Emma Gorge

On the notorious Gibb River Road, near the Kununurra end, is a place called El Questro. It is a resort and was once only accessible by a rough dirt track, that is now a bitumen road. However, places that lead off from here are via dirt roads, that may be corrugated if the grader hasn’t been through. Emma Gorge is one such place and it is a jewel worth risking the bumpy 2km track.

Once at the carpark, there is a magnificent information bay, with restaurant, accommodation, toilets and permits to visit the park. We had bought a park pass, that gives us access to WA parks for a month, as we thought it could be more convenient than having correct change, getting permits printed, etc., so we went directly to the start.

This was a mixture of terrain, with rocky bits, smooth path, climbing sections and a couple of creek crossings, where the water as very low. Birds and butterflies flit across your path and the sound of gurgling water comes from somewhere near, either seen as a brook, or hidden by reeds.

It is such a beautiful sight that greets you after about 40 minutes, I don’t know where to begin. The gorge rises ahead of you and up maybe 100m. The walls are orange and laced with ferns or marked with patterns of erosion.

Water cascades down from a point on the left and bounces off rock ledges to splash into the centre pool of water. The pool is maybe 40m in diameter and on the right a rock ledge hangs over the water, dripping onto those who venture there, and the water there is warm, as I think it is thermal.

The edges to the pool are sandy and you can see the bottom, which becomes rocky and pebbly. Towards the centre it is very dark and you cannot make out what is down there. The temperature is pretty cool, but not quite cold. As you float towards the rock lip, looking up, you see an oval of blue sky, lined with a garland of ferns and rocks. It is so tranquil and beautiful.

This is a long way from anywhere, any time. It is ancient and unspoilt and majestic, like everything in the Kimberley. See it, breathe it, feel it and carry some of its magic away with you.

But take water, hat and sunscreen so that you live to tell the tale.

sculpted kindness

From Halls Creek in Western Australia to Becky’s squares, an extraordinary monument.

Bronze casting, by artist C.P. Somers

Straight from the plaque :

It shows”Russian Jack” (Real name Ivan Fredericks) a famous figure in the gold rush of 1885.

“Russian Jack” once carried a sick friend more than 300 kilometres in a bush-made wheelbarrow seeking medical aid over a track which existed in name only.

His feat symbolised the mateship and endurance of the pioneers of a region, then lacking all the amenities of civilisation.

I think many are metaphorically doing the same thing during these unusual times.

blue bounty

For the last square of Becky’s month of blue squares.

Blue bounty — After his 1699 expedition William Dampier was among the first to cast aside the idea that WA’s low, scraggly looking vegetation was of little botanical worth and commented on the predominance of blue flowers. ( https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2017/05/wildflowers-of-western-australia-3/ )

AQWA

The Aquarium of Western Australia opened in 1988 under a different name. It features the largest underwater tunnel in Australia (Wikipedia) and a touch pool, where anyone who can reach in has the chance to feel a stingray, fish, starfish, or anything close enough. So, yes, I was back in Perth again and made a morning of it.

AQWA entrance
porthole windows
seahorses
anemone and clown fish
large display windows
the tunnel has a conveyor belt that you can stay on for hours or a solid path that you can take to move on or step off.
life from the tunnel
giant stingray gliding over in the tunnel. A blurry but happy face.

The cost of entry was quite high for adults ($30) and possibly making it a once-off event for me. I would definitely recommend it and had trouble picking out which photos to display. I also took a number of mini videos of jelly fish doing their thing, seahorses and many other underwater moments that I didn’t feel were captured by photos.

There is an old ship – the DUYFKEN, which I am not sure as to whether it is a recreation or restoration and you can take tours or just view it from the outdoor area. I believe diving and glass bottom boat rides are among the other activities offered at the AQWA.

The beach is nearby and there’s a large park out the front where you could have a picnic or run after the indoor event. The Aqwa is in Hillarys. We spent about 2 hours there and seemed to go very fast, as it was really visually beautiful and enjoyable.