Dampier and Karratha

19th – 22nd June 2017

Back on the road beside the Tom Price-Karratha railway and it’s now sealed – yay, only sealed roads now in our foreseeable future. We were surprised how Outback-ish the countryside still is, spinifex and acacias or low shrubs the main flora, although the wildflowers are coming out and we passed many clumps of white flowers, yellow flowers or the very striking red Sturt pea.

Tonight we’re staying in the very small, old, expensive ($38/n) caravan park at Dampier, where our view of the Indian Ocean (joy!) includes the ore loading wharf where 4 ships were being loaded.

Dampier iron ore loading wharf – from our caravan park.

Dampier also ‘mines’ sea salt – the drying lagoon isn’t very attractive but the huge piles of salt are certainly interesting. But before settling in there we took Priscilla to a car wash – we now have our lovely shiny silver motorhome back again.

Steve and Red Dog, the Pilbara Wanderer

Dampier and the nearby, larger town of Karratha have both suffered from the downturn in mining with many empty homes and closed stores. We had a good look around Karratha before beginning our journey south. It’s more prosperous and attractive than Dampier with lots of cafes, a good shopping centre, high-rise holiday apartments, new canal estates and a few places where lookouts give great views to the ocean and surrounding Dampier Archipelago.

Karratha, from the hilltop.

Tuesday night we stayed at Robe River and Wednesday night at Yannabie, both very large free campsites about 200 metres off the highway. Both have toilets and lots of bins, Robe River also has a free WIFI hotspot and is beside a lovely wide river. Needless to say both were packed with campers!

The flora, despite being in the tropics and close to the coast, continues to be spinifex and low shrubs – not unattractive, just unexpected.

Thursday we arrived in Exmouth where we stocked up on groceries and water ready for the coming week. Exmouth is a tourist town being the northern point of WA’s “Coral Coast”. In view of this and our plans for the next week we also bought snorkels, goggles, fins and rashies. No free camps here – $42 at the caravan park.

For more photos CLICK HERE

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