Week 22 | Dampier to Bullara Station

Day 148 – 149: Dampier

Last night the port was lit up like a Christmas tree and the sunset wasn’t too bad either. I strolled along the beach taking it all in and happily snapping away on my camera.

It was chilly overnight dropping down to 11 degrees and it’s hard to drag yourself out of bed in the morning. We are heading into Karratha this morning to have a look around. It’s only about 20km from Dampier and on the way we detour into the North West Gulf Gas Project Visitor Centre. It’s closed on Mondays so we’ll have to come back tomorrow. Hearson cove on the Burrup Peninsular is not far so we drive out to see what is there. Wow, it is really picturesque. The dark tide line is visible on the rugged hill and the beach is covered in millions of tiny shells. The colours in the hill are reflecting along the shoreline in the cove, this is where the stairway to the moon happens on low tide and full moon. I’m hoping we will experience this at some point while we are travelling the western Australian coastline.

Karratha is quite an impressive town growing quickly with infrastructure to attract workers to live in the area. The buildings are modern and there are new housing developments popping up everywhere. There is a large Arts Precinct which houses a library and theatrette and currently has aboriginal artworks on display in the foyers. The staff at the Visitor Centre are really helpful and there is a lookout above the centre which provides a view over the whole township.

Andrew and Tim are going fishing this afternoon, it’s the first time the fishing rods will have a workout for this whole trip. They are fishing off the beach and after a few hours come home with 1 bream. Tim caught it and as it’s not big enough to feed us all Lyn is going to have it for her lunch tomorrow.

Tonight is roast night as Tim and Lyn will head off in the morning. The clouds have rolled in so I quickly put the roast veggies in the turbo oven & head across the road to the beach. Sunset certainly does not disappoint me tonight. The sky is a waft of colour, golden yellow, grey and bright pink. The smell of the roast beef is calling. Andrew has basted it in Bugsy’s tomato relish and it’s looking absolutely delicious. Dinner is a winner with us all.

Panorama sunset

I’m calling in for our monthly board meeting today and given that we are now in Western Australia it’s an early start for me to be ready by 7.30am. On the positive side the meeting is over by 9.30am which gives me plenty of time to go fishing with Andrew later today. I haven’t been fishing since I was a child travelling with Mum and Dad in the bush country. A storm has blown in and it’s not looking good but within half an hour it has passed and we head down to the beachfront to fish off the rocks.

Andrew is baiting my line and casting out for me (that’s my type of fishing companion), within a few casts I have a good bite. “Yank your line quick” he shouts you’ve got a fish. I am beside myself as I feel the fish taking the line. “Reel him in” he says, I’m pretty excited at this point as I bring my first fish into the shallow waters. He is well and truely hooked on my line, “go and grab a rag he shouts”.  Out of the water I run jumping with excitement. “What is it?” I ask, it looks like a grunter, it’s going to have to go back it’s under size. Oh damn, quick I need a photo of my first catch, off I run back to the rocks to get my camera. That was the excitement for the day. There were plenty more bites and only one other fish caught by myself, he had a black spot and was no bigger than my bait!

There is plenty of bird life at the park and each day the friendly corellas fly in and allow you to feed them by hand.  Andrew is in his glory as he loves any type of wildlife.

The shower of rain has bought in cooler weather so we are tucked up in bed tonight catching up on some Netflix shows.

Wildlife: corellas, minor birds, seagulls, galahs.

Day 150: Dampier to Onslow

We are leaving Dampier this morning at 9.00am and it’s only 16 degrees outside after a chilly 11 degrees last night. We’re heading for Onslow which is 82km off the highway. We’ve passed several quarries and mine sites on our journey today. Termite mounds are prolific and the road in is long straight and boring.

Wildlife: crows, wild budgerigars, corellas, dead kangaroos, dead cows, cattle.

Day 151 – 153: Onslow

Onslow is home to a salt mine and gas plant, there is little to do around the township. The population is just under 900 and there is a pub, beach club resort, 2 caravan parks, supermarket, chemist, hospital and a few other services.

The Oceanview Caravan Park is situated on Front Beach and run by the local council.

Ocean View Caravan Park, Onslow

Several sites are situated along the beachfront, ours is just across a mere 20 metres away from the rock wall.

Andrew and Tim are keen to try the fishing out and head out to 4 mile beach early in the morning. After a lovely sleep in I head down to the beach with Cinta for a walk. In the distance I see the guys fishing off the beach.  They’ve had no luck this morning, no doubt they’ll be back at it again this afternoon.

I take the opportunity to do a bit of cleaning in the van. Red dirt gets into absolutely everything. With Cinta on board I am constantly sweeping the floor as I can’t stand the dirt under my feet. This afternoon is spent catching up on some work and then I plan to make a lasagne and try out the cooking process in the Ziggy. Andrew loves lasagne and it is a real winner so it will be on the menu again!

Andrew is taking me for a drive out to 4 mile beach this morning as there is another small beach that is covered in shells. I thought Hearson Cove at Dampier had a lot of shells but this beach is impressive. The shells are about 12 inches deep and there are some large ones amongst them. Some of them are glistening in the sunlight and when I look closer they almost resemble the mother of pearl shell. They would make an amazing wind chime.

We are walking several times a day on the beach. The water is really cold and Cinta is only going in up to her belly. It’s also quite rocky when the tide is out, something she is not used to.

Andrew and Tim are fishing again this afternoon off the beach, still no luck. Cinta and I walk down at sunset and capture some great shots. The sky is pastel pink and blue, it looks spectacular against the rock wall.

Another lazy start to the day before tapping away on the keyboard again. I have to keep reminding myself of the positive benefits of working on the road as the negative benefits are beginning to overwhelm me this morning. It’s been a long day so a beach walk is needed to put things back into perspective. I’m sure happy hour will help too.

Clouds are starting to roll in and Andrew, Cinta and I head out along the boardwalk to enjoy the magnificent show that the sun setting is putting on display tonight. This is why we love being on the road.

Wildlife: seagulls, corellas, honey eaters, doves, crabs.

Day 154: Bullara Station Stay

Its time to move on again and leaving Onslow this morning it’s 19 degrees at 9.00am. We are heading for a Station Stay at Bullara. The countryside varies this morning from wide open flat surfaces to rocky outcrops and flat plateaus. It never ceases to amaze us how different the scenery can be from one day to the next.

Bullara Station is a third generation property sprawled over a quarter of a million acres. The 1.2km road from the highway is graded dirt. Tonight is camp fire roast night but they are fully booked out so we are very disappointed. Barista coffee and scones with jam and cream are on every morning from 8.30, we immediately decide we are having morning tea before we leave in the morning.

A late lunch and early happy hour are the order of the day. We’ve walked around the site and there are plenty of fire pits and lots of old rusted out machinery and tools from generations gone by. The outback shower is open air and very rustic, run by the donkey.  It’s really quirky, I love it.

The sun has set at 5.45pm with a magnificent display of cloud cover. Golden yellow tones turn into bright pink and then burnt orange and red. I never tire of a good sunset. I’m certain that sunrise will be just as spectacular. I’ve asked Andrew to wake me up, I don’t want to miss it.  The temperature is dropping and whilst it is going down to 11 degrees it feels a lot colder.

You’ll have to wait until next weeks blog to see how the sunrise looks!

Panorama sunset

Here’s a short video of my drone practice today.  I hope you enjoy it.

Wildlife: 2 emus, dead kangaroos, cattle, crows, hawks, eagle, kangaroos, sheep.

Week 22 total expenses:  $714.47, pleased that the expenses are slowing creeping down.

https://www.facebook.com/ourtimehascomewheretonext 

https://www.instagram.com/ourtimehascomewheretonext

That’s a wrap for Week 22 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

Week 21 | Broome to Dampier

Day 141 – 142: Broome

Last night was spent at Cable Beach watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. The beach was busy with 4WD’s parked, deck chairs, children running and playing in the sand. Two camel trains slowly passed us by at sunset and made for the iconic Broome photo opportunity. Cinta was in her happy place lyeing on the sand and we toasted to onward journeys and long lasting memories.

Waking up in Broome after a chilly night dropping to 11 degrees. The winds have picked up and it’s looking like they will steadily increase throughout the day. Andrew decides to bring the awning in.

There is a public holiday today for WA day and there is not a lot open apart from the cafes and tourist outlets. We have had to extend our stay by another night as the work I was expecting to complete today is not going to be ready until tomorrow.

The photo opportunities at the Jetty are calling. The cruise ship has departed and we are all keen to feel the sand between our toes again. We still find the colour of the sand being so dark quite strange after the beautiful clear sand on the beaches at home. The black grains form interesting patterns along the shoreline. The tide is out which allows us to wander under the Jetty for some photos. Further along the beach are more interesting rock formations and I’m in photographic heaven again. My iPhone and camera are bursting with images, I’m going to have to spend some time to get them uploaded to my google drive and sorted into albums.

Back at the park we meet our new neighbours from Port Lincoln and their dog Marlee. We chat about our travels, they have just come through from Port Headland and tell us how boring the trip from there to Broome is. Something to look forward to on Wednesday.

Another cool night dropping to 12 degrees and the wind is blowing a gale again today. I’m at the keyboard by 8.30 ready for a big day of work. Andrew is tasked with finding someone to fix our water leak in the pipe near the front of the van. The patch job at Alice Springs has failed and we’ve been dealing with the leak for quite some time now not being able to buy a replacement part or find a repairer to fix it.

The Visitor Information Centre has sent the details of a repairer to us and he’s agreed to come at 4.00pm. How lucky could we be. It’s 4.30pm and no word. We are chatting with the neighbours and talking about tradies and discussing how we are loosing faith about having our leak fixed today when Ron calls and says he is on his way.

What a relief, you don’t realise how inconvenient it is to not be able to have water running freely when you want it. It’s meant that each time we need water in a caravan park we have had to go outside to the tap and turn it on and then back out when we have finished to turn the water supply back off again.  We could leave it permanently on but it is such a waste of water dripping out through the leak we just can’t justify doing that when some communities are so desperate for water. Within half an hour and $105 later we have a new pipe and water is flowing freely again. It’s the simple things in life that make a happy wife!

You can never have too many sunset or pet photos; right?

Wildlife: galahs, cattle, crows, dead kangaroos, camels.

Day 143: Broome to Sandfire Roadhouse

After a cool overnight in Broome (11 degrees) we are packed up and ready to start heading south by 8.30am. It’s a pleasant 18 degrees and the cross winds are quite strong this morning. We are heading for the Sandfire Roadhouse which is about half way between Broome and Port Headland. We are hoping to be there mid afternoon so that I can do some more work.

I have to say that the Telstra reception has been extremely good whilst we have been travelling through Western Australia. The Northern Territory had the worst reception for the trip to date, with long stretches were there was no reception at all.

The neighbours were right, the road is long, straight and boring. I’m catching up on my blog today.

We arrive at the roadhouse just after lunch and set up on our unpowered site.  It’s $20 for a spot on the red dirt.  There is not much here, just a roadhouse.  I’ve spent some time doing some work and finishing off last weeks blog post.  Spaghetti bolognaise is on the menu tonight and then an early night for us both.

Wildlife: galahs, cattle, crows, dead kangaroos, camels, peacock, geese

Day 144: Sandfire Roadhouse to Port Hedland

Heading out from the Sandfire Roadhouse it’s 19 degrees and the winds are blowing a gale. The journey today will be another long boring stretch of road.

We’re counting caravans for something to do and after 1 1/2 hours on the road we have seen 65 caravans heading north. We’re not counting 4WD’s with rooftop tents either. The season is in full swing and we’re glad we are going in the opposite direction given the wind situation. Our fuel consumption will be a lot better than those travelling north.

The roadside sign says Welcome to the Pilbara Region, another area we are keen to explore.

Arriving in Port Hedland just on 1.00pm the caravan count is 125 for 4 1/2 hours on the road. We have found a lot of travellers are like us and pull up around lunch time at their destination.  Plenty of time to set up, rest up and get ready for happy hour!

We are staying at the free camp at the race track. Self contained vans can stay for 72 hours. There is a dump point, toilets and the parking area is large with a few shade trees and plenty of red dirt.  There is about 60 vans here tonight and we’ve seen some fantastic set ups, but check out the rig below.  Behind the truck is a jet ski and the small car at the side actually drives into the back of the rig.  We can’t begin to imagine the cost of the fuel bill to run this set up but it certainly looks impressive and no wonder they are taking advantage of a free camp.

Wildlife: peacocks, geese, camel, cattle, 2 dead cows, finches, falcon

Day 145 – 146: Port Hedland

The winter woolies came out last night as the wind was blowing a gale and the chill factor was just too much for me.  It was a cold night and this morning we are having our cuppa in bed rugged up and watching the news.  We haven’t really watched a lot of TV since we’ve been travelling and to be honest we haven’t missed it either.  We do tend to watch netflix when we have reception.

This morning we are taking a drive into the Visitor Information Centre to get a map on the street art around the town.  There isn’t much to see around this mining town.  There are a lot of shops that are closed and a lot of accommodation that looks deserted and unkept.  We can see why the township is offering a free camp for 72 hours.  They need to attract tourists and keep them here to spend some money.  The street art is in the laneways and some of it is difficult to photograph because of the locations.  It is such a shame that the artwork is not in more visually attractive areas of the township.

The stairway to the moon can also be viewed in Port Hedland but we are here at the wrong time of the month so we won’t be seeing it this time round.  Port Hedland is one of the world’s largest and busiest working harbours.  They transport hundreds of millions of tonnes of cargo each year.  We counted 17 ships on the horizon lined up to come into port to take on cargo.

Today we head out for a walk along the beachfront. Cyclone Veronica ravaged Port Hedland in late March and evidence of the destruction is visible along the whole coastline.

We stop to chat to two local guys who tell us about the beachfront park lands being completely under salt water. Most of the palm trees, shrubs and frangipani are dead. The paved pathways and some of the shelters are fenced off with security fencing and the sand dunes are all under re-vegetation. It brings back stark memories of the devastation at Mission Beach after Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

This afternoon is spent relaxing, I have my gel pens out and colour a postcard. I very rarely have time for being arty, it’s something I thought I would be doing all the time. I miss being able to be creative. I find myself telling Andrew that the next time we do another lap I won’t be working.

The clouds are rolling in this afternoon which means we could be in for a great sunset over the Indian Ocean. Happy Hour is bought forward and then we walk up to the top of the hill to watch the sun go down. As we were leaving the racetrack a gyro-copter is taking off and travels along the coastline down to the port. I’m eagerly awaiting his return to capture some video as he flies above us at the lookout. I’m waving madly while I’m filming him on my iPhone, here’s a short clip of him flying right above us.

The sunset wasn’t as spectacular as some we have seen, but each is special in it’s own right.

Wildlife: eagles, finches, budgerigar, seagulls, ibis, finches, budgerigars, honey eaters.

Day 147: Port Hedland to Dampier

Yesterday was very low cloud cover and last night we almost ran out of solar power. There was a light shower during the night and we are hoping that the red dirt has not turned to mud this morning. Cinta is off colour again today, she hasn’t come to greet me in bed like she usually does. Yesterday she vomited three times so we are not sure if she picked something up during our walk.

We’re packed up early and heading out at 8.00am. Taking the opportunity to fill our water tanks and use the dump point before heading off for Dampier. The turf club free camp is a great facility and we are thankful for 3 nights free camping.

We’ve been keeping in touch with our friends Lyn and Tim and they are at Dampier so we are going to head there for three nights to catch up with them again.  The Dampier Transit Park is a great small park, just the way we like it.  At $35 per night for a powered site, it’s a reasonable price.  We have a great site with a view of the Indian Ocean and the Port and we have some shade too.

Wildlife: horses, falcon, 3 dead cows, crow, corellas, minor birds, ibis

For those of you who are interested to see exactly how much it costs to be on the road, here are some of our statistics so far:

Days on the road: 147 (it only feels like we left yesterday…)

Kilometers travelled:  15,120

Cost of fuel: $2939.68; most expensive $2.049 at Erldunda, cheapest $1.289 at Miles

No of free camps: 44; we thought we would be doing a lot more free camping!

Cost of groceries: $3,679.24 (shame we have to eat)

Cost of washing: $97 (mainly sheets and towels, everything else is done in the bucket)

Eating out: $1,768.80 (OMG)

Alcohol: $677.40 (a requirement for happy hour, well that’s our excuse anyway)

Experiences: $2774.61 (Horizontal Falls was the most expensive but the best!)

There are a lot of areas that we could reduce our costs, so that will be a challenge over the coming months.

Week 21 total expenses:  $870.80 I’d still like to get this figure a lot lower, however, the extraordinary expense of $105 was necessary to fix our water pipe.

https://www.facebook.com/ourtimehascomewheretonext 

https://www.instagram.com/ourtimehascomewheretonext

That’s a wrap for Week 21 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!