At long last we made it into Western Australia and straight into self-isolation! Most people would be pretty upset about being in isolation, but not us, we are quite happy and comfortable about it – here is why.
Since my last post when I reported that we had successfully secured a border pass the enter WA, we spent our last afternoon at Mataranka baking bread. Yes, we lit a fire and tried out the Bedourie Oven to bake some bread. Not having used one before we were not too sure about how to use it. So once the flames receded and the wood was glowing red, we placed the oven in the base of the fire. About 15 minutes later we both smelled burning, removed and opened up the oven to find a mostly black round shape of a loaf. Fearing that it may not be properly baked inside we hung it from the chain for another 5 minutes before removing it from the fire to cool down.
Once the black crust was removed, the beard was actually very successful and we are still enjoying it for our morning toast. Of course, the proper way to use the oven is to spread some hot wood on the ground outside the fire, place the oven on top and then spread more hot fuel on its lid. We will try that next time.
New border restricions
A text message from the WA Police on Sunday morning set us back emotionally – border restrictions had changed. This meant that we would have to have a Covid test immediately after arrival and got straight into self-isolation until receiving a negative result.
When we were planning this trip and making bookings, Kununurra was the first stop after four days in the Bungle Bungles where there are no showers (although we carry a shower tent). We therefore decided to book a camp site with an ensuite for three nights.
This has proved to be a saviour
The day before we crossed the border this type of site was not deemed by WA Health to be suitable for self-isolation, but this changed on the day we crossed. Perhaps because they were running out of options due to the high numbers of NSW escapees.
Also, the police officer that dealt with us mentioned that there was a high possibility of the border being closed totally to anyone who had been in NSW since 12/06. At the time of writing this has not yet happened. But with the increasing case numbers in NSW it is looking more likely.
Anyway, we are here and looking forward to the itinerary we planned all those weeks ago.
In some respects, this forced isolation is good as it enables us to catch up with chores, washing and last minute work tasks.
I had some further work to complete for a client so, after dinner on Sunday, I needed a decent internet connection. Rather than going into town, we opted for a visit to the bar at the Homestead Resort. This weas a mistake on two counts. Firstly, there was live music at the bar, therefore it was very busy and we struggled to find a table. Secondly, although there were four bars of mobile reception, the internet speed was dead slow and stop. A bit of waste of time, apart from a very enjoyable bottle of Coopers IPA. We retired back to our camp to pack up what we could ready for an early start the next day and the intention of finding a decent signal on the way.
This poor level of internet speed continues to be an issue and source of frustration, even now we are in Kununurra.
Our first stop on Monday was Katherine where I managed to spend too much time on the internet while K went shopping for provisions. After filling up with diesel, we set off for Timber Creek, close to the WA border. We arrived at our chosen campground, The Big Horse Campground, on the WA side of Timber Creek mid-afternoon and were very lucky to secure the last remaining site. Located next to the Victoria River, this was a very pleasant spot, except the smelliest toilets we have ever encountered.
A lovely sunset over the river was made more special by the smoke from a grass fire on the other side of the river. This would have been a great location to photograph the milky way during the night, but I was warned that a Salty (Salt Water Crocodile) had made the boat ramp its home. Needless to say, I didn’t venture out.
Into Western Australia
We left the campground quite early so that we could get to the Covid clinic for our tests as soon as possible. Driving to the border was like heading for the brow of a hill and not knowing what was on the other side: a steep cliff or a slow gentle descent (would we get turned round or would we get in)!
Within an hour we arrived at the border checkpoint which is normally there for quarantine purposes (we had already eaten all our fresh veggies and fruit). Covid checking is an added purpose to this. It took us almost 90 minutes to be on our way again. When we arrived, there were three vehicles in front of us, when we left it looked like a queue of about 20 vehicles in both lanes. After attending our 12:30 (14:00 NT time) test appointment, we checked in to the campground and here we are not allowed to go anywhere. BUT, there are a lot worse places to be self-isolating. We hope to receive our negative test results on Thursday morning
If you feel like phoning, please do so, it would be good to hear from you and to interrupt our inactivity.
We leave here on Friday after which we are not expecting to have mobile phone or internet access for about 16 days, if we do it will be a bonus. I guess I will have lots to report when we get to Derby.
PS: WA now requires everyone entering the state to have a Covid test and to isolate until receiving their results.