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Wednesday 26th July - Around Carnarvon WA

sunny 28 °C

Wednesday 26th July - Around Carnarvon WA

The plan was to explore around the Carnarvon area today. Andrew wandered off in the direction of Woolworths, so I did a ride around Carnarvon. Checked out the Facine, which is a beautifully landscaped waterfront along the lower Gascoyne River. The Carnarvon Hotel on the waterfront has a great bar and bistro.

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Then around past a small canal development and over to Babbage Island. The "One Mile Jetty” is a relic of the past in Carnarvon and was used as the main wharf. There is an old railway tram line out to the end of the jetty that now is only used for tourist traffic. $5:00 will get you out to the end of the jetty. The jetty area is also a historic precinct with a rail museum, light house and keepers cottage and old shearer's quarters museum. But the best of all is the “Jetty Cafe”. A great surprise to see a historic display of the pioneer days as well as the WWII battle between HMAS Sydney and the German Raider HSK Kormoran. There is a small theatre showing documentaries of the sinking of HMAS Sydney as well as the discovery of the two wrecks in 2008. Pride of place though is a German life boat from the Kormoran. Many life boats and German sailors came ashore near Quobba Point after the Kormoran was scuttled by her crew following the short battle with The Sydney.
I never got my train ride out to the end of the jetty.
Back at camp, 2:00pm, and still Andrew was nowhere to be found. He was off walking all around town looking at the sites. So I jumped on the bike for the 70km ride out to the Quobba Blowholes.

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A spectacular coastline with ocean swells crashing against the shore. The blowholes were working a treat with a 2-3 meter swell running. The noise from the blowholes is also quite amazing. To top it off, there were several humpback whales breaching and blowing just a few hundred meters off shore. The 3rd pod I've seen in only 4 days. I then rode 7kms along the beach road, which was very rough gravel, to the HMAS Sydney memorial cairn. The site where as many as 100 German sailors came ashore.
I got back to camp just around beer o'clock, just before Andrew turned up. Apparently, he had walked 25kms during the day.
We cleaned up and then wandered down town to the Gascoyne Hotel for a feed. $15:00 T-bone was an excellent feed.
Back to camp for an early night.
ZZZZZZZ!

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Posted by PETERnHILAIRE 06:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Tuesday 25th July - North West Cape to Carnarvon

sunny 28 °C

Tuesday 25th July - North West Cape to Carnarvon.

Before we packed up camp and hit the road, the young French couple came over to say goodbye and wish us farewell. Nice kids!
We hit the road, Andrew fuelled up at Exmouth and we headed south.

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I stopped at a WWII memorial to Operation Jaywick, (or The Krait) Operation Jaywick was when Z Special force sailed a small Japanese fishing vessel from Australia to Singapore Harbour and sunk 7 Japanese Naval vessels without being detected, and returned to Australia. A legendary Australian covert operation during WWII.
A quick detour into Coral Bay. A very pretty spot on the Ningaloo coast.

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Beautiful sheltered bay with white sands and fringing coral reef. Lots of tourists though. Very busy. We then joined the NW Coastal Hwy at Minilya where we refuelled and had some lunch. The countryside is some of the most arid I have seen anywhere in Australia. Crossing many red sand dunes along the Hwy. I have been to the edge of the Simpson Desert and this is just as Barron.
Then only 140kms on to Carnarvon where we checked into the Coral Coast caravan park. 410 kms for the day. Got a good camp spot with afternoon shade and power. Set up camp just in time for beer o'clock. (5:00pm)
Walked 15mins into town and along the esplanade to the Carnarvon Pub for dinner. Rump steak was great!
Back in camp with a red while I write this blog.
ZZZZZZZ!

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Posted by PETERnHILAIRE 07:04 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Monday 24th July - Exploring North West Cape

sunny 28 °C

Monday 24th July - Exploring North West Cape.

Exmouth and the North West Cape area was developed in the 1960s when the USofA decided to put a VLF radio transmitter here, to fill a gap in their submarine communications. Remember this was the time of the Cold War and Vietnam War. They built an air strip at Learmonth, the VLF antennae array (13 massive towers) and the township of Exmouth. A huge project in a very remote and inhospitable area. It is now called the Harold E Holt Communications Base.

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After brekky, I wandered down to the beach. (only across the road) A beautiful stretch of beach with hardly a sole on it. A young bloke fishing had a good catch of two nice Spangled Emperor. While Andrew was catching up on his sleep he missed out on, I went for a ride up to Vlaming Point Lighthouse. Some interesting history and fabulous 360 deg views of the coastline. Watched a pod of 4 whales migrating up the coastline. (Humpbacks on their annual migration north) Back to camp where Andrew was still snoring away. Some bird life decided to check me out in camp. I love it when the wildlife is totally unafraid of humans. Later another walk down to the beach where I spotted some more whales heading north. Andrew had finally awoken from his slumber and gone for a walk up to the Lighthouse, spotting some local wildlife along the way.
Now both back in camp, we joined a young French couple for beers and then on to dinner at the cafe. A great young couple touring around Oz and trying to get work as they go.
A great night....
ZZZZZZZ!

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Posted by PETERnHILAIRE 06:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sunday 23rd July - Point Samson to Exmouth and N W Cape.

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Sunday 23rd July - Point Samson to Exmouth & North West Cape.

It had only been an overnight stop at Point Samson, but I would like to come back and spend some more time here. Very pretty spot.
We headed out through Roebourne, turned right onto the Hwy with only 45 kms to Karratha. A refuel and brekky in Karratha. This seems like a very new town as most of the buildings are new. There also seems to be a lot of money pouring into Karratha as there is a lot of construction going on. Then on to Dampier, only a few kms. Another large ore handling facility at the port.

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This part of the Pilbara seems to be reaping the rewards of the mining industry. It is amazing to travel through the Pilbara and see the massive amounts of infrastructure the mining industry has created. There is literally trillions of dollars of infrastructure throughout the region. If this is a downturn in the mining industry, I would have liked to have seen it in its boom time. There are hundreds of road trains on the road carting goods and minerals of all description.
Out on the hwy again and there were plenty of wild flowers blossoming. Stopped for some pics.IMG_3821.jpgIMG_3820.jpgIMG_3813.jpgIMG_3812.jpg
We travelled further south and stopped at a Roadhouse for fuel and food. Then turned right and north towards Exmouth. This is very desolate country with only coastal heath growing in the red sand. Crossed a series of big red sand dunes. The south easterly wind had kicked up a dust storm, but we were lucky to skirt the edge of it. Into Exmouth for a refuel and then to our digs at the Lighthouse Caravan Park at Vlaming Point. This is the most northerly point of the North West Cape. We checked in and set up camp. Late dinner of fish at the local cafe. A couple of reds back at camp and ......
ZZZZZZZ!
P.S. The wind got up during the night and I had to anchor the tent down with guy ropes or it may have collapsed. Andrew never got much sleep in his $10 Kmart tent.

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Posted by PETERnHILAIRE 05:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Saturday 22nd July - Broome to Point Samson.

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Saturday 22nd July - Broome to Point Samson

Big day ahead of us on the road, so we were up at 6:00am and on the road by 7:20am. Quite foggy this morning in Broome. While packing the bikes, a lady in a ute said she had some stuff stolen out of the back overnight. She was parked in the pub car park. Luckily our bikes were fairly secure in a carport well away from general traffic.
35kms out to the Great Northern Hwy in fairly thick fog, we could only do about 70kph. A right turn west and then 290 kms to Sandfire Roadhouse. Fog lifted by about 9:00am. I couldn't make it on a tank so had to stop and put some in from my reserve fuel on the trailer. I'm glad I had the trailer modified to carry 2 x 5 ltr containers as I've used them several times now. Into Sandfire for a refuel and food. Then a 285 km leg to Port Headland. Refuel, drink and short spell and we were on the road again. Headland is a very busy place as it's the major Iron Ore port for the Pilbara region.
50 mins out of Pot Headland there were red and blue lights flashing in my mirrors. Seems WA have different speed limits for "any vehicle towing” than the rest of Oz. Hard lesson learnt.
Into Point Samson by 4:30 with 830kms behind us. A good day's ride. We checked into our caravan park cabin for $180/nt. Point Samson looks like a nice seaside village. Another iron ore port though. Plenty of fishing to be had. Iron ore carriers anchored off the coast waiting for their turn to load. We wandered down to the Tavern for a seafood dinner and a beer.
An early night as another 600 ks to do tomorrow.
ZZZZZZZ!

Posted by PETERnHILAIRE 05:07 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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