We won the race this morning for first to leave camp but only because one of the other Early Birds decided on a last toilet stop. (One of the toilets had a resident Red Back in the corner just behind the toilet itself.) Headed for Weano Gorge and it was worth the detour. We didn’t go down into the gorges but looked from the top and it was SCAREY! There was platform above a phenomenal drop into the gorge and a gate in the railing. The gate and anchor point on the platform were for lowering rescuers down and nearby was a memorial to a rescuer who died when a flash flood came down during a rescue. Not good places to be if you suffer from even a little bit of vertigo.
Grass at the Tom Price Caravan Park was a welcome sight but the wind is still fierce. We’re taking shelter in the Camp Kitchen. Alex will have to use the burners in here to cook our steak because the little Camper cooker just can’t give off enough heat when the wind is blasting it and the guards supplied aren’t big enough to have any effect.
A 4WD track was too tempting for the mad Editor who drove us up to the highest drivable point in WA. From there we could see the Tom Price mine and in places circular, billiard table flat areas which used to be hills. In a few years time there will be lots more of those and I wonder what archaeologists will make of it in a few thousand years.
Have washing on the line AGAIN! Everything and everyone is covered in red dirt …apart from most of the Jeep where the dust seems to slide off because of the stuff they put on it to protect the paint. Any surface not paint or chrome is dusted though. I even HAD TO wash the Camper floor it was so bad. Time to start thinking of dinner before hoardes of Backpackers arrive. Tomorrow we think we will be stopping at a Rest Area or at Emu Station on the way to Exmouth but there is no deisel at the Service Station. A delivery was supposed to be in by 6:00 tonight but it hadn’t arrived when Alex went down at about 7:00. It doesn’t matter to us, there is a Coffee Shop here and they sell Citrus Tarts!
View from the top of Madman's Hill! -Tom Price
Ah bliss, a quiet night –apart from the flapping annexe as the wind ripped through spasmodically. No trains, no trucks, no generators, only stars.
Our start was later today, about 6:00 & we headed for a swim at Circular Pool. There was quite a climb down the rocks but some volunteers had worked on the track and a lot of it was stepped. We had the pool to ourselves for about 45mins & it was fantastic. I could feel my inner core cooling. When others arrived we took the walk back along the gorge floor to Fortescue Falls & had another swim there but we had to share the space that time. After that we went back to the Lookout above Circular Pool & it was quite a sight looking down where we’d been.
Today has been a lot cooler, thank goodness. The gorges are beautifully cool and calm but the campsites are up on a plateau and as an ex-neighbour described it, “arid”, bare of shelter for us and blasted by winds. We decided to spend some time in the cool, sheltered Visitors’ Centre which is a fantastic iron building –not corrugated- untreated, thick steel plate that is rusting into the same colours as the ground around it. It has lovely curves and is based on the structure of a goanna with the head representing the future and the tail the past.
Lots of TopKnot Pigeons (probably really Spinifex Pigeons) have just come to visit and are walking past our feet, from the colour they probably can’t tell it’s not the ground.
We think tomorrow we’ll have a look at Weano Gorge then go to Tom Price & a lawn site.
Circular Pool, Dales Gorge
Amazing layers of rock. Dale's Gorge.
Looking heavenward from the floor of Dale's Gorge.
Why didn’t anyone warn us about Port Hedland? The place is so noisy, day and night, that a normal person can’t sleep. It was like having the 2 engine, 116 wagon train doing continuous laps of the Caravan Park. A finger in the ear works only for as long as you can keep it there.The Caravan Park was really taken over by workers, there were 4 washing machines but only 2 could be used by tourists te others were labelled, “For Work Clothes Only”. A worker at the Caravan Park told us he had been paying $1400 a week for a 2 bedroom house and was now paying $350 or so a week for his caravan site.
It was a relief to leave the noise and traffic and head towards Newman. We stopped at Auski or Munjina and it was like a Miners’ Canteen. There are lots of references in the newspapers to problems with “FIFO”s and it took me a while to work out it meant “Fly In Fly Out” however at Munjina there were Tshirts for sale with a different explanation. “Fit In or F….. Off” – spelt out clearly of course.
We have a good sized campsite but there is no shade at all and the wind made putting up the annexe a hard task. We went for a walk to Fortescue Falls and the Fren Pool which were refreshingly cool areas but there were too many noisy people and unsupervised children to make it relaxing. I heard the familiar phrase, “Why aren’t these kids in school?” After the walks I had to sleep and luckily the Camper was cool enough. My thermostat doesn’t seem to work properly and I overheat too quickly.
There are signs about warning us of problem dingoes but we haven’t seen or heard any.
Fluoro Rules OK? -Auski Roadhouse
Karijini Campsite at Dawn