Enjoyed going to sleep with the sound of the sea in the background. We woke to a very stiff off-shore wind but still did the short walk to the beach to see how the low tide looked – and they were right – it certainly was a couple of kilometres out from where we were standing. It was a pity we were not staying another day as it would have been great to see the tide come in so far.
We left Eighty Mile Beach around 9.00am and travelled back the 10 kms back to the Highway on the red dust road out from the Park, but the strong wind actually blew it away from us so that was good.We are beginning to see some pretty wildflowers already but they are sparsely separated. We have been told that the true wildflower display a little further south is still well worth the trip so we are looking forward to that.
Our first and only stop on the way was a small petrol stop at Pardoo, where Ian just had a walk and stretched his legs before we headed off to Port Hedland. The scenery today was a little different in that it was quite flat although once again very heavily vegetated. We saw our first river and creek crossings today since leaving Broome. We have no idea where all the rain goes when it does rain here as there were no rivers or creeks for a few hundred kilometres. We travelled parallel to the coast for most of today, and we could see sand dunes in the distances, but only once actually caught a sight of the sea.
We arrived at Port Hedland a little after 11.30 but unfortunately, it was after 3.30pm before we actually got into a caravan park. The reason was that we stopped at a Shell Station to re-fuel and after that, we headed off to find a caravan park, when suddenly the Landcruiser came to a stop. RIGHT ON A MAJOR INTERSECTION OF THE HIGHWAY – with Road Trains etc. all passing by. A lovely young chap (Damien) pulled his ute up in front of us and asked if he could help. However, nothing seemed to work. A Powerworker Ute then stopped on the road near us and the 2 blokes on board said they would give us a tow to get us off the highway – with this we were put in a much safer position. We then thanked them all and told them we would be okay as we had ‘Total Care’ with RACV and would give them a ring. This is what we did and about 35 mins. later the repairman arrived. As Ian was trying to explain how the car just stopped, this chap (Mick) went straight to the fuel cap, pulled it off and gave a sniff – and much to Ian’s surprise (and absolute embarrassment) informed him that he had put PETROL instead of DIESEL in the tanks 135 litres and over $200 worth to be exact.
To cut a long story short – Mick put the Landcruiser on the tray of his vehicle and took it into a Toyota Dealership – drove back and hooked up the Van and took us to the only spot available in Port Hedland – the overflow caravan parking area at the local golf club about 20kms out of town. It is an unpowered, unwatered site, but that is okay because our Van is well designed for times like this. There was not one spot powered or unpowered available at any of the Parks.
RACV then contacted us and arranged the hire of a small car while we are here in Port Hedland. We were picked up by a taxi and taken to the airport where there was a small Hyundai Getz (2 door). We are hopeful it will only be for a couple of days, but we will see.Before we came back to the Park Ian took the car for a drive to the area around the Ports and we managed to see a couple of boats in, lots of ships waiting outside the Port, but it was getting too dark to have a really good look. We really had to concentrate on the drive home as we had no map, but did find the Golf Club eventually. The traffic was quite busy.
As we drove past what looked like a new suburb being built, the tow-truck driver told us Port Hedland is planning on having another 14,000 accommodation places, as well as a few thousand residences – this is mostly to cater for the mining industry. He said a small block of land 1,400 sq.metres/unpowered/unfenced/vacant land in an industrial subdivision was being bought for an average price of $495,000. There was a recent ballot for 19 vacant lots, and 450 people applied!! He said he was presently moving out of his residence which he said was a fairly nice house, and was going to rent it out for $3,000 per week!!! He would move into a ‘shed’ on his industrial block. His children were being educated in Sydney. There is BIG MONEY over here that is for sure. He also said that he had the contract to do recoveries for the RACWA and associated motoring organizations and covers an area up to 1000km from Port Hedland. Only this morning they had done a recovery for a Nissan Patrol that was stuck in the sand when the tide came in. It was submerged under about 6 metres of water – dont think it will be much good now. He told us that RACWA gets around 5,000 calls a week across the State.
Apart from our ‘trouble’ I have to say I am not very impressed with the town so far – all red dirt/dust/no grass again. However, we will do the ‘touristy’ things tomorrow and may find some interesting aspects of this mining town. 5 out of every 6 vehicles is a mine ute – so that industry should be interesting. We will go to the Info Centre tomorrow and see what tours are on.
Fortunately, although the day was warm, there was a cool breeze coming in the Van and the evening now is a lovely mild 23C.
Oh – must add – the only good thing about putting petrol in instead of diesel was that Ian did it and not me!!!
Love to all, Janese and Ian