Daily Archives: June 1, 2015

Dampier peninsula

The Dampier peninsula is nowhere near the town of the same name. Often referred to as Cape Leveque, it was a place we were really keen to visit, and after a long dusty road from Broome we arrived half way up the peninsula at Nature’s Hideaway, Middle Lagoon. We managed to sustain a stone chip “bullet hole” on the windscreen on the way up, but that wasn’t about to dampen our spirits. We camped on the Ridge overlooking the beach and marvelled every day at the glorious sunsets. By day we snorkelled over the reefs, swam and fished, even catching dinner one day. Lots of new birds flourished amongst the trees on the property and there wasn’t a crocodile to be seen! Five kilometres north and south there were warning signs at water holes, creeks or beaches but apparently they don’t frequent Middle Lagoon!

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Our next stop was further east, where we managed to book a few nights at Goombaragin, a much smaller, friendly setup with two campsites, several “glamping” tents run by Kathleen, John and his son Jack. Located in Pender Bay with access to land up to Bells Point this is a more private place than Middle Harbour, with beaches safe for swimming too. The red jagged cliffs make a stunning sunset and we were lucky enough to meet up with our friends Nathan and Bloss, the “Grismacs” and Simon and Hillary, “110 around Oz”, also staying there. Between them the eight kids had a ball, and our hosts found time to show them bush tucker (bush passion fruit, the chewing gum berry, and more), the great bower bird nest, how to carve trochus shells, the pet stensons python, and much more. I snorkelled with Nathan “Grismac” and Jack as they went spearfishing, and saw plenty of marine life from turtles to corals and plenty of fish.

Simon and I took the cars down to explore the track down to Bells Point at sunset and made the most of the photo opportunities. On our last night there Oscar spotted a wild Stensons python so we picked it up. It took a serious dislike to Amanda, only settling when put in my hands, even striking at her when she walked past.

Time flew by relaxing there and before we knew it we had to decamp and head up to Cape Leveque for the Ardi festival. We visited One Arm Point and witnessed the terrific tidal currents that race past the point at up to 22 knots.

Kooljaman was a disappointment for us after the first two places where we had been spolied. The campsite was crowded, with minimal privacy, overly expensive, but provided more than adequate facilities. We stayed only for the Essence of Ardi then popped in to Beagle Bay to see the famous church, adorned with mother of pearl. The church was built in 1917, with aboriginal help, by three pioneering monks, and the mother of pearl decorations throughout took two years to complete.

Ten days in the peninsula was not enough and this is a place for a future visit.

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Natural World, Photography, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dampier, Port Hedland and beyond (just)

We both love the movie Red Dog and we had to visit Dampier to see the statue of the Pilbara Wanderer. We had to! We weren’t planning to hang around though as we had to pick up the next assignment of schoolwork for the kids, and Naplan tests from Port Headland Post Office, where we thought we might stop.

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Amanda was so excited to see the statue of Red Dog and the first to point out the jetty that his owner drove along every day, but there was little else to celebrate his life. In fact the visitor centre in the mining town of Tom Price, near Karijini, had more about him. If you have no idea what I am talking about, or have never heard of Red Dog, watch the movie. a typically Australian but wonderful true story about a very adventurous and loyal dog.

Driving into town comical statues and sculptures in all sorts of shapes and sizes have been set in the salt lake that lines the roadside. We found a beautiful palm-lined beach for a quick lunch, found some Sturt Desert Peas by the side of the road then pressed on.

Karatha was bypassed and with the day fast closing we drove into our target campsite in Port Hedland. Port Hedland is a major port connected by rail to the Pilbara. We saw trains carrying over 200 carriages of iron ore to the dock for loading onto ships that take it to fuel the now waning construction boom in China. Cattle too are exported from here and many livestock pens are positioned just off the highway near the docks as you drive into town. On arrival we were told that unless we had a dog or a van of some ridiculous length they couldn’t take us. It was 4.40pm and we had to make the post office or face an unplanned  weekend in a town that no-one speaks well of. At 4.55pm Amanda was running around the streets trying to find the Post Office and realising we were in the wrong street I was bee-lining for the PO via another route. Flustered but relieved Amanda emerged with two packages, then hearts sank when we realised we were one short. Amanda flew out of the car and banged on the now closed door. Luckily she got a different cashier who found the missing parcel, the first one having reluctantly found the first two and had no inclination to look for more.

It was late but we didn’t fancy hanging around and set off for a beautiful free camp called De Greys. We arrived in the dark to find caravans everywhere, but the place was huge and as we drove in further it thinned out and we finally found an excellent spot by the river. The only noise at night was that of a boobok owl and a few grazing cattle as they past by in the dark, snorting and stomping as they went.

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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