Sunday, 17 May 2015

Tom Price to Derby

(click the map for details)
Yellow route: Tom Price to Derby - 2 190 km
Total so far: 18 030 km

We started this part of the journey with one of WA’s highlights – the Karijini national park (NP). The system of Gorges is fantastic and quite unique. Another cyclone was announced in the Exmouth area for the beginning of May and people staying in Cape Range NP had to be evacuated. This led to a influx of these tourists to Karijini. Over this very weekend the Karijini Experience took place, a cultural event with different happenings such as an outdoor Opera, tours with Indigenous guides and a series of adventure-travel films. This suited us perfectly in the rainy and overcast weather. We saw four very good movies with different crazy travel stories. Walking, crawling and climbing the gorges was spectacular. And once the sun was out again, the colours and shapes of the rocks appeared even more brilliant and unique. For the "Spider Walk" we didn’t take our camera and therefore we can’t offer any pictures of this most loved walk.

 Kilmana Gorge – Karijini NP

Road in Karijini after a night of heavy rain – sticks perfectly everywhere, car, shoes, clothes.....

Fabulous camping just out of Karijini – Alberto Tognolini Lookout

The drive to Port Hedland wasn’t very eventful but interesting for us as we listened to an audiobook which we can highly recommend. Outback Stations - The life and times of Australia’s biggest cattle and sheep stations by Evan McHugh. It comes in 11 chapters and we were once more amazed by the size of this country and how people have successfully survived in very remote and harsh areas. 

Port Hedland opened a new world for us with the busy harbour which ships off iron ore in enormous quantities. The operation Seafarers offers tours and lets you hop on the boat which taxis the ships' crews off and on the vessels. This allow them a shore leave and a rest in the mission of the Seafarers. It is a worldwide organisation which makes the wellbeing of the seafarers their goal in the first place where the church aspect is second.

 Around 12 ships leave the harbour daily – most of them loaded with up to 200'000 tonnes of ore

Seafarer's personal welcoming

Also in Port Hedland we witnessed the famous Stairs to the Moon and on the way to the lookout, Cooks Point, we were amazed by the business of the hermit crabs.

Broome was surprisingly nice and the grocery shopping was great, too. The Green Mango is probably the best cafe in town and meanwhile we had two lunches and a breakfast there. After a noisy night at the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse we stayed three peaceful nights at the Broome Bird Observatory. This is such an interesting place and the very knowledgable staff gets you into birdwatching in no time.

Roebuck Bay where the migratory shore birds are counted by the Broome observatory staff, every day

The Dampier Peninsula is often visited in a one-day tour from Broome. Fortunately. we are not so much under time pressure and allowed 5 days and 5 nights on the Peninsula. Apart from the breathtaking sunsets and sunrises wherever we were, we got a good insight into the interesting industry of Perls at Cygnet Bay, the only productive Pearlfarm in Australia which is open to visitors.

 Sunrise at Cape Leveque

 Private beach at the fabulous Goombaragin Eco Retreat

One of two available camp spots

Oliver with a drip torch, assisting John with the burn-off at Goombaragin 

 A fantastic tour through the pearl farm at Cygnet Bay.; we even got an idea of how expensive the pearls are and what method is applied to set a price.

We got supply for the Gibb River Road (GRR) in Broome but didn’t want to start this adventure before seeing  and enjoying the Horizontal Falls from above during a scenic flight from Derby.

 We had the pilot to ourselves during the 100 minutes flight over the Horizontal Falls and the Buccaneer Archipelago

 Horizontal Falls

 Uninhabitable land in Stokes Bay, just out of Derby towards King Sound

Baramundi-breeding farm

Boab trees will follow us through the GRR

(In-) famous prison tree in Derby

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