A full time traveller Kate and her partner have called a Toyota Coaster home since December 2016. They are currently touring Australia making memories and lapping up everything this amazing country has to offer. Visit www.theroadhousecoasters.com
Published May 17th 2018
Spend time in a National Park learning from a local
What better way to start the day than a gentle stroll through a National Park with a knowledgeable guide. That's how we kicked off Tuesday. As part of the Ord Valley Muster programme each year, the Parks and Wildlife Department Western Australia organise these guided walks. There's some that start at 5.30pm, so you are out and about for sunrise, but we opted for the more realistic kick off time of 7am.
After chucking back some Weetbix and banana, we jumped on the scooter and headed to Mirima National Park, which is just outside of town and only an 8-minute drive from our campsite. You can walk to this National Park from town, so I hope the locals know how lucky they are.
Suddenly we were in the midst of the rocky ranges that we'd been driving past on the Great Northern Highway and had seen from a distance from the other Muster events we'd attended earlier in the week. The morning sun was casting ever-changing shadows on the rocks as it rose higher in the sky. As soon as I hopped off the scooter, my camera was working overtime as I tried to capture the natural beauty of the ranges.
A small group of eager walkers were gathered in the car park and by 7am, there were 10 of us and the guide. He introduced himself as Sean, a former teacher who was now a ranger and works with the department on their signage, so people can learn about their surrounds while they hike. What a great job.
Our guide from Department of Parks and Wildlife WA
Sean got us started by telling us more about the boab trees which are scattered through the Kimberley area. Their shape is very distinctive with trunks almost like wine bottles, but no one knows how they came to grow in Australia as they aren't a native tree. The theory is that its seeds floated across from Madagascar thousands of years ago. Boabs are very hard to work out the age of, as unlike other trees, they don't have rings in their trunk to work it out. I volunteered myself to be the taste tester of the boab nut after hearing it tasted a bit like popcorn. It didn't.
As we wandered through the park, Sean stopped us every few minutes to point out different trees and their fruits. He showed us a bowerbird nest where the male bowerbird decorates his stick house in the hope his interior design skills will impress the ladies. Just like with humans.
We then hiked up to the top of a section of ranges and found ourselves overlooking part of the town. Sean explained how local Indigenous rangers look after the National Parks in the area after having the land rightfully returned to them.
It was all really interesting and as I'd been itching to explore the ranges it really was worth getting out of bed a bit earlier than normal for. If anyone gets the opportunity to do a guided walk from locals or rangers, then sign yourselves up.