Saturday, 4 August 2012

Perth to Port Hedland

I said goodbye to Lynne and Nancy the cat with a lump in my throat the size of Ayres® rock. But once underway I felt at ease with what lay ahead. The sun rose behind the nights rain clouds making their edges glow like smouldering paper as they disappeared allowing the sun to shine brightly through which set the tone for the rest of the day. The road i took north was the Brand Highway which proved a great choice, fast, smooth and never boring. The countryside has evidently seen more rain than Perth as the lush green rolling hills lay testament. I lunched at Geraldton missing out on the free wifi available at Dome cafĂ© due to my own ignorance. I then continued towards my destination for the day, Kalbarri. On the approach to Kalbarri I visited the cliff top lookouts which offer amazing views of the ravaged limestone edge of this part of the coast. Here I met Andrew, a brave young adventurer from Switzerland who has just begun a 12 month motorcycle tour of this great land as tribute to his Father who passed away last year. We both headed down into Kalbarri and set up camp in the Anchorage Caravan Park. I believe that during the course of this adventure I will be reporting on many of the worlds ablution facilities, and I doubt the ones here will be bettered. We dined at the Kalbarri Hotel where the food was reasonably priced and absolutely delicious, sorry Dave forgot to take a photo! I've had a wonderful first day on the road, and can only hope that there are plenty more to follow.

Karajini National ParkDales Gorge KarijiniDales Gorge KarijiniDales Gorge KarijiniDales Gorge KarijiniDales Gorge Karijini
Dales Gorge KarijiniApproaching Dales GorgeBloody red earthKarijini Campsite (Dales Gorge)Karijini MapThe Outback
The OutbackThe OutbackWhere do these rocks come from?Tropic of CapricornBloody cowsDried up river bed
26th ParalelFantastic bush coloursKalbarriKalbarri cliffsKalbarri cliffsLeaving Geraldton
Perth to Port Hedland, a set on Flickr.
The following day, day 2, started well. It took me 2 hours to shower, break camp and eat breakfast, so i was on the road at a chilly 7.30am. The day gradually got warmer and by mid morning was a comfortable 18˚C. I was heading to Carnarvon, just 380kms up an incredibly straight road from Kalbarri. despite the roads obvious lack of entertainment the ever changing scenery along with Genesis's finest tunes kept me occupied enough to fend off the boredom, thank goodness the panniers are big enough to carry LPs. I arrived in Carnarvon just after midday and had a quick ride around town in an effort to find somewhere to have lunch. I couldn't see anything obvious so I headed to the campsite. Yesterdays campsite was a delight, with it's 5 star ablution block, swimming pool, kitchen areas, overlooking the harbour etc. and all for just $17.50. Todays offering at the Carnarvon Caravan Park is dire, $30 gets you nothing more than a tiny patch of dirt and a dank ablution block for 4 when there must be 100 or more campers! After setting up camp I headed back into town in search of something to eat, I could find nothing better than Eagle Boys Pizza which is bad at the best of times. I searched everywhere for something nice to report on, but I'm sorry Carnarvon, I found absolutely nothing.

Day 3, I headed off early into the dawn as I knew it was going to be a long days ride to Karijini National Park. Not long after leaving Carnarvon I had a run-in with a cow, quite literally. I have seen the sign posts indicating that stray cows roamed the plains, I had no idea cows moved so fast, out of nowhere this young cow appeared, running across the road straight towards the bike, thankfully as I veered to the left the cow also turned and started running in the same direction as me, so we narrowly avoided contact as I accelerated away from it. This however, left me a little shaken and extremely wary of any other wildlife with a death wish. For the next 400kms or so, the road was strewn with road kill, most of it caused by the road trains rolling through the night, but it made it very hard for me to take my eyes off the sides of the road. The miles went by and the landscape changed from flat plains of endless green bush to huge rocky outcrops that looked like the backs of awakening dinosaurs bursting through the whispy light green spinifex. As I rode through the towns of Paraburdoo & Tom Price the only other vehicles sharing the road were the approved mine site vehicles with their flouro decals and red pennant flags atop a flexi fibreglass pole, this is definitely mining country. Eventually I made it to Karijini, and what a place. The first thing I noticed was the ground, how the hell was I going to pitch a tent and get into it with all my gear without getting everything filthy from the brown dust that is everywhere. It's a stoney, dusty grassy landscape that stains everything red that makes contact. Anyway I embraced it and it left me red in colour but non the worse for it. It is a fantastic place with stunning scenery that is so diverse. That night I cooked dinner for the first time on my little camp stove and after referring to the instructions that I had realised I'd need to bring along, everything went swimmingly. Soon later after a fantastic sunset I hit the sack.

Day 4, waking up in a National Park that I've wanted to visit for so many years, and it didn't disappoint. I had my breakfast and broke camp before exploring Dales Gorge and Fortesque Falls by foot. It couldn't get any better, like so many single travellers before me, I'd have to say that the only thing missing was someone to share it with. The camping facilities are simple but in keeping with the surrounding landscape, come prepared, take home what you came with and for $7 per night it has to be one of the finest spots to sleep beneath the stars. Next stop Port Hedland. As the gorges and peaks disappeared, the landscape returned to a more baron giant rock strewn plain with trees and bushes barely clinging to life in the dry climate. Where do these rocks come from? huge rounded boulders one on top of the other, did they come from above or below, and despite being hundreds of kilometres from the nearest town, how is it that someone always seems to have a can of spray paint in their car? Mid afternoon I arrived in Port Hedland, another of Western Australia's booming mining towns. Since leaving Perth and heading north the temperature both night and day have steadily increased and as I rolled into Port Hedland it was 30˚C. I had a bed organised here, courtesy of Mazza, a great sort who I shared an office with a short time back. She decided to leave Perth and return to the place where she was born and raised, and is thoroughly enjoying a new chapter in her life.


josage said...

Fantastic.....keep it up and love every minute xxx

Boags said...

Great reading mate, looks like you're enjoying ur time as much as possible. Stay safe. Brice.