So after a near perfect afternoon yesterday, we awoke to a gale force wind! Still blue skies though, so….. you can’t have everything.
Even so, it was a good time to pack up and get the hell out of Port Samson.
Our goal destination today was to be the Pardoo Roadhouse…… but as the day drew on it was decided to push on to the Sandfire Roadhouse, lessening our drive time tomorrow as we complete our final leg into Broome.
We stopped off at a random truck stop for brekky and as we enjoyed our cereal, a road train flew past. Colin just happened to look up and saw our Suzuki on the back of it. Never fear – it’s not stolen…. Col had it trucked up there to save us towing it the whole way there. It only left Perth on Friday and may probably get there tonight!
Our lunch break today was at Whim Creek. It’s the half way mark between Karratha and Port Hedland. This poor pub has had some bad luck, weather wise, over the years.
The hotel was established in 1872 and was blown down in a cyclone in the 1890s. Since 1910 there have been 49 cyclones that have effected this area. I’m not sure how many times the Whim Creek Hotel has been rebuilt due to the gale force winds/cyclones, but they always seem to be in the news saying “We will rebuild!”
The last reincarnation of the hotel has scrubbed up quite nicely. They have a lovely outdoor area with the well-known cocky – Harry, “Hello Harry!”and a new pool area.
I’m hoping that there isn’t just one woman called Sheila who owns the outside toilet….
They have a weekly calendar of events. There was the “Monster’s of the Deep Seafood Extravaganza” over the Easter weekend and last weekend was the “International Food and Culture Festival”.
Not sure how this mini version of the hotel fared in the high winds.
Along this next section of road, there was a lot of cows meandering. They were really skinny, so there was much discussion about how they could be so skinny with so much greenery around. Perhaps they’d been trucked in from a dryer area? Perhaps they’d just wandered in? Perhaps they were just that type of cow?
Anyway….. they were thin!
If I’m honest, after driving through towns like Roebourne and Karratha I wasn’t that fussed on looking at Port Hedland, but I have to admit that it was quite interesting.
Port Hedland is one of the world’s largest ports in tonnage terms with over 300 million tonnes of product worth billions shipped each year. This is Gina Rhinehart country!
As you drive into town there are large piles of salt and salt flats on both sides of the road. You are well and truly in the industrial part of Hedland. South Hedland, which sits a little way away from the port was established to house the residential side of the town.
The port has a great Dome that they’ve popped into a renovated building. I wondered whether that lattice used to be white – with all the red dirt up here!
And the Esplanade Hotel was a glorious old building that they’ve maintained as a very handsome looking three story building with a pub at the front and accommodation at the back.
After a quick drive around the port – or what we were allowed to get close enough to look at, we decided not to go for a swim.
After what seemed like an eternity of driving (and I was just the passenger!) we finally reached the Sandfire Roadhouse. The place is crawling with animals – geese, ducks, chooks, kangaroos, wallabies, cows, a camel and a whole host of peacocks! There were warnings all over the place about not approaching the camel – he was clearly not a people camel. He did look like a cow camel though, these two followed each other around.
Here are some interesting facts about cows:
You can lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs. Cows knees can’t bend properly to walk downstairs. Cows can’t vomit. The average cow drinks 135 to 225 litres of water each day.
It is a very quite camping spot, with only a little bit of road noise. We’re tucked up nicely amongst the other campers/caravaners.
I’d much rather be in the van, sleeping on the blow up mattress on the floor any day than in one of these….
One more night and then…….Broome – here we come!