Along the Great Northern Highway the Kimberley reveals itself slowly. This is very much the heart of cattle country – vast endless flood plains peppered with termite mounds and hardy eucalypts are interrupted only occasionally by billabongs, river crossings and isolated Aboriginal townships. The Great Sandy Desert sits just to the south, just out of sight. It is flat and seemingly endless. Then suddenly, from nowhere, a limestone or sandstone range rises to grab your attention and just as quickly disappears as the road changes direction – as if swallowed up by this vast country. Without exaggeration or hyperbole it is a timeless and ancient landscape. At 1.8 billion years old these red rocky ranges are considered some of the oldest surface rock anywhere in the world. As Hugh Edwards writes in his book ‘Dreaming to Diamonds’, this is a place that exists on a grander scale in terms of climate and terrain. It is a land that has seen gold rushes, hauls of pearl shell, great cattle drives, a battle of cultures and an endless ongoing struggle against the elements. And set against this backdrop people like us come to experience something that is increasingly difficult to find back home in an overcrowded world – space and unspoiled nature. A timeless place indeed.
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