Good Day at Black Rock Falls! Kununurra, Western Australia
Bloated from a surfeit of mango smoothies from several Ord River irrigation scheme produce outlets and cafés during a mini-heatwave, we finally left Kununurra for the day and hit the Parry Creek Road eatery-free zone.
Going cold turkey was the only way to break the smoothie stranglehold, whether or not our abstinence caused the producers financial hardship.
While the significant cash spent on a scenic flight or boat tour as recommended by the Kununurra 7day tourist guide would be well worth it, we’d found the cheapskate self-drive tour of this part of the East Kimberley.
Which, as we found out, came with its own special entertainment.
Victoria Springs was easy to find as the road ran through its pleasant waterholes, so camera at the ready, I headed for the rocky bar above the waterhole to see what lay beyond. With a flourish, a grey nomad vehicle pulled up next to us. She alighted from the passenger seat and strode purposefully towards me. He stayed in the car.
‘What’s on the other side?’ she demanded, invading my personal space.
‘No idea,’ I replied and moved away, trying to shake her off. But that was clearly the wrong answer.
‘Well, climb over and tell me if it’s worth it,’ she snapped.
I checked the front of my shirt. Was it possible that I’d slidden into a nightmarish parallel universe where I was a tour guide?
BUT no. NO ‘Amazing Australian Adventures’ tour guide badge adorned my lapel. That meant a) my quest to fail to become a tour guide was on track and, more importantly, b) this exacting oldster was just a rude cow. What a relief …
‘Why don’t you just get off your lazy butt and see for yourself?’ I DIDN’T say, opting instead for a more socially acceptable snub as I climbed the rocks to get away from her. ‘There’s another waterhole up here, but only you can judge whether or not it’s worth it,’ I flung back at her, moving further away.
The suspense was too great for her so she followed me up the rocks.
Sadly though, the view was apparently NOT worth it and resisting the urge to perform my first strangulation, I left her muttering to herself (and probably me) about how much better places X, Y and Z were …
Perhaps it was full moon.
By comparison, the short trek from the carpark to Black Rock Falls was uneventful.
Other than having to dive off the track to make way for the 4WD reversing erratically around the corner!
Our sense of adventure was clearly defective. It just hadn’t occurred to us to DRIVE down the narrow, rocky walking trail.
Then again, as we’d only spent about a third of what the lethal weapon ploughing its way backwards down the track towards us must have cost, we didn’t feel the same obligation to prove our 4WD credentials.
Possibly embarrassed about the shiny newness of his off-road vehicle, the driver reversed past us over a couple of small trees, rocks spinning off the wheels and undergrowth beating a tattoo on the underside of the car.
At that rate it wouldn’t stay so new-looking for long!
We continued down the newly-widened track and rounded the corner to find the falls only a few metres away through a thicket of scrub that even a 4WD driven possibly by a former bulldozer driver wasn’t able to penetrate.
Unlikely as it may seem, it’s possible there are those who would NOT immediately visualise black rocks and waterfalls upon hearing the words ‘Black Rock Falls’.
Such people therefore did NOT name Black Rock Falls as it’s a fairly unimaginative description of the actual falls, although not of the surrounding red cliffs or the blue sky above.
Or the magnificent reflections enhanced by the ‘magic’ setting on my camera!
As I manoeuvred my way around the rocks at the base of the falls, a small group of camera-toting grey nomads arrived. The designated photographer directed the others into position and started snapping.
‘I can’t fit the whole falls in the picture,’ she said after stepping back as far as possible. The other group members couldn’t help her. She turned to me, foolishly believing that just because I had a camera in my hand, I actually knew what to do with it.
And so it was that I unexpectedly found myself giving my very first photography ‘lesson’ as I showed her how to vertically stitch her photo. Scary, isn’t it?!
Does this mean I’m one step closer to being a – gulp – tour guide?
There was only one course of action possible to take under those circumstances.
So we broke the drought (of a few hours) and accompanied by sighs of relief from local producers, returned to Kununurra for yet another mango smoothie.
And to watch another magnificent sunset from our campsite, and the Kimberley full moon rise!