Edit Blog Post
Published: June 24th 2011
The sunset afterglow on Eighty Mile Beach
Thursday 16th – we were a bit sluggish getting going this morning but still managed to leave the South Hedland Caravan Park just after 9am. We weren’t sorry to be going and we won’t be recommending it to anyone else. Unfortunately, if you need to stay in town there isn’t a great deal of choice, hence the ludicrous price tag. We found out that the Big 4 site in Port Hedland was also full and the cost per night was a whopping $50!
There were a few road trains around going in our direction (but still no railway trains in sight – not even on the crossing!!). After about 50 kms we saw signs to Pardoo Mine and that’s where the big trucks seemed to be turning off so we didn’t see many after that. The landscape was now flat and fairly uninteresting apart from a few cows that were grazing on unfenced land near the road. Anyone who hit one of those would certainly know it!
Eventually, we did catch sight of a goods train but it was relatively short and only had about 50 wagons. We pulled into Pardoo Roadhouse for a break and I was tempted
by the sign that said “try our homemade sausage rolls”. Breaking my own general rule of not eating pastry, we tucked into the huge, tasty and very hot rolls – for a change at a Roadhouse they were very good value.
After 250 kms or so we suddenly reached the road for the Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park so we turned off and immediately the very good tarmac became a sandy, corrugated, poor gravel one. Without Sweetie it would have been no problem but neither of us was happy at having to drag her over the bumps. Other outfits seemed to ‘sail’ by but we tentatively crept along at a snail’s pace. Towards the end of the 10 kms it got a bit smoother and then at last we arrived at the park entrance. We booked in and were soon settled on a very nice, partly grassy site with even a hedge as one boundary. The nearby ablution block was clean and tidy and made the $35 per night charge seem very reasonable after our last experience. Besides that, a load of washing was only $2 (admittedly it was only a cold wash) but it was the cheapest on
the trip so far. In addition, the park operated a very popular bakery cum café cum mini-mart. It seemed incredible to us that a caravan park 250 kms from the nearest town could operate so well. It became even more remarkable to us when we saw the photos of the devastation caused by Cyclone Laurence a couple of years ago. The whole park was obliterated so to have re-established such a splendid park in such a short time was a near miracle.
Soon we were to realize the attraction of the place and why people like our neighbours opposite were booked in for three months - it was an annual trip for them. We strolled to the beach a hundred meters away and were greeted with a most spectacular sight – a beautiful beach as far as the eye could see. It was popular with anglers and plenty of them were still set up trying their luck even though, by this time, the tide was some way out. Others had driven along the beach to find the best fishing spot. We were just content to sit and admire the wonderful view. If there is a ‘draw-back’ to this seemingly
idyllic spot it is that swimming is not recommended. Wildlife of a risky nature (sharks, sea snakes, sting-rays, sea snails etc) is often seen swimming close to the beach. People obviously heeded the warnings as, throughout our stay, we only saw a couple of teenage girls and one other couple in the sea. As we wandered along I paddled and picked up a few of the shells that were scattered about. As we could do a bit of a ‘circular route’, we walked back via the shop where we indulged in some delicious ice creams. Later on we went back to the beach to watch the sun going down and were treated to a most magnificent sunset. Most of the people watching disappeared as soon as the sun did but we stayed on to see the sky turn a beautiful pink and then red – it was a wonderful way to end the day. As we walked back we could now see the nearly full moon rising up into the sky – we are hoping for similar clear skies in Broome so we can witness the phenomenon known as ‘The Staircase to the Moon’.
On Friday morning I got
busy making the most of the cheap laundry and washed sheets, the quilt cover and the mattress protector. We also turned the mattress over and gave everything a good airing. We meandered through the remainder of the day – walking, chatting and eating more ice cream. Graham had spotted the caravan of a couple we had first met up with at Kalbarri but when we called round they weren’t there. Alan was a keen fisherman so we guessed that they would be out on the beach somewhere. We caught up with them later on as we watched another wonderful sunset. Like most of the fishermen, they hadn’t caught a single fish that day but as they are staying here until the end of the month they will no doubt get lucky at some stage. In fact, the only thing that got caught while we were here was a snake that had found its way under one of the nearby caravans. Fortunately, there was a Ranger on the park and he managed to “bag “ it and release it back into the surrounding bush.
Saturday brought another washing opportunity – this time towels. The brisk wind we have been experiencing
here soon gets it all dry. We did our circular stroll again and bought a couple of large ‘home-made’ bread rolls. We spent a few minutes in the shop looking at the display of photos from 2009 cyclone. Winds of up to 285 kms an hour slammed into the coast and 250mm of rain was dumped on the area. It really brought home the devastation caused and the hard work it has taken to get the caravan park in the great shape that it’s in today. We rather idled away the afternoon relaxing – Graham reading his latest novel or struggling with his book of Daily Telegraph crosswords and me catching up with some much neglected reading. Graham then assessed how best to cope with tomorrow’s journey in terms of the distance to be covered and the fuel we might use. We decided to use one of the fuel containers and keep the other in reserve. There’s a roadhouse we could “top up” at even though, lately, road house prices have been a bit high. Nevertheless, Graham decided that the fuel/distance balance is just a bit too close for comfort and his philosophy has always been “better safe than sorry”
even if it means paying a bit over the odds for diesel. Later, when the sun had passed over the van and provided some natural shade, Graham put the awning away and did a few other things to give us a good start for the morning. Apart from the long journey, he’s a little concerned about the gravel road and wants time to “nurse” Sweetie along at a comfortable (slow!) speed. As usual, the sunset here was spectacular and we viewed it by walking as far as was comfortable towards the ever receding tide. We reached about a kilometer from the beach before turning back but there were many others much further out than us. After a chicken based evening meal, we prepared for an early night though not before watching a bit of “footie” on the TV.
The trek to Broome tomorrow would probably be a bit of a challenge but we know that, on arrival, we can settle in for a full week before we have to think about moving on again. Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park is a gem of a place, great as a stop-over and we’re so pleased we were able to experience it.
Tot: 0.041s; Tpl: 0.02s; cc: 11; qc: 29; dbt: 0.0072s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb