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Karijini Trip - Week 1

Just returned from an amazing trip to Karijini and Exmouth. Here is the full daily blog. Its rivetting reading!

Day 1, Sun May 14

And so the adventure begins. Puds not happy, thinks he might stowaway. Away we go on our 3 week trip to Karijini, Exmouth and Coral Bay. Beautiful sunrise to start the day. Even on time at 7.15 departure.

 First stop is New Norcia for a coffee and lemon tart. Thought we would just order takeaway and stop just up the road at a “P” stop. So drove for a least 20 minutes to a small deserted one roadhouse town of Whalebing. Great coffee but could be hotter.

Saw plenty of roos, all dead, and apparently a dead wild pig. SHMBO(She Who Must Be Obeyed) says she even saw the snout. Personally I reckon it was a black tire.

Road is a bit boring so starting counted semis. Got to 114 and all going opposite direction. That was a bonus. Also had the occasional temporary Australian going past on double white lines with oncoming traffic.

Filled up at Dalwallinu. It’s a very pretty town and nice for a stop. Reminds me of Merriden. Flower beds in the middle of the street.

Thought we would stop in at Paynes Find and check out the sites. One roadhouse. That’s IT?

Had lunch and pushed on to Mt Magnet. Very gusty and a bit stormy so decided to book in to the last small caravan site in Cue. Bit late getting in, too much stuff to set up for 1 night. 

Cue has a lot of character with a very wide main street, a bit like Coolgardie. Disaster! Can't get channel 7. Anyway SWMBO found the the TV room. Maybe get to Newman tomorrow.

 

Day 2, Mon May 15

Beautiful clear morning in Cue. Drove up to the town lookout for the sunrise.

Day 2 done and dusted. Made it to Newman. 522km. Wanted to do the Mine tour at 9.30am. Fairly uneventful day, just more trucks and cows crossing the road. Lucky they are slow and predictable. Checked in at the Newman Visitors Centre, which is a big car park.

Morning tea at "Meeka". (Meekatharra).

 

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Day 3, Tues May 16

Well the Visitors Centre car park was an experience. Busy traffic till late, people using dump point at 10pm, which is about 30 metres from us. Trouble with the locals, police and then traffic from 5. All part of the experience. Dashed up the Radio Hill lookout, wearing thongs. No time for joggers. Heart rate 200 at the halfway mark. Where's my doctor? (in bed).
Getting ready for the mine tour.

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Had a great tour of the Mt Whaleback Mine. Goes for an hour and a half and includes a beaut morning tea. An amazing site to see. Only $30 per head. Now off to Mt Robinson campground near Karijini. No Facebook for a while.

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Guess what. Have 3G in the middle of nowhere. Love Telstra. The Doctor has Optus. Arrived at Mt Robinson campground. It's surrounded by heaven. Can't put the camera down and it's dark already. The Doctor is now doing everything: cooking dinner, cleaning up, sorting out stuff. Now I'm on Facebook. I might be out on the patio tonight.

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Well I'm all starred out. Don't know how these will look when edited so just used the IPhone enhance. On to Karijini tomorrow. Definitely no Facebook tomorrow I promise. Anywoo the doctor is calling.

Well I'm all starred out. Don't know how these will look when edited so just used the IPhone enhance. On to Karijini tomorrow. Definitely no Facebook tomorrow I promise. Anywoo the doctor is calling.

 

Day 4, Wed May 17

Had a relaxed start to the day. Only about 80 kms to Dales Campground at Karijini. Made another early morning dash to the hill overlooking Mt Robinson Campground. All our neighbours are pulling out slowly. We are the last ones to leave. As we pulled out waiting to turn onto Karijini Dr, a van decided to turn in. He pulled in so close I had to reverse back a bit. I think he underestimated the length of his van. So close to a dingle.

Pulled in to Dales and checked in. A bit busy but got a nice spot but 135 steps to the nearest loo. Might have to break out the new portable. I've already allocated Doctor Green the job to empty . She has experience in that department. Only 2 hours to set up the satellite dish. Nothing better to do here. Popped down to Circular Pool Lookout. Took a few pics. Thought I saw a cross at the bottom. That's not a great omen. Might walk down tomorrow.

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Day 5, Thur May 18

Today was our first gorge walk. After a slow start to the day, partly due to the fact the good drop toilet is over 200 steps away. That's almost half a k for the return trip. So have read the instructions on the porta potty. Put in some green potion then some pink potion. Hope it works. Will test it tonight. Oh and looks like it's my job to empty.

Started our 3 hour return walk at Fortescue Falls, then to Fern Pool. Nice waterfall which you can sit under. Water not too bad. To early for us to swim. Amazingly no flies or mozzies, but plenty of dragonflies and orange butterflies. Such a beautiful cool walk along the rock pools back to Circular Pool. The rocks are so uniform and square, they look man-made. Had the pool to ourselves, so had our lunch to the sound of the waterfall. Too many leeches in the water for my liking. They can take the next backpackers blood. Then it was mountain goat time. Had to climb the steep rocky steps back to the top. Then about 30 minutes along the rim back to the car. Really nice but a bit hot. Saw bees, lizards and ant hills. Now 3 pm. That's about right. 2 hours longer then normal, but lots of photos.

Back to the van for shower and dinner. Had a bit of a fright tonight. My fancy touch downlight I had installed above the sink decided to flicker, then konk out, then started to smoke. F#@* me! Quickly turned off battery light, pitch black, where's the bloody portable lamps. Fumbled outside to find one. That's great! No Auto Electrian for 100 kms. So I cut the the wires and tied up with electrical tape. Everything seems to work ok for now. Hope that's the end of the dramas. Plan to go to Tom Price tomorrow and maybe another gorge. On a side note, everything you touch or stand on goes Pilbara red: shoes, socks, feet, mats, slippers, shorts. Best floor mats we've discovered is the West Australian.

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Day 6, Fri May 19

Today we drove to Tom Price which is a scenic 109 km drive from Dales. Restocked water, fuel, a few groceries and did some washing at the Caravan Park. Highly recommend lunch at the Pickled Bean Cafe. Great beef burgers. Very nice ladies at the Visitors Centre gave us some info on the best gorges to visit. So stopped off at the Eco Resort on the way home. Bought a $6 small cap to go. Pricey but really enjoyed it. Restaurant looked nice. Took a stroll down to Joffre Falls which is right at the resort. Shouldn't take long. Nice leisurely walk for about 10 minutes then starts to get a bit rocky. Only class 4, easy peasy. Did that at Dales Gorge no worries. About 5 minutes down you come to a ledge overlooking the gorge. It is spectacular and a long way down. Now class 5 (class 6 is ropes and pulleys). The doctor decides to sit on the edge looking down. I can't look, but took the photo anyway. The next section is basically a sheer cliff down to the pool. Climbed down first section, which was a bit tough. Next section is straight down. No way! Gone far enough. Already had 2 serious accidents last week in the gorges. Still good view down from here. Watched all the young-uns clamber back up the gorge. They have no fear (of death). Great experience but Karijinj showed her teeth today. Tomorrow lies ahead more class 5 at Hancock Gorge. Stay strong!

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Day 7, Sat May 20

Today is D-Day. Off to Weano and Hancock Gorge. It's is about a 90 minute drive back to the Eco Resort then about 10 kms of gravel. Pretty rough but ok with the Falcon. Stopped for a coffee at
Oxer Lookout which is spectacular. Sorted out all the gear with cameras, food, footwear and a dry bag then ventured down to Handrail Pool. Class 4 then Class 5. Met up with some teachers from Port Hedland who we walked with all the way. First big challenge, large pool to negotiate. Climbed a short way then had to wade up to waist. Ok now it's getting deep. Decision time. Dived in fully clothed and freestyled it to the other side. The Doctor managed to scale the ledge and stay mostly dry. Smart girl. Another pool to climb around then into a narrow chasm with a stream running through the middle. It's an incredible sight. Damn , I left the tripod at the first pool. Next is a very slippery climb down the handrail. Push back the fear, it will be worth it. Finally at the bottom. Just sat and looked at the amazing sight. That was the best experience and one I will never forget. Unfortunately we had run out of time to see Kermits Pool and some other gorges, but were very happy with what we had seen. A good excuse to return one day.

I had booked in to an Astronomy tour which was being run at the campground. Ran from 7-9pm. Was hoping for a photo of Saturn or Mars. Phil had 3 large telescopes set up so he went through the Star Signs in the sky with a laser pointer. Apparently I'm a Teapot, not the Archer(Sagitaurius). The Milky Way is so bright here. Saw about 5 shooting stars during the presentation. Finally looked at Jupiter and Saturn. Amazing, you could make out the bands on Jupiter and see 4 of her moons. Saturn was a white sphere with the the rings. Blew my mind! And no I didn't get to see Uranus!

Day is done. Tomorrow might head down to Fern Pool for a swim, then start the packup.

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