Kevin & Vicki Bailey travelling in their restored 1935 Stinson Reliant SR-8C VH-UXL around Australia. It commenced March 25th with the crossing of the Nullabor, thru SA & in Victoria - attending the RAAF 90th Anniversary Pilgrimage, AAAA Annual fly-in at Echuca. Our plans are to see as much of Qld before turning left into Northern Territory and finally down the west coast of WA to home.
Tuesday, 17 May 2011
May 15 Kununurra to Broome via Lake Argyle & Bungle Bungles
I must have known we needed an early departure and woke up at 6am. Cherise had popped into town and brought back croissants for breakfast. YUM YUM A few more kilos!
After enjoying jam and honey on the warm croissants, packing up our gear, loading the car, saying our goodbyes to Tay and Stu, Cherise took us out to the airport by 8am. It still took us 1 hour to untie the plane, pack our gear in, lodge a flight plan and SAR, check everything, get her started and warmed up before we finally departed lovely Kununurra.
Friends in the bathroom
Airborne amongst a gaggle of Alligator Airways going on their first Bungles tourist runs of the morning, we blundered our way around the rivers until we found the ArgyleLakeDam wall. The view of the vast expanse of water of the Lake was nearly impossible to describe – being (apparently) 3 times larger than SydneyHarbour it stretched ahead and around us on both sides as we flew down the length.
Lake Argyle Dam
Lake Argyle as far as we could see
Leaving the Argyle we flew another 60nm over fairly mundane country until we came to the Bungle Bungles. It’s hard to imagine why these formations popped out of the earth in the weird and wonderful shapes we see today. But it is a very striking sight that was well worth the wait. One more tick from the Bucket List.
After the Bungles we tracked for Halls Creek for fuel. Once again the country turned back into small hills with sparse vegetation. Arriving at Halls we took a little flight over the town and then landed with quite a strong crosswind and some turbulence. Kevin was kept on his toes working hard at keeping Big Bird on the tarmac and even kept to one side in case she ground looped. But thankfully we maintained fairly straight and quickly taxied off to the parking area and fuel bowser.
The bowser was adjacent to a beautiful large tree – very picturesque. We re-fuelled quickly and were nearly ready to go when we were invaded by a busload of KingsCanyon tourists who had been in the Bungles overnight. Many of them including the pilots came to photograph and ask questions about the Stinson.
Departing Halls at 11.40 we set our heading for Derby. This was a long leg of 2 hours and once again the ground below was flat and (boring). Yours truly went to sleep and only woke up about 20 minutes out from the field. Arriving there at 1.45pm the large strip could be seen easily and lots of hangars showed it was a busy little airport.
Whilst there a float plane arrived to take passengers to the Horizontal Falls. It was obviously a popular attraction. Due to the time of the day it (PIC) was decided that we didn’t have time to fly up to the falls approx 80nm north and then fly coastal onto Broome before night fall which was 5.20pm.
So we headed south over the vast mud flats of Derby and then a direct line to Broome. Obtaining a clearance into the airport Kev requested a left turn to view the bays around Broome. We flew over RoebuckBay, over the wharf area at the point and then turned to see the beautiful very long CableBeach. What a magnificent sight. Well worth the diversion for any pilot to fly around Broome.
We landed on the 3 mile long strip and were given directions to the GA parking area. No sooner had we shut down when Kevin’s phone rang and it was John Carder – engineer from Golden Eagle Airlines (formerly from Jandakot) who had stayed at home with us some time previously. He was working in a hanger adjacent and seen us land. His welcome lift into town was appreciated and he joined us later for dinner.
Into a backpackers accom., we soon realized we had made a mistake in booking it and tried to get a refund so that we could book elsewhere. However the attendant did not have the authority so we had to suffer the disgusting showers and toilets and stay for the night. We got out quickly and walked around China town in the lovely cool evening joining John C at the Roey for the carvery. The servings of beef and pork were enormous and the choice of veggies great. I enjoyed a veggie dinner whilst the guys ate heartily of their meats gravy and all the trimmings.