Tag Archives: kununurra

Ariya turns nine

The final birthday for the year was Ariya who turned nine in November.

Ariya turns eight.
Ariya turns six.
Ariya turns four.
Ariya turns three.

Ariya was very happy that this year her birthday would be held in cooler weather as by now we had made the move to the Gippsland region in Victoria (the south east corner of Australia and 4,000 kms away from Kununurra.)

We had only been here for three weeks when her birthday arrived but thankfully we already knew a family here who also had recently just relocated from Kununurra so Ariya and Marisah’s friend, Nikita was able to join us for a day at the beach.

Our new location has us a one hour drive east from the city of Melbourne, one hour south of the snow and one hour north of Phillip Island. Ariya was given the choice and she decided on Phillip Island.

That morning Nikita arrived with her Mum and younger sister. They opened some gifts before enjoying a cupcake birthday 'cake'.

That morning Nikita arrived with her Mum and younger sister. They opened some gifts before enjoying a cupcake birthday ‘cake’.

Ariya turns 9

One hour later we were at Phillip Island. We headed to the southern tip to have a walk around and try and find some Fairy Penguins.

One hour later we were at Phillip Island. We headed to the southern tip to have a walk around and try and find some Fairy Penguins.

It was blowing an absolute gail which the kids found a lot of fun. Eventually we did spot two baby penguins hiding from the wind.

It was blowing an absolute gail which the kids found a lot of fun. Eventually we did spot two baby penguins hiding from the wind.

Afterwards we drove a few kms to the town of Cowes where we were told was a good swimming beach. After a picnic lunch of sushi all four kids were ready to get wet.

Afterwards we drove a few kms to the town of Cowes where we were told was a good swimming beach. After a picnic lunch of sushi all four kids were ready to get wet.

Well, the girls were while Jacob played it safe.

Well, the girls were while Jacob played it safe.

I was suffering from some severe back pain so took it easy laying on the grass keeping an eye on the kids and a game of cricket while Seerung went to find some coffee.

I was suffering from some severe back pain so took it easy laying on the grass keeping an eye on the kids and a game of cricket while Seerung went to find some coffee.

The water was really cold and they did not last all that long in it, preferring to get warm by laying in the sand....

The water was really cold and they did not last all that long in it, preferring to get warm by laying in the sand….


.... or with a towel and some hugs.

…. or with a towel and some hugs.

Jacob did it just for fun!

Jacob did it just for fun!

Ariya had a great day and apart from my back, so did I. It was so nice to be able to go for a drive and see such different country side and experience new things. I think I just might like it around here.

Fighting a bushfire, outback Australia style

At the end of August I heard about a bush fire that was threatening a life time of work at Kachana Station, a 77,500 hectare totally isolated property which is owned by good friends of mine. My brother was going out to fly the helicopter to transport volunteer fire fighters around the mountains and valleys surrounding the homestead so I went out as one of those volunteers.

The fire had been deliberately lit (as per usual) over a week previously. Volunteers had been coming and going but they were exhausted so it was good to be able to go out with another bloke to replace some of the exhausted men coming back to town.

To read more about the interesting work going on at Kachana Station you can read about it here: Kachana Station

We flew out in a fixed wing aircraft (no road access) with Chris, the owner, who along with only one other person has ever landed on the precarious airstrip situated deep in a valley. With another look at the fire from the air on our way in to land, Chris decided it was time to cut his losses and back burn to save what he could. The previous weeks hard yakka had taken its toll and it was a very hard decision for him to make. So instead of getting straight into the action our roles quickly changed. That first afternoon we could do nothing but watch my brother and Chris as they flew low over the rugged landscape dropping incendiaries in a formation to start the back burning process.

They ended up doing three trips due to various equipment malfunctions, one quite hilarious, but eventually it was done right on last light.

Kachana Station fighting bush firesThe back burning had done the job but some parts had not gone in the right direction and needed to be put out. Chris used a back pack air blower while I followed up the rear with a back pack water tank.

Here is a short video clip showing them taking off for the first run.

It was early to bed that night while the fire burnt up the mountain slopes and early to rise at 4am to get ready for a busy day. The day dawned very still and smokey.

Kachana Station fighting bush fires

One team was flown to one site while Chris and I went in another direction.

Kachana Station fighting bush fires

Kachana Station fighting bush fires

Here we are flying to our first position.

We clambered over all sorts of wild country and with 20kg on your back and temperatures reaching 40 degrees it was very hard work.

Kachana Station fighting bush fires


Kachana Station fighting bush fires

Thank fully every time I had to refill my back pack I did not have to walk very far to this tranquil location where I would drink a litre of water myself before trudging back up the mountain side.

Kachana Station fighting bush fires

I couldn’t believe it but by midday we all regrouped and were very satisfied with what we had achieved. If all went according to plan by the end of the day the small fires left burning would hopefully burn themselves out. That meant it was time to go heli fishing!

After a great lunch and a rest we cobbled together a little fishing equipment and quickly popped over to the Chamberlin River which still had some water left over from the previous wet season in isolated lagoons. Not being a fisherman I took a book and kept the chopper company while the others went off to try and catch dinner. Here is a pic of the almost dry river system that we landed at.

Chamberlin River Kachana Station

Immediately they had hooked a beauty but not quite we were after so after a bit of a tussle they managed to release it back into the water.

Catching a crocodile with a fishing line

While there was not much fishing success they did manage to land one decent sized Barramundi that we devoured that night for dinner over a few glasses of the delicious local brew, Kachana Gold.

Barramundi at Kachana Station

After a great dinner we all slept like logs. The next day after a quick flight to check that all the fires were out we headed back to Kununurra. To finish off my blog here are two photos from our flight home. One of the Dunham river and the other of the Kununurra Airport with Lake Kununurra in the foreground.

Dunham River

Kununurra Airport from a chopper over the Lake


August 2013

After the craziness of July, August seemed rather sedate! The weather started to warm up, we stepped up the school lessons and we did a few more trips with Bow and Noot as their time in Australia was fast coming to an end. I spent two days out on a friends property helping fight a bush fire but have decided there is already too many photos for this blog entry so will save that for a separate entry following this one.

School got back into full swing. Here are the girls with their science experiment. They were testing the conditions that seeds can grow or not grow in.

School got back into full swing. Here are the girls with their science experiment. They were testing the conditions that seeds can grow or not grow in.

There was a lot of artwork done as well!

There was a lot of artwork done as well!

In my previous blog I mentioned a trip that my Dad, brother and I did and how I came back in August with some close friends to visit it again but this time spend all day there exploring, eating and just catching up with each other.

I was worried how Jacob would go for an entire day with no afternoon nap but he had a blast. He could play with as much dirt as he wanted for as long as he wanted - heaven for him!

I was worried how Jacob would go for an entire day with no afternoon nap but he had a blast. He could play with as much dirt as he wanted for as long as he wanted – heaven for him!

The kids were pretty adventurous which was great.

The kids were pretty adventurous which was great.

More dirt!

More dirt!

Marisah found this Aboriginal painting of a serpent in a massive rock overhang.

Marisah found this Aboriginal painting of a serpent in a massive rock overhang.

Jacob and I off exploring

Jacob and I off exploring

We left early and stayed all day and into the evening it was a great day which included lots and lots of.....

We left early and stayed all day and into the evening. It was a great day which included lots and lots of…..

Food!

Food!


After 2 months at our house Noot and Bow were well and truly settled in. They had even caught the hair cutting bug!

After 2 months at our house Noot and Bow were well and truly settled in. They had even caught the hair cutting bug!

I organised a helicopter trip for them out to Cape Domett. Didn;t catch anything but we had a great time taking in the natural beauty and total isolation that only the Kimberley Coast can give. For some reason I have no photos apart from this one! This was on the flight out and I loved the artwork quality of the tide coming in over the hot dry sand.

I organised a helicopter trip for them out to Cape Domett. Didn’t catch any fish but we had a great time taking in the natural beauty and total isolation that only the Kimberley Coast can give. For some reason I have no photos apart from this one! This was on the flight out and I loved the artwork quality of the tide coming in over the hot dry sand.

We also took them to Elquestro Station for lunch and then a walk up to Emma George. Once again I think my photos are all on Bows camera and I must get a copy. Here is Jacob at the start of the walk.

We also took the to Elquestro Station for lunch and then a walk up to Emma George. Once again I think my photos are all on Bows camera and I must get a copy. Here is Jacob at the start of the walk.

And here he is setting off for the walk. He was not happy when i told him he could not go and had to stay back at the restaurant with Mum. I am glad I decided that as it was about a 2km walk in and a lot of it was over some pretty rough terrain.

And here he is setting off for the walk. He was not happy when i told him he could not go and had to stay back at the restaurant with Mum. I am glad I decided that as it was about a 2km walk in and a lot of it was over some pretty rough terrain.

This little fella started to get friendly and often visited our house much to the delight of my visiting Thai niece and nephew!

This little fella started to get friendly and often visited our house much to the delight of my visiting Thai niece and nephew!

Bow helping Marisah out with some needle work.

Bow helping Marisah out with some needle work.

Jacob was totally besotted with Noot by now as he had the patience to sit on the floor with him for hours just playing cars and helicopters.

Jacob was totally besotted with Noot by now as Noot had the patience to sit on the floor with him for hours just playing cars and helicopters.

Here they are down at Ivanhoe Crossing.

Here they are down at Ivanhoe Crossing.

The three of them at Ivanhoe Crossing, Kununurra.

The three of them at Ivanhoe Crossing, Kununurra.


My sister had brought with her another scooter so now we had three and Jacob could finally join in. The tent on the balcony was where Noot was sleeping.

My sister had brought with her another scooter so now we had three and Jacob could finally join in. The tent on the balcony was where Noot was sleeping.

Jacob loved snuggling into this little box to play.

Jacob loved snuggling into this little box to play.

Of course he loved it even more when Ariya would join him!

Of course he loved it even more when Ariya would join him!

Marisah playing dress ups.

Marisah playing dress ups.

Babychinnos have always been popular in our house and now Jacob has joined the group!

Babychinnos have always been popular in our house and now Jacob has joined the group!

Playing with his sisters.

Playing with his sisters.

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A sleepover was organised when our friend Nikita was visiting Kununurra. Cousin Elise also joined in for the night.

A sleepover was organised when our friend Nikita was visiting Kununurra. Cousin Elise also joined in for the night.

Girls sleepover fun

I saved my favourite photo for last. No explanation necessary.

I saved my favourite photo for last. No explanation necessary.


A Helicopter trip to spectacular Napp Springs in the Northern Territory

Napp Springs is located just over the border of Western Australia in the Northern Territory and is about a 35 minute flight by Helicopter from the town of Kununurra. This 10km long spring has a permanent water supply.

Last year I wrote about an amazing helifishing trip that I did. Well on the way home we took a detour over Napp Springs and ever since then I was hoping I would one day get back to check it out properly.

In April I was lucky to get a lift back out to this very remote and beautiful part of the world. The rocks are amazing, the colours so vivid and the water so clear and refreshing.

I had a blast swimming around and jumping off the cliffs with my brother egging me on. That was until I landed awkwardly and managed to do some serious damage to my left shoulder. It was a more subdued ride home for me and now, 6 months later, I am still having issues with it despite x-rays and Physiotherapy. That pain has not taken away my memories of a great morning out which I share with you now by the way of a few photos and comments. Please enjoy.

On approach to our landing spot at Napp Springs.

On approach to our landing spot at Napp Springs.

It was a hot day and the water looked so cool and inviting.

It was a hot day and the water looked so cool and inviting.

Getting closer.

Getting closer.

Found our landing spot.

Found our landing spot.

Touch down.

Touch down.

Looking back down the way we flew in. Look how clear that water is!

Looking back down the way we flew in. Look how clear that water is!

Looking up stream.

Looking up stream.

A little further upstream.

A little further upstream.

Water seemingly to appear out of nothing!

Water seemingly to appear out of nothing!

Taking off for the return trip.

Taking off.


Checking out other waterfall spots on the way home for possible further exploration at a later time.

Checking out other waterfall spots on the way home for possible further exploration at a later time.

The mini Bungle Bungles near the town of Kununurra.

The mini Bungle Bungles near the town of Kununurra.

Once we start flying over this kind of country we are only a few minutes from home.

Once we start flying over this kind of country we are only a few minutes from home.

Alyssa Joy Spackman – our precious angel.

Alyssa Spackman

Alyssa Joy Spackman was the six year old daughter of good friends of mine. A bright and beautiful girl with wonderful friends and the most amazing loving family.

A little over a year ago she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. She fought and fought and her parents did everything (and seriously, I mean everything) they could to beat it. She lasted longer then any Doctor predicted and that was because of the sheer will power of Alyssa, the love and support from her family and the prayers of an entire community.

She went to heaven early this morning while surrounded by her Mum and Dad, her sisters, brothers and Grandparents who I feel devastated for. I pray for strength for you all and complete peace for the beautiful and precious angel, Alyssa.

The Comfort & Sweetness of Peace
By Helen Steiner Rice

After the clouds, the sunshine,
After the winter, the spring,
After the showers, the rainbow-
For life is a changeable thing.
After the night, the morning,
bidding all darkness cease.
After life’s cares and sorrows,
the comfort and sweetness of peace.

purple-butterfly


Funeral details:

A service for Alyssa will be held at Pinnaroo Valley Memorial Park (Crematorium) East Chappel, Whitfords Avenue Padbury in Perth on Thursday the 9th May at 3:30pm.
Please wear colours or purple and feel free to bring a single flower or paper crane to place on the casket if you wish. There will be stickers available for those who wish to place them on the casket for our little “sticker queen” and there will be purple ribbons to tie around your wrist in honour of our beautiful Alyssa.
Please join us after for tea/coffee/refreshments/light snacks at a venue to be advised.
There will be a special service held for Alyssa in Kununurra at a later date.

Kununurra to Cape Domett by helicopter

This is part one of a four part blog documenting a fantastic morning spent with friends travelling to remote Cape Domett which is located in the extremely isolated Kimberley region of Northern Australia.


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Pilot Paul had us assemble at 5am on the front lawn outside his house where he had parked the R66 helicopter the previous night. As dawn broke we loaded up fishing gear, water, bacon and eggs, a small BBQ, soccer ball and frisbee, deck chairs and of course our cameras. My house is just behind this photo on the other side of the lake.

A quick check to make sure that the sticky tape and glue holding the blades together were still strong and we were set to go.

It was a brisk and misty morning as we headed almost due north to the coast and our destination of Cape Domett. I have never been there before as although it is only about 120kms as the crow flys from Kununurra it can easily take five or more hours to drive there due to the state of the road track. 30 minutes in comfort via air is much more my style!

The mist quickly burnt off affording us a magnificent view of the Ord River as it snaked its way towards the Cambridge Gulf splitting Carlton Hill and Ivanhoe Cattle stations. It was right in this area where the homestead was built and the majority of the movie ‘Australia’ starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman was filmed.

Before we knew it the fresh waters had been left behind and replaced by tidal flats. It was here that my brother Paul quickly noticed that the tide must be quite high as he had never seen the water so far inland before. This part of the world sees massive tidal movements and it is common to have tides greater then 10 metres. Over flat terrain that is an amazing amount of water rushing in and out at any time.

You can see the ocean in the background of the above three photos so we knew we were close. As we got closer and saw the beach it did not look all that impressive but that was because most of it was under water.

Pilot Paul decided to land at the very end of of the beach where there were some beautiful rocks that would provide some welcome shade later on in the day.

As the chopper wound down and we unloaded supplies we all stood around and watched this massive tide lap at the skids of the helicopter. Was the tide still coming in? If it was then we were in a spot of bother…. to be continued.