The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

17 September, 2013

Roebourne to Exmouth

As we travelled slowly south we noticed less caravaners heading north and we had join the procession going south, heading home after many months in the sun as opposed  to enduring a cold winter down south.  We don't want to get below the Tropic of Capricorn until at least October as temperatures are still cold from Carnarvon down, so the brakes are on until the weather warms.
De Grey River camp
Our first stop after leaving 80 Mile was De Grey River, which was a really nice place to camp - the river bank is lined with large shady trees (which were a haven for budgies) and the water inviting for a swim.  However, as soon as we stopped to make camp one of the  grey nomads who had been camping there for 4 days waiting to see their son in Port Hedland only 70km south came over and told us that you shouldn't swim in the De Grey river as there is a croc and bull sharks in the water!.  I was still very tempted to cool off however Hels did not think it was a good idea based on what the lady had said. A few days later we met Colin who had been camping there for 5 weeks and said he swam and canoed every day without seeing either, seems may have been a local "story".  Apparently after we left a "wild" pig wandered into a camp and busted open a slab of beer and drank the contents!  This has gone global so some of you may have seen the clip.  I thought these things only happened in the NT.

"Hello Harry"

Whim Creek - `was the pub with no town, now the pub with no beer!!

From  De Grey we passed through Port Hedland topping up with fuel and food before heading to Bulla Bulla camp, about 12 km of the highway towards the coast opposite Whim Creek.  After shopping in Hedland I was looking forward to stopping at Whim Creek for a beer, only to be very disappointed finding that the pub was closed and apparently been closed for about 12 months.  The only resident we saw was a cocky who was repeatedly saying "hello harry" and dancing on the perch. We started to noticing many different species of wildflowers incl Sturt Pea, Mulla Mulla - quite amazing how these delicate flowers survive.
Balla Balla camp, not much else to say or see!!

We only stayed one night at Bulla Bulla, not sure what the attraction was to the area, maybe we needed to do some more exploring as there would have been another 6 campers along the river, maybe next time!!

Point Samson was the next stop and at $49 per night at the Cove Caravan Park, we only stayed overnight!  Luckily we arrived early and was able to drive around and have a look at:

Roebourne - Settled in 1866 with many fine historic stone buildings still remaining inc. Holy Trinity Church, Post Office, Old Goal.  Unfortunately we still have the memory of our last visit to Roebourne when a couple of locals were having a very vocal disagreement in the street.

Wickam -  established in 1970 by Cliffs Robe River Iron Associates and was originally a closed company town belonging to Rio Tinto but transferred to the Shire of Roebourne for public housing in 1980.  The majority of the residences and facilities are owned by Rio.
Cossack, with the old wharf on the right and Court House on Left

Cossack - originally known as Tien Tsin, Cossack was officially declared a town in 1972 and became the port for the pastoral industry. Hundreds of prospectors came through the town when gold was discovered in the Pilbara in the 1880's and it was also a centre for pearl divers from 1866.  By 1900's the pearling fleet had moved to Broome and by 1910 the harbour had become clogged with silt restricting access to larger shipping vessels, and Cossack had become a ghost town.  Many buildings have now been restored back to their former glory and you can drive around reading the various plaques explaining the history of the site.
Sturt Peas around Wickham

Back to Point Samson - established as a deep water port to service Roebourne and surrounding districts in 1904 due to silting problems at Cossack.  They had a 'T' head jetty nearly 1900 feet long made from Jarrah which was destroyed by a cyclone in 1925.  I understand it was repaired but time and further cyclones took their toll and the jetty was finally removed in 1991. 

Camp at Cleaverville

Overlooking the bay at Cleaverville

First batch of scones made in the webber Q .... yum

Next stop was Cleaverville Camp site, again on the coast about 10km off the highway - no facilities.  Found a lovely quiet spot overlooking the bay although midgies were a bit too friendly.  Spent a couple of day here and walked around the bay which was very rocky however amazed at the variety of rocks and their great colours.  The rocks had shells and different coloured smaller rocks infused in them which I understand happened million of years ago with an almighty explosion.  Hels thought one rock looked like a cup cake with smarties!!!
Red Dog monument in Dampier

Couple of birds having a chat over coffee and Dampier bay

Called into Karratha to top up with fuel and supplies then drove up to Dampier for a coffee and look around.  After visiting the information centre we decided not to travel to Milstream and Karijini National Parks as was enjoying the coastal areas (had been to both before and will leave them until next time!), and had not travelled along this particular road before.  That night camped at 40 mile beach (Gnoorea Point) south of Karratha, once again finding a lovely sheltered private camp site.  Decided to stay for 3 nights as was able to gather oysters (thanks to a tip of from Colin and Nudge the loyal cattle dog), catch fish (some had to be thrown back including a stingray!) and go for long walks along the bay.   Had a bit of off road work to do to get out of the campsite as had to drive up rutted sand hill however the Caravan handled it well.
Hels reading at 40 Mile Beach camp

The rock formation at 40 Mile Beach

My fish, getting there, could eat these

Other sites at 40 Mile Beach

Our camp at 40 Mile Beach

40 Mile Beach with camp sites around at point, this was a long walk.


Again the day's drive was highlighed by many wildflowers bringing colour to the landscape.  Travelled to Giralia Station Homestay where we stayed the night.  Waking in the morning to an overcast sky and some rain drops.  We thought we may have travelled to far south!!  From here we drove to Exmouth and onto Yardie Creek Homestead Caravan Park where we caught up with Kiwi friends Neville and Kathy.  At this point intend to stay a week or even more as have been to the beach most days, caught fish (Charlie Code & Blue Tuskfish), able to see the whales playing and in company of lovely people - what more could you want.  Have seen several Turtles pass by while we are at the beach and seen their tracks up the beach to lay the eggs, so hopefully will soon see them actually on the beach one evening.  The wind has picked up however the sun is still out and temperature is around 28 degrees max.  At least the wind eases in the afternoon so able to get down to the beach to catch dinner.

Mulla Mulla as we headed out from 40 Mile

Giralia Station Stay, this is high and dry as the coast is 28km away

Trisel Bay, Exmouth to watch the Turtles, unfortunately none on this night

Whale watching

The keen fisherman at Mauritus Beach

Plenty more to see around Cape Range National Park and Ningaloo Reef..................


The Retro Roamers said...

Hey Geoff and Hels

Another great post. Can't wait till out turn. Off to get the van the long weekend, and spend a week or so in the sun (he he!!) Then possibly off to casino for about 5 weeks.

Keep in touch

Cheers and beers


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