Kids, Kidman, Krauts and The Kimberley

Trip Start May 19, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, October 2, 2009

I felt disappointed after Wolfe Creek.  Not just because the crater was as so-so as it looks in the film, but also because apart from me and Tomo, no-one had seen anything to write home about for the last few days.

Still, this thought didn't deter me from insisting that we took a detour to the end of the Gibb River Road to visit a Cattle Station called Digger's Rest.  My companions were less than enthusiastic about tackling another round of corrugations and, God forbid, deviating from the Lonely Planet, but when a recommendation comes from Robodyke, I am inclined to believe it (and, once again, it's my van.  How many times can I get away with playing that card?).

For the lack of enthusiasm in our group, at least the Emu at Digger's gave Randy a friendly welcome.  A little too friendly, in fact, as his inquisitive pecking made it difficult for us to negotiate a safe path to the camping area.   

For The Amazon, the affair started early - at 6am, to be precise.  She'd be up feeding milk to baby goats every morning, and fell madly and passionately in love with Digger's.  To be honest I was amazed that anything could get her out of the van without facepaint, especially at the crack of dawn. 

Tomo soon decided she wanted to work there, and the Germans managed not to moan about anything for two days which, trust me, was a great achievement.

For me, it was all about the horses.  Finally, being around horses.  I spent sunsets and sunrises watching them and feeling as close to home, and to my heart, as I had done on this trip thus far.  When I finally got in the saddle I was in my element - that is, until my thighs felt like they'd done a marathon on a stairmaster and I staggered around like John Wayne, resolving not to leave it so bloody long next time.

Staying at Digger's felt a bit like treading on hallowed ground, as it turned out that the Station had been used as a Unit Base for the Australia film crew.  Hugh Jackman had stayed there, and the owners regailed us with stories about what a "nice man" he was, but apparently it was all a little too rough for Nicole Kidman and she insisted on being choppered in from a hotel for filming.   

One morning, Al, one of the workers on the station, offered to take us for a drive around.  It wasn't long before the vehicle, an old Ute that would look more at home at a Breaker's Yard than a farm, became bogged in deep sand.  Cue a team effort to get the vehicle out in 40 degree plus heat, which inevitably failed. 

As the sun rose higher in the sky and people ummed and ahhed about what to do next, my impatience kicked in and Tomo, Cat and I set off back to the homestead on foot to get help.  Al (un)helpfully told us to head "East" and I cursed my lack of inbuilt navigational equipment.  An hour and a half later we arrived back at base, sunburnt, and having negotiated three croc infested rivers without any loss of limbs.  We came back with another 4x4 to tow out the Ute, and when the Krauts complained about the hardship of waiting I swear that The Amazon and I burst a blood vessel in unison.

No-one wanted to leave, but after a few days it was time to bid a sad farewell to Digger's Rest and the WA.  Still, every cloud has a silver lining, and reaching Darwin would mean saying a very welcome goodbye to a certain European contingent.  Auf wiedersehen!

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