|We decided to return the Campervan back to Broome. After considering all our options it was probably going to be the most feesible. As it happens, the water over the Victoria Bridge at Timber Creek - which is preventing everyone from getting to Katherine / Darwin - has risen to 9ft 7 inches - we made the best decision coming back to Broome.
We woke up really early on Monday morning (31st Jan) and were on the road by 5:30am. We reached Halls Creek at about 9am and decided to see if we could get a report on the Fitzroy Crossing floodway. We asked the Mobil Petrol Station - he knew nothing; we went to the Police Station - not even open!!; went to Tourist Information - closed for the wet season; eventually went to the Community Service office and their board had a notice on the road conditions that was 3 days old, we went inside and asked reception there. They were under the impression the road was open. The receptionist phoned Fitzroy Crossing Information Bureau and they said the road was fine. So off we went. We reached a few kilometres out of town and there was a sign across part of the road saying 'road closed'. We were a bit nervous about going as it was 275 kms with no fuel or food on this stretch to Fitzroy Crossing. So we turned around and thought we'd pop into the Shell Garage for one more ask. The lady there confirmed that she had spoken to Shell Garage in Fitzroy and the road was passable and she had sent someone that way already. Now if the 'road closed' sign is up and you experience difficulties and need assistance ... you will be helped but will be heavily fined! Something else we had to think about!
So off we went ... take a chance. We had supplies (pot noodles and a can of baked beans!!) should we have to sit on the side of the road and wait for the water to go down - if need be. We travelled 275kms and there the water hazard was. 10 kms from Fitzroy Crossing - so close yet so far! I volunteered to walk through the water checking the depth of it to see if we would make it. It was fine ... one small problem it went on forever and around a corner so we couldn't see dry land. (Typical when normally the roads are so straight!!) There were no cars waiting our side so we thought we'd take a BIG chance and go for it. Michael drove very slowly through the water and this floodway went on and on ... breath's held! It was quite nerve racking!! Then - it finally came to an end. We continued towards Fitzroy Crossing and not long after we'd just crossed through the first floodway there was another. I again got out and walked the waters ... but at this stage a 4x4 came whizzing past so we watched them go through and we thought we could do it. One particular patch was pretty deep but we made it!!
Waiting on the other side was a saloon car and a road train. Now the road train would have no problem but the saloon car was prepared to wait as its engine was quite low to the ground. We asked where their end destination was and they said they lived in Darwin so we told them about the Victoria River being very high and taking approximately 2 weeks to go down so they could re-evaluate their situation.
We were so elated that we made it through the Fitzroy Crossing Floodway ... especially when we found out later that the water had risen and was rising due to heavy rains. Phew! The petrol tank was low so we stopped at the petrol station and relayed our crossing to those waiting ... some were going to make it and others were going to wait.
We had reached Fitzroy Crossing about 12:40pm filled up with petrol, had a Mrs Mac's best Australian pie for brunch and decided to push on to Broome. We reached Broome just before 5:30pm which meant we had been on the road for 12 hours driving 1,054 kms. So we were pretty knackered when we reached the Caravan Park.
Now our last stop over in Broome we had driven out to Cable Beach - which is given rave reviews but Michael and I were disappointed. So this time we stayed at Palm Cove Caravan Park in Cable Beach and decided to go down to the beach for sunset. We were so taken aback. The beach was clean and beautiful and went on for ever. Unfortunately, a cloud hung around the sun as it was setting so we didn't get the Cable Beach picture postcard Sunset. But the sunset last night was even better. We even saw the Camels taking tourists for their beach walk ... I looked at Michael and he said "don't even think about it"!! He's still 'traumatised' from his Camel Ride in India.
We met 3 Irish guys in the campers kitchen that night and they were on their way to Darwin so the Fitzroy Crossing floodway and Victoria River Crossing stories were told yet again. They have to fly out of Darwin on 8 February so we didn't think that they would make it. Anyway, we swopped stories with them as they have been travelling through South East Asia as well and had an entertaining evening.
These floods have certainly got campers talking - we were again in the Campers kitchen last night (Tues, 1st) and got chatting to David and Gill who were making their way up to Darwin and have now made the decision to turn around and return to Perth. They are fortunate enough to have a couple of extra weeks before they need to return their van.
Where to now?? We have to hand Noddy back today ... it will no doubt be an 'emotional' moment and we will spend two nights in the Kimberly Klub Backpackers accommodation which is walking distance to the Broome Airport. We have booked flights to Ayers Rock on Saturday, 4th Feb and will go and spend a few days there doing the Uluru Experience. We will then make our way down to Adelaide and Melbourne. Mode of transport yet to be decided!! We have decided to skip Darwin altogther and return another day as we cannot even go into Kakadu National Park at the moment. Pity - but part of the experience hey!
Anyway - let me stop waffling and download some photos for you. Keep those e-mails coming!