Saturday, 27 July 2013

Coming to Karratha, Continuing to Cossack and Diverting to Dampier

Saturday 20th July

I told you it was cold!

Resplendent as I was in this elaborate garb, I eventually changed from my skirt into tracky dacks!!! But I kept the socks!!!!!

The red dust became redder and dustier!


We travelled on to the junction of the North West Coastal Highway and this is where we decided to go to Karratha.

Ronnie hates the idea of going into a place and coming out the same way. Therefore, our trip to Karijini National Park took us the long way round. Now we have to bite the bullet and turn right and go into Karratha and back out the same way. This is about a 500 km round trip. Nothing is close to anywhere else over here!!!!!

 The colours of the landscape changed quite dramatically.


The land looked almost like bitumen and it was a dark, maroon, purple red.

A little further on, we came to a mine site. Perhaps it was the minerals in the soil that had caused the dramatic colour and texture change
  Anyway, as we drove on past the mine, the road went over a bridge and we saw one of the massive trucks in action.


We arrived at (497) Robe River and set up camp. There wasn’t much water about, probably just enough to breed mosquitos and midges!


Truly, we have camped under so many bridges, I’m sure I could get a part in ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff’ as the Troll that lived under the bridge.


I went for a walk and met a couple, Ray and Mary from Griffith. My Mum came from Griffith and it turns out they know my cousin, Gary. In fact, it turns out they know him better than I. Last time I saw him, I was about 8 or 9 years old!!!!!

Sunday 21st July
We are still here. It is a pleasant little spot. There is nothing to see and not much to do but we are tucked away in a quiet little corner and we are quite comfortable.
It is cold again this morning and Ronnie had to get up last night to bring the awning in. It had come up quite windy.
He prepared a delightful brunch of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup this morning. I am soooooo spoilt!!!!!!
The weather is much the same and I have taken full advantage of a warm sheltered spot and finished reading my novel.
This afternoon, I set off in search of a new friend and found the gorgeous Joan.
She was a true delight and with hubby Roy (who was mending the fly screen and only emerged momentarily) has been travelling since last November. We chatted about everything and solved most of the world’s problems before a worried Ronnie came looking for me; I had been gone for nearly three hours!!!
Monday 22nd July
Joan called by to say goodbye. We have decided to stay on today as well. It is so relaxing.
For a while, I spoke to a lovely young German girl travelling by herself, then retreated to my latest novel (which I am now more than half way through!!!). What a wonderful life!! 
Tuesday 23rd July
We arrived at Karratha about lunchtime. My friend MacGoo told me her partner PJ used to work in Karratha and there was nothing there and boy was he right!!!!
We called at the Visitor Info Centre and the girl there said there was nothing there as well (including accommodation!!!) It was all booked out (which was quite a godsend since the Caravan Park was $54.00 per night!)
We decided on 2nights at Cossack and 1 night in Dampier instead.
For the first time on our trip, we paid for water!!!!
We ended up buying about 90 litres.

We then did groceries, bought our first McDonalds since I don’t know when and left town.
 We had read that it was a good idea to buy everything you need in Karratha as quickly as possible and get out before your wallet ignites!!
We arrived in Roebourne at the Harding River Caravan Park ($38.50 per night) and set up camp for the next two nights. It is the closest accommodation to Cossack.
We chatted to a few of the neighbours and went to bed.
Wednesday 24th July
 After breakfast, we headed off towards Cossack.


We stopped in at Roebourne Jail (now a museum) and had a look about.


Cossack is pretty much a ghost town now although it did have a large pearl industry before it moved to Broome and it was the port for the pastoral industry until the port became clogged with silt. It also thrived when gold was discovered in the 1880s. Now there is a lot of restoration work being done to the old buildings in the town.
 When we arrived, we drove up to Tien Tsin lookout. From there, you can see the town almost in its entirety.



The old buildings are fabulous and the Bond Store was housing the 2013 Cossack Art Awards which had been judged just recently.
The Cossack art Award has a total prize pool of $109,000. It is the richest, most isolated acquisitive art award of its kind in regional Australia. It was really great to see.
After we saw the art, we drove to the site of the old jetty and up to the lookout over Settlers Beach.

Finally, we had a glimpse into our possible future.
When we finish travelling, we can install an upper level sundeck, with picket fencing on top of Indie and enjoy the Utopian dream.
Thursday 25th July
We drove to Dampier, home of the Red Dog memorial
The land is very flat and low.
Even the telegraph poles are in water.
We went to the Information Centre, parked in a patch of Sturts Desert Peas and sought directions to the Red Dog statue only to be told we had driven straight past it on the way in!

We were informed that we should take comfort in the fact that we were the second lot that day and almost everyone coming into Dampier misses it and has to go back.
Armed with new information regarding its location, (and directions to other points of interest), we enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee out on the deck overlooking the harbour. Later we found the elusive statue that has been erected to the memory of Red Dog who died November 21st, 1979.
We made our way to Dampier Transit Caravan Park ($28.00 per night) and set up. Then we headed off to Deep Gorge to see the Petroglyphs.
To get there, we drove out along Hearson’s Cove Road (mainly gravel) and turned right at the Fertiliser Plant onto the even more gravelly track until we arrived at the almost impassable walking track which disappeared entirely after about 30 metres.
I have never clambered over so many rocks. The creek was lovely and so clear and the landscape very imposing with its great stacks of rocks.

Fortunately, I can remember when you tucked your skirt in your knickers when wading at the beach or riding push bikes and this modification worked just as well in negotiating streams and rock piles!
Since the place looked like no one had ever been there, we were relieved to see a family group emerging near us. They said the place did in fact exist and not to give up. So we pushed on.
Petroglyphs are rock art images made (not by painting) by carving, pounding, abrading and scoring. In the Burrup Peninsula area there is estimated to be 500,000 to 1,000,000 petroglyphs with about 1,000 of them here at Deep Gorge.

It was really hard slog to get to them. It was really hot and the ground underfoot was entirely stone and creek crossings. We were even tempted to turn back at one stage. I must say we were not overly impressed. Many of the motifs were hard to discern but I’m still glad we did it.
From there we drove up to North West Shelf Venture.
Built in 1984, and covering approximately 200 hectares, the Woodside operated North West Gas Venture facilities constitute Australia’s largest oil and gas resource development and currently account for more than 40 per cent of Australia’s oil and gas production. (You can tell I went to the North West Shelf Visitors Centre!)
Our final outing in Dampier is tonight. We are going to see ‘Staircase to the Moon’. No it is not a theatrical production or mega movie, it is a natural phenomenon. When the full moon rises over the mud flats at particular times of the month, the reflection caused appears to be a staircase leading to the moon. It is really built up as a ‘must see’ here and in other places. We missed it in Broome so were determined to see it this time. We travelled out along the gravel road again to Hearson’s Cove (a recommended viewing area) and arrived at the beach (along with about 40 or 50 car loads of other keen tourists) and settled in for the show.

In the beginning, it did look a bit like lines in the reflection across the mud flats but I do think there needs to be a lot of imagination called into play before it could be classified as a stairway!
But it did look pretty specky!
We are leaving Dampier in the morning and heading back to (497) Robe River.
It has not been our best break with break being probably an appropriate description. In the past few days, we have broken the hose fitting, table legs, electric lead, radio, Ron’s wet pack, aerial, Ron’s chair, smoke detector, side mirror on Indie, cigarette lighter and the last straw came when we sat down for sundowners and found the wine had gone off!!!!!!!!!!


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