G'day, I'm Gary
Some days I pretend to be a photographer. Some days I pretend to be a Kimberley tour guide. For the next 6 months I am based at a remote wilderness lodge in the North-west Kimberley pretending to be a caretaker. Or a caretaker/photographer/tour guide. This is my attempt at recording the Wet season experience, the remoteness, the colours, the weather, the highs and lows, and my own personal reflections on all things Kimberley. Think of it as the story of the Wet season and a celebration of nature, photography and a little silliness along the way. Should be a fun ride.
About The Region
For anyone unfamiliar with this part of the world - the Kimberley region of Western Australia - it's considered to be one of the last true wilderness regions in Australia and by any normal measure it is a biodiversity hotspot. The textbooks tell us, at 420,000 km², it is twice the since of the UK and roughly the size of California. Yep, it's BIG. It has a population of roughly 35,000 people - that's one person for every 12 square kilometres. What makes the Kimberley exciting for most people is the concentration of natural attractions, the unspoiled nature, the sheer diversity of unique landscapes, the long indigenous cultural history and the region's off-road adventures. The climate is closer to that of South-east Asia, with a long extended Dry season from May until October, and the Build-up/Wet Season that stretches though November - April, during which time average daytime temperatures are in the mid-30s. During the wetter months of Dec/Jan/Feb most of the Kimberley's dirt roads are impassable which makes most remotes locations - including the Mitchell Plateau - inaccessible.
About The Area
The Mitchell Plateau, situated in the far north Kimberley, is considered to be one of the more remote parts of the Kimberley, with even rougher roads and almost no basic services - food, fuel etc etc. The National Park Rangers who work in the area are considered to be some of the most remote National Park Rangers in Australia. Despite the presence of mineral resources the area is relatively untouched and it's the only place in Australia that hasn't suffered any animal extinctions. European exploration in the area stretches back less than100 years. In a nutshell, we haven't been here long enough to screw it up. This makes the area a treasure trove for conversation and biodiversity. The North Kimberley climate and vegetation is considered tropical. The area gets around 1500mm of rain during 'The Wet' and the Mitchell Plateau is known for it's distinctive Palm trees - the largest expanse and highest density of Palm trees found anywhere in Australia. Infrastructure and settlement are minimal except for one dirt road, a small Aboriginal community and 2 private wilderness lodges that usually operate May - Sep. The traditional owners of the area - the Wunambal Gaambera people - have a history stretching back around 40,000 years, with countless rock art sites and burial sites reminding us of that rich history.
About The Lodge
The Lodge is nestled amongst native Kimberley Eucalypts and the endemic Mitchell Fan Palms in Camp Creek Conservation Park, about 20km from Mitchell River National Park and the magnificent Mitchell Falls/Punamii-Uunpuu - the biggest tiered waterfall in Western Australia. The Lodge caters to tour groups and independent travellers who are enjoying their own Kimberley wilderness adventure; it combines a unique wilderness experience with comfort, great food and great service. Accomodation comes courtesy of Safari-style tents with ensuites. Suffice to say, it is an amazing location. People drawn to the area are often moved by the remoteness, the isolation, and a connection to nature that is hard to find elsewhere. When the lodge closes up for the Wet season a caretaker moves in to look after the place and to 'keep things ticking over'. This makes the lodge and the Mitchell Plateau home for me for the next 5-6 months.