A Travellerspoint blog

Days 59 and 60 Broome to Port Hedland Western Australia

sunny 38 °C

Day 59
First thing this morning after leaving the caravan park was a trip to a tyre shop to have 2 tyres replaced on the caravan. It didn’t take very long and then we met up with Pommy Bob outside the caravan park and headed out of town.
We intended to stop for the night at Stanley Rest Area but we arrived there in time for lunch and it was so hot we decided to get back in our air-conditioned cars and go on.
Well, 536 km later we arrived at DeGrey River rest area right on 5.00 pm. It has started to cool down but still quite warm.
Happy Hour was very welcome today after the long and hot trip to here.
The scenery is great and 4 photos taken of the bridge over the DeGrey River at sunset look good.
PS> Todays photos are courtesy of Pommy Bob

Day 60
A nice leisurely drive into Port Hedland this morning and the first stop was at a parking area in town right next to the port. There was a lot of movement in the port as ships were taken out through the channel by pilots and tugs.
We also saw ships being loaded with iron ore.
We visited the Information Centre in the hope of finding out what time the ore trains came in from Newman. No success, they didn’t know so we fuelled up and did a little shopping before driving out to Redbank lookout which is over the train track and right next to the salt works where sea water is evaporated to produce salt for industrial purposes.20132012_Sep_1..Hedland.jpg12012_Sep_1..Hedland.jpg2012_Sep_1..lookout.jpg
While we were on the lookout, an empty train departed for Newman to be refilled and we decided to have lunch in the parking area below. While we were there, a full trainload came in – 240 carriages of ore and 6 engines – 2 in front, 2 in the middle and 2 at the back.
We drove out of Port Hedland for 92 km to a rest area adjacent to Peawah River where we have camped for the night.

Posted by Hiroes 01:23 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Days 56 - 58

sunny 37 °C

Day 56
This morning we drove leisurely into Broome arriving there just on 9.00 am and booked into a caravan park after we had set up, we had morning tea then drove into town to do some shopping and a look at some pearls which Hiroe DEMANDED that we did. We also bought a few things for the car and caravan and Pommy Bob checked up on getting his caravan inspected for registration.
We had lunch then checked out the local gold course for Bob – he will probably have a round of 9 holes on Wednesday. Took a photo of Broome’s main jetty down at the port.
We looked at the Courthouse Collection at the Pearl Information Centre.
We had afternoon tea back at the vans then packing up some wine and nibbles and Pommy Bob’s picnic blanket we drove to Cable Beach to view sunset. Maybe not quite as brilliant as at Derby, nevertheless it did look good.

Day 57
We did some necessary maintenance tasks this morning. Booked the caravan in to have 2 tyres replaced on Thursday morning – Had the 12 volt isolation system on the car checked out to make sure that it is OK.
We went to the Deep Water Port and walked out on the walkway to the end. The scenery of the shore here was magnificent and as well, we saw a Ray swimming.
Next stop was at Gantheaume Point where there are footprints of Dinosaurs in the rock. The colours here are magnificent. We went to the Information Centre and Pommy Bob and Hiroe booked a tour of Willie Creek Pearl Farm.22012_Sep_1.._Broome.jpg12012_Sep_1..roome_1.jpg12012_Sep_1..roome_2.jpg2012_Sep_1..roome_3.jpg2012_Sep_1..roome_1.jpg
Back to the vans for lunch and a rest. Hiroe did some washing and I went to Bunning’s for a refill gas bottle, a cold chisel and a set of wheel trims for the caravan.
Later in the afternoon we went for a drive to China Town and had a bit of a walk around. Took a photo of Pommy Bob with a statue of a Deep Sea Diver and of a Drive through Bottle S hop. Took another photo of Hiroe and Bon in front of the open air Sun Picture theatre and Hiroe in an unusual phone booth.
We found a sign we thought that Pommy Bob should purchase. Just what he needs to help with all his work on this trip.

Day 58
This morning while Pommy Bob went golfing, we visited the Japanese cemetery. There are 919 Japanese buried here. Well there were when the sign was put up in the 1980’s; there have been a few more since then.
We went back to China town for a look around and bought a few presents for the kids.
Back to the van and lunch the Hiroe and Pommy Bob went on a tour of Willie Creek Pearl farm. While out there they met up with George Bishop, the son of Angus and Hiromi Bishop in Nowra and his girlfriend Tess.
Hiroe says that the tour at Willie Creek was very good and the explanations given by the Irish young man were very educational.
We will be leaving here tomorrow morning for the long trip down to Port Headland.

Posted by Hiroes 03:17 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Days 53 - 55 Halls Creek to Broome

sunny 36 °C

Day 53
We departed Halls Creek fairly early (6.45).
On the way to Fitzroy Crossing we came upon a very nice lookout and Hiroe wanted one of the rocks there for her rock collection in our garden - no way.
The aim was to get to Fitzroy Crossing then out the dirt road to Winjana Gorge.
We drove the almost 300 km to Fitzroy Crossing and visited the Information centre there to get a road condition update out to Winjana Gorge. The lady there said that work is being done on the road which is in poor condition and she enquired “You do have 4WD don’t you”. We said no and we are towing caravans. She looked shocked and said “No way can you take a caravan down that road”
Well, that was a bit of a let down so we decided to head for Derby and camp at the Boab Tree Rest Area which was another 160 km down the road and about 105 km from Derby.
We arrived here at 3.45 in the afternoon, well and truly tired out. This was the furthest we have driven in one day so far on this trip (550 km).
Happy Hour was really appreciated today.

Day 54
There was a good flock of Gallah’s in the Boab tree this morning.
We left the Boab Tree Rest Area just after 7.45 and drove into Derby. The price of caravan parks here has exploded since we were here 2 years ago. They want $38/night so we took unpowered sites for one night.
After setting up we drove to the Information Centre to pick up whatever we could. We visited the Old Derby Gaol which was still in use until the 1970’s – amazing – it is very primitive.
We then went out to the Pioneers Cemetery and found the grave of William Richardson the Policeman that was murdered by the Aboriginal “Pigeon”.
We came across a very nice patch of Mulla Mulla flowers today so we took some photos.
Back into town to do some shopping and then after lunch – out to the Jetty so that Pommy Bob cold see the Jetty at Low Tide.
We had a restful afternoon then at 3.15 we went back out to the Jetty so that Pommy Bob could use out Crab Pots and try his luck. Well, he did OK and whilst her caught 3, only 1 of them was of legal size.
An Island hopper ship came into port while Bob was crabbing. A huge Road train was also on the Jetty. It was all for a photo shoot by professionals for an upcoming calendar.
We went out to “Dinner Tree” for sunset and took quite a few photos as the sun set.

Day 55
We all slept in this morning and didn’t get underway till after 8.00 am.
First stop was at the Derby Prison Boab where it is reputed that Aboriginal prisoners were kept whilst on their way into Derby.
Adjacent to the Prison Tree is a large water trough where up to 500 head of cattle could be watered at the same time. Originally it was fed from a bore, however, eventually the bore couldn’t deliver enough water so a windmill was erected to feed the trough.
We continued on to Willare Roadhouse where we had morning tea. A road train loaded with cattle pulled up beside Pommy Bob’s van and we all waited for the inevitable washing down of his van from the back end of some of the cattle. You will all be pleased to know that it didn’t happen – they were all facing towards his van.
Onwards to a rest area halfway between Derby and Broome. It’s called Nillibubbica Rest Area. We will stay here for the night and go into Broome tomorrow morning. There is a skeleton in a tree in the middle of the rest area – it looks good.

Day 56
This morning we drove leisurely into Broome arriving there just on 9.00 am and booked into a caravan park after we had set up, we had morning tea then drove into town to do some shopping and a look at some pearls which Hiroe DEMANDED that we did. We also bought a few things for the car and caravan and Pommy Bob checked up on getting his caravan inspected for registration.
We had lunch then checked out the local gold course for Bob – he will probably have a round of 9 holes on Wednesday. Took a photo of Broome’s main jetty down at the port.
We looked at the Courthouse Collection at the Pearl Information Centre.
We had afternoon tea back at the vans then packing up some wine and nibbles and Pommy Bob’s picnic blanket we drove to Cable Beach to view sunset. Maybe not quite as brilliant as at Derby, nevertheless it did look good.

Posted by Hiroes 03:56 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Halls Creek to Wolfe Creek Crater and Return

Day 52
We got underway reasonably early this morning for the drive out to Wolfe Creek Crater. 6.50 am start.
The first 17 km was on a sealed road but from there on it was 135 km of dirt. This is the Tanami Track which runs all the way from Halls Creek in Western Australia to Alice Springs in the Northern Territory. It is a very rough corrugated track. We saw some interesting hills on the way out there.
At Carranya Station we turned off the Tanami onto a road through private property. We thought that the Tanami was rough but this private road was worse.
We finally arrived at Wolfe Creek Crater and had morning tea before starting the assent of the rim.
When I first caught a glimpse of the crater I was amazed. It is the second largest Meteorite Crater in the world. Originally (300,00 years ago) the inside walls were 120 metres high however over time sand etc. had washed in to start to fill up the crater which is 880metres wide.
One of Australia’s most remarkable outback landscapes, massive Wolfe Creek Crater National Park, lies on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert in the East Kimberley.
Wolfe Creek Crater is the second largest crater in the world, measuring 880 metres across and to a depth about 60 metres below the rim.

Go bushwalking and see the crater from the rim – you’ll feel dwarfed by its size.
Wolfe Creek Crater is located on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert (152 kilometres South of Halls Creek) in the Wolfe Creek Meteor Crater Reserve. The Crater is situated among low sand hills on a spinifex grass plain and is a feature that stands out on the flat and almost featureless landscape.

The crater is reputed to be the world's second largest confirmed meteorite crater. (Some books state that it is the fourth largest meteorite crater.) It has a diameter of 853 metres (another source says 880 metres) and is an almost perfect circle The bottom of the crater is 46 metres below the level of the surrounding plain and about 60 metres below the rim. The walls of the crater are still sharp and complete. They have probably remained that way because of the arid climate. The crater would originally have been about 120 metres deep but over time it has been slowly filled by wind blown sand and is now less than half that depth.

1 - 2 million years ago (another source says 300,000 years ago) in the Pleistocene period a meteorite weighing about 50,000 tonnes and travelling at 15 kilometres a second, came almost straight down from the north-east, penetrated the desert floor and then exploded with the force of an A-bomb. Experts believe this because of the even regular shape of the crater. If it had hit at an angle the crater would be oval and the rim would be of uneven height. Large lumps of weathered iron were found in the years after the crater was discovered. Some weighed over 150 kilograms. Parts of the meteorite were found as much as 4 kilometres away from the impact site giving some indication of the force generated by the strike.

The crater remained undiscovered or un-recognised as a crater by Europeans until 1947, when it was noticed by an aerial survey. Even today it is only visited during the dry season. It is accessible by a dirt road best suited to four wheel drive vehicles. Perhaps the best way to see it is from the air but it is a real experience to stand on the rim or even inside the crater. The Aboriginal people of the area knew the crater existed and called it Kandimalal.

The European name Wolfe Creek was given first to the creek in 1889 and later to the crater in memory of a Halls Creek store keeper named Robert Wolfe.
We spent an hour here before the return trip back to Halls Creek after a wonderful experience. We noticed an unusual OLD caravan and an abandoned house on Carranya Station on the way out.
Now we can cross this off our must do list.

Posted by Hiroes 01:59 Comments (1)

Days 49 - 51 Kununurra to Halls Creek West Australia

sunny 37 °C

Day 49
Back on the road this morning with a fairly short trip ahead of us. We ran out of water in the van last night (I forgot to top up in Kununurra), but luckily at Doon Doon Roadhouse the young man behind the counter let us fill the tanks from their supply.
We drove a little further down the road till be came across Pompeys Pillar so had to stop for a photo shoot.
Some short distance later, Pommy Bob called us on the radio and said :There is smoke coming out from under your van”, so quickly stopping we discovered that one of the tyres on the van had disintegrated. Two Bobs got to work and in no time at all we had the old one off and the spare fitted. Hiroe did her part, taking photos.
We had morning tea at Turkey Creek Roadhouse. They don’t have a workshop or tyre replacement facility here so we drove on to tonight’s stop of Spring Creek Rest Area. There is water in the creek and it is nice and cool.

Day 50
Pommy Bob unhooked his van last night and at 7.15 this morning we got underway heading for The Bungle Bungles. His road is extremely rough and just 10km into the 53 km track we came across a Phoenix off-road caravan on the side of the track. They had broken and axle. He had mobile phone access and had rung his auto service and they were sending a tow truck our from Kununurra – It would be 3 or more hours getting here.
About 40 km down the track we came to the Park Entrance sign so took a photo.
We continued on another 10km to the National Park Visitors Centre and logged in and had morning tea then drove another 24 km to Piccaninny Creek Car Park.
We decided to do the Cathedral Gorge Walk, a 3km moderate walk. Don’t get sick of the photos but, there are a lot of them. This place is absolutely magic.
At the start of The Piccaninny Creek Walk (which we didn’t do), there is a very spectacular area where many years ago a Qantas ad was made using a childrens choir singing “I still call Australia Home”. Brilliant.
We did make it to The Cathedral and were lucky enough to be the only ones there at the time.
We returned to Bob’s car and had lunch. Lunch was a welcome respite from the heat and as well as eating our sandwiches we drank lots of water.
We started our trip out of the park and on the way had to cross 6 water crossings. The photo attached is not the widest nor was it the deepest crossing.
It took 2.15 hours to get from the Visitors Centre to the entrance gate. It really is a rough 53 km track.

Day 51
A quick trip (103km), to Halls Creek where the first stop was to a tyre repair shop. After the proprietor checked her stock for the tyres for our van and found none, she directed us elsewhere and unfortunately they didn’t have any in stock either so back to the original shop and we bartered for 2 second hand ones which were almost new and had one fitted to the van and the other became a spare.
Next stop was to book into the one and only caravan park in town then into the shopping area for some groceries and supplies and a visit to the Information Centre to get the good information on the road to Wolf Creek Crater, some 160 km of dirt road to the south on the Tanami Track. The word is “Take your time – Drive to the conditions and it should be alright. About 2.5 hours each way”. So that’s what we will be doing tomorrow. This is one of the things that this trip was planned for – All the things we have missed before.
We had lunch then took a drive out to Old Halls Creek which was established when the first gold found in Western Australia was discovered here in 1885. 15,000 prospectors arrived but it didn’t last long and they all up and moved to Kalgoorlie/Coolgardie finds.
There are quite a few gravestones in the cemetery here.
The town was moved 15 km to the present site of Halls Creek when the highway bypassed it.
On the way back to town we called in to have a look at Caroline Pool. Looked very inviting.
Then on the see The China Wall. A natural quartz vein which runs for hundreds of kms.
\Back into town and had a look at the statue of Russian Jack. He wheeled his sick mate over 300 km for help in a hand made wheelbarrow.

Posted by Hiroes 01:34 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

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