There and Back Again

Trip Start Oct 31, 2013
Trip End May 01, 2014

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Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Monday, January 20, 2014

   Our favourite place in the Pilbara last year was Karijini National Park but it was very hot in November and we suspected that it would be hotter still in December and January.  We were right, so we didn't go back to visit.  In fact, the weather was so hot we didn’t go very far at all during the 3 weeks we stayed in Karratha.  The town of Karratha was named after the cattle station it has been built on and the name Karratha derives from an Aboriginal word meaning 'good country’, though the original inhabitants were referring to something very different than the modern settlers.  Almost half of Australia’s mineral wealth is mined and exported from the Pilbara.  Alongside that there have been discoveries of massive gas fields in the Carnarvon Basin and the $27 billion production system is located on the Burrup Peninsular between Dampier and Karratha.  It sits adjacent to the site of, possibly, the greatest number of rock art petroglyphs on the planet, and the Dampier Archipelago; rich in marine life and in danger of becoming a casualty of industry, though the plan is to make it a conservation area.

We left Karratha and headed south faster than we had travelled north.   Weirdly we drove through a storm in the exact same spot as we had going up – we decided it was Area 50-something where the space ships landed as it looked like a scene from Close Encounters!!  We had a night in Carnarvon cos we love the snapper and chips, otherwise stayed in Rest Areas and 4 days later were about 75 miles north of Perth, heading to the inland town of New Norcia, a C19 Monastic Community.  We were struggling to keep cool in the van – we have air con in the cab – and when we stopped at a Rest Area we were shocked at the temperature so we looked online at the weather and discovered that Perth was having a heat wave of 47 degrees.  Knowing New Norcia was likely to be hotter we skedaddled rather sharpish to the coast and sat out the heat in Jurien Bay on a rather nice shady site.   We had a lovely, lazy couple of days just pottering and started series 3 of The Game of Thrones.  We have brought a selection of programmes and films which we watch on the laptop.  Last year we didn’t bring enough – Australian DVDs are a different ‘region’ and don’t play on our computer so this year we collected films from charity shops before we came and Sarah and Ned lent us the complete boxed set of Mad Men – we are hooked.  At Karratha we watched Julie and Richards collection, including The Sopranos (I know we’re a few years out of date!!)

We never did get to New Norcia and John looks at me askance when I say "never mind – next time"!!  We stayed in Fremantle for a day or two and popped into Perth on the train to revisit Kings Park and the botanical Gardens.  Now are back again at Dwellingup – south of Perth - a free site we came to last year.  We are having feelings of déjà vu so searching the map for somewhere new to explore :>) in search of Hobbits or a Ring (or Dragons)?

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Sue B on

Love my modern geography lessons, and look forward to reading your blog and imaging what the sun feels likes (although don't envy you such high temperatures!). Hopefully it's a bit more bearable for you now. Even more rain here now (The Levels have officially been declared a disaster area, with the troops moving in to assist). Turning colder as the week progresses, but I now have a 4x4 so will be able to keep working whatever the weather throws at me - oh joy! Continue to keep well and safe. Yours enviously, Sue xxx

Cathy on

Hi - l agree with Sue - my knowledge of Australian geography is definitely being improved. Glad you are enjoying the heat wave (most of the time !) Sending this from my usual seat at the moment - just by the wood burner! About to dash out with Freddie between the rain/hailstorms. Otherwise all fine - Pat & I still managing to walk every week. Simon & I planning escapes (but only brief ones compared with you two!) - Berlin & Greece booked so far! Take care, wear your hats & sun cream!! Xxxx PS Jo & Gib hoping to have exchanged on the house this week if all goes to plan (in case you hadn't heard)

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