Tag: Bush Tucker

80 mile beach

barn hill threadfin salmon

With no luck catching threadfin salmon around Broome and Cape Leveque, it was time to get serious and actually catch one. I did that at Barn Hill, a spot at the northern end of 80 Mile Beach.

barn hill threadfin salmon

Apart from fish, Barn Hill also produces bush tucker, with Gubinge (terminalia ferdinandiana) planted around the camping area. It’s the world’s most concentrated natural source of vitamin C.

terminalia ferdinandiana gubinge fruit

Next was 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park, but not before a quick stop at Sandfire Roadhouse for a beero. Fishing at 80 Mile beach delivered shark after shark. One notable catch was a small hammerhead. I’ve never caught one before and it was interesting seeing the hammer up close. I chucked him back.

At the southern end of 80 Mile Beach is Cape Keraudren. It’s an interesting area with lots of different habitats, reef, mangroves, creeks, beach and coral. We collected a load of oysters off some reef, from the outside they looked like reasonable size but actually the meat was very small. I tried fishing for more salmon, inspired by the 84 year old chap camped next door to us who seemed to be able to catch a couple every time he went out. I dunno how how he does it, I caught nothing.

Cape Keraudren, with the interesting natural environment and reasonable camping facilities, would be a sweet spot to hang out for a while, if it wasn’t for the superabundant midge population. I think it’s the most amount of midges we’ve ever experienced, particularly at the lower camping areas close to the mangroves.

Cape Leveque

kooljaman sunset

Apparently the Cape Leveque Road was initially constructed as an aqueduct to collect and channel water south to drier areas. The remnants of this design can be seen today, with the road cut a couple of meters into the surface of the ground and negative inward sloping camber. It’s like driving down a canal but with big ass pounding corrugations instead of water.

First stop Beagle Bay to see the Church. Sharni has a friend living in Beagle Bay so we stayed with her for a couple of nights. Then onto some of the many spots at the northern tip of Cape Leveque – Middle Lagoon, Pender Bay, Kooljaman, Lombadina and Cygnet Bay. We enjoyed several nights staying at the Cygnet Bay camping area having a coupla drinks by the swimming pool. Sharni’s friend from Beagle Bay met us for a day trip to visit a friend living at Tappers Inlet – a spot not open to the public.

At Pender bay we met up with a couple we’d met several times before on our travels along Gibb River Road and went out on their little dinghy, catching a Mackerel. Other spots produced mainly sharks and one undersized bluebone. One shark was notably large, maybe 1.5m, and was a handful getting in. I let that one go but caught an 80cm specimen which was kept for dinner. It fed us and our camping neighbours.

Gibb River Road Gorges

barnett gorge

The Gibb River Road gorge action ramps up heading west from the Kalumburu turnoff. We visited Barnett Gorge, Manning Gorge, Adcock Gorge, Galvin Gorge and Bell Gorge. They’re all unique and the walks in and out all have their own interesting features. Visiting all of them is worth it if you got the time, otherwise visit any of them, they’re all great.

We struck it rich with a nice haulage of a few different bush tuckers. We got gubinge (terminalia ferdinandiana), the worlds richest source of vitamin C. We found some other similar looking terminalia, I’m not 100% sure of the species, but I suffered no ill effects from eating it. I reckon it might be terminalia carpentariae.

gubinge fruit terminalia ferdinandiana and carpentariae

Gubinge (left) tastes acidic, slightly sweet, with a hint of fruit flavour like plum or something. The other ones tasted similar but less juicy, more fibrous.

gibb river terminalia ferdinandiana gubinge

On the walk into Adcock Gorge there’s heaps of dogs nut. Also called dysentery bush, technical name grewia retusifolia. Fortunately the common name is due to the appearance and not the taste. It tastes a bit like cooked apple.

Grewia retusifolia dogs nut Dysentery Bush tuckerdogs nut Grewia retusifolia fruit

gibb river native kapok flower

Kapok trees were in bloom during our cross of the Gibb River Road. The petals are edible. They don’t have much flavour but have an interesting crispy texture.

Driving out of Bell Gorge I noticed a funny knocking / grinding sensation coming from the hilux. And I had to keep the steering wheel slightly off centre to drive straight. What could it be? Are we about to become yet another victim of the Gibb River Road?

King Edward River and Kalumburu

king edward river rock pool

King Edward River camping area is close to the intersection of Kalumburu Road and Mitchell Falls Road. There’s some well preserved aboriginal rock art in the area which we checked out. It’s a top spot for swimming, with a long, clear, sandy bottomed pool with nice easy entry / exit. The water temp is pretty good too. We stopped by for a swim when we passed on our way back from Mitchell Falls / Port Warrender. Then we stayed again on our return from Kalumburu. We couldn’t resist more bone jarring corrugations so we trekked all the way up to northernmost community in Western Australia.

Kalumburu is a nice town. It’s neat and clean, the locals are friendly and lots of nice kids abound in the afternoons playing sport and stuff. The camping area at the mission is pretty good too – shady, clean and grassy. We stayed there for a couple of nights and then headed up towards Honeymoon Bay, exploring a few of the fishing spots and side tracks along the way. We stayed one night by some old shack where I caught another cod and also found some nice bush tucker. It’s a terminalia species, I think terminalia cunninghamii, common name pindan walnut. Tastes like almond.

We passed through McGowan Island camping area then proceeded to Honeymoon Bay for a couple of nights stay. I caught another cod! That’s 4 cod in 3 fishing sessions, prior to which I had never caught cod. My speciality species used to be catfish but now I’m specialising in much more delicious cod. We got to share in some oysters too thanks to our friendly neighbours.

Honeymoon Bay is a good fishing spot. There’s a lot of activity at the right time of day, with fish feeding everywhere. I got several strikes and a couple of hookups that failed to land and would have loved to try another afternoon fishing session. However the powerhouse performance by the midges meant that Sharni ordered a prompt departure.

Gibb River Road

gibb river road nice corrugations

Having visited El Questro, we’d already started the Gibb River Road on the previous post. But that bit was all bitumen. Now the ass pounding corrugations start. For years we’d heard of stories of broken vehicles and bruised asses on the Gibb River Road. Time for us to have a turn.

gibb river road nice corrugations

First stop was Home Valley Station, just a day visit to have a beer with a chap we met at El Questro and a walk up the lookout for sunset views of the Cockburn Ranges.

cockburn ranges from home valley lookout

That night we stayed at a rest stop on the side of the road where we met a friendly couple in a caravan. They are travelling the same way as us so there’s a good chance we’ll meet them again further down the track. Next morning we didn’t need a coffee to give us a good kick, we just started driving on the teeth chattering corrugations. A quick stop at Ellenbrae Station for a round of their famous scones then more corrugations up to the Kalumburu Road turnoff, where we camped for a couple of nights along the Gibb River. It’s a nice spot with plenty of firewood and clear cool flowing water of the Gibb River. The water is shallow and suitable for swimming. You’d see a big croc from miles away in the clear shallow water. We found some edible rosella, a member of the hibiscus family, on the banks of the river. Some of the other campers had already collected some and made rosella jam.

Back On The Road

empress springs descending ladder

Apart from the occasional short trip out of Perth, recently we’ve had a serious shortage of camping missions and outback exploring. The blame lies solely with our participation in the rat race. Fortunately this situation has been corrected and we’re back on the road for some proper long term travel around oz.

This time round we’ve made some improvements to our setup. I’m not going to list them all here, but the main change is to our solar panel arrangement, making it lighter, simpler, more aerodynamic and easier to deploy. Oh and our two person team has expanded to three.

hilux with new solar panels

Our hilux  keeping beer cold with the new solar panel setup.

new team

The new three person team.

We’re a bit behind on the blog and have already made it to Broome. This post covers from Perth to the WA border via Great Central Road.

Our route has taken us to Kalgoorlie, Menzies, the Lake Ballard sculptures, Kookynie, Leonora, Laverton and onto the corrugations of the Great Central Road. On the way we found some bush banana. Tastes like peas.

bush banana prep bush banana

We detoured off Great Central Road, heading north on David Carnegie Road to visit Empress Spring. This spring saved the lives of David Carnegie and his party whilst exploring the Gibson and Great Sandy deserts a few years ago. They were out of water and nearly dead, so captured an aborigine, fed him salted beef and held him hostage until he led them to a water supply.

empress spring descending ladder empress spring

After a night at Empress Spring the plan was to continue north on David Carnegie Road and then traverse the Gunbarrel Highway across to Warburton where we’d rejoin the Great Central Road. We made it easily to Empress Spring and then a further 100km north but our efforts were thwarted by some deep washouts on the track. With only modest ground clearance, the washouts were pushing the limits on our vehicle’s capability. Falling into a big rut could have us stranded since we were travelling alone with no other vehicles to assist in recovery. I believed that with some minor reshaping of the track with a shovel there was a better than 50% chance of making it through, and if not we had plenty of food, water and beer on board. Sharni on the other hand chickened out and ordered an immediate u-turn.

david carnegie road ruts

Although it doesn’t look it on the photo, these ruts were probably half a meter deep.

So it was back south down the slow, rutted and spinifex laden track where we again picked up the Great Central Road from where we left it a few days before.

david carnegie road spinifex

Continuing east towards the WA border was uneventful apart from the ongoing corrugations. One of the hilux badges fell off our car and the CB radio antenna broke off (this is the second time we’ve had this happen). Here’s a few more photos of the trip up to Lasseters Cave just inside the Northern Territory Border. From here we continue to Uluru and beyond.

Warren River First Trout!

trout fishing warren river

After years of demoralising failure, finally, Hong and I have caught our first trout! And what a feeling! No longer are we taunted by this long running black mark hanging over our fishing capability. We are successful trout fisherman.

First trout was caught in the Warren River, near Pemberton, over the course of a camping mission during the Western Australia Day long weekend. Sharni came along for the camp too, although did not do any fishing, instead enjoying some reading and relaxing in the awesome forests in the area, as well as some fancy coffees and food back at Pemberton. The gargantuan trees and beautiful waterways in the region are really tremendous and make a great place to camp, trout fishing or not.

Both Hong and I caught a few undersized trout which we chucked back in. Then one of us caught a sized trout big enough for keeps. I won’t say who actually caught it, not because it wasn’t me who caught it (it could have been me), but because it was a team effort. I’m not just saying that coz it was Hong that caught the fish. We both posed for photos to celebrate the awesome teamwork. Although we will always remember the great moment of catching our first trout, the specifics of who actually caught it are so unimportant that it won’t be long until we’ve forgotten who actually caught it.

We cooked our sole trout in Hong’s fish smoker. The same fish smoker we used a couple of months before to cook Australian Salmon. We noted the pungent smell of leftover fermenting salmon before cooking the trout but didn’t think it would affect cooking. How wrong we were. It was Australian Salmon flavoured trout for dinner. Yummy. We left the fish smoker on the fire that night to burn off any remaining salmon remnants.

Whilst camped up at Big Brook Aboretum, mushroom hunters visited to collect some orange mushrooms to eat. They said they weren’t sure of the name of the mushrooms. To me they did not seem very knowledgeable about mushrooms. It is not known whether they survived.

Visiting the facilities in Pemberton to download a brown-load, we noticed some black nightshade growing in the park. The ripe black berries are edible and taste slightly sweet with hints of savoury tomato-like flavour. They’re supposed to be pretty good for you, plus they’re free food, so we chowed down on a few. Apparently the leaves can be boiled up and eaten too but we didn’t try. Don’t eat the unripe green berries, they’re poisonous. They’re ripe when they are black and effortlessly fall off the plant.

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