After 10 days shaking and rattling our way across the Gibb River Road, it was such a relief to hit the bitumen again. Heading in to Derby the road is not even that smooth, but it was a welcome relief from the standard we had become accustomed to.
Derby is known for several distinct features. It has the largest tide shifts in Australia, up to 12 metre tides are fairly common here. We headed for the wharf district, because we had been told that we ‘had to have’ fish and chips at the wharf restaurant. When we arrived, the sign on the shop said “Open from 11:00am, Tuesday to Sunday.” It was Monday. The pavilion beside the jetty has a large mosaic on the floor that depicts the history of the region, from the wool and pearl shell exports in 1894 to the live cattle and zinc trades of today.
We decided to wait and see what happened, and to our surprise, the restaurant opened at 11:00 and we were able to have an early lunch. In the meantime, we drove across the wharf and observed the low tide mud flats WAY below. The current jetty was re-built in 1964 on very high stilts to accommodate the tidal shift, and it was like driving across a very high rickety bridge.
The food was good, but not amazing, and after we had eaten our fill, it was time to get moving again. Just out of town is another Prison Boab Tree, and we had visited a similar tree at Wyndham, so it made sense to stop here also. As we drove into the tree site, we also came across the longest watering trough in the southern hemisphere. The Myall bore is 322m deep and the adjacent trough is 120m long, enough to water 500 bullocks simultaneously.
The Prison Boab Tree is believed to be 1500 years old, and has a girth of 14.7m. Hollowed out with a single opening, it was a staging point for prisoners being walked into the Derby Gaol.
Whilst we didn’t spend very long in Derby, it was a memorable visit, and we wanted to get through to Broome and Cape Leveque as quick as possible.
There is a lot more to see here, and we have many reasons to plan a return visit one day…..