Days 91-94 – Dampier and surrounds 1

30th August – 2nd September, 2016.

Leaving Cape Range National Park, we retraced our route to Exmouth where we collected our mail, restocked with groceries, filled our tanks with water at the Information Centre and refuelled before heading back down the peninsula and taking the turn left to connect with the North West Coastal Highway. This was a better road than that from Minilya Roadhouse and we were able to make good time until we came across massive roadworks that went on for kilometres. As our planned overnight stop was at the Barradale Rest area just at the end of the roadworks, the 30 minute delay did not upset our plans.

An enterprising Station owner has set up a Burger Bus at the rest area and does a thriving trade with passing truckies and tourists. As we were a bit late for our lunch we decided to try out her fare and very good it was too. No wonder it is so popular.

The rest area is massive, going a long way back from the highway so it was not difficult to find a reasonably level spot away from the highway noise.

The nearby dry river bed gave Erich a nice subject.

Our original plan on leaving Barradale was to head to Millstream-Chichester National Park for a few nights, travelling via the mining town of Pannawonica, before venturing out to the coast again at Dampier. The closer we got to the turn off, the more I began thinking it would be better to go to Dampier during the week than to arrive at the small community owned caravan park on the weekend. Well, we are nothing if not flexible, so I reprogrammed the GPS to take us to Dampier.

We chose Dampier rather than a caravan park in nearby Karratha which does not have a very good reputation for welcoming travellers, rather concentrating on the more lucrative mining trade. The small so-called “transit park” which allows a maximum 3 night stay is certainly a more pleasant place to stay and we were lucky enough to get the last powered site available with the available unpowered sites being too small or too shady for us.

After a quick lunch, we called at the Visitor Centre to collect a brochure of the area and decided to explore the recently declared Murujuga National Park on the Burrup Peninsula where there are hundreds of Petroglyphs in the rocky landscape.

To the far left of this photo can be seen one of the many mine installations on the peninsula, just outside the National Park boundary.

Imagine the internal earth pressure needed to push these rocks to the surface.

It took a while for us to “get our eye in” and to recognise what we were seeing but once we did it became easier to spot the Petroglyphs, although identifying what they were meant to represent was more difficult.

We also finally saw our first Sturt Desert Pea flowers – just beautiful and they grow in the most inhospitable places.

Even this tree manages to find a foothold amongst the rocks.

This massive natural gas processing plant is certainly a large blot on the landscape but must bring a lot to the local economy.

At the entrance to Dampier is a monument to Red Dog, a red kelpie that wandered the area back in the 1970s and who’s legend became so famous a movie was made about him. There is also a Geocache here which simply involves taking a photo of the monument and a GPS showing the coordinates.

The view from the William Dampier Lookout over the port area was interesting.

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