Saturday, January 10, 2015

This is Australia - As a Grey Nomand: Part 8 Karratha Western Australia

Panorama of the Karratha Pilbara Region
While we didn't get to Karratha in a day - I am trying to concentrate on the major places we stayed, more than the in between towns like Port Headland (which we stopped at on our way to Karratha), some towns like this are just big mining towns with not a lot to offer - and are not setup for tourists (so be aware pre-booking isn't a bad idea in a town like Port Headland).

Karratha and Surrounds - Welcome to The Pilbara

Karratha was that surprise town for us, after Port Headland we really were not expecting too much from it and apparently only a few years ago it was hard to get any camping spots here as they were all taken up with miners, but this was a town like Broome for us so much to do, great camp site with an ensuite (haven't had one for weeks now), lovely people and just a fun place generally and we stayed here much longer than we anticipated 6 nights I think.

Panorama of The North West Shelf Project

There are some fantastic tourist drives in this area all under 100ks, and the tourist information centre provides great maps, everything is once again well sign posted, and easy to find.  One of the major areas to visit is Roebourne, which leads off to Cossack  (more on that in a minute), Sampson Beach and Cleverville - we spent a few days in this area as it was very pretty, lots of beaches, beautiful waters and generally interesting, it was a shame though we were not there for the staircase to the moon where the reflection looks like a staircase up to the moon, happens monthly though.

Cossack is incredible, the old town buildings with information on who lived there etc walk it or drive from one place to the other, very pretty environment as well.  We headed down to Sampson Beach for lunch - nice pub here overlooking the ocean.  In fact this whole area was lovely - there was a good caravan park in Sampson Beach as well for those who prefer beach camping.

Some finds at Sampson Beach
Derek did a lot of metal detecting in this area - and he found a wing off a toy plane, we made a joke that it might be the wing off the missing MH17 flight, but overall he did really well on these beaches. It was now that he started learning that it is not just beaches where there are finds to be found, but parks and more especially caravan parks (over $70 in the play ground of the camp site)- while you may have a laugh at his finds I didn't pay for laundry once during the trip and I used the dryers at the van parks as well, so usually about $20 a week was spent on these, plus we often got free lunches and dinners from his finds as well.  Metal Detecting paid off well in WA and overall throughout the trip.

Another great thing to do in this area is visit the North West Shelf Project - incredible, lots to see and do here as well so we were kept pretty busy.  Once again made lots of friends here and the Big 4 Caravan Park was nice, full of friendly people all with a story, so nightly drinks around the BBQ where par for the course here.

Everything is big here, big trucks, big views and big mining, we loved our Karratha time and is a town and area full of surprises.  The wild flowers were becoming a part of the landscape as were some of our feathered friends - a few wood pigeons who had no hesitation in sitting with us on our arms at the camp site.

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