After all the driving of the last few days, I was eager to see some more nature up close. My next stop was going to be a campground in the Keep River NP, which is supposedly really beautiful.
Just before driving to the campground, which was 30km over unsealed road, I remembered that I’m only allowed to drive a max 12km on such roads with the van, or I’ll void all insurance. Unfortunately, it seems that there’s a GPS tracker somewhere in the van. Maybe the tracker is not actually installed in the van, but without a way to check, I decided not to risk it. Too bad, because I was really looking forward to spending some time there.
However, I did visit the Lotus Pool in the park. This was, big surprise, a huge pond full of water lotuses. There were lots of different birds as well. A very nice spot, so my short visit to Keep River NP didn’t feel like a waste.
Since I wasn’t camping in the NP, the rest of the day had freed up for some more driving. At noon, I stopped in Kukunura and had a refreshing swim in the Ord river.
Later on, I drove to Wyndham. There’s a hill there that overlooks five rivers flowing together. The panoramic views were nice, but unfortunately, it was rather misty that day, so I couldn’t see very far.
Instead of hanging around for the, supposedly, beautiful sunset, I used the last light of day to check out “The Grotto”, a swimming hole in a small, steep gorge. It seems that with the end of the wet season, the flow of water into the gorge had also ended. Although there was a lot of water remaining, it was stagnant and covered in algae, so I decided not to jump in.
The next morning, May 7th (day 68), I decided to drive quite a bit, so I got up early around 5AM. On the way, I passed by Purnululu NP, but the only way to go in is with a high clearance 4WD vehicle. Alternatively, you could do a jeep or helicopter tour, but those are rather expensive and really short, so I decided not to spend money on it. Better come back another time with a jeep :).
I did check out the China Wall in Halls Creek. It’s a white colored, rocky ridge in the middle of nature. Pretty nice and rather odd how something like that can exist.
A bit further on, I visited Fitzroy Crossing’s swimming pool for a refreshing dive and shower. The life guard, Aron, had travelled quite a lot, which made for some interesting stories. He also gave me a free drink for helping him out. The simple things in life :).
After another 100km of driving, I arrived at my campsite for the night. Despite the stops along the way, I had managed to drive 700km, so a pretty good day.
May 8th, I first visited the Derby prison boab tree. It’s a huge boab with a hole in the centre. Although its use as a prison cell is an urban legend, it was worth a stop because of its massive size.
Afterwards, I drove over to Broome, hoping to see some dinosaur footprints at Gantheaume Point. Unfortunately, the sea level at low tide was still too high and the footprints remained submerged. Some locals told me it would be at least a month for the water to get low enough, so no point in hanging around.
By now, I was getting a bit fed up with all the driving, so I spend day 70 relaxing in the campervan. I was getting pretty close to my next “big” stop though, which is Karijini NP, so the day after I headed off again.
Once in Port Hedland, I spend a good part of the afternoon making arrangements for my stay in the USA. The town, which apparently boasts the biggest raw mineral harbor in the world, is entirely devoted to mining. There’s only two types of vehicles on the highway there: pickup trucks owned by some mining company and huge road trains (trucks towing four trailers, up to a total length of over 50m), also owned by some mining company.
My spot for the night, a desolate open space hidden from the highway by a small hill, is completely abandoned. It’s just me, the dingos and lots of flies. Next stop: Karijini NP!