Cape York via Simpson Desert 3-6 July 2015 – Days 31-34

Monday, Jul 06, 2015 at 20:23

Peter Beard (WA)

It’s Monday 6 July and Pete made it safely to Eighty Mile Beach at about 4pm, and has managed to score the last self-contained cabin in the caravan park. Even though he has the penthouse (roof top tent) a cabin is preferable to setting up and reassembling the tent, especially if doing it alone.

Ali has to fly home to Perth today to get back to work so Pete dropped her off at a café in Broome and got out of town about 10am after breakfast at our accommodation at Cocos Beach Bungalows at Cable Beach – once again the last accommodation available in Broome besides a motel room – followed by a coffee at the Green Mango Café in Chinatown.

We had a great time in Broome, made even better by Pete’s brother Paul driving up from Port Hedland after work on Friday and spending the weekend with us. When Paul arrived at about 8:30 we had a barbecue and a few beers sitting on the verandah of our bungalow. Paul had a puncture that totally destroyed one of his rear tyres on the way up so Saturday morning was spent finding a new tyre for his SS Commodore. That was a bit of an ordeal; every tyre shop in town was closed – despite what’s advertised on their websites – apart from one, namely Broome Discount Tyres on Clementson Street. Very friendly owner and staff, they had a tyre in stock that would do the job and at a reasonable price too.

Paul worked in Broome for a couple of years about 20 years ago and says the work ethic of the local businesses hasn’t changed. It’s the peak of the tourist season up there but the races are on so all the businesses have closed for the so they can go to the races. At a time when the town is literally overflowing with tourists. Paul said they then all sit around in the wet season and complain how they’re going broke because there’s no business.

Matso’s Brewery was open though so the three of us caught a bus into town and spent the afternoon drinking countless Pearlers Pale Ales and watching the sun go down. Then it was back to Cable Beach on the last bus; Pete and Paul breaking the journey so Paul could revisit his old watering hole, Diver’s Tavern, while Ali stayed on the bus and went back to our bungalow to put on warmer clothes. Pete and Paul had a beer each at Diver’s Tavern, or as Paul calls it the Diverse Tavern, and left to meet Ali for dinner at Cable Beach Resort.

Sunday was pretty casual, Paul left about 11:30 after a late breakfast and Pete drained the water trap in the 80’s fuel filter. The ‘check fuel filter’ light came on momentarily while we were on the Gibb River Road and it’s a good thing Pete checked it. Water and red dirt came out when Pete drained it, even though he fitted a new fuel filter before we left, so it’s good to know the warning lights and buzzers actually work. Water in the fuel does a diesel’s injectors and injection pump no good at all.

After that was completed Ali and Pete walked down to Cable Beach for a swim, then it was back on the bus to Matso’s, back to Cable Beach on the last bus and dinner at Out Of The Blue, a nice little tavern/restaurant on Sanctuary Road next door to Cocos Beach Bungalows.

It would have been nice to stay in Broome a bit longer but we could only get three days accommodation so it was pack up the car, drop Ali off in town and a few hours on the road for Pete down to Eighty Mile Beach, with a quick fuel top-up at Sandfire Roadhouse.

Pete hasn’t been to Eighty Mile Beach before but it was recommended by brother Paul as a good place to stop. Paul spent days off between Christmas and New Year a couple of years back here with his son Chris and two grandsons Lachland and Brook.Well worth a visit, the caravan park is like an oasis and just one sand dune back from a spectacular beach. The beach sand is so hard and compacted that you could probably drive on it with a conventional car. Don’t know what the fishing’s like or if it’s safe to swim (still crocodile country?) but is certainly a beautiful place.

Tomorrow it’s back on the dirt roads for Pete, he plans to head a bit further west on Great Northern Highway, then turn south on Boreline Road through whatever’s left of the mining town of Shay Gap to join up with Marble Bar Road about 35 km north of Marble Bar. After Marble Bar, who knows? The only guarantee is that it will be heading more or less in a southerly direction.


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