TRC field trips are always exciting!… Tracey Diddams returns from Kalumburu with this story…

“Just got back in from Kalumburu last night…we actually didn’t think we were going to make it home! Nothing short of an adventurous family working holiday…

• Day 1 – as a highly experienced outback family, we received the first flat tyre we’ve had in 12 years. We always buy the same $500 each tyres which are so thick and tough we’ve never had a flat…until the Kalumburu Road!

• Day 2 – great day out on country with Clarrie exploring rock art sites and visiting Clarrie’s own beach hideaway that he wants to turn into a Culture Camp (awesome!)

• Day 3 – around Kalumburu community catch-up with the Kalumburu Visitor Centre, Uraro Store and Kalumburu Mission. The church is very keen to grow tourism experiences on the Mission grounds (which are beautiful) and with buildings built in 1903 that survived bombing during World War II and an old wood fired bakery oven, the site should be heritage listed. Suggested I’d help with some basic interpretation for visitors. Mission is also keen to grow the annual Feast of the Assumption/Kalumburu Foundation Day (15 August) which at present consists of a daytime sports carnival and an outdoor mass where the story of Kalumburu is told, followed by a corroboree of 3 local clans and a bush oven supper. They would like more visitors to come so I’ve suggested we work on providing some daytime cultural demonstrations (weaving, spear making, bush tucker talks, painting) and local art/craft markets. I’ll develop some promo material to help distribute to encourage more visitors this year. Spent the afternoon fishing at Honeymoon Bay with Lancho and talking visions for his beach camp. I caught a 114cm Jewfish!!!!! (only other fish I have ever caught is a 20cm catfish!).

• Day 4 – decided to head across to neighbouring Mitchell River National Park…as we are driving on one of Australia’s most notoriously corrugated roads, left hand rear wheel shears off an overtakes us bouncing into the bush! I retrieve tyre (felt like I was doing Boot Camp), fortunately hubby is a bit of a bush mechanic, with three spare wheel studs (usually there are six), he spends the next 2 hours in the dirt before we limp the car back to a bush camp for the night.

• Day 5 – we decide its safer to return home than risk driving further into Mitchell River. Home is still 800 km away, we decide if we can make it at least 150 km to Drysdale River Cattle station we will at least have telecommunications, a workshop and the ability to order more wheel studs. We stop every 5 km to check the wheel studs so it takes a while. We make it, arrange for wheel studs to be sent up on the mail plane on Tuesday (3 days away). We set up camp and start the wait.

• Day 6 – Sunday – At 7.30am, a tow truck from Kununurra arrives and surprisingly is carrying a new set of wheel studs for us, Lady Luck is finally shining on us! Hubby has made mates with the local Station mechanic who lets him use his workshop to rebuild our rear wheel disc.

• Day 7 – after a successful day of mechanics, we head the final 650 km home. Checking the wheel nuts every 20 km, we treat ourselves to scones at Ellenbrae Station on the Gibb River Road (delicious!). As we leave, our tyre is split again beyond repair (another brand new $500 tyre!!!). There is so much debris on the road from mechanical pieces that have shaken loose on traveller’s vehicles, caravans and trailers obviously something exceptionally sharp stabbed us. Fortunately we carry 2 spares, but now it means we have no spare tyre and still more than 300 km to get home. We drive slowly, doing vehicle checks every 10-20 km, praying, wishing, positive thinking just to get home. Thankfully, it worked and we made it.

Can’t say TRC Consultants don’t completely immerse themselves in the visitor experience to help with strategic planning!”

Corrugations of the Gibb River Road

Delicious Ellenbrae Station Scones on the Gibb River Road – home is in sight

Drysdale River Station

Honeymoon Bay Sunset 

Kalumburu Bakery

Not another flat tyre

Overlooking Clarrie’s Country

Rock art with Clarrie 

Tour with Clarrie


Camping at Drysdale River Station




Kalumburu fishing Honeymoon Bay

Camp oven cooking at Drysdale