Day 52 – 25 Aug 2012 – at Dales Gorge (Karanjini Nat. Park)

We left Port Hedland around 9.00am. Our fellow ‘camper’ beside us told us about a device we can buy called 3G Extender – he and his wife do lots of international work via the mobile phone and computer and they have been able to get internet/mobile access even going over the Gibb River Road. We reckon we must look into it. Of course it needs a Telstra contract – but as we said before, anything other than Telstra is next to useless outside of major cities or towns.

Road outside Golf Club Overflow area

I took a photo of the exit road out of the golf course where we stayed for 2 nights. This red dust is all there is! I realise now we should have bought clothes/socks/towels etc. all a sort of rusty colour and then they would always look clean!

We turned off the main highway about 32 kms south of Port Hedland and headed towards Newman although we do not intend to go that far, as we have been told the mine tour at Tom Price is just as good.Hope to see our shareholders fund at work.

Once again the roads are excellent – we can only guess it is the constant mine traffic which allows such great roads.

For the first time on our entire trip we got behind a WIDE, WIDE load – 2 in fact. The loads they were carting were huge mine trucks. We probably sat behind them for 15 kms or so until they could find a safe place to pull over and let the 6 or 7 vehicles behind them move ahead.

Long WIDE loads ahead

About 20 kms further down the road we saw another very wide load, going in the opposite direction to us, for which we had to move off the road. We wonder how they worked out who got right of way when the 2 large loads met each other.

We stopped at a place called Auski Roadhouse for lunch and enquired if we could get our caravan into the Karanjini National Park just another 50 or so kms. off the highway. We were told we could, so we stopped at the roadhouse and had our lunch before heading off. While we were there 3 large road trains pulled in – they had cement railway sleepers on them. The driver told Ian these sleepers were made in Dubai, shipped out to Port Hedland and then transported up on these road trains. Strange to think we cannot make them here in Australia!

Long, long load on a Road Train

While we were there another huge long load pulled in. It was carrying a long 2 door accommodation building. There were other road trains around too. It is amazing just how much traffic uses these roads. Whilst we were in Port Hedland and travelling around the town we probably saw up to a dozen semi tralers loaded with brand new “dongas” probably being taken out to some mine site. For those who don’t know – a Donga is a temporary accommodation building. They are everywhere – especially for mine staff accommodation. We found out from the lady at the Info. Centre that there used to be 5 caravan parks in Port Hedland, but only 2 are now used for tourist traffic now as the others are completely used up for Mine Staff.

We then drove to Karajnini National Park ($5 entry fee) and went to the Info Centre there. Once again this is an Info Centre so well disguised so as not to disturb the picturesque surrounds. Very well done. Inside is state-of-the art furniture and settings. They are very impressive.

Filling up at Water Tank

We were told we could get our Van into Dales Gorge Park just back another 10 0r so kms but there would be no power, and no water (again) so to be safe we pulled in at a water tank and filled up. This water is untreated so we have to boil it if we wish to drink it, but that is okay. We met some people there who told us that Dales Gorge Park was full yesterday, but they thought we would be okay today. If not, there is an ‘overflow park’ back near this water tank. We drove the few kms to the Dales Gorge Park and were lucky enough to get in. Cost is just $10.

We then did a 4 kms walk on the edge of the gorge before it got too late, as it was already after 3pm. The views were – the Fortescue falls, the 3 ways lookout, the circular pool, and then there was a walking trail just through the spinifex which would get us back to our Van. We arrived back just before 5pm. The gorge was quite spectacular but the climbs down into the gorge were quite rocky and in places so steep that there were ladders, so the lookouts gave you a very good view. There are so many people here – it is a popular spot yet we had never heard of it until a couple of days ago.

Fortesque Falls

We are allowed to use our generators here until 9pm so Ian put it on just to charge up our batteries.

We plan to get to Tom Price tomorrow.

Love to all,

Janese and Ian

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