Wednesday, May 29, 2013

East Pilbara

Tuesday, 7th May 2013

We left Port Hedland at 09:30 and reached the DeGrey River campsite about an hour later (80 kms) and we were amazed to find plenty of spots vacant down near the railway bridge (which is well away from the main road and the best spot to camp) and as an added bonus, they were repairing the bridge following the recent cyclone and, as a consequence, no trains running.

Anyway, selected a nice spot and settled in for a while.


Only a couple of other caravans set up, and evidently, they have been there for four weeks already. It may be still a little early in the season for the Grey Nomads to start travelling. Because of the cyclone in late February, all of the rivers in the area flooded, and because most of them flow into the DeGrey, it REALLY flooded, evidently topping the rail bridge which was being cleared of driftwood when we arrived.

Thursday, 9th May 2013

Had a look around Pt Hedland while we were there to try and find a way to repair the awning which got torn off in the tornado at Niagara, but there doesn't seem to be any sort of caravan repair business in town. Curious when you consider the number of tourists who come through here. We were sitting, having a quiet moment, when it occurred to me that the rope-edge track along the front of the awning wasn't being used, because we don't have one of the privacy shade screens which attach to the edge of the awning, and we might be able to utilise that. Now naturally, after carrying around my cordless drill for four years, I left it at home this time, so into Hedland and picked one up at K-Mart for $38. Cheap as chips! Got back to the van, took the channel off the awning rail, screwed it to the van and Bob's your uncle, we have an awning again.

Looks like I spoke too soon. Now the generator has died. Oh well, it was a cheapie anyway, so back into Hedland and picked up a Honda 2KVA for $1850, which isn't a bad price considering I paid $1500 for the 1KVA which got washed away in the Flinders Ranges. I must remember not to put this one in a creek!!!

Thursday 16th May 2013

While we were in the caravan park in Pt Hedland, we were both feeling a little achy and had sore joints, so we went up to the hospital where they prescribed some Prednisone. It seemed to work alright, we were feeling better, but after the ten days the Predisone ran out, we both started feeling achy again, so back into the hospital and they confirmed that we both seemed to have Ross River fever, but they suggested that it would not be a good idea to keep on with the Prednisone, so we are treating it with Nurofen. Watch this space.

The campsite is getting a lot busier the last few days and there are hordes of vans, campers and trailers on the roads, some are only staying for a single night, but quite a few are taking advantage of this truly beautiful spot to spend a few days chilling out. Not a great deal to see except for the river, which is still flowing, but on the plus side, the walks along the river are very restful.

Sunday, 19th May 2013

Well, the weather witchery is still working, it bucketted down all night and the whole place is a bog, good thing we hadn't planned on moving just yet.

Tuesday, 28th May 2013.

Well it's been three weeks since we pulled in here, and it is starting to cool down a little, so we decided to move on. Not far, just another 75kms up the road, opposite Pardoo Roadhouse is Cape Keraudren. Neither of us have been there before, so we are going to give it a try. We considered 80-mile beach, but their fees have now gone up to $41 a night which is getting a bit pricey for a fairly basic park. Keraudren is $63 a week for two concession cards, which is a lot more reasonable.

Wednesday, 29th May 2013

Oh boy, did we ever get that wrong. We booked in and set up and to be honest, the place is absolutely beautiful, but ........


......About 4pm the sandflies started in on us. Both Anne and I are covered in bites. They don't affect me too much, I just come up in red spots, but Anne has big welts from the bites. I think we will cut this visit short and head off towards Broome tomorrow.

See you soon,
Mike and Anne

Monday, May 6, 2013

Goldfields and Pilbara

Well, we actually got away on time. Left Forrestfield at about 09:00 on April 8th and headed East. Our timing is pretty much determined by the school holidays, we really don't want to be at any "touristy" places during this period because of the hordes of families with screaming kids in tow. With the van fully loaded and the Sorento fueled up and an extra 200 litres of water on board, the climb out of Perth up Greenmount hill was interesting, and the intercooler air temperature was up to 130degC before we topped out.

Monday, 8th April 2013

A pretty clear run of 460kms today and we pulled in to Boorabbin Rock. No facilities, but plenty of room, shade and opportunities for bushwalking. A really big granite rock, which has been quarried in the past and two dams for watering steam engines when the railway line ran through here.

Got in at about 15:30 and set up, but can't get the satellite TV to work. I'll have to re-register when we get to Kalgoorlie in case my registration has dropped out from not being used.

 We went for a walk up on to the rock, not as big as McDermid, but enough to get Anne puffing. Great view from the top and the quarry is very impressive, looks like it must have been a fairly big operation in its time.

The rock has been walled up for water catchment and then a long sluice built from stone slabs to direct the water into the dam. The standard of workmanship is incredible, they really knew how to build in those days.
 The dams are quite big and again, there is an over-flow from the first dam to the second that is all constructed from stone slabs.

The use of stone in this way seems to date the period to the 1890's or early 20th century, but the drill holes in the granite blocks in the quarry look like heavy machinery from a later period. I understand that there was a narrow-gauge line up until the late '60's or so and as this quarry was for railway ballast, these blocks may be from that period.

 Some wag has built a giant's picnic table using a granite slab.

 Damn! I knew I should have packed the Marron (yabbies for you eastern states people) nets, looks like a great spot.

Friday, 12th April 2013

 Packed up this morning and headed for Kalgoorlie. Stopped and had a bit of lunch and kept going. We've both been to Kal several times, so we didn't bother with any sight-seeing. Up through Menzies to Niagara Dam and set up camp under the breakaway.

The dam had a surprising amount of water in it, must have been some good rains in the area lately.

We took a side trip out to Lake Ballard via Menzies. The road was very rough and it was stinking hot, but Anne hadn't seen the sculptures before and was quite impressed. She wasn't all that enthusiastic about climbing to the top of the little hill you can see behind her, but I appealed to the Wonder Woman inside her and she made it to the top - great view.

Back to Niagara and did a bit of wandering around. The catchment area for the dam is incredible, it looks like a moonscape and we couldn't work out what the fence was for until we found a sign which explained that it was to strain all the dead animals out of the water when it floods. Mmmm, dead dingo, Yumm.

Friday, 19th April 2013

We were supposed to be on the road yesterday, to head up to Ned's Creek Station to see Pam and Clyde, friends of Anne's, but Wednesday and Thursday we has some big thunderstorms and everything was wet. Anyhow, Thursday afternoon looked like it was clearing up except about 2 o'clock in the morning, we had a tornado came through and ripped the entire awning right off the van. Tore the channel which holds the awning right off the van and bent it like a pretzl. Just one more page in the book about why Fate doesn't like me. More repairs needed.

Guess who misjudged??? It was a LOT further from Niagara, via Leonora, Leinster, Sandstone and Meekatharra to Ned's Creek than I estimated. We ended up doing 756kms today and I am shattered. Did about the last 40 kms on a rubbish road (Wiluna-Meekatharra) in the dark. Note to self: small stages, small stages.

Anyhoo, we eventually made it and Pam and Anne talked each other's ears off for two days solid. We had to move on, because Pam had visitors coming to stay, but Anne really enjoyed catching up.

Sunday, 21st April 2013

 Now we are starting to get into the good country. Left Ned's Creek about 09:00, Fueled up and did a bit of shopping in Newman and got to Mt. Robinson about 16:00. Nobody there at the time, so we managed to get a nice spot.

Mt Robinson is a very under-appreciated spot. During the week that we spent here, we saw only one couple who stopped bother to take a walk up the gorge. One of the nicest walks going and some of the rock formations, and the strata in the rocks themselves are absolutely beautiful.

Anne is still not feeling all that fit yet, but I talked her into climbing halfway up the hill behind the van and the view from up there was fantastic. This is really beautiful country, not as good as the Kimberley, but close.

Sunday, 28th April 2013

We moved on to another of my favourite spots, just 70 odd kms from Mt Robinson. The rather grandly named Albert Tognolini Rest Area at Munjina Gorge.

Unfortunately, I don't have any photos 'cos my camera gave up the ghost just as we got here. I have old photos from a previous visit a couple of years ago, but that would be cheating. Anyway, a great spot to camp and lots of places to take a ramble.

Monday, 6th May 2013

We have just spent a couple of days at the Cooke Point Caravan Park in Port Hedland. After we booked in, I Asked Anne if she knew where the manager kept her horse. What Horse, Anne replied. Well, I said, Ned Kelly always had a horse. $54.00 a night for what is a fairly ordinary CP is, IMHO a bloody rip-off. But, we needed to re-stock, do some washing, fill up with water etc, so we used the $100 Big4 voucher that they gave Anne when she retired. Also, we needed to re-stock the wine cellar, and completely forgot about the alcohol regulations up here. Only 2 litre casks, not 4 litre, and a limit of two casks a day, so we had to get some at Woolies and then drive out to South Hedland and get some more at liquorland. Hope it'll last us until we get to Broome.

We're heading off in the morning, hopefully we can get a spot at the DeGrey River if it's not too full, it can be a very popular spot.

Don't know when we will be back in range, possibly not before we get to Broome in about 4 weeks.

See you soon,
Mike and Anne