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Published: July 29th 2010
Millstream palms and a Victorian rose.
We had to backtrack a little to visit Point Samson. We had decided that we wanted to see Dampier and Karratha. We were lucky enough to get the last site and didn’t mind that it was on a sandy site. The park is only five years in the making and amenities were modern and clean.
Happy hour is part of being on the road and there is always someone to share with. At Point Samson it was with people from south of Perth. Six of them! We forgave their love of the eagles and just chatted on.
MILLSTREAM - CHICHESTER NATIONAL PARK
We decided to take a day to visit this area. The usual story ‘you can’t miss it’. 425 klms later we decided it was well worth the trip even though there were a lot of gravel roads.
The intriguing thing is that the area is like a huge oasis with running water, pools and palm trees everywhere. There is a perpetual water flow from aquifers fed by the Hammersley Ranges. Millstream
Our first port of call was the Millstream Homestead Visitor Centre. It contained some interesting displays with details of the early
station days and the Aborigines of the area. We then did the homestead circuit walk to the Jirndawurrunha Pool. As it happened, we had to do it in two halves because the bridge at the half way point was out of commission. The main pool was set in a green leafy surround with water lilies in flower on the surface. A real contrast to the surrounding landscape. The Crossing Pool
We came across another path that indicated a 6.6 klm hike to the Crossing Pool. So off we went to check it out. It was an interesting walk through the flood zone to a substantial water hole that looked much like part of a river in a tropical environment. There were Corellas by the hundreds roosted in trees near the water. We also came across a camping ground that was full of vans and tents.
By the time we got back we were sure that the day’s exercise had been done so we sat down to a picnic lunch. After lunch we did a driving circuit of the area that included a couple of creek crossings although the water was not
Corellas on Holiday?
Even the corellas like a tropical holiday.
very deep. Python Pool
On the way home we detoured to another part of the park to see the Python Pool. As is so often the case in this country, it was a different landscape altogether. We found dry creek bed full of rock that led down to the pool surrounded by towering rockface. The colours were amazing and high on the hills was the Pilbara stamp of the very pale green spinifex that contrast brilliantly with the reds and browns of the rock and soil.
By the time we got back to the van we were exhausted. Still, we managed to front for ‘happy hour’.
DAMPIER and the BURRUP PENINSULA
Our first impression of Dampier was of craggy red rock right across the landscape. When we did the high loop rather than go directly to town, the seafront outlook was a total contradiction with yachts on the water and various facilities along the foreshore.
The town, however, was unexceptional. It took a while to find the shopping center! Dampier was really a mining town supporting workers on the heavy mineral sands and gas projects. Some commercial fishing occurs as well. Woodside Gas
There's a track ...
Part of the walk to Crossing Pool.
We headed on up the Burrup peninsula. The massive gas processing plant and offshore rigs produce huge gas and oil products for both local use and for shipping overseas. It is mind boggling.
There is a visitors’ centre on site and we spent quite some time looking at the displays and watching videos. The whole project is imopressive. How do they design and construct those huge ‘mechano’ models?
Some shopping needed to be done so we called in to Karratha for some lunch. The shopping was good but the town is purely there to service miners in the area. No water was to be seen as it is not on the coast. With the positive reputation the town has, maybe we missed something?
Most unusual! Cossack is a ghost town that has been turned into a tourist attraction. It was the site of the origins of pearling in the state. Silting has made the port too shallow now so it was all moved to Broome. Many historical buildings are maintained in very good condition . There is a budget accommodation
Wallabies near the homestead.
building but the rest of the town is unoccupied.
The same area is popular for seeing ‘stairway to the moon’ at certain times of the month so we went to the beach to imagine what it might be like. We are hoping to catch it in Broome.
Well, it had to happen! The wind nearly blew us back to the coast as we made our 330 klm trip to Pardoo Station. It came from the east and never let up. If you check the map, you will see that the road runs south east and east for most of the way. The last 100 or so klms were not too bad. Fuel consumption took a beating. We had to refuel in Port Hedland just to be sure.
The wind persisted at 40-50 klm per hour from 4 am ‘til 4 pm each day. After that it died right down. We were in an exposed site so the van rocked a bit. We are now hearing that it is normal down the west coast for this time of year. Oh well, you can’t have everything can you?
The station was about 10 klm off
Serves as information center now.
the highway via a dusty gravel road. Everything rattled and shook but everything survived. The station is still active .
The caravan park was fine with power and good water. As soon as we had settled in we went for a drive down to the tidal area of Pardoo Creek and the adjacent bay. No photos because it was a bit bland and suited to fishing on incoming tides. Not a lot of fish being caught though.
We had two nights and decided it was time to move on. Would have been better without the wind more there were more fish to be had.
EIGHTY MILE BEACH
After a short trip , we again did the gravel road trek for 10 klm on a much smoother road. We had been told that we may have to go to an unpowered site for a night and transfer the next day. No problem, straight into a nicely grassed site 50 meters from the amenities block. We decided to go for a walk on the beach. It was terrific! Flat, firm beaches as far as the eye can see in both directions. Our sort of country.
Near Millstream homestead.
‘Another sunset?’ says Rhonda. ‘Sure, why not’ was the reply. Well we missed the best of it but when we arrived atop the dunes there was a crowd. ‘What’s up?’ we asked. ‘Oh, some silly buggar has got himself bogged way out and the tide is rushing in!’ someone said. So off we went to see if we could help but it was too late and all we could do was slowly backtrack from the incoming tide and watch it submerge as the sunset afterglow subsided. No sign of the car in the morning but late in the afternoon a big team of individuals hauled it out! I’m not sure it will survive though.
Eighty Mile Beach is the shell mecca. Everyone walks the beach with head down searching for another different and whole shell! Needless to say, we are into it too. On our first morning in the park we went walking along the beach for an hour and then back before breakfast. It was well rewarded with a good collection of shells. We also got to study a live seasnake washed up on the beach. Unfortunately, it was too far up the beach to go back with
He's snuck in again! Walk to the crossing pool.
the camera. We’ll have to take it in future!
Our first real issue with the van has been water . It happened first at Esperance and with some direction from Jayco we we got things sorted. So then it happened again. This time at Eighty Mile Beach where there was no ‘phone signal and a highly sought after pay phone. After a few hours, a lot of swearing and some ‘modifications’ we got it going for now. The question is, will it see us through?
On now to Broome.
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