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.
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.