Thursday, May 28, 2009

Port Hedland and Broome

Port Hedland and Broome - 25th – 28th May 09

Road Train Western Australia
From Port Headland & Broome

As we climbed back up Dale’s Gorge we bumped into couple of Irish and a German backpacker (Kieran, Caroline & Anna). We started off joking about the heat and then got talking about travelling and the direction they were heading. We said that we had planned to spend the afternoon driving to Port Hedland. Kieran said that they were doing the same as they had to replace a tyre on the Ford Falcon Ute they were travelling in. They had driven on the dirt road to Weano gorge, the first and last time that they had been off the bitumen! I thought to myself “how can 3 people be in a Falcon Ute?” sure enough as we got back to the car park there it was an old 1986 ute with 3 seats in the front and the back luggage bulging under the canvass. We bid them farewell and joked that they would be overtaking us shortly as we drive OJ at 85km/h to preserve fuel. Kieran said that may not be the case now as he had decided to slow down from 120 to 90km/h for the same reason. This was after finding out he had spent nearly twice as much as some guys he met in a camper that had done the same journey, just slower.
We were 6kms outside Port Hedland when we pushed the fuel gauge to the limit once more – 10 mins and a jerry later and we were back on our way (Yes we had run out of fuel twice in 3 days!). As we looked for the service station we saw a familiar looking red ute go passed. We waved, filled up the car and set about looking at one of the 4 caravan parks in town. The sat nav showed us to Black Rock CP and off we went. As we pulled in we rolled up next to a red Falcon Ute and thought “What are the chances?” (25% logically). We set up camp next to the guys and had a few beers, putting the world to rights.
Port Hedland is a very industrial town with lots of mining vehicles running around. It was here we saw the longest road trains of the trip so far (4 trailers long) There was nothing much to see here and we set off for Broome the next morning. We exchanged numbers with our new co-travellers and got a head start as they had to get a new tyre. After a very healthy start to the day in Maccas we set about the 600km trip to Broome.

Cable Beach, Broome
Cable Beach Broome Western Australia
From Port Headland & Broome

It was just getting dark as we arrived in Broome and still no sign of the Ute..?
We had no desire to set up camp and cook in the dark, plus food supplies were running a little thin so we popped into Macca’s for the 2nd time that day! As we sat down to munch on our cheeseburgers, talking about the wall of heat and humidity we had just hit the phone rang and Caroline asked where we were. They came and met us and Kieran exclaimed that we must have been doing more than 85km/h. He was right, we had for the first time in a long while increased our speed – the drive was just so damn boring!
We arranged to go to the same campsite and then went out for a few beers in Broome centre on a Tuesday night! Predictably it was not very lively but the beers in Pearler’s bar were on special and COLD so we stuck around for a while under the ceiling fans.
To go from so cold to so hot in a couple of days took a little while to get used to!
After we were kicked out of the closing Pearler’s Kieran was keen to carry on drinking (no one else really was) so we went to Macca’s for a 3rd time!!! And then on to an Irish bar where we left Kieran and went off to bed.

Camel Ride, Broome
Camel Ride Cable Beach Broome Western Australia
From Port Headland & Broome

The next morning we had a walk around Broome doing a couple of necessities. Broome is a pearling town (where the world’s best pearls come from) with strong Chinese links. There are pearl shops everywhere selling gorgeous pearl jewellery, but no matter how much I tried, Carl wasn’t having a bar of buying me any of them!!!
That night we headed for Cable Beach just outside Broome to watch the sunset and to see the Camels. A visit to Broome is just not complete without seeing the Camels on the beach!
It was a lovely sunset and we got some great pics of the camels as the sun went down. The beach is very flat and wide and many kms long. We didn’t know, but you can take your 4wd drive on to the beach which many people had done, set up with chairs ready for the sunset. After stocking up, we were ready to set off towards Derby and the Gibb River Rd.

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