We had a quick breakfast then got organised and headed off for another day beach fishing. Today Col and I managed to catch a variety of fish including small Mulloway, small Trevally, a Catfish and Thread-fin Salmon. I am happy to report that I did manage to land some today. Again Col caught a 30cm Salmon so we had enough for a meal with the one he caught yesterday as well. Continue reading “Day 138 – 31st May 2018 – Eighty Mile Beach”
We are going to make the most of the fishing while we are here and try our hand at some beach fishing. The high tide was at 11.30am so we headed down the beach just after 9am and drove along trying to find a spot. We noticed birds diving into the water at one point, so decided that we would stop there and give it a go. Col caught plenty of fish but most were undersized, but he did manage to catch a Thread-fin Salmon about 30cm long. I on the other hand would not have been able to buy a fish at the supermarket that day. Plenty of bites but did not manage to catch a thing. Lucky it was a beautiful spot to be.
We got away about 9am from South Headland, Blackrock Caravan Park, and began the drive to Eighty Mile Beach. The drive took us about 6 hours including breaks and a head wind the whole way. I did pull up at a petrol station and a lady came over to the car to tell me that they nearly ran up the back of me when we were turning into a parking bay as there were no break lights or indicators on the trailer! Col had a look and found that a rock had bounced up and smashed the wiring on the trailer. Col tried for a while to fix it but in the end we decided that I would drive in front of him and communicate via the radio for turning and stopping and he would look at it further when we got to Eighty Mile. The rest of the trip went smoothly.
We got to Eighty Mile Caravan Park about 2pm, and we were both really impressed with it. So much grass and greenery, a really beautiful spot to stay. There are approximately 200 sites here, but it doesn’t feel crowded. I would definitely recommend this as a place to stop on your travels. It is situated on a great fishing beach and just has a really great feel about it.
Big cleaning and organising day today. Both Col and I worked hard and achieved a lot. We did a few loads of washing, cleaned the windows and screen door of the van, swept, mopped, changed sheets. We headed into town to do the shopping and get the gas bottle and fuel, went to the bank and dropped into the Tourist Centre on the way to drop off some of the Giralia Station brochures. Continue reading “Day 135 – 28th May 2018 – Port Hedland”
The drive to Port Hedland from Hammersley Gorge in Karijini National Park took approximately 5 hours. We didn’t encounter any issues during the trip and arrived mid afternoon. We booked into the Caravan Park and then headed straight over to the Car wash to use the high pressure hose on the two cars, the van and the boat. It wasn’t a proper clean but we just needed to try and get rid of some of the red dirt! Everytime we touched anything we got covered. We spent about $30 and still didn’t get to do a thorough job, but no point just yet as there is still a bit of driving to go. My car might be a light orange instead of white by the time I get home. I think it might be permanently stained. I have decided not to mind though, as it will always remind me of this trip. Embrace the red dirt! It is kind of like confetti, you think you have cleaned it all up but you still find some more years later. Continue reading “Day 134 – 27th May 2018 – Karijini to Port Hedland”
We were very excited about doing the Hammersley Gorge hike as we had heard much about it and seen some spectacular photos. We got organised and headed down to the Gorge to hike but found that the upper pools had been closed due to a high number of serious injuries sustained recently. We were disappointed but the Gorge itself was spectacular. Col still wanted to try and climb the waterfall but after just a few steps up the first rock I decided to turn back. The water fall has smoothed the rocks and they are incredibly slippery so I left the Mountain Goat to trot up the rock and have a look around. Col made it about 200m up the Gorge before he turned back. This meant that I got to sit quietly and drink in the beauty and tranquility of this gorge. Really magical.
It is a pity that the upper pool walk was closed as the photos of Spa Pool look incredible. But not worth risking life and limb for.
We headed back to camp and did a bit of a pack up then made good use of the mobile coverage and started making some calls back home. We managed to catch some of the crew all having a camp fire and was good to hear their voices and find out how everyone is doing. Technology today certainly makes you feel so much closer to home no matter where you are.
Col made a small campfire and we both enjoyed sitting by it while chatting to people back home. You just can’t beat a campfire!
Col has been told tentatively that he was successful in his interview with NT Health and we are now waiting on the paper work before it is official. But it looks like we will be heading to Darwin very soon! Off to Port Hedland tomorrow.
When I woke up in the morning and checked Instagram, I saw that James McKay had posted pictures of Giralia flooded!! My brain was scrambling to try and make sense of it as we had only left there a few days ago and it was desert country. Apparently they got 7.8cm in one shower and the rivers filled up and flooded the road. There was a queue of cars over a kilometre long and it took a couple of hours for the flood waters to recede. Amazing. I am hoping to see the photos of the place coming alive after the rain. Apparently you cannot drive out to the sand dune where we were having our sunset drinks because it is completely under water. I cannot imagine this. If you want to see more, go to Insta and look up photos by JamesBonba. Giralia usually gets about 25cm of rainfall per year, last year they only got 12.5cm of rain, so this rain even is significant as it is 2/3 or their annual rainfall last year!!
Today we relocated from one side of Karijini National Park to the other and the drive took us about an hour and a half. This place is huge! The drive was breathtaking, both Col and I really love this place. We stopped at the Nanuturra Roadhouse for fuel on the way through then planned to go have a look at a little town called Wittenoom. Wittenoom is a small town where all the buildings are made from asbestos. I never knew that asbestos is mined from rocks. I never really thought about it’s origins before but apparently it is in the rocks and Wittenoom Gorge is meant to be beautiful to see. The town of Wittenoom is now a ghost town as when it was established that asbestos was harmful many people moved away and could not sell their homes. There are now only 3 people that remain there. I am intrigued by this kind of thing and was keen to stop for a look around, but I think we drove past it without even realising it! So we missed Wittenoom unfortunately. Interesting to read up on it and learn that it featured in Midnight Oils song ‘Blue Sky Mining’.
The drive into the Hammersley Gorge is over a fairly rough dirt road and Col had driven on well ahead of me. I saw a sign on the side of the road that I tried to have a read of but nearly lost control of the car and the boat in the process. I hit the soft sand on the side of the road, so decided it was safer not to read the sign. So I happily drove along into the Gorge. The sign said that you need to tune into channel 40 and declare that you are entering the gorge… oops. It becomes a one car narrow road among spectacular cliff faces that are a deep rusty red. I drove along happily admiring the beauty, luckily Col was at the other end on guard. No one else tried to come through I am happy to report.
When we left Dales Gorge Camp Ground there are approximately 130 camp sites and the park was full with a queue of about 10 cars waiting for a spot! We were a little worried as we were heading for a free camp over the other side of Karijini which you cannot book, so we were hoping we would be able to get a spot. We needn’t have worried! We were the only people there in a beautiful and spacious free camp, until quite late in the evening when one other car turned up! We got to have a small camp fire and thoroughly enjoyed the spot. Staying for two nights here and then heading to Port Hedland for a couple of nights.
We have worked out that the tourists cannot drive their hired ‘Whizz Bangs’ on dirt roads, which keeps the numbers down significantly. (We learnt the term Whizz Bang while at Giralia Station, they are the little white motorhomes that Tourists hire with the sliding door and the name comes from closing those doors. Just imagine it sliding… whizzz, and closing… bang! Great name!). Also the Grey Nomads tend to avoid the red dirt, rough roads, and so there we were with this amazing spot, pretty much all to ourselves. Beautiful.
Today started with a yummy breakfast of ‘Cowboy Beans’ and scrambled eggs. Jennifer Blake cooked us ‘Cowboy Beans’ on our last night at Giralia and Col has been quite taken with them, looking for the first opportunity to cook them up. Baked beans with onion, bacon and Worcestershire Sauce. Soooo good. While sitting and eating breakfast we notice that a beautiful Golden Orb spider has decided she wanted to build a web on our van and join our adventure. While I can appreciate her from a distance, like I can snakes, I don’t want her in the van! While my hand looks really close to the spider in this shot, I can assure you it was not. But she was a big and beautiful girl! Golden Orb Spiders are not venomous by the way.
After a bit of researching we decided on starting with the Dales Gorge hikes but we wanted to go past the Karinjini Tourist Centre to drop off the Giralia brochures. We had a look around the tourist centre and there was lots of interesting information and history.
We drove over to Dales Gorge to do the Category 4 hike to see Fortescue Falls, Fern Pool and Circular Pool. The walk down was taking about 180 metal stairs into the Gorge which leads you to Fortescue falls. You can swim at any of these spots but it felt fairly cool to us so we were not keen to get into the water, although the swimming holes did look beautiful. The hike was challenging but very rewarding and I would encourage anyone to do it. The photos can capture the visual aspect, but not the magic of being there or the sound of the waterfall. Just spectacular.
We took it easy in the morning and packed up camp, had breakfast and a shower before moving on. Tom Price the town was a pleasant surprise. It was really green and tidy and had such a nice feel about it. I would be keen to come back in the future. My Cousin once removed lives there, Lauren the daughter of Janet, but we had not planned to go to Tom Price or I would have organised a catch up. We went into town and did a shop, refilled the cars and the gas bottle then headed off towards Karinjini. We decided to stay at the Dales Gorge Campsite, which is a relatively short drive, a little over an hour.