The Pilbara

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 18:44
ThreadID: 21096 Views:2430 Replies:7 FollowUps:5
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Planning a trip for April this year up the coast from perth to the Broome. We were wanting to stop in the Pilbara on the way. Looking at the Hema map we have noticed that the Rudall River NP and Mt Augustus Np are aprox 400kms of unsealed roads. Are they worth visiting? If not where do you suggest are the must see spots.
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Reply By: Footloose - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 19:20

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 19:20
Second hand Info I'm afraid. Mt Augustus, tick. Been told its an Ok spot. Ruddall is remote and appears to be a favourite of quite a few serious 4wd travellers. But I don't think that you'd bump into too many at once :) Have a great trip. I hope to be in that area a little later in the year.
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Reply By: Member - bushfix - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 19:47

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 19:47
yeah well worth going to Mt Augustus, heaps bigger than Ayers Rock, just not as spectactular as it has lotsa flora on it. Stay at the Donger Park rather than Cobra Station, in my opinion. On the drive out there, watch your speed, creek dips can catch you, not to mention the amount of roos and emus willing to take on your windscreen. Don't forget Walga Rock near Cue..etc...etc...
Have not been to Rudall River yet but may be a bit out of your way (depending on your time, preparation, experience) if heading to Broome. Take a drive through Wittenoom, it is worth it. Perth to Broome, must see spots? How many months do you have?!
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Follow Up By: brumac - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:43

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:43
We've got four months. Canberra-Perth-Broome-Darwin-Alice-Canberra. Not enough time to see everything mainly concentrating on the bits north of Perth and over to Darwin.
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Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:54

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:54
yeah good onya, now I'm really jealous.

Canberra around Perth to Darwin/Alice and back? I don't know what knowledge you have of this wonderful land but it may be a good investment to get an itinerary designed for you. Check out our hosts' links from the "trip planning" menu. Depending on your available prep time, and, you want it to be a trip to remember, you might want to invest some dosh that way.

ensure you post back here before you go, I am sure it would be keenly viewed by others watching here. We love a meander here and there with plenty of time...........
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Follow Up By: brumac - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 21:09

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 21:09
Yes its certainly going to be a great trip. We leave on April 25 and we cant wait. We have a rough idea of what we want to see our main worry is that we will spend too much time on some things and not enough on others. I think this can only truely be worked out when we get there. We are traveling with two kids in the back seat so that will determine our distances travelled. We have 4 months but we must be in Darwin within 8 weeks of leaving Perth so to attend to a medical matter at Darwin Hospital. Other than that we have no other time restraints.
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Reply By: Member - Willie , Epping .Syd. - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 19:51

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 19:51
Was in Ruddal last August for a week . It was stunning , so make the time to get there .
Willie .
AnswerID: 101809

Reply By: V8Diesel - Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:50

Wednesday, Mar 09, 2005 at 20:50
brumac, check out post # 20744 which waqs on a similar topic

This was my reply......

If you do take the Mt Augustus to Meeka road you'll pass Buringurrah(?) settlement. Always amused me that you could buy frozen kangaroo tails from the ice cream freezer. "I'll have a choc-mint drumstick, can of coke and a couple of roo tails for the kids please" Has been a while since I've been there though - hope they still do it.

I believe the Seventh Day Adventists have moved from Cobra Station which might mean the pub is open again - don't know.

There was also very strangely located public phone box near Belele Station or Landor from memory. A 'what the' doubletake moment when you pass it.

If you do end up going to Newman, check out 'Opthalmia Dam', it's quite a surprise. Kalgan Pool is worth a look too, don't know if it's signposted now, but it can be easy to get lost. Walk any river crossings first and stick to your line, there is a deep hole in one of them which is mid Landcruiser 60 series door height;-) There's some nice countryside here and Kalgan Pool is good for a picnic and swim. You can either cross the railway at 'The Hi-Rise' if there's no trains, or travel further up the road and cross on the Yandi Rd from memory then double back. Do your research first. Homestead Pool or Wanna Munna are much easier to get to, but not as 'speccy'.

Big open cut mines are always worth a look. If it's a small personalised tour, see if they'll take you to see the machinery 'graveyard'. I think the HI one at Tom Price is a beauty. A bit like that plane yard in Arizona. Big earthmoving gear just parked up in rows at the end of their scheduled service life. Try and go when there is a blast on too, (I never get tired of watching explosives go off).

When you're at Munjina (Karijini), go to the Auski roadhouse and take a joyflight in the helicopter over the ranges (about $80 from memory). Try and do it at sunset if you can. Worth every cent. It's a little open sided Kawasaki copy of a Bell 47 (M.A.S.H. or 'Skippy' chopper if you know what I mean) and just the ride itself is an experience. The road beside the ranges on the way to the abandoned asbestos town of Wittenoom has great views and you can follow this to an access road which'll take you all the way to Karratha, but it can be rough depending on when it was last graded. May need a pass too.

Definately go to 'Millstream National Park' on the way down. It's become a bit heavily regulated and popular with tourists now, but it is still one of my favourite spots in the PILBARA - no WA...make that Australia. Swim in Python Pool and see who can first spot 'Tit Hill' - you'll know it when you see it.

Cossack is worth a look, Point Samson is good for fish and chips and a beer or two and watch out for yourself in Roebourne (especially if it's pension day).

In Karratha, drive out to the Burrup (better at night) and take a photo of the sign to 'Intercourse Island' on the way - makes me laugh. Go to Dampier for a swim at the beach and a beer at the Mermaid after. Karratha is also a good place to do your shopping and you can get most everything you need at a reasonable price (for the PILBARA that is) There's also a few OK restaurants if you need a bit of 'flash' night out for a change of pace too.

Enjoy the space, distance and solitude, but most of all have fun. Good luck!
AnswerID: 101827

Follow Up By: Willem - Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 09:02

Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 09:02
Thanks for posting all this info. We are going to be east and south of the Pilbara around the end of April and might find some extra time to take in more sights.
FollowupID: 359732

Follow Up By: Member - bushfix - Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 09:38

Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 09:38
Python Pool is just about the most beautiful swimming waterhole I've come across. I remember doing Python, Millstream, Deep Reach, Kermit's etc. one hot couple of days, what luxury.
FollowupID: 359737

Reply By: Member - Melissa - Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 23:20

Thursday, Mar 10, 2005 at 23:20
Hi Brumac,

We did Mt Augustus last June and to be honest, although we enjoyed it we thought it was a bit ho-hum. To be fair we had a baby and 3 year old with us so we couldn't do the longer walks and we feel that you really need to do them to get the best out of the place. Before leaving and whilst there we found people's opinions about Mt Augustus varied from "take it or leave it" to "love it". We fell somewhere in the middle. Having said all that we travelled up the middle route on the Mullewa Carnarvon Rd (unsealed but generally good condition) via Murchison Settlement and Gascoyne Junction and called into Kennedy Ranges before Mt Augustus.

We absolutely fell in love with the country Murchison/Gascoyne outback region and I can't wait to go back and spend some more time there. Highly underated region IMHO, even after years of drought, and full of unexpected surprises. I'm sure this is a region we'll all be hearing more and more about in years to come as people start looking for alternative destinations to the better known 4WD/outback destinations. So in summary we loved the scenery and travelling through this region and although Mt Augustus alone didn't do it for us it was an integral component of what was a lovely trip.

Haven't been to Rudall River NP but would like to. It is quite isolated I believe and access a bit difficult - only for those well prepared and set-up for remote travel. However, I believe it is a particularly beautiful place and worth the effort. Certainly on our list of "must see" destinations.

The Pilbara on the whole is a must see region and probably my all time favourite region in Aust. I include the Pilbara coast around Exmouth and Ningaloo in my comments. You really start to get a sense of the vastness and stunning scenery once you hit Newman. Obviously Karajini NP is well worth a visit. We're also very fond of Millstream NP (if including this be sure to drive out to the Chichester Ranges and Python Pool where the scenery is stunning) and sunset atop Mt Nameless at Tom Price is a truly memorable experience.

Hope my comments help. Enjoy your trip!

:o) Melissa
AnswerID: 102012

Reply By: Member - muzzgit - Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 01:05

Friday, Mar 11, 2005 at 01:05
You absolutely have to see Karijini NP. Millstream NP is also nice for a day or two of swimming and relaxing, the river is nice and refreshing after all that dust, but the road is ve-rr-ry co-rru-ga-te-d. We were there in september 2003 and python pool was off limits for swimming ( bugs or algea in the water or something !) but that's no biggy cos milstream is just around the corner. If you go directly up the coast from perth keep clear of roeburn on pension day ! If you must stop, then fuel up and get out.

We went up the middle from perth, through Mt Magnet, Meekatharramate, Newman and into Karijijni, then on to Millstream and out to the coast and on to Port Hedland. If you do go this way, be sure to stop at the whim creek pub, for a very interesting beer indeed.

If looking for a free overnight camp near Port Hedland, on the northern side about 80 klm out of town is the de Grey river. Big shady trees, clean chemical toilets and its free for one night stays. If you need more on free camping, then grab the book called Free camp spots in the north west. available from most camping stores. We found some great spots to stop overnight on the way to broome.

Another good stop for a few days of relaxation is 80 mile beach caravan park.
I can also recomend Roebuck bay caravan park in broome. Especially down the back on the waters edge. Lovely.

For the first few hundred K's north of perth, its roos you need to look out for. But once you get above the tropic line, its cows, and bloody big, stupid, suicidal ones at that.

Lastly, don't buy fuel in Paynes Find. Its dirty and I know a few people who will swear profusely when they hear that name because of the grief caused by dodgy fuel.

What ever you do, ENJOY this wonderfull state of ours.
AnswerID: 102025

Reply By: wils - Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 00:16

Saturday, Mar 12, 2005 at 00:16
Went into Rudall R last June. Was the only one in there for about 3 days, before another 4x4 gatecrashed our haven. The best spot on the planet I reckon, mainly for its remoteness and stark beauty. You may have trouble getting in there before end may, as the roads are liable to washouts, both north and south accesses. We took a camper trailer in without probs tho'. have a great one!
AnswerID: 102130

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