TUESDAY 12 SEPTEMBER EIGHTY MILE BEACH TO KARRATHA 506kms
We left the park about 8am.
We stopped at the office/shop, so John could phone a place for computer inks to be mailed to us – he saw a good offer in the magazine he bought in Broome.
We had a hot and tedious drive south on Highway 1. However, we did have a tail wind, which was one plus.
Stopped at the De Grey River crossing for a coffee break and to have a look at this popular spot for overnight free camping. The informal camp area there is huge, and excellent – it would be a good place to stay for several days. The river is big, there. Much larger than where we forded it, in 1993, on our short cut through from Marble Bar to the highway.
After the De Grey River, through to Port Hedland, the country became a little more interesting – more what I think of as the Pilbara style: pale spinifex, mesa jump up type of low hills, red rocks.
We stopped in Port Hedland to get fuel: $1.11cpl.
The country became a bit more interesting, south of Port Hedland.
The area by the Yule River crossing also looked as if it would be good for a break or an overnight stop.
John got tired so I drove for a while and he napped.
The small town of Roebourne looked rather bleak, as we drove through, but at least it broke the monotony of long stretches of scrub and highway.
We became concerned about some whistling/rattling noises that had begun to be heard from under the bonnet – and because the air con was no longer working at all. Wondered what was going wrong, now?
We were both relieved to turn off the highway, mid-afternoon, to drive the short distance into Karratha, and make our way around a sort of ring road that skirted the town, to the Balmoral Caravan Park.
John had selected this park because they promised him good TV reception. It would not have been my first choice. It was located on the outskirts of the town, towards the sea but not near it. The surrounding area was barren, flat ground, so the environs of the place were not interesting.
We decided to indulge ourselves in an en-suite site. John negotiated a cheaper rate, by booking in for four weeks and paying in advance. I was waiting out in Truck when he did this. He was pleased with his deal, but I thought it was a long time to commit to a caravan park, and place, that did not look all that great.
We paid $552.20 for the four weeks, which worked out to just under $20 a night.
The TV reception was excellent – which I guess was the point of the stay here.
Our en-suite bathroom was nice and spacious. It would be pleasant to have that facility right by us. We have our own little clothes hanging line, which is something different.
We had some shade trees around us – needed in this hot weather.
There was no swimming pool, unfortunately. The park I’d have preferred to go to did have one, but they’d told John that their TV signal was poor. I’d hoped that we’d find a pool at this park, despite it not being mentioned in any description, but not to be. A pity because I would have appreciated it, in this heat, and it would have given me something extra to occupy my time.
The park was large, but not too crowded. There were a lot of itinerants.
Overall, the place seemed a bit run down.
After setting up in full, we drove to the shops. Being a purpose-built town, these are in one central area. It was not a bad little shopping area – it seemed to cover all the basics.
We bought wine – the 4 litre casks are available here, which they had not been through all the Kimberley areas.
There was a phone message to call John’s sister. She wanted to tell us that John’s niece’s step son had been killed in a car crash – apparently hooning around in a V8 car. He’d only had his driving licence for a couple of months.
We bought pizza for tea – a special deal that gave us enough for two nights.
Watched TV. Yes the signal was great. Even the fridge motor going did not interfere with the reception.