Heading South now, down the west coast. Leaving Derby for the bright lights of Broome. Just a short ride today, 220km but not much to see along the road. I didn’t quite know what to expect to find in Broome, maybe something like the Gold Coast? But we found a caravan park at Cable Beach and no high rise. We did a quick cruise around some of the sights and did the obligatory sunset on Cable Beach. It was pretty good, but crowded (of course) and got a lift home in a rickshaw, we are definitely getting into tourist mode.
The next day was another long ride to Port Headland. Red sand, flat country and straight back into the global economy of iron ore trucks, trains and big stuff. Monday morning we left Port Hedland and it was like peak hour with dozens of 4 trailer road trains carrying mountain loads of iron ore from the Pilbara.
Our relaxed, wild northern holiday was over, plus, we had reached the half way point – 8000kms and 3 weeks down.
There was so much we wanted to see and do around here as it is such a long way to get here and it may be a very long time before we get here again. The Hammersley Range was spectacular with hills of lots of different shapes and colours and some hills disappearing to China and Japan.
We headed to Karajini National Park and had a quick walk down Dales Gorge, it nearly wore Grandpa out walking back up from the gorge. But no time to stop and rest.
The next day we rode 700km to Coral Bay to check out Ningaloo Reef. It was school holiday time and peak holiday season for the Grey nomads so even finding a little tent site was getting hard, we had to make sure we booked ahead. A few times we were in ‘the overflow’ area and couldn’t stay another night, so after our glass bottom boat and snorkelling tour we headed down the road 100km to the next roadhouse, Minilya Roadhouse for the night. A great way to fit lots into a short time.
We were trying to organise our schedule so we could get to Perth on Friday and get the bikes serviced and new chains. Kevin’s was stretching a lot, mine not so much. Getting to Perth for Friday was not going to leave us enough time to see what we wanted to but we wanted to have enough time for the south-west before heading home. We decided to book the bikes in for the following Monday and hopefully the parts would all have arrived by then.
We were looking at our map book which only shows a small part of Western Australia on each page but when you look at the whole picture it is a bit daunting, like this map at Nanutarra Roadhouse, 1100km from Broome and still 1275km to Perth. Better get riding.
One of the best things about Western Australia is the incredible variety in the vegetation. Not only is it renowned for its wildflowers and BIG trees but even in remnants in the farming areas there are all sorts of grass trees, shrubs and flowering gums along the side of the road(didn’t stop to take any photos though, sadly). More beautiful sunsets and a great old pub at Dongara before heading inland as we had done this next part of the coast quite a few years ago.
We finally caught up with the rain which had been ahead of us for a week or so. Just some showers and starting to get cooler, the liners were getting put back into the jacket and pants. It was so good to be back to real towns with bakeries and a permanent population, not just FIFO’s and backpackers. Sunday we arrived in Perth and after dropping the bikes off on Monday morning we took a ferry to Fremantle and had a look at this fantastic old town. We found the remains of the Batavia in a museum here which made Grandpa very happy.
After picking up the bikes and ‘gulp’ paying the bill, we were set to head further south. You can always tell when money has gone to someone’s head. Western Australia has got so much revenue from the ‘mining boom and it shows in the towns being developed with big new roads, shopping centres and housing developments. It looks great, sort of, but at the same time it looks so wrong and empty. Kind of like back home where you just plonk thousands of people into a new suburb and think you have created a new ‘community’.
We ended up at Augusta on a rainy afternoon and I decided a motel was the go for the night. So we watched the sun go down over the Indian Ocean for the last time and in the morning we would turn east!