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A gift horse's mouth

AUSTRALIA | Thursday, 9 August 2007 | Views [806]

Choose your type of adventure

Choose your type of adventure

In this part of Australia, the beaten path is quite clear. It's the one and only main road and everything you want to see is somewhere off that road, sometimes a hundred kilometres out or more. And that’s where my problem starts, since a large majority of those side tracks are unsealed roads, 4WD only. I had already forgotten driving the Gibb River Road through the Kimberleys. Around 650 km of dirt track is far beyond the capabilities of the Ambassador van. All my hopes of Kimberleys wonders were reported on the Bungle Bungle NP.

As I made it to Kununurra, bad news was waiting for me. The tourist information centre confirmed what I feared: Bungle’s track is 4WD only. I thought about renting my own, but, unforeseen event, a big time movie with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman is currently being shot in the area, and the production rented heaps of 4WD. Add to that the nearby Argyle Diamond Mine taking its share, and the rest already hired by endless flows of tourists, and you get no more 4WD for hire in town. The other solution would be to go with an organised tour, driving or flying, but I’m really not fond of those sheep-following-the-shepherd things. Furthermore, the outrageous prices alone would have discouraged me. Around $300 for half decent one-day excursions is a big no no when you’re planning to travel for close to another year. This could almost be the monthly budget in some countries!

They say you don’t watch a gift horse in the mouth, and as much as I try not to, I cannot help feeling a bit frustrated, since it seems that I’ll have to give the whole Kimberleys a big miss. For this time at least, because I will come back, with a 4WD, and see it all! In the meantime, a little Lonely Planet reading showed me all the other wonders I can expect along the coast. So, as usual, disappointment quickly turned into opportunity. And anyway, countries the size of Australia shouldn’t be expected to reveal all of themselves in a single trip. See you all on the beach then!

Tags: ambassador van, misadventures

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