Iron Ore Galore

Trip Start Jul 08, 2008
Trip End Sep 11, 2008

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Where I stayed
Cooke Point Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Friday, August 8, 2008

The next day, Friday, we left a little later than usual. Pardoo is such a lovely spot and we weren't in a hurry as we had already booked a site at Port Hedland. We chatted to Victorians from the caravan next door and then a couple from Perth, who are recent UK retiree immigrants, on the other side.

When we arrived at the Port Hedland Cooke Point Caravan Park a couple of hours later, it was like coming home being the same park we had stayed at a month earlier. This time we were given an even better site on the mangrove/river side with no one in front of us, just bush and horses right in front of our caravan with lovely sunsets and the twinkling lights of Port Hedland in the distance at night.  Our site was right at the end of the park next to a shade cloth/lattice screen that separated us from the BBQ and swimming pool.  Soon after we set up, Mary and Lance who were from the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria, walked past and we started chatting.  I hadn't yet had time to make our usual cup of tea after arriving at a new spot so we invited them over to join us. They fetched their chairs and brought cheese and biscuits and we ended up having tea, lunch and then afternoon tea before they left at 4pm.  Lance had lots of interesting caravanning tips for Mike.  In the evening we watched our second DVD of the North West and Pilbara …our last DVD evening as after that the DVD player stopped working.  We thought we could watch the Olympic opening ceremony, but found we could get every channel except the one with the Olympics on the TV! 

After the long trip from Kununura, we decided to spend the weekend at Port Hedland to reorganize and do all the things that needed to be done….washing clothes and linen, stock up on provisions and fuel and just relax.  In the afternoon we drove  into town to see the Visitor Centre that we hadn’t found on our previous visit.  Mike and I both made new friends there!!
During our first time in Port Hedland, the camera decided to misbehave and all our photos turned out small so back we went to the bridge to retake photos of the iron ore train and salt heap. While we were on the bridge we were surprised to meet up with Marlene and Bernie, Victorians whom we had met at the Geike Gorge! After having met so many people along the way, it took us a bit of time to realize who they were until they mentioned meeting us before. We were pleased that this time we managed to get a good photo of the fascinating scene of this huge salt pile being topped up by a giant "salt cellar".

From there we drove to the docks and arrived in time to watch a ship coming into dock at 4.30pm.  It took about half an hour for the three tug boats to slowly bring it through the narrow channel to the dock. We also watched another ship being filled with iron ore.

In the evening we took our steak and sweet potatoes to cook on the gas bbq after another couple had finished cooking.  When our meal was ready we sat at the same table and talked to them - a Swiss couple Barbara Becks, a final year medical student and Daniel her boyfriend.  We had our last bottle of Fond Ant red wine with them.  They were on their way down to Perth and as they only had three weeks to cover the same distance as us they were spending less time at each stop on the way. Having seven weeks to get home we were able to do it at a much more leisurely pace.

We left Cook Point the next morning and an hour later we left the Great Northern Highway and set off down the West Coast Highway – once more "unchartered waters for us"!!   This was the first cloudy day as far as we could remember but still fairly warm.  We drove through some impressive hill ranges for quite a long time and entered the Shire of Roebourne at Peawah Maelina Hills Station. At Whim Creek we saw our first red Sturt Pea wild flowers.  The next stop was Point Samson, which was a bit out of our way, but saw on the map that Moby’s Fish and Chips were there – just what we felt like as we drove alongside the ocean. We bought fish and chips for lunch and sat in the caravan in the car park facing the ocean view. Next stop was Cossack, an interesting deserted historic town which we hadn’t heard of previously and recently been turned into a museum town.  As we walked along the heritage trail we found it very interesting to read how the people lived there in the 1870s when it was a pearling centre. The first case of leprosy in Australia was reported here and the unfortunate patient had unwittingly brought it from China.  In 1880 the town was struck by a cyclone, which left only a few well built buildings made of local stone standing. 

We arrived at the Karratha Big 4 Caravan Park about 3pm after eventually finding it way out of town behind a hill.
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