The Snail Trail

Travelling with my home on my back and in no hurry to get anywhere

The Big Crocodile, Wyndham

Wyndham – Heading West

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I stopped in Kununurra only to shop and then I was on my way to Wyndham. Between the Gibb River Road turnoff and Wyndham I saw a sign to Parry Creek Farm camp ground so I thought “Why not” and headed down a very corrugated dirt road for about 10 kms to this lovely spot where I set up camp and stayed for 6 nights.

Margaret & Nev turned up after detouring to Lake Argyle and then spending a couple of days in Kununurra. They were in time for the Camp Oven Cookout where I was the ‘entertainer’ with some bush poetry. For doing this I was given a free meal (saved $18!).

There was a group of twitchers (birdwatchers) camped here at the same time as this is one of the areas where Gouldian Finches have been seen, particularly around the Lagoon. Unfortunately they didn’t make an appearance for us but we did identify quite a few birds we hadn’t seen before and Margaret got some great  photos. I love these of the Rainbow Bee-Eater.

And this next sequence shows an egret finding, catching and eating what we think was a frog!

On the road in to Parry Creek there is a turnoff to the Marglu Billabong, which has a bird hide – and also some enormous resident crocodiles that laze on the banks (a bit too far away for a decent photo though). The very rough, rocky road takes you up over Telegraph Hill which got its name from the original telegraph station whose ruins are still there. Brutus excelled himself in 4 wheel drive, up over the steep hill and over the corrugated dirt road. The old telegraph station is only a shell now ….

…and then you are over the hill and down to the billabong.

The bird life here was amazing and through my little binoculars I could see some VERY big crocodiles – salt water ones – they’re the dangerous kind! They hauled themselves out of the billabong to sun on the bank. I was glad they were so far away!

We left Parry Creek for a couple of days in the Wyndham Caravan Park which gave us the opportunity to see some of the sights around Wyndham. It’s a funny little town, split in two parts a few kms apart – the main part where the caravan park is and then the port area. At the caravan park there was a bird feeder hanging outside the little cafe area and these bright Red Winged Parrots that Margaret photographed were constant visitors.

As with most places in the north the ground was dry and dusty but I enjoyed Wyndham and loved discovering some of its history.

The pioneer cemetery held the graves of many workers who had died during the construction of the Meatworks, which was a major industry in Wyndham earlier in the century.

The Wyndham museum is a credit to the local community. It not only has artifacts and other memorabilia of the past but dozens of books the locals have compiled with interviews of past residents which really gives you a ‘hands-on’ feel for what life was like in their time.

I was amazed to see a copy of the Instrument of Surrender of the Japanese forces here. I had never seen, or even heard of this before!

It also was a source of great horror to me with many stories of how the local aboriginals were treated during the settlement of Wyndham. Here are some snippets of info the museum had – made all the more interesting by the volunteer on duty the day we visited!

I also went to the ruins of a place called The Residency. It was built for the magistrate in 1888 but has never been lived in – he refused to go there because it was too remote and the aboriginals were unfriendly…. when you read how we treated them, no wonder! Anyhow, it was also built with the wrong mortar and it started to crumble and fall apart before anyone could live in it.

There is a wonderful lookout up a very steep and windy road with lots of hairpin bends called Five Rivers Lookout. It has spectacular views of the five rivers; the Ord, Forest, King, Durack and Pentecost Rivers; which enter the Cambridge Gulf and surrounding mangrove swamps, mudflats and hills. Brutus crept up and down this lookout in 1st and 2nd gear but I have to say the slow climb up and down was worth the views from the top.

I’ve just about given up drinking since leaving Alice Springs – you can’t buy cask wine anywhere, bottle shops are only open for short hours, there are police checking ID at every liquor outlet, and in most places you can’t buy any alcohol over 2.7%, which restricts you to light beer. When you can buy wine, it’s expensive so I just drink my tonic water and pretend it’s got gin in it …. I’m sure it’s not doing me any harm!

What’s Wyndham famous for? The BIG CROCODILE!

The Big Crocodile, Wyndham

But I also loved the Boab Trees, which will dominate our landscape for a few more kilometres yet.

The port township of Wyndham is almost deserted but it has a wonderful little cafe called The Rusty Shed which served great coffee.

Here’s a few photos of other sights around Wyndham. An interesting town and I really enjoyed my few days here.

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6 thoughts on “Wyndham – Heading West

  1. Just as a matter of interest, the “Big Crocodile” in Wyndham is based on a real animal. My friend Bruce Montgomery did the photography and photogrammetric modelling that provided the three-dimensional data on which the model is based.

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    • Welcome back Graham! I’ve missed your interesting and informative comments. I’d hate to have a close encounter with a live crocodile of any size so was happy to find this harmless giant in Wyndham.

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  2. I loved the lookout too! The views are spectacular. We were also lucky to see a flock of ~100 gouldians come for water in a puddle near the council building. Had to be up at dawn for that one! Made Wyndham quite a special spot. Glad you enjoyed it to.

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    • Lucky you, seeing the Gouldians! I’ll have to look for them again when I finally head east. Will probably come back up the west coast and go across the top again, in the opposite direction.

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  3. Great pictures,my it is great travelling with you. WA has great things to see. Thank you for taking me along.

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  4. It would be much more fun if you were really here, June. Hope you are well. Let me know what you are up to 🙂

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