The Pilbara - Yandagee Gorge, Pannawonica & north to Karratha

Thursday, Jun 08, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Thursday 8th June
Karratha WA

I slept incredibly well in our little bush camp and was up with the birds to get the fire going and the billies on. It was a chilly night but a bit of warm water, a cup of tea and cheese and bacon jaffles hit the spot. It is going to be a beaut day evident by the clear skies and bright sunshine.

Once on the road we realised how sheltered our little spot had been as the head wind was phenomenal. We only had a short trip thankfully to the Pannawonica turn off and from there it was east the 48 kays to the mining town itself. The road in was a very scenic route winding itself across broad valleys surrounded by low flat-topped ranges and mesas. Yandagee Gorge only 17 km along was particularly scenic. On reaching Pannawonica we had our first major disappointment in finding that the road to Millstream was closed indefinitely (2 months at least) as it was still largely underwater. We confirmed this at the local library where the assistant was very helpful. The big consolation was that Diesel was subsidised here by Robe Iron Ore down to Perth prices. We came away quite impressed with the little town, its helpful people and its facilities. It probably ranked as one of the best mining towns we’d yet seen.

After a coffee and snack at the local deli, there was nothing for it but to drive out the way we’d come to the Northern Hwy and then north against the headwinds again the 150 km to Karratha. We arrived there a bit after 1.00 p.m. and checked into the Big 4 Caravan Park, the most expensive yet at $27 per night for a powered site AFTER our club discount! Reasonable facilities though. John and Julie checked into a unit as Johns had hurt his back this morning and he has been getting progressively worse as the day goes by.

The Karratha facilities seem very good. Certainly Amanda was thrilled to find a large Centro shopping centre with both Target and Kmart. After so long in the wilderness she was able to massage her shopping gland with a few canny clothing purchases. I immediately found the Tyrepower store to seek some advise on the damaged Cooper. Enquiries pending as we like to say.

Dinner was a seafood platter for 2 from the highly recommended deli at the caravan park. The wizened hag behind the counter prepares things by order for delivery at a certain time for park residents. It was crap. $19 that could have been much better spent. Moral of the story…don’t trust "all" the advice of park employees!

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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