FRIDAY 31 AUGUST BROOME TO BARN HILL 140kms
M had another early start – to go on the hovercraft trip to the sunken wrecks of flying boats, in Roebuck Bay. These were partially exposed at particularly low tides.
The fifteen ill-fated seaplanes landed here, in 1942, carrying Dutch refugees from the Japanese advance upon the then Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Soon after landing, Japanese planes attacked and sank them, killing some eighty people. The wrecks are scattered over Roebuck Bay, but six of them can be seen at the low tides.
Broome was one of several places across northern Australia, bombed in WW2.
We were packed and about to leave, at 8.15, just as M arrived back from her excursion. At least, it had given her tent time to dry out a bit.
John had opted to refuel out at Roebuck Plains Roadhouse, thinking that, being on the main highway, fuel would be cheaper. It was in fact considerably dearer, at $1.50cpl.
It was not a long trip to Barn Hill. And not a particularly interesting one, either. Broome to Port Hedland is one of the most boring stretches of road in Australia, in my opinion!
The 9kms of unsealed track from the highway to the campground was in fairly good condition – a few corrugations in places.
The Barn Hill campground was on an operational cattle property – Thargoo Station. We opted for one of the unpowered sites, set on top of a low cliff, with a good outlook towards the sea. There was a low, sandy, scrubby area between the base of the cliffs and the beach.
These sites were more spacious than those in the grassed, formal, powered section – which mostly had no sea outlook. $15 a night cost. If we stayed a week, the seventh night was free. There was room for M on the same site. Unlike the grassed camp area, there was no shade – but that was good for the solar panels to work. We could use the genset, if needed. There was a good breeze off the sea – very welcome. We also were able to hook up to water.
The amenities for this section of the campground were quite newly built, corrugated iron, unroofed – open to the sky – but roomy and totally adequate. In fact, they were better than the older amenities at the powered camp area. They were not too far from our site.
To our surprise, being across the Bay from Broome, there was radio, some TV reception., mobile phone reception and thus internet! John was overjoyed!
There was also a small, rather rough, bowls green, much to John’s delight. Clearly, it was a very sociable camp ground.
After lunch, we went for a walk on the beach – going down a long wooden stairway to reach it.
The beach was wide with firm sand to walk on where the tide had receded. As expected. What was surprising, though, were the absolutely superb rock formations in places along the beach where the cliffs were closer, and higher. They were quite unique, not like anything I’d ever seen at a coast, before.
We took lots of photos. There was the big bushfire to the east, so the afternoon sun was smoky, as it had been in Broome. This made it even more photogenic.
We decided this place was wonderful – already loved it here!
John floated the idea that we plan a 2009 trip to these parts, to spend about a month at a time at each of here, Eighty Mile Beach, Ningaloo/Cape Range National Park, Denham. Sounded a great idea to me – maybe 5 months away, most of it spent lazing by beautiful coasts.
At night, we could see the lights of Broome across the Bay.