To the North: Newman, Albert Tognolini Rest Area and Port Hedland

Sunrise this morning at the Albert Tognolini Rest Area

We stayed two nights in Newman and two nights at the Albert Tognolini Rest Area. We have just arrived in Port Hedland and will probably have two nights here as well. This blog has been written over a couple of days.

It rained most of the day when we were in Newman. No matter, we had planned to get ready to leave for Port Hedland by doing some shopping, getting the gas cylinder filled or replaced, and filling up the diesel. We spent the day either avoiding or ignoring the rain as we went about our chores. We could only be thankful that the only rainy day occurred when we were parked on bitumen, not down a dusty track in the bush.

Stephen found a Thai cafe for our lunch, very tasty, though the surrounding were basic. Shopping after that, then a long sit in the Dome Cafe. The shopping area is fairly compact, with two sections and an IGA and a Woollies. The Dome Cafe is huge, with some nice features such as an upstairs section, a chef’s kitchen with an AGA and a reading corner with books to borrow. Stephen napped after finishing his drink.

Stephen caved to doing a swap for a new gas bottle after trying hard to find a place that would refill our existing bottle. We have two and had switched to the second bottle, but we don’t like being without a backup. So much depends on gas.

Then it was back to the Tourist Info. Car park. We chose a different spot, with only one side available for parking, which made me feel somewhat safer. A caravan tried to take off the side mirror in the other spot, fortunately the mirror won and I can’t even see any damage.

The rubbish removal truck arrived early and woke us up. I went across to the Muzz Buzz, which does a brisk morning trade with travellers and workers in the town for a coffee, taking my mug. This was my second morning and I knew to ask for a two shot flat white as the previous morning’s coffee had tasted like coffee flavoured milk, much too weak.

After breakfast we got busy at the dump point which has two taps, one for non potable water with a hose for the dump point, and one labelled potable water. There are no drinking water options until Port Hedland so we filled up everything we had.

After the cloudy day our batteries were very low and showing a flashing light. I ran the engine to get them slightly charged. But the sunshine yesterday and today, as well as the driving, has done a good job of getting them full again.

We had a lovely drive through the much improved landscape (after all the mulga), similar to inside Karrijini. After some stops for roadworks we arrived at the Albert Tognolini Rest Area. It is a beautiful place, with lots of camping places on different levels. We were lucky to get a superb spot overlooking the hills and valley. I went a bit mad with the camera yesterday, but feel content to just enjoy the scenery this evening.

When I was out walking yesterday evening I spoke with some people who said that the 4WD part of the camping area went all the way up the hill. This morning we actually walked all the way up to the top camp. I am amazed that we could do it as we are not particularly fit. Part of the incentive for me was the promise of a Telstra signal so that I could let Matt know we would have our FaceTime session tomorrow night rather than tonight. There is no signal here. Auski Roadhouse has a signal, but is not the ideal place to stay. We feel that we haven’t actually missed going into Karrijini as where we are is so beautiful, with the same flora as in the park.

We thought of going to Auski Roadhouse to do washing, but after successfully getting all our washing done on our first night in Newman there is no other reason to stay there. We paid $5.00 and I used two washing machines and the dryer for that money. As well, we had a nice meal in the pub.

It has been hard to manage without heating in the van. If we go away in winter next year we really need to have a solution, either to replace our gas hot water system with a combined heater/hot water system or install a diesel heater. The heater would only need to be on for a short time to warm this little van.

Last night we sat and watched a movie that I had previously downloaded. I did get to sit in the driver’s seat and Stephen in the passenger seat so we were side by side. I have two lapdogs and we were actually quite comfortable.

After two nights at the Albert Tognolini Rest Area (with no phone signal) today we drove to Port Hedland. We have chosen to stay at a free camping area in the town. It looks rather like a caravan park, but no hookups and no exorbitant cost. There is a dump point and potable water available in nearby.

This evening we walked along the beach to the Water Tower, then home to cook tea and have a FaceTime call with Matt. It was lovely to chat with him. Joseph, who helped him with the call, said that he was watching one of our home movies when we called.

It’s quite noisy here, but we don’t mind. Even the contrast with our beautiful campsite of the past couple of days doesn’t bother us. We like the contrast – it’s all part of the adventure. The internet is a bit slow unfortunately, we hoped that we would have fast internet here in a town. Which is why there is only one photo with today’s blog.

One response to “To the North: Newman, Albert Tognolini Rest Area and Port Hedland”

  1. Got the notification this time. Hopefully warmer weather on the way. Watching the moon sink over the ocean on the way to Rotto in 3 degrees. But lowest 11 degrees on the island so looking forward to that. Having to do an assessment of a new guide. Easier than taking the tour🤪
    Perhaps Karijini on the way home. Nearly as good as Bungles I’ve always thought. Travel safely 🤗

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