Hann River and Home Valley Station - Sunday 4th September
A refueling stop and lunch was had at Mt Barnett Station, before proceeding onto our stop for the night, beside the Hann River. Here we stayed beside the river on a sandy beach area. The river wasn't very deep, but clear, running and fresh, so a good place for a dip.
No one else came to this site so we had the river to ourselves. We were able to have a great campfire and used it to cook the last of our vegetables.
The road had been graded in many places after Hann River, so these parts were really pleasant to travel on.
There are no bridges on the Gibb River Road, so every creek and river crossing is a ford. Some are better than others! There is still water in most creeks along the way because of the huge amount of rain received during their wet! The crossing at the Durack River was at first glance was very daunting; sharp rocks and boulders lined the very narrow edge and sharp rocks protruded from the water. We took it very slowly and it turned out to be quite ok.
Everyone had warned us about how isolated this areas is before we left. We have found it to be otherwise - there are people everywhere! It is far more inhabited than the Tamami. It is far less isolated than the northern parts of Kenya, and the roads are generally better!
The scenery was filled with smoke haze, the closer we got to Home Valley Station. This meant that as we were driving along we had no real concept of the scenery. It wasn't until we reached the lookout just before Home Valley Station that we realized we had been driving along the top of a high plateau, with majestic gorges and valleys. In front of us the lookout was the Cockburn Ranges and the enormous Pentecost River. The Cockburn Ranges are dominated by huge red cliff faces below mesa mountains, with steep gorges in between. Without the smoke haze apparently they glow with orange and red light!
We pulled into Home Valley Station to have lunch and make camp for the night. We were greeted by an oasis blooming in the desert - green lawns, swimming pool, flowers, large shade trees and wonderful reception/bar/restaurant area. Lunch was delicious!
We chose to camp at the station campsite down beside the Pentecost River. This is home to the salt water crocodile, though there were none visible this evening.