Thursday, June 24, 2010

Extraordinary Taxi Ride, Day 5-9, Reg's Blog

My mate Reg has offered this blog -
Day5 4th June

We started today with another delicious breakfast of fresh tropical fruit followed by smoked salmon and poached egg, sort of eggs Benedict without the sauce, yum. The cooks at El Questro get everything just right, even down to chilling the fruit to just the right temperature. In fact El Questro does everything right but I guess in that price bracket one should expect that. [$1800 a night!]
We set off at 8am doing quite a bit of filming on the way including the Pentecost River crossing, now known more as Kidman’s crossing due to the famous clip from the movie Australia.
A lot of the scenes in Australia were filmed in the Kimberly’s and as we continued on our journey to Home Valley Station we saw more of the country side used in the film. Home Valley station incorporates 3.5 million acres of pastoral leases and is owned by an Aboriginal corporation set up to train aboriginal folk in catering, tourism or station management. Upon arrival at Home Valley we went straight to lunch then to Bindoola Falls for a swim. It was a lovely spot with waterfalls that we were able to swim right under.
The next stop was a lookout to watch the sun setting on the Cockburn Range whilst enjoying some very nice French Champagne and cheese and crackers.
Later in the evening we sat around a camp fire and sang along with the guitar until after 12am.. The TVNZ crew were there filming and earlier on when I got set-up to go on stage, I hope that’s not going onto NZ TV!

Day 6 5th June
More filming today with TVNZ accompanying us, as they have the last 2 days. It started with a mini cattle muster in which Doug, Jim and Charlotte [the TVNZ interviewer] all rode horses rounding up cattle in a yard. Then we had yet another interview with TVNZ which apparently will be showing on NZ TV11th or 12th June so for all my Kiwi friends, look out for that.
Later we drove to Mount Elizabeth Station which was supposed to take 4 hours but somehow were stretched to 7 by the time we stopped for various film shoots. The day finished with a lovely BBQ and then an early night.

Day 7 6th June
Someone said to me that looking at gorges in WA with their beautiful waterfalls and pristine pools was a bit like looking at cathedrals throughout Europe, they all look beautiful and standing there looking at them just blows you away. It’s not something you can capture on camera, whether it be video or photography because you have to be there to FEEL it. And that wow factor was there again today when we visited Galvan’s and Bells Gorge. Both mind blowing experiences but I think I will remember Galvan’s more because I was able to have a swim there, swinging off a rope Tarzan like for an almighty body slam in the pool under the waterfall. It was great fun and I came out of there absolutely buzzing. It was also memorable because it was easy to capture in one frame, the tall Boab tree at the top waterfall, the bottom waterfall and the pond all surrounded by rugged cliffs of ancient rock towering above us. Now that is one photo I will get blown up and framed for my office wall.
Bells Gorge was a different proposition being so much bigger and a more difficult walk to get to but also very awe inspiring in its own way. I was able to film a big lizard at the top of the waterfall for about 5 minutes as he worked his way down a rock wall having stood at the top overlooking the fall just observing for 2 minutes. Either that or summoning up the courage because it was a long way down if he slipped!
We arrived at Mount Hart Homestead about 6-30pm after yet another long but thrilling day.

Day 8 7th June
Our long day started with a 6am breakfast. Taffy the owner at Mount Elizabeth Station is a real character and a conservationist to boot. He has cleared the land of all cattle to encourage the wild life back. He also has pet dingoes which were a lovely dog to pat and take pictures with.
Today was the day to see wild life, as it happens. We saw lots of kangaroos as Taffy doesn’t shoot them on his property, also a King Brown snake, crocodiles, a bunger lizard, bats and a wide range of birds, flocks of them often. This wasn’t just on Mount Hart but also on our long drive to Derby. We also saw the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen in shades of pink, purple and greys. Stunning. I just hope the photos capture some of it.
On the way we stopped at Windjana Gorge to see all the crocodiles then on to Tunnel Creek. Unfortunately I was unable to climb over the big rock fall in the entrance so missed out on seeing pythons, more crocodiles and bats but thems the breaks!
As the sun dropped down in the sky we headed to Derby. In our convoy of 5 I was in the back vehicle catching everyone else’s dust. It was quite stressful as often you couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of you. I was quite relieved when we finally got onto sealed road.

Day 9 8th June
Our day started with a stop at the Derby Visitors centre to learn a bit about the area and then to the wharf for a bit of filming. The Derby Boab Prison Tree was next, that tree must be many 100’s of years old.
The drive to Broome was uneventful arriving mid afternoon after stopping at a road house for a bit of filming plus a photo opportunity at the end/entrance to Gibb River Road. We had finished successfully, got the T shirt too!
It was time to catch up on emails, do some laundry and recuperate from a pretty hectic 9 days, a little out of my comfort zone but well worth the effort.

Day 10, 9th June
The Extraordinary Taxi Ride was at its end but we still had a day in Broome where our support crew took real good care of us , as usual, going out for a bit of a tour around town, lunch at Matso’s Brewery where I tried Mango and a Chilli Beer. The Mango was so-so, the chilli yuk! We also had an alcoholic ginger beer which was quite nice .We then shopped for some indigenous music and took a look at some cultured pearls. Just looked!
We had started the day with a live radio interview on ABC Kimberly and later in the afternoon a telephone interview with a Perth newspaper columnist. They are certainly getting lots of exposure for this Taxi ride campaign.
Dinner was at the resort we stayed at, Cable Beach, VERY NICE. Must come back here one day, there’s lots to do and see here. I can see why it is such a popular tourist destination. We were able to dine with the leg 11 passengers Joe and Jim, which was great. They are two brothers from Liverpool, one is blind. What a wonderful experience it will be for them. It really proves that the thing about WA is not only the stunning scenery, which I am sure his brother Jim, will describe to Joe, but the feel of the place and the people you meet. All along our journey along the Gibb River Road we have meet many lovely friendly people and felt a relaxed pulse from people who really care about the environment and eco tourism. I will have to come back one day to take a look at what we never had time to see on our extraordinary journey. We flew out at 10pm for Perth and then the next day Jim flew home, back to the grindstone. I still had more to see and had booked a 3 day trip to Monkey Mia, about 900kms north of Perth and then a 5 day tour to Esperance. which is to the south.

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