April 28-29 – Karratha

We packed up camp and were on the road by 8am. We decided to visit the Python Pool on the way out toward Karratha rather than have to do a long return trip while camping at Millstream. The waterfall isn’t flowing but the water quality in the pool was not too bad. We all had a swim and it was hard to get the two fish out once they’d settled in to playing. A few people came and went – of most interest was the two couples who had been detoured off the Canning Stock Route which is now closed after the late cyclones had come across and made sections impassable. Several travellers were helicoptered out having to leave their bogged vehicles behind.

 

We finally continued on and eventually pulled into Karratha – a strangely laid out town but one that has obviously started out smallish and then has gone through a mining boom of new housing and a bit of urban spread out toward the neighbouring town of Dampier which is so close. We did some shopping and then headed out to the Burrup Peninsular.

The rock art out here on the Burrup is widely acknowledged as some of the best and definitely the most extensive collection of engravings or peteroglyphs. The Deep Gully site looks like an artificial quarry dump site – rows of boulders massed high on top of each other. But it’s all natural and how it’s been for a very very long time. The art consists of hundreds and hundreds of images that have been engraved into the rock – we saw kanagroos, emu footprints, turtle and others that were more difficult to determine. We didn’t find the Thylacine or Tassie tiger engraving which is obviously significant as the Thylacine became extinct on mainland Oz thousands of years ago giving an indication of the time-scale of this artwork.

The downside on this trip was the hot day – exacerbated by the extreme reflection, glare and heat off the rocks and the lack of any shade. Scrambling up and across the rocky boulders we quickly became dehydrated and dazed by it all – luckily we were only a short walk back to the car which was quickly chilled with a blast of air-con. Early morning visits to this site recommended!.

Burrup rock art gully

Hearsons Cove is a very nice little beach just down the road from Deep Gully – a good spot to stop for a lunch break. The rest of the Burrup seems to be a steaming, gaseous, chimney-stacked industrial area so we headed out for a quick look at Dampier town and then back through Karratha and up the highway to Cleaverville Beach which has a large camping area along the coast. We found a spot behind the beach dunes protected from the wind that was gradually increasing. A track leads from our camp over the dune to a nice beach which is great swimming on high tide and good rock pool and reef exploring on low tide.

On Sunday we drove up to the day use area which had a beach fairly well protected from the wind and had a great time swimming. Uncle Mark got a phone call with birthday wishes from the JALC crew.

Unfortunately the camp had an ant problem – not a single one during the heat of the day but then in the cooler afternoon and evening they were a swarming mass that decided you were a dead body and hundreds of them proceeded to try and bite pieces of meat of you to take back to the nest. And then the mozzies came….the mozzies and the ants were immune to aeroguard and were waiting for you as you stepped out of the tent in the morning too – definitely the worst insect problem we’ve encountered – lucky the tent is so big we can all move inside to read and do school work in the evenings.

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