Point Samson

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, August 19, 2011

For our sojourn into the Karratha/Dampier area we opted to stay at the quaint little seaside haven of Point Samson. I had visited there briefly over 10 years ago whilst on a business trip to Karratha and was keen to get back.  Ever popular, The Cove Caravan Park was fully booked well in advance so we had actually made an advance booking and then found ourselves a day ahead of schedule (the reason we hate to book in advance!).  This did however give us the opportunity to spend a night at the very rustic camp site of Cleaverville just out of Roebourne.  Set along the coast on a pretty beach it was a great place to fill in a night.  It was here we were to first experience the magical sunsets of the north.

The sun becomes a massive ball of bright orange as it descends beyond the horizon and the hues of orange, red and yellow that radiate from that contrast against the vast blue sky to produce a spectacle every night.

In stark contrast to the bland inland mining townships nearby of Roebourne and Wickham, Point Samson is set on the curve of a protected bay.  The water is a stunning turquoise blue and offers a wide sandy swimming beach along with the tiny rock framed Honeymoon Cove.  

We spent a day exploring Karratha and Dampier.  I used to look after a business in Karratha and enjoyed my visits there immensely, I fell in love with the Pilbara on my first trip and I was glad to be back.  My last trip had been at the end of 1999 prior to the big mining boom and it was amazing to see the changes.  Obviously Karratha has grown substantially with new housing estates opening on its outskirts.

We joined a tour out of Roebourne; this took us into the Port Lambert port where we could watch the long trains unload the iron ore that had been transported from places such as Tom Price. It was an interesting method used to unload where two carriages at a time were spun over 180 degrees spilling the iron ore onto a conveyor belt.  The iron ore then being conveyed along the jetty to the awaiting ships.  Having been out at Tom Price and seen the mines, it was interesting to see the final stage in the iron ore departing our shores bound for China and India.

We stopped at the historic township of Cossack (essentially now a ghost town)for lunch and enjoyed strolling around reflecting on how easy our lives have become compared to the hardships faced by the early settlers along this remote and isolated coastline.  The area is a mix of restored buildings and sites with just a few stones to remind us of yesteryear.

We stopped in at Wickham for dinner in the Miners Mess. It brought back memories of Navy messes for Rod and yet was a whole new experience for me.  The food on offer was of a high standard with a wide variety to suit all tastes. For under $17 each for all you can eat it offered great value with a huge selection of meals, it was all so tempting we ate far too much and drove back to Point Samson very full!

It was too windy to snorkel or put the kayaks in at Point Samson so we headed inland again for the day to Millstream- Chichester National Park.  The drive itself was stunning; the road winding around hills composed of rich red rocks, covered in spinifex.

The rail line running from the inland mines through to the ports often ran side by side with the road and we were thrilled to encounter several of these long trains.  Stretching around 3kms in length they make for a graceful sight as they snake their way along the winding tracks around hills and across vast plains. 

Again the wildflowers were putting on a splendid display of colour.  The bright red of the Sturt Desert Pea, the soft purple of the Mulla Mulla and the yellow Wattle brought the landscape to life.

We looked around the old Millstream Homestead and then as we followed Snappy Gum Loop around we had to cross the Fortescue River.  The water was the colour of the Yarra (or Namoi for our Wee Waa readers!) and there was no indicator to show the depth so Rod gallantly took the walk across and found it shallow enough to cross in our vehicle. Not far up the road we again had to pass through water, however it was clear water this time and we could see that it was not very deep and so after Rod took another quick stroll through we proceeded.

We enjoined a picnic lunch by the Fortescue River before making our way back along the road to the Python Pools turn off.

This drive was the most spectacular of all and it was so unexpected… we were driving along admiring the wildflowers, again contrasted against the Pilbara colours and landscape. Around a bend the view opened up and we found ourselves looking out over the most amazing monoliths.  Their tops a rich red rock and their walls covered in yellow spinifex, it was like Monument Valley in the USA only looking at it from the top rather than driving around the base and of course here the monoliths were covered in spinifex.

We walked along a dry rocky creek bed to Python Pool and were in awe.  We were staring at a massive sheer rock face which dropped dramatically down into the pool of water below.  The colours in the rock face were so strong and endearing; we could only imagine how delightful it would be to see it in the full morning sun. 

After such a big day of driving we enjoyed a chill out day on our last day at Point Samson. A few of our neighbours gathered together that evening to give us a nice farewell swaree, a lovely end to a nice stay.

Highlights of Point Samson:

-          Tour of the Port

-          Python Pool and the drive

-          The natural beauty of the Pilbara landscape
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Michael on

How about those pythons.......

Val S. on

It has been lovely to read another awsome commentary on an awsome extension of an awsome journey!!!!!!!! Balwyn is looking good in my part of the world... but nowhere to put in my kayak!

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