As predicted, it rained last night, but although it was constant it wasn’t too heavy. We would have liked to have explored more of Newman but that’s not much fun in the rain so we decided that we might as well have a driving day in the rain.
We left the caravan park and took the “scenic” route around Newman to the Great Northern Highway. There’s not that much to see in Newman. It’s essentially a mining town created in 1966 and now “run” by BHP Billiton. All the accommodation and town facilities are there for the miners and associated workers – it is not a tourist destination by any stretch of the imagination.
Our next main point of call is Port Hedland, but we decided that it was too far away for one day so we planned to aim for a roadhouse about 200 km from Newman.
The country side and scenery today were completely different to what we had become accustomed to – instead of flat dry country we were in mountain range country, and the scenery with hills and rock cliffs was rather distracting to the driver. Cathedral Gorge and the Opthalmia Mountain Range are breathtaking.
Our first stop for coffee was the Mt Robinson Rest Area and it was magnificent. Basically it’s a council designated Free Camp nearly a kilometer off the highway up a bitumen road catering for maybe 10 caravans. There are several undercover seating areas, a stainless steel long drop toilet [BYOTP] and even a dump point. What more could a free camper want? Best of all the views were fantastic and there were even walking trails leading off the open area. We enjoyed our stay here so much that coffee break turned into lunch time. We were seriously contemplating staying for the night instead of moving on to the roadhouse when the inevitable happened – it started raining again.
Free camping in the rain isn’t much fun, especially without mobile reception, so it was back to Plan A and onto the highway for the remaining 85 kms to Auski Roadhouse and “Tourist Village” which is in the Karijini National Park. Let’s just say that we were expecting something a little different but we really didn’t have too many options so here we are for the night. The Camps 7 book indicated it had mobile access but we don’t have any on Optus or Telstra, and no internet or TV either – just shiploads of red dust and mud!
After a bit of a walk around to investigate this place we retired to the caravan and books, computers, and other pursuits. At east we are now in striking distance of Port Hedland and surrounding areas.
One by-product of today’s adventure is that we no longer have a white Ute and caravan – they are now a glorious rusty red. Hopefully we will be able to give them a both a bath once we are closer to a more plentiful water supply.
Still living the (red dusty) dream!