Leaving Exmouth we head out toward Tom Price although we have already decided not to make the full journey in one go. Our journey takes us to a roadside rest area provided by the WA roads dept, toilets are provided but no running water or power.By the early evening there are about 8 other travelers nestled in among the undergrowth we are not overcrowded.With no light pollution the sky gives us a stunning spectacle of bright and shimmering stars, if only I knew the constellations and some of the names of these beautiful stars.No need for an external power source our on board battery will provide all the power we need and our water tanks are full.Dinner under the stars how good is that.Moving on next morning we head for Tom Price a mining town on the edge of Karijini National Park, our last 40ks is on an unsealed road made up of mainly gravel, 10 ks in we get a puncture on one of the cars tyres. Now changing a wheel in 35deg heat is not something I would recommend.Arriving in Tom Price we settle in to the only caravan park there and I head off to get my tyre
Tom Price was established in 1962 and is now a thriving town servicing the giant open cut mine which is the main employer.The proximity to the Hamersley Range which incorporates the Karijini national park make this an ideal place to stay and explore the park and surrounds.The town has a number of tour operators offering a variety of park tours and a tour of the mine workings.Recent rain had left some roads in a hazardous condition and caution was required when driving in the park.Information gathered at the visitor centre helped us decide our plans while staying here.
Traveling to Karijini National Park from Tom Price takes about 1 hour, there is an entrance fee for each car but we have a year long pass bought last year on the first part of our trip.The well equipped park visitor centre is a must see attraction with a very cleverly laid out walk through presentation of the parks history and current management.We decided to head for Dales camp ground and see for ourselfs the condition of the camp.Although not free this camp is well set out and the sites are large however the ground remains wet and in
places boggy.It had been our intention to try and secure a site there but we decided not to bother and try and see as much as we could on this visit.
We head for Fortescue Falls and Dales gorge and although only rated as a grade 3 walk the rocks are slippy with rain still falling albeit only a little,Circular pool and Fern pool are also in the area so we decide to try and visit them all.The Falls are flowing well and give a majesty to the gorge at the bottom of which is a rock pool noted for is cold water, never the less some young intrepid travelers have braved the temperature and taken the plunge.The colours on the rock faces are breathtaking and form a spectacular backdrop to this walk as we head down to the gorge floor.On reaching Fern pool it is easy to see why the local indigenous people hold this place as sacred, the shear serenity of this place with only the sound of the waterfalls to break the silence makes this a special place.Time spent walking these gorges and finding the hidden pools and waterfalls is time well spent with rewards often
to many to mention but memories never forgotten.
The national park is huge with much more to see and do however we decide to head back to Tom Price and leave the rest of the park for another day.On returning to our camp site we are delighted to meet again a couple we had met on our first trip. They had broken their round Australia trip to spend time with family over Christmas and were now back on the road.We spent a pleasant evening reminiscing over past times and discussing forward plans, they are heading in the same direction as us and intend to be in Darwin around the same time.
Next morning we awake to clear blue skys with no hint of rain so we pack up and head for Port Headland, the place where our journey suddenly came to a halt last year.The journey through the Hamersley Range is nothing short of breathtaking reminding us of days gone when we would drive and walk the national parks in the UK.With rolling hills and valleys to drive through this journey is delightful.To soon do we leave this part of our journey as the land flattens down and
the horizon seems a long way away.As we near Port headland the road trains are becoming more frequent and vigilance is required as these monsters hurl down the roads.Our thoughts are mixed as we draw close to Port Headland with memories creeping back of the last time we were here and the impact it had on our lives.On arrival we camp on the outskirts of town at the local golf club which offers showers, toilets, drinking water but no power.We unhitch and head for the shops, the same shops we used last time here.memories are stirring but not as bad as we thought they might.Heading back to our caravan and only one night here then on to continue our journey.The stars are out but not as clear as the other night and the sound of the road trains drone on well into the night.
With only a short journey the next day we are in no hurry to get on the road, our next destination is Pardoo station a working cattle station with access to a rugged coastline and reputedly good fishing.
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