Coastal craziness – and changing our mode of travel

Leaving the Exmouth Gulf area, we’re now headed north to the series of ports which carry the output of the mines to their overseas destinations.

We head east a little, back through Nanutarra Roadhouse, with its peacocks both albino and traditional…

… before turning left for Dampier and Karratha.  The countryside is different again, with so many different profiles and bright rusty termites nests.

I am keen to see Dampier again, having been fascinated, many years ago, by the sheer impossibility of building a portside town on the vast uneven piles of red rocks which make up the coastline – impossible unless you completely fill the area to the tops of the highest rocks. 

Impossible terrain to build on – those grassed gullies are VERY deep

They couldn’t persist, of course, so Karratha came into being, just 20 km away on flatter land. Dampier, I am glad to see, hasn’t changed much…

On to Port Hedland.  These are serious towns, built for purpose, welcoming nevertheless.

five minutes later…

Now we zoom inland, quirky roadhouse after quirky roadhouse, bland bush on either side, occasional stations, an emu or two, nary a kangaroo. I can’t help wondering – are they a casualty of the dreaded 1080 poison? – that ubiquitous bait spread across many parts of WA to rid the country of dingoes – and a few pet dogs along the way we hear.

Now, it seems suddenly, we’re in Broome. Drenched in purple Bougainvillea, fragrant white Frangipani, crotons galore with fat and happy Boabs lining the streets. The Indian Ocean is flat, kind, aqua to deep blue at the horizon. The traffic is crazy, the roads are dug up, Chinatown is abuzz with coffee drinkers, but still undergoing a major upgrade because cruise ships are planned – blocked streets everywhere while they dig up the pavement. 

Instead of a haphazard, sandy and charismatic wench , where they have completed the upgrade, the town is a groomed slick chick, but I can’t help regretting the loss of the old girl.

Chinatown, slick chick of a town these days

To join the general craziness, we change our mode of travel.

Changing the mode of travel

The sunshine seems there just for the holiday makers,  because the caravan park workers are frazzled, the local workers have nowhere to rent, those who have rental accommodation are being evicted – why? Two reasons – people have returned from overseas because of Covid and want to live in their homes and Airbnb is so popular landlords don’t want normal tenants. 

The council has responded by allowing people with a job to camp in the public carparks – sometimes just in their car with a spread of chairs, tables and barbecues, sometimes with their own campervans.  No new houses are being built because the builders have nowhere to house their workers while they build.

After a long fine-dining drought, we are delighted to sample a string of good restaurants, haunt the local markets on our bicycles, watch sunset with thousands of others – and gape at the hundreds of RV’s which drive down the beach to view the evening sunset, competing with line after line of gaudily dressed camels. 

Amazing array of 4X4 vehicles arrive daily for sunset!

The town, I had forgotten, is quite schizophrenic, there being three km of highway between Broome/Chinatown itself and Cable Beach. We happily ride our push-bikes between them.

We stay longer than intended, catch up with dear circumnavigating sailing friends Elaine and Terry also in their van, celebrate my birthday, have our second Astra Zeneca Jabs.

Now we are ready to go – Cape Leveque coming up!

2 thoughts on “Coastal craziness – and changing our mode of travel

  1. Hi Ted and Nancy, We are really enjoying reading about your travels. We only got as far as Perth when we went west. Robin and John



Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: