The road to Kalumburu was rough and we were warned we might encounter some sort of damage but we had faith in Red Dog, after all she had just sailed along the Munja Track and was only suffering a few niggles. Having not visited Kalumburu before, we were keen to stay and apparently Honeymoon Bay was the place to stay.
One of the great things about the Kimberly is the amazing rock art and during the past few weeks we have enjoyed scouring rock ledges and looking for art as we made our way along the Gibb River Road. The rock art on the way to Mitchell Plateau, near the King Edward River is brilliant and we stopped to investigate with the kids. From one rocky outcrop to another, we found stencils, Wandjina and Gwion Gwion (Bradshaw) art. The Bradshaw rock art are some of the oldest rock paintings in Australia and exploring this area is like a treasure hunt. We looked under ledges and around rocks, sometimes finding nothing but when you hit the jackpot, there are layers upon layers of different types of art, repainted over each other.
The road into Kalumburu wasn’t as bad as we thought but just 8km from Honeymoon Bay, our exhaust broke in two places and we limped into the camp ground, hoping they had a welder somewhere. We set up on the beach, away from the other campers but made the mistake of erecting the kid’s tent on the dried spinifex in the shade. Later that night, upon hearing a buzzing sound, Cooper lifted the floor mat to be attacked by termites. I was surprised they latched on so hard that they ants drew blood and we could hardly pull them off. I suppose if termites can demolish houses, a hand is a soft target. The buzzing noise was coming from thousands of ants, working their way through the spinifex but as it was night, we waited until the next morning to shift camp onto the clean sand. One lesson learnt that we won't do again. Our Power Film solar panels were great as they provided shade and also powered our Engel fridge and freezer. It meant we could keep everything charged while we were camping in the same spot for a few days.
We were lucky the caretaker at Honeymoon Bay had a welder and Ashley spent a day dismantling the exhaust, welding it back together and reattaching it to the car. After all the rough roads, something was going to break and it was fortunate it happened so close to Honeymoon Bay and he could fix it. Ashley struggled with the minimal tools he had packed but there was certainly no skimping on any of our fishing gear. With the car fixed, we relaxed a little and were hoping the bush welding will hold up for the rest of the trip.
Honeymoon Bay is truly idyllic, the bay is beautiful and the sunrise and sunsets are perfect every day. It was calm in the mornings and the wind would come up mid-morning but it was a welcome relief from the sticky heat. Although there are crocs in the area, we could swim during the day, as long as it is only on the clear sand and we were very vigilant whenever the kids were in the water. We kept them close to shore and let them splash around to cool down.
Kalumburu is a fishing hot spot and we were keen to get some of the 15 rods off the car and into use. Les, the manager of Honeymoon took our family on a fishing charter for the morning and I asked him to take us to a GT spot first and he certainty delivered. In under an hour, we all caught a trevally each and I was pleased to get a nice one to the boat, grab a quick photo and release it back into the water. Once the kids had their share of fun catching trevally, we focused on getting something for dinner. With only the boys fishing, Ashley and I were busy unhooking multiple saddletails and rebaiting their lines. The fishing was incredible, not a shark in sight and the boys kept hauling one fish in after another. We soon had more than enough for a couple of feeds so we left with the fish still biting and the kids wanting more.
Honeymoon Bay is one of the best places we have fished and we would love to come back one day with a little tinny to explore the coast and nearby islands. It is a beautiful spot to camp but after three nights of battling the sand flies and being on croc alert, I was ready to find some freshwater gorges and hit the dusty Gibb River Road once again.