Last night (OK, it's been a while since we wrote this) we stayed at the world famous El Questro Station. We were hugely impressed by how well-run it is and the variety of things to do, gorges to visit and the standard of the amenities. And we couldn't wait to leave. It's one of those places that everyone should visit if you want to travel the GRR, but everyone does, which is the problem.
We did loiter there most of the morning however, enjoying a cuppa in he shade while Kaya spent $30 of her pocket money on a 30 minute horse ride. The place has something for everyone but everything will cost you. That's fair enough. It's a huge undertaking to provide something of the calibre of El Questro in a location which is over 1,000 km from the nearest traffic light and completely cut off by road during the wet season from November to May each year. And they do it well. So well in fact, that there were hundreds of people staying there last night and probably most nights. It's not even school holidays at the moment so we can only imagine what it’s like when school is out. It’s an impressive operation with some very up-market accommodation as well as camping sites such as the one we stayed in. We were happy to move on though.
The beautiful Pentecost River divided the dry landscape, surprising us as we topped over a rise along the endless dirt road. Abundant with water and life, it cut an impressive figure against the backdrop of the serene Cockburn Range. Given the number of crocs in the water, we were grateful to be crossing it in the Landcruiser, which glided through effortlessly.
We had contemplated a bush camp but we'd heard of Home Valley and thought we’d take a look. The river camp beside the Pentecost was much like a good bush camp - just with the bonus of hot showers. It would have to be one of our favourite campsites so far. A beautiful view across the river to the spectacular Cockburn Range, a warm day with a cool breeze, hot showers and surprisingly … very few campers. There were fewer than 20 people in the 6 vehicles scattered across the campsite, which was around 2 hectares large. And yet, up at the main area of the station there must have been over 100 people in the 40 or 50 vehicles we could see. True, there was a pool, a bar and restaurant, but it was so much more enjoyable relaxin by the tranquil river watching the snapping handbags sun themselves on the opposite bank.
This campsite on the Pentecost is just another reminder (as if we need one) that we think a bit differently from the ‘crowds' out here on the Gibb River Road. Happy to be the odd ones out too because tonight at least, it means we enjoy a quieter campsite.