Saturday, April 30, 2011

Nirvana at last

What a difference 24 hours make. After my torturous flight by light plane over the Bungle Bungles (the beehive range only discovered in the mid 1980s, I later discovered), I retreated to my stateroom in shock and didn’t reappear till the next day. While Steve disappeared on a day-long adventure, I pottered around in the morning until our Zodiac departed after lunch for a three-hour cruise down the King George River.
The water and sky were brilliant blue, the warm 28 deg C sunshine offset by a refreshing breeze as we chugged mellifluously along the river, surrounded on all sides by cliffs of rugged pink sandstone sculpted by the elements over thousands of years. As cameras clicked and guides pointed out nests high on the cliff face of sea eagles and ospreys, I fell into a trancelike reverie.
Back in the Big Smoke I had become oppressed by a sense of Groundhog Day. For weeks I had dreamed of communing with nature, and suddenly, at last, here it was... the moment I had imagined, and I gave myself to it completely.
As our Zodiac riffed along the sparkling water and fellow travellers oohed and aahed and chuckled among themselves, I was blissfully happy to be right here, in the Top End, far, far, far away from anything that was more of the same.
The King George River is pretty damn remote, and requires effort to reach, and it’s unlikely that the average traveller will visit twice. And here I was, gliding through a dream-like terrain of water, cliffs and sky, with each of my senses responding with subtle, trembling pleasure.
The afternoon sun began to sink as we approached the King George Falls, pounding furiously after a very rainy season. We teased our Zodiacs as close to the spray as we could get. Rainwater cascaded over the cliff face on either side of a rocky outcrop, and we bobbed in the foam whipped up by the sheer weight of the torrent. It was exhilarating to witness Mother Nature unburden herself in such lush, spectacular style.
After some playfulness at the waterfall, we turned back to motor relaxedly through our corridor of sandstone turning soft pink and grey in a sunset sky. I thought it couldn’t get better than this, but it did. We turned a corner and ...

Thursday, April 28, 2011


It’s the first time I’ve posted because I’ve been unwell most of the time up until now, and had absolutely no appetite for anything except sleep and escape. Talking to people has been like hiking up a steep and hilly mountain. And the din of cocktails for the Captain’s welcome aboard? Not fun.
     Yesterday was hilarious though. I woke and felt human, even felt up to making small talk with relative strangers. Then I climbed aboard a small aeroplane at around noon, seven of us in all and the pilot, and I was seated at the very front, accepting this privilege with some foreboding. Sure enough, 10 minutes into the flight, sweating like a piglet in the midday sun, the cabin rocking wildly, I regurgitated the entire contents of my stomach into a handy sick bag, and for the remainder of the very long two hours and 20 minutes, closed my eyes, and prayed for touchdown to come as swiftly as possible.
       Lake Argyle, resplendently full after a generous Wet Season, shimmered below me, but I barely noticed, and as for the corrugated grid of the Bungle Bungles, I saw them briefly from the corner of my eye, thought “Hmmm, remarkable” and closed my eyes again. Yes, I admit, the sprawling and dramatic beauty of the Kimberleys have been somewhat wasted on me thus far.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dreaming of a Kimberleys getaway

Rutherford D Rodgers, whoever he is, once said, "We're drowning in information and starving for knowledge". Well, that's how I feel. Running on empty, and not feeling overly confident about anything. In desperate need of R&R. So... luckily, not much longer to go. We depart three days from now for Darwin and from there will immerse ourselves in the rare beauty of northwest Australia, which is not exactly your overrun tourist destination. Thank heavens not! There, for the following 10 days, I plan to replenish my soul, and find some sense of serenity and calm once more... All aboard the Orion II for a 10-day cruise to the Kimberleys. While the boat is all about luxury, the holiday is essentially about immersing oneself in Nature and lapping up life in a unique, remote location. Am yearning for our 'time out' and loving the build-up to this ultimate getaway!