Aussie Adventures 2015-Discovering The Pilbra

Monday, Jul 13, 2015 at 18:45

Member - Muncey 72

Packed up and checked out of Barn Hill Station, very quiet this morning I think maybe the disco dancers were a bit sore from the antics last night! Drove down the coast to 80 Mile Beach Caravan Park and checked in for 3 nights $47 a night powered site. Got set up and even set the annex up which has not seen the outside of the camper since Port Lincoln. Had a walk over the dune onto the beach and had a short walk out to the water which was about 750meters out (low tide). The beach flat and literally goes as far as the eye can see. The facilities are spotless and the showers were very hot and heaps of pressure. Went fishing the next morning at high tide along with the rest of the caravan park, no luck this time. Everyone we spoke too said the fishing has been very quiet this year. Had a drive south along the beach in the arvo and whilst Alex and Maz collected shells, the boys collected crazy crabs, I had a sun bathe. The weather is lovely at the moment 30 degrees through the day and 13 degrees at night. We are not looking forward in heading south as the weather is very cold and wet. Had another fish on the Sunday with the same results as the previous day, an older guy just up from us caught a black tip reef shark which was exciting for us, maybe not for him as he was surrounded by about 20 kids whilst trying to unhook it! The caravan park had a burger/chips night on the Sunday which was nice at only $10 a head the kids loved it.
Had to say goodbye to 80 Mile Beach as we headed to Port Headland for lunch. Port Headland reminded me of my work as half the town were walking around in the fluoro orange shirts of BHP. Everywhere you looked around the town BHP had paid for or sponsored nearly all the structures, art or playgrounds, they certainly do there bit for this town. There were railway lines going in every direction. Had a look around and got a nice feel of the town, there were ships everywhere being loaded with ore bound for China, Taiwan and Korea. Had lunch at the Silver Star which is an old train turned into a restaurant pretty cool and lovely food. Drove from Port Headland to Point Samson going through Roebourne and Wickham which were towns full of accommodation for the workers at the surrounding mines and ports. Some of the accommodation is brand new apartment blocks which look very nice. Cape Lambert is on the opposite peninsula to Point Samson and that looked like a huge Port Operation. Booked into the Point Samson Caravan Park for 3 Nights $45 powered site, Lovely Park not huge but has everything you need and more. Staff at the reception very helpful. Saw the moon rising over the ocean which looked amazing got some good photos of the staircase to the moon then walked across the road and had tea at the Tavern. Great food and lovely cold beer whilst watching the football on the big screen.
Went fishing off the beach out the front of the tavern and we caught heaps of Yellow Fin Bream, Barred Javelin and Blue Bone the kids had a ball on their little rods the fish were very hungry. Let all the fish go and headed back for a shower and lunch. After lunch we chilled out whilst the kids played on the blow up water slides in the caravan park. Next morning we drove to Karratha which was only 60kms away, stopped in at the visitors centre and watched the Rio Tinto video so we could get the permit to drive on the rail access road to karijini. Morgan also watched the video and proceeded to tell me that he is allowed to drive on the access road! Yeah dream on buddy. Had a look around Karratha which had a huge indoor shopping centre which was good. There is construction going on everywhere. We then drove onto Damiper which is about 20kms up the road and this is the where the real construction is happening. Awesome new marina here and of course the Red Dog monument. Drove up the Burrup Peninsula and saw the gas plants, wow this is massive I thought were I work was a large operation this is monumentally massive. The largest oil and gas operation in Australia. Unfortunately the visitors centre was shut but there was still a heap of info out the front about the North West Gas Project. Everything is new, buildings and roads etc. Heaps of Sturt desert peas growing around all along the road verges. Got back to camp and saw the Bulldogs beat Carlton Morgan was very happy.[gi]121461,250,175,L[/gi]
Had breki packed up and got some hot fresh donuts from an onsite van in the caravan park for morning tea. Headed back past Karratha then turned off heading for Millstream Chichester National Park, stopped at Python Pool for a cuppa and a look. The pool is only 50 metres from the car park on an easy track which opens up into large pool with huge vertical rock faces on 3 sides. Choose not to have a swim as there was some algae present. Drove on to the homestead camp ground called Miliyanha. Paid the $26.60 per night and set up. Had a walk around the old homestead and grounds then settled in for the night with a game of Uno. Needless to say Maz came last and I won. It was pretty cool last night so next stop the thermals will be coming out.
Had a look this morning around Deep Reach pool which is part of the Fortescue River, again didn’t have a swim. Had a look at the Cliff lookout then headed back to camp and decided to move on towards Karijini National Park. Got on the Rio Tinto rail access road and headed to Hamersley Gorge, the road is gravel but in very good condition. You are driving right alongside the railway which is cool, we passed full wagons heading towards the ports of Dampier and Cape Lambert and empty ones heading back out to the mines. Harrison counted the wagons and there were 248 I did not believe him so he counted the next train that went by and sure enough 248. They are 2 ½ kms long. Managed to get a few toots from the train drivers, I would be tooting too if I was on their money apparently close to $250,000 a year! Had fun driving along this road glad we done it and seeing the scale of the Iron Ore rail system was an eye opener. Got to the Hamersley Gorge turn off and stayed in a roadside stop for the night ready to see the gorge in the morning. Set up and got a fire going which was nice and played game 2 of Uno, this time Maz won and I came last! Had hot spicy chicken burgers for tea which should warm us up in bed as again the temp is dropping.
7th July Maz’s birthday, packed up and headed the 5kms into Hamersley Gorge and walked down to the Gorge floor. Amazing rock formations all along the walls which were formed millions of years ago when 2 tectonic plates collided. We had a swim in the large pool at the bottom and yes it was cold, but refreshing. The scenery is pretty spectacular out here similar to the flinders ranges. Left the gorge and drove the 80kms to Dales Campground and managed to get the last of the 140 spaces, the camp host said yesterday that Dales campground and the overflow were full. Got set up and thanked our lucky stars we had a spot. Got the camel packs on and walked down to Fortescue Falls steep but short walk in and the water was very cold. The water was still flowing over the falls which looked cool. Fought each other for the only 3 towels we brought to dry off then we walked up to Fern Pool, this was warmer and the water coming over the falls was even warmer. Had a lovely swim here, the water is a lovely blue/green colour and very deep. Headed back to camp and had chicken hot pot for tea and put the thermals on. Had another game of Uno and this time Alex won and Maz which last…again!
8th July Freezing last night there was ice on a couple of vehicles this morning. Had breki and got the camel packs again and done the rim walk to the 3 ways lookout, easy walk along the top of Dales gorge heaps of wild flowers out and a great view. Took the steep track into the gorge and headed to circular pool. This pool was absolutely freezing, I’m talking breath taking cold. But again the water coming out and down from the cliffs was warm. Took the track along the gorge floor back to Fortescue Falls and then up to Fern Pool for another swim, this seemed warm compared with our earlier dip. Got back to camp and met up with friends we had met in Alice Springs, as they were in the overflow we invited them to join us on our spot as it was quite large and we were leaving tomorrow. Had a few beers and wine and a laugh very cold again.
Got packed up and were on the road by 8:30a.m headed for Tom Price 90kms away, the scenery is lovely as you head up towards Tom Price which is in fact the highest town in WA at 750m above sea level. On the way we stopped at a lookout where people had placed rocks and written on them in memory of loved ones lost, we also placed a couple. Checked into the only caravan park in town for 2 nights at $70 a night! Nice park with awesome hot showers and plenty of grass about. Be aware that this park has more signs up than a sign shop, everywhere you go and look there’s a sign. Had look around the town which is really nice, book the Rio Tinto mine tour for tomorrow. Took the 4x4 track up to Mt Nameless which has awesome views at 1200m above sea level.
Had lazy morning until it was time to hop on the tour bus out to the Tom Price Iron Ore Mine. This is a massive operation with 14 pits being currently worked. The main pit is 100m below sea level (800m deep) and the trucks are huge. At a cost of $4.5 million each they can carry 240t. The trains carry 116t per wagon and the whole train load is 28,000t of Iron ore and there are 5 of these every day leaving Tom Price heading to the ports then China. The bus driver was very good full of info and bad jokes. A great tour and worth putting the hard hat and safety glasses on for. Got back to town and done the shopping at Coles and headed home. Had a lovely Indian for tea and I know the journey in the car tomorrow will be very spicy!
Loaded the car and camper and left Tom Price behind via the dirt road towards Nanutarra, stopped on the side of the road for lunch and continued on to the Nanutarra road house. Parked here and bumped in to the couple and their kids that we camped with at Memory Cove SA. Great to see these guys again. Kept driving until we got to the Bullara Station homestead. Got set for the night at $40 unpowered and watched 2 car loads of 20 year old girls pull up next to us and have a race setting up there roof top tents. Very amusing.
12th July Woke to steady rain this morning, we have not seen rain since Memory Cove SA almost 3 months ago. So we had a quick wet pack up and done the short drive to Coral Bay stopping on the way to add a pair of bras to a huge termite mound on the side of the road. In the NT people had put undies/singlets etc on the mounds and the termites just continue to build the nest over the clothing. Got to the Bay View caravan park and managed to check in early, we have got a cabin for 2 nights as we knew the weather was going to be poor and cause all the camp sites were full. Got the car and camper unpacked and into the cabin and had a lovely hot shower. It’s currently only 18 degrees, wet and windy. Travelled 15,000kms.
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