Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Barn Hill Station

It was with some sadness that we left Broome and headed south – we felt we were on the tail end of the holiday even though there were still quite a few weeks to go.
Our next destination was Barn Hill Station – a cattle station that probably makes more money catering for the grey nomads. It was about 130ks south of Broome. The park is in a beautiful setting with red cliffs and a great beach.
We got a shady spot, although very dusty. The power was limited to 6 amp hours but the lady checking us in said that it might run our aircon – hers runs ok.
We got set up and lit our Cobb ready for tea. The Cobb flames initially then settles down so after ½ hour it is ready to cook on. 


 As the Cobb was flaming the Station Caretaker, Craig, came running over to say that no fires are allowed. Unfortunately our campsite was quite open and opposite the shop/office and someone saw the flames and complained. We talked him into letting us cook our tea on it for that night, but we couldn’t use it again for the duration of our stay.
The next day another caretaker walked past and heard our aircon going and told us off. I didn’t realise he was in charge and started arguing the point but he just kept on walking. (Even more annoying because the lady checking us in had indicated it was ok!!)
People kept walking through our campsite as it was across from the office/shop, and we found that really annoying. We always respect other people’s campsites, however, in the end, we started doing it too! (What’s good for the goose…….)
Our campsite might have been shady, but it meant that sap was falling on our car and caravan. It got too much for Randall in the end, and he cleaned up the caravan so we could at least see out the windows!

The beach at Barn Hill was amazing! It was much better swimming at high tide – low tide you had to walk for ages to the water and there were lots of stones and shells to tread on on the way. High tide was beautiful and of course the water was lovely and warm. The scenery was beautiful with lots of unusual rock formations as we walked along the sand.

The one below kind of looks like the Sphinx!
One day it was really cloudy - the first day like that for months!

Two ladies we met at Gumbanan at Cape Leveque, Chris and Di turned up and we enjoyed having a chat and a cuppa together.

Randall pulled out his pipes a couple of times, which I really enjoyed

We did lots of walks along the beach – saw whales in the distance and a greedy sea snake washed up while struggling to digest a large fish.

Our new best friend Craig had suggested places to stay on our way to Karinjini, and as we were leaving he came over to say goodbye, which was nice.

Our first overnight stop was at a place called De Grey’s River and it was very nice, with shady and grassy spots. From there we went to Port Hedland to resupply and do some admin bits and pieces. We stopped at an information bay just outside the port and spent about an hour or so on shady tables and seats.


Then straight into Port Hedland – first off to a place where you could watch the big ore carriers coming and going. Then we did our shopping, and fuel stock up, and treated ourselves to new camp lounges. We had looked with envy at many caravaners with these chairs. We think they’ll be worth it – only trouble is they are big and bulky to fold up, and have to travel on the bed!

We left Port Hedland quite late and we needed somewhere to stop overnight, so, gravel pit it was! It was actually quite nice to be off the red dirt. Later two young backpackers girls pulled in after dark – I think that they were glad that we were there!
We watched Q and A on Eastern Time ,outside in comfort on our chairs– 7.30 instead of 9.30, so less chance of falling asleep! The road was very noisy – mining road trains roared past all night!!

We looked forward to arriving in Karinjini National Park the next day.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Broome and Cape Leveque

What a lovely place Broome is! The weather is consistently in the low 30’s and not a cloud in the sky. Our caravan park is a drive to the beach and the township.
The town has two small shopping centres with Coles and Woolies, and a shopping strip with heaps of Jewellers selling their pearl jewellery. I walked into some in my shorts and t-shirt and loved drooling over all the beautiful pieces. (No one asked to serve me I might add!)

 We have enjoyed many hours relaxing by the swimming pool, which has a lap pool incorporated into it.

Randall and I have been improving our swimming strokes using the lap pool – my freestyle has improved out of sight! They don’t heat the pools up here, so the water is a bit fresh when you first get in.
We have driven into the township a few times. The Great Loritz Circus has followed us here yet again!

 I went in and had a look at the Broome Museum, which was quite interesting, and had a bit of a look at the shops.
We were in Broome at the right time to see the Staircase to the Moon. It happens once a month when the tide is really low and the full moon rises and shines on the mudflats. It was hard to get a good photo, so we stopped trying and just looked. It was beautiful!

Cable Beach is beautiful and goes on and on into the distance. We have done a couple of walks along it, and of course had several swims. The water is a pleasant temperature, and it is so hot you just have to go in anyway!

There are two sections of Cable Beach. One is swimming and walking, and the other section you can drive on and swim and sunbake nude if you want. When we drove on the beach there were heaps of cars there. It’s quite funny to see, as we are not used to that in Tassie. The camel rides also occur on this end of the beach, but neither of us was inclined to have a go.

The beach is so wide and the tides are so extreme, so you have to walk for ages to get to the water!

 The airport is between the township and our caravan park, so we constantly hear the sounds of planes and helicopters overhead. Once when we were walking on the beach one took off and was straight above us. It was very loud and low!

After 8 nights at Broome, we left the caravan in storage and headed up to Cape Leveque. It has 90 kms of corrugated road before becoming bitumen for the last 110 kms. It wasn’t too bad. It's amazing that the road is so wide and you can drive on any side of the road that is best. (Unless a car is coming towards you of course!)

We called into the lighthouse on the way up near the top of the cape and had a walk around, then decided we would stay at Gambanan, as it has a big tick in the Camps book. We got a beautiful spot overlooking the water and managed to see our own version of Stairway to the Moon that night.
The tides up here are amazing! When they’re out we watched the birds diving in around the mudflats to catch fish in the shallows. We had a man made fish trap out the front of us that revealed itself in low tide.

                                                 The sunsets were beautiful. 

When the tide was up we walked to Squeaky Beach – so called for the sound of the sand as you walk on it. It was very pretty and so hot that we ended up having a quick dip in the clear water, all the time looking out for crocs. We weren’t really comfortable, and were probably very foolish, but the water was crystal clear and it was literally a 30 second dip.

It was VERY windy both nights we were there and the rooftop tent was flapping away noisily, so didn’t get much sleep each night.
After two nights we headed south to Middle Lagoon. A few people had said how good it was and they were not wrong. The drive in was 30 kms of sandy road, but on arrival there were heaps of people camping, and there was a lovely beach there where you could swim. 

It was cooler in the evenings here and I even had to put a top on! I had the best sleep though! (No wind and cooler!)

The sandflies have got to me – they are awful! Their bites are very itchy initially, then they go to a blister and get weepy. They are horrible, and it takes all my strength not to itch them!!!

It took us a bit of time to get used to living out of the car when we were at Cape Leveque, and it was nice to return to our little ‘home’ again with all the comforts.

 On the way home we stopped in at Beagle Bay to look at the church decorated with shells – quite amazing!

On returning to Broome, I was able to catch up with my good friend Eraine and her husband Tony. We had an enjoyable coffee at the Runway Café, aptly named as the planes noisily took off and landed overhead!

Eraine took a photo of us too:

We are feeling very happy and relaxed and so enjoying our holiday!!