoked with the idea. He picked me up from the airport Christmas morning and we drove to Mum and Dad’s. I jumped out of the car down the road a bit and Paul rocked up by himself. I waited a bit then called Mum on the phone to wish her a happy Christmas. She was stoked to hear from me! You see I told her that I probably wouldn’t even be able to speak to her on Christmas day because I’d be out bush somewhere without phone reception. I walked down the road chatting to her and Dad. When I reached the front gate I told her that she was “breaking up a little” and to walk out the front where she might get better reception. When Mum saw me she let out a loud scream and nearly fell over! Luckily Paul had followed her out and caught her before she went right over. The rest of the family heard her scream and came out the front, at which point I saw Dad and said “What bout me?” (family joke).
After a whirlwind trip to Sydney and a small amount of sleep I found myself driving into the bush to catch up with Chelsea and Co. on the road somewhere. By the time I caught up they were already in Kununurra. The drive west of Katherine through to Kununurra is some of the most amazing country side we have seen on our trip so far. Maybe we’ve been in the flat countryside of Darwin long enough now that any form of feature in the surrounds is great to see – but then I’m pretty sure any traveller would find the spectacular escarpments, great red cliffs and gorges just breath taking. After a day and a bit of driving I found myself crossing the border into the 5th state (I’m including the NT in the state count), for this Unknown Journey!
After checking out some of the surrounding gorges, rivers and lakes of Kununurra we picked up our house boat and hit the Ord River.
Living on the river for a few days was amazing. Waking up to the sunset and the glassy flat water each morning is something special. The country surrounding the river was incredible. Large red cliffs emerging straight out of the river, and in some areas on both sides, gave it a very gorge like feeling. I think what made it extra special was that once we ventured up river we were practically the only boat out there. Kununurra basically shuts down during this time of the year simply because it’s too bloody hot for people to handle. So we felt like we had the entire river to ourselves.
Hey guys – it’s Chels here now.
I don’t want to wear this term out but we were truly ‘blown away’ by the scenery in WA! I niavely pictured that it would be flat, dusty and dry – and how I was wrong. Just driving around the surrounds of Kununurra is enjoyable as you take in the dramatic landscape. The red cliffs, green trees and yellow grass created such a contrast (you must check out our photo album!). You wind up and around cliff escarpments and down into flat country with hidden water holes and gorges. Those hidden water holes are much needed in the heat we were dealing with – we had some 42 degree days.
After thinking we can’t get any better than that, we jumped onto the house boat and were blown away again. The whole way along the Ord river was scenic, so we were never bored as we sat on deck and cruised along at a nice slow pace. At our favourite part of journey, the river narrowed, the rugged cliffs towered above us and it became a gorge. We meandered up the winding river, spotted waterfalls and found wonderful spots to moor and hang out. All this with nobody around – it was really something!
We enjoyed yummy festive season time nibbley food, many a “Is it legit beer time yet?” and wonderful cool swims on hot days. Dave and my sister were fishing off the back every chance they had, while Mum & I had our feet up and a good book in our hands. We were living the dream! I would highly recommend this house boat trip for people who are inspired by beautiful untouched landscapes and discovering the hidden secrets of what Oz countryside has to offer.