This Adventurous Age

Adventures travelling and working around Australia.


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2004 Travels July 9

FRIDAY 9 JULY     KARRATHA

John’s face was still very swollen and he was not happy.

I did the washing in the morning, to get that out of the way before we headed off for a couple of weeks of solid activity.

In the laundry, I was recognized and accosted by a lady who had stayed, with her friend, at Adels Grove, last year. They stayed for two or three nights in one of the creekside tents. They were from NZ and had been travelling Australia for more than two years. I didn’t actually recognize her, but so many travellers passed through.

We rearranged Truck contents to fit a passenger onto the back seat. As usual, when travelling, we had removed the two seat part of the back seat, leaving just the seat for one, and packing gear like spare clothes into the space. Things like the picnic basket, folders of maps usually sat on the spare seat, with the picnic table, boxes of spare fuses and hose attachments, small tool kit, spare torch and so on, in the foot well and wedged in front of the seat. Those items all needed temporary relocation.

Went to the shops. Still no mail, so had to do a redirect – to Newman PO. How long DID it take to get an Express Mail delivery from Melbourne to Karratha?

I posted some more gifts off to the family – birthday card and cheque to daughter in law, knitted jumper I’d recently finished for grandaughter, a booklet on El Questro for son, and a note to them.

After late lunch, drove off to the airport to meet M’s plane, which arrived at 4pm. We were surprised to see that it was a 737 – and it was full!

We went straight back to camp. M pitched her tent on the corner of our site. It fitted in well. She settled in with us straight from the start.

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Karratha camp

The NZ ladies came across to have Happy Hour with us and stayed for nearly two hours. It was very pleasant. They were interested in Trakmaster vans.

Went out and bought fish and chips for tea. Pretty expensive here, but very nice fish and not too greasy.

After tea, we squeezed one of the camp chairs into the van so we could all watch “Old Dogs” – such a funny program.


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2004 Travels July 8

THURSDAY 8 JULY   NANUTARRA RH TO KARRATHA   280kms

When we woke in the morning, it was not raining, but was still really muddy.

According to the radio news, the highway just north of Carnarvon had been cut by floods.

John’s face was still swollen.

The drive to Karratha was very scenic, with the typical Pilbara hills and spinifex country.

We stopped for a break at the Fortescue River Roadhouse. It would have been a better overnight stop than Nanutarra had been. Diesel was a lot cheaper there, too.

At Karratha, we went into the Rosemary Road Pilbara Holiday park – another Top Tourist one. $23.80 after discount. It was much nicer than the previous one we’d stayed at. Apparently that one had now been given over entirely to permanents, anyway.

We had a very generous site that would also hold M’s tent.

After setting up, drove to the Post Office, but there was no mail waiting for us. Posted some cards. I’d phoned L last weekend to send a bag of mail here.

Went to the Tourist Information Centre to get a permit to drive the Hamersley Iron railway access road, between here and Tom Price.

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Ore Train railway road (from Pinterest)

We had to watch a short video on how to drive on it – common sense stuff, like give way to ore trains! Really? There was no fee for this. No mention was made about towing the van on it, and we didn’t ask.  All good.

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2000 Travels September 12

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.

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Two bridges over the DeGrey River

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The DeGrey River from the informal camping area

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.

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