To the North: A decision I immediately regretted!

As visiting the rock paintings at the Burrup was relatively easy we headed out there after leaving the library. We had been a bit waylaid by a local (very vocal) who informed us of the changes he felt were for the worse in Karratha, such as moving pensioners out of the main town and moving the swimming pool, which was the centre of social life, out of town. As we drove out along the road to Dampier we could see that there were some rather posh suburbs out that way. Perhaps our man had a point, that the conveniece of moneyed newcomers counted for more than the life of long term residents.

The rock art is accessible via two boardwalks, not very long, but allowing a good view of the area. Apparently there are 10,000 plus, but we only picked up some of the more obvious ones. There were signs giving information, as much as we wanted. In the late afternoon it was a beautiful place to be, so long as you didn’t look across the way to the gas plant spewing whatever into the sky.

After we had our fill, we went to the nearby Hearson’s Cove. There were cars lined up along the edge of the dune and we realised that people were there to see the Staircase to the Moon. Lot’s of people were taking advantage of the low tide to walk out in the very shallow water. The road back to Karratha is a four lane highway and we felt somewhat confident of getting back safely after dark, so stayed for the event. Once again I tried taking photos of the Staircase and felt so frustrated that I turned the camera onto automatic. Immediately I had good shots, so obviously the computer in the camera is much cleverer than me trying out manual modes.

On Sunday morning Stephen wanted to have a shower and wash his hair at the golf club, but was told the toilet block wouldn’t open until 12.00. I gave him instructions on how to wash his hair in our little bathroom. After relaxing for the morning we set off for Dampier. We just wanted to see what it was like. On the way we went shopping at the posh supermarket (The Good Store) and spent a lot of money on very nice food. We made the fateful decision not to refill our tank and water bottles in Karratha, but were unexpectedly gifted 6 1.5 litre bottles of drinking water from a passing worker. That has been a godsend as we want to camp for an extra day and 4 days is quite a stretch.

Dampier was warm and not that interesting though we are glad we went there. It is a working port and that is really what matters. There was a market happening near the new foreshore development, but by driving along further we were able to find a parkup in the shade to have our lunch and siesta.

Our next parkup was only about 40kms south at Miaree 24 Hour Rest Area. It was there we made the decision I instantly regretted. The main parking area had a steep slope and people were finding perches around the edges to stay for the night. We found a perch a little way along the 4WD only track down to the river and ended up in a beautiful spot overlooking the river. My regret and anxiety began immediately as the only way out was by backing up the road, with the hope of being able to turn around part of the way up to take the rest of it going forwards.

Miaree Rest Area bad decision, but beautiful
Our view from Miaree RA campsite

Although it was so lovely I spent the whole night worrying about getting out. After breakfast we packed up and put our plan in motion. Stephen wanted me to back all of the way out, but I could see a ridge that I wanted to be able to take going forwards. One of the caravans moved, which gave us more room to turn around. After bottoming out by going into the wrong spot we managed to make a good turn and I drove out easily. Never again, the anxiety made it not at all worthwhile.

We don’t think we did any damage.

Driving that morning was almost like driving through gardens of beautiful wildflowers. We had a couple of stops, one at a rest area to look at flowers and one at the Fortescue Roadhouse where we shared a bacon and egg toastie and had coffees. Very good indeed.

Our next destination was our present parkup at Robe River 24 hr Rest Area. Curiously, not only do they provide two sets of toilets, one old, one new, two dump points, a number of picnic shelters but also wifi. That is really weird, especially as the internet connection on our phones is quite good. I’ve tried the internet (using a VPN of course) and it is quite fast.

Once again we have secured a spot overlooking the river, but we are on gravel and have easy access in and out. It’s so nice that we are going to stay for two nights, which is where stretching out our water becomes important. We are not as brave as a man we saw yesterday evening who walked out into the river with his soap and had a bath. This morning I walked into the water far enough to find some relatively clean water and have done some washing. As soon as it was hung out the clouds rolled in. Must be a bit left over from the south of WA. It was looking very dark for a while, but the heavy clouds have moved on and we have a mix of sunshine and clouds.

Clouds this morning – because I did some washing!
Across the road from where we are staying. Some people have driven over to this side to have a bit more space and privacy. It was very packed here last night, but as our sliding door faces the river and we have a shade over the dining room window we feel quite private here.

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