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Published: November 2nd 2013
The Kimberley region from Kununurra to Broome stretches for miles and miles so Pete and I definitely have shared the driving on this leg as the roads seem to be never ending straight roads. The landscape changes quite often though to keep it interesting and I am also glad that we have tons of music to sing along to, to ensure we are fully awake plus I brought these very strong coffee candy pieces back from Bali and they too are helping to make sure we keep alert on the road.
Tonight we are camped in Derby which has the title of having the largest tide in Australia at 11.8 metres. We biked 5km at 3.00 pm with the temperature around 30 degrees at least to the wharf to see the incoming tide but tomorrow I think we will drive there to witness the 10.00 am outgoing tide as we had a headwind the whole way there and it was far from easy going.
Heading south from there we arrived in Broome and have enjoyed a couple of days relaxing by the beautiful pool that they had in the camping ground. Broome is noted for its amazing sunsets over
Cable Bay and although they were good I think all the bush fire haze spoilt the clarity somewhat. Broome is also famous for pearl farming so there is no shortage of pearl shops along with the huge price tags too. Pete kept a tight hold on his wallet!
Headed out to make our way down to Port Hedland but unfortunately the road was closed due to bush fires further south so we ended up camping at the side of the road with some other campers for most of the day. When we were finally given the all clear to carry on at around 4.30 pm, the beer had already been cracked open and the wine so we decided to stay the night there and just waved to all the others going through. As it gets dark around 6.30 pm we were reluctant to travel around dusk and thought that there may be too many frightened wildlife and stock on the roads so it just wouldn’t be worth it plus if the fire flared up I would have been really spooked. Driving through during the day we saw black trees and grass everywhere on both sides of the roads for
miles and even some parts still with hot spots still ablaze.
This stretch of the Kimberley’s again goes for ever with the last part being as flat as a pancake so it was more of the strong coffee candy and more of the sing along songs today! We have a warm breeze tonight so should get a cooler nights sleep if we are lucky.
Port Hedland is simply an industrial town so after visiting the tourist information centre and discovering that the mining tours were no longer operating due to the end of the tourist season we had a long look at the ships in the harbour that transport the iron ore to China and then headed south again.
Cossack, an actual ghost of a town was next. No one lives there except for the caretaker and even he wasn’t around when we got there. It was quite creepy going into the old gaol with the bars still on the doors and reading about the history of the prisoners, mostly aboriginals, who had to wear 5 lb chains around their necks 24/7. There was a customs house and a court house all now restored but still all
very quiet and definitely creepy. The wharf is a popular place for fishing still and we stopped to talk to the locals from nearby towns for a while who love the area.
Carrying on down the line we entered Karratha, another boom mining town with lots and lots of new housing subdivisions and excellent roading structures taking place. Not what I would call a beautiful town at this stage but it certainly may be one day. This town leads on to Dampier where the roads are even bigger and wider to accommodate all the hundreds of trucks going to its port. The train to the port that comes from Tom Price Mine and several others is 2.4 kms long and pulls 239 carts along and quite a sight to see.
The North West Gas Field plant is also based at Dampier and the safety flames at the top of the towers reminded us of the gas plants in New Plymouth. This is Australia’s biggest project with millions of dollars pumped into it and so far it is showing huge returns. Western Australia certainly has its fair share of wealth what with iron ore, diamonds, gas and minerals, not
to mention tourism and its beautiful sandy beaches which we plan to visit again in the next few days.
Finally got to Exmouth, a small town only created in the late 1960’s when the US and Australia decided to build lots of huge communication towers there as a joint venture and where we still saw US military personnel in their camouflage gear relaxing in the shopping area. We stocked up on supplies and headed for the white sandy beaches alongside the Ningaloo reef, pronounced a world heritage site in 2012. Pete and I had a great time hiking in the gorges and snorkelling there and managed to see, apart from colourful fish, blue spotted fantail stingrays, turtles and even dolphins. I am happy to say that we did not see sharks, as the day before a woman had been bitten by one in the same waters and was rushed to Perth Hospital to have several stitches put in her shoulder! One of the guys in our campsite said that he had seen 4 while he had been in the water so I must admit that I was only keen to snorkel around the coral that was close to shore!
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