The AOPA 2019 Kimberley’s Air Safari has taken off!
A total of 13 aircraft, comprising of an RV7, 3 Cessna 182s, Sling2, Tiger AG-5B, Cherokee Six PA32-300, Cessna 172, two Beech A36s and two Lancairs IV have departed from various locations, meeting in Katherine on Saturday.
Departing from Bankstown was Andrew Andersen and crew in his C182, Glen Hughes in the RV7, Chris Muller in the Cherokee Six and Carolyn Perry and her husband in the C172. Mark Muller and crew are joining the safari from a private strip in Darwin in their C182, while Jennifer Graham and crew departed from Essendon in her Beech Bonanza. Gary Burns, owner of Hangar House, departed from Mudgee, while Daryl Jones departed from x the Sunshine Coast – both in their magnificent Lancair IVs.
Most of the teams met up in Barclay Homestead on Friday, before coming together in Katherine on Saturday to mark the official departure point of the trip. All aircraft departed ahead of the nasty cold front in the south east, avoiding conditions which would have certainly kept them on the ground.
Sunday night feature activity was the Nabili Dreaming Sunset Dinner Cruise – a candle-lit three course dinner against the magnificent backdrop of the Nitmiluk Gorge. Monday saw the groups split: a third headed to the Bungle Bungles and the remainder to Home Valley Station. It was an early departure for those going to the World Heritage listed Bungle Bungles, in order to make the Cathederal Gorge guided walk at 10:30 am. Fortunately, the group took advantage of the border crossing into Western Australia, where they gained 1:30 due to change in time zones.
For those travelling to the iconic Home Valley Station, departure was more leisurely, with a possible fuel stop on the way at Kununurra. Home Valley Station is located close to the mighty Pentecost River, at the foot of the majestic Cockburn Range. The two night stay provides an opportunity to enjoy the ultimate outback experience, exploring the landscape on one of the five self-guided walking trails that starts from the station homestead. For fishermen (and women) there is also the option of a fishing charter with a fine chance the catch of the day being a barramundi.
Stay tuned for updates as the group progresses from Home Valley and the Bungles Bungles to Derby and Cignet Bay, and then on to Drysdale River Station.