First night back on the Gibb and there’s lightning in the sky. There’s Barking Owls in the trees. There’s freshwater crocs – and baby crocs! – in the river. My feet are in the dirt. The air is warm and thick and beautiful – like a well worn and much loved comfort blanket.
My last proper Kimberley fun run outside of work was 8 months – and what feels like a lifetime – ago. F$#k, it feels good to be back on country.
That right hand turn off the highway and onto the Gibb just outside of Derby never ever gets old. As I head east away from the setting sun there in lightning on the horizon and a storm that brings a beautiful warm breeze and what is probably the last, much needed, rain of the Wet. I pull up by the side of the road and sit on the roof of the car as the storm passes over. The road is sloppy. The place is green. The Boabs are lush. The XXXX is cold. Life is definitely better in the Kimberley.
The first day on these trips never fails to make an impression. It’s as if the Kimberley knows all the tricks to reset your soul, realign your priorities and deliver a massive jolt of Mother Nature at her best. You wake up in Broome surrounded by the modern world – a world of white walls and straight lines and Facebook chatter. And 6 hours later I’m off the grid and rolling out my sleeping mat next to the river – transported to a place of magic and nourishment and adventure.
The Gibb is generally known for its waterfalls and rough roads and sandstone escarpments. But for me it is a place that quietens the mind and settles the soul. And it reminds me time and time again of just how amazing the natural world can be.
In less than 24hrs, and with no effort whatsoever, I’ve seen bright yellow Budgies, elegant Red-tailed Black Cockatoos, Crimson Finches and Chestnut-breasted Mannikins. I’ve seen Red-winged Parrots and Rainbow Lorikeets and Rainbow Bee-eaters. Azure and Red-backed Kingfishers. I’ve seen Australian Bustards, Jabirus, Brolgas and Fairy Wrens. I’ve seen Blue-winged Kookaburras and Corellas and Dotterels. Kites, and Buzzards and Harriers. I’ve seen Yellow-spotted Goannas, Blue-tongued lizards and freshwater crocs. Any one of these animals is enough to make you stop and marvel and appreciate just how amazing nature can be. To see them all in the space of 24hrs, at the start of a 2 week trip, is pretty special.
Six years of living and travelling in the Kimberley has made it clear to me there is something deep inside us that longs for this primal connection to nature, whether we are aware of it or not. Some people fish. Some people meditate on the beach next to crashing waves. Some enjoy sitting next to a campfire under the stars. These trips – and the unspoiled nature that is on display – are a perfect and much needed reminder of all the things that are important to me and all the things that make me feel alive. Life is definitely better in the Kimberley.