A dozen km off the bitumen with Valentine Springs in the background. Maybe safe for a swim?
We choose to tow our small van with an ordinary 6 cylinder Ford sedan rather than the four-wheel drive specialty vehicles that caravan parks are full of. This means we can’t get into places like the Bungle Bungles and Wolfe Creek Meteorite site which have really bad roads. Yesterday, however we thought we would check out three of the sites off the highway marked on a tourist brochure. We weren’t towing the van – just going for a morning drive. The road was well graded dirt, for the first 12 km and we stopped at Valentine Springs for a photo opportunity. It is a small pool and we have spoken to tourists who have swum there because it looks to small for a croc. They apparently are not aware that in the dry season, now, crocodiles are very mobile, travelling at night looking for better water sources and could well just choose to spend the day in a pool like this – you could be very unlucky!
Middle Springs is tucked under the escarpment and a good km from the road along a track with drifts of sand and dust a metre deep.
A hot walk rather than get bogged so far from help.
Further down the road, the entrance track to Middle Springs was very rough, but Julie, who was driving, managed very well for 500 metres before looking ahead at the deep dust and sand and saying no further! I left her and the car and hiked down the track with a 20 minute time limit. I soon agreed with her assessment of the driving conditions. The Ford would have been stranded in the deep sand ruts within another 100 metres and it was a km to the Spring, no mobile reception and we only saw 2 vehicles on the road the time we were there so being rescued might have been difficult.
Ivanhoe Crossing, looking North across the Ord River. Would you try crossing this in a sedan? Look at the speck just before the dam wall.
Our last planned stop on the circuit back to Kununurra was to cross the Ord River at the Ivanhoe Crossing. Ten km On the other side was a Cafe at a Mango farm promising the best Mango Smoothie in WA! The crossing was very picturesque – steep approaches both sides, 30 cm of water running very fast across the very slippery pavement and signs every whereabout crocodile danger. No way for our kind of car! So it was reverse back the hill, retrace our path 30 km, then come a further 20 km to get to the other side for a photo opportunity and a mango smoothie.
Some times in the this part of the world a four-wheel drive vehicle would be handy , saving 50 km and an hour to cross 200 metres across a river.
The speck turns out to be a freshwater crocodile.
The water might not wash your car off the crossing but if you stopped midway across and tried to walk back, this croc’s big cousin
is waiting for any opportunity for a heartier lunch than a mango smoothie.
This guy hardly slowed down enough for the croc to take his number.