UPDATE NOTES Days 77 - 79
Aug 30, 2016
Leaving Broome we headed into the Pilbara. This was the start of a speeding up of our trip as far as kilometres go starting off with driving to Newman. To make days easy we decided to do the 1000 odd kms in 3 stages and doing 2 free camps, for the uninitiated that’s where we camp in an area which is not managed, no fee, no water, no power and basic if any toilets. Not bad ones either and at night with the moon not rising till late and no lights of any kind around the view to the heavens and of course the milky way is unbelievable.
The road from Port Hedland where Newman iron ore is loaded onto ships, along with a lot of other mines is the best we have ever traveled on. About 430kms in length it has been built to suit the 4 trailer road trains (truck with 4 trailers) weighing up to 180 tons. The road is wide, beautiful surface and has no bends that require you to slow down, a delight to drive even with all the trucks. An interesting feature is rail crossings. Iron ore trains carry 33,000 tons of ore, they are 2.3kms long and are very big. As we approached a rail crossing we received a recording on our UHF 2 way radio (we can talk to trucks on this) that the crossing was closed as the train was using it. A great safety feature especially for the trucks. We stopped and waited for quite a while as the train went past.
Newman the mining town was reached and we had coffee with a friend of Marty in fact his best man at his wedding all those years ago and we did a very interesting tour of the local BHP Billington iron ore mine. A huge open cut 5kms long and 2 kms wide at the top, the biggest iron ore open cut in the world. Unfortunately for Newman the current international downturn is making the town almost a ghost town with shops closing everywhere.
From Newman to the Hamersley Ranges and Karijini National Park, a beautiful park with some deep gorges. As well the wildflowers are starting to bloom making some road sides a sight to see, we are looking forward to lots more of the wildflowers as this too is one of the things we wanted to see.
From Karijini we headed west towards the coast doing another 2 free camps. We had to make some changes to our plans but we are lucky enough to be able to do so. Our car was due for a service and as we have an extended warranty its vital that we service it on or before the due distance. It was booked in but due to our not being able to get accommodation in Coral Bay we were able to luckily get her done a bit earlier in Carnarvon where we are now and stopping for a day or 2 for a rest after doing 1927 kms in 6 days.
And so we have more adventures to come as we head down the WA coast.
Love and best wishes
Mum and Dad,
GM and GD
UM and AA
Anne and Marco