April 30 – Port Hedland – De Grey River

Cleaverville Beach is a beautiful spot but we were glad to be leaving the wind, ants and mozzies behind. Our target for today was Port Hedland where we were way overdue to pick up the boy’s school packages from the post office – it’s hard pinpointing a location for the packs to be sent to weeks in advance when we are travelling on a very basic, loose and open itinerary. We found the post office, the packs were there and we ticked one thing off our list of ‘things-to-do’. We tracked down the local laundromat and got some washing started, our gas bottle that was just about out of puff (the wait for the kettle to boil in the mornings was becoming longer and slower every day!) got a refill and we had some lunch while the laundry finished.

Port Hedland finch

The visitor information centre gave some directions to the water filling tap and we loaded up on some shopping. Overall it was a bit of a hectic morning and we got back on the highway to make some distance towards Broome. At the De Grey River there is a roadside stop which permits 24hour stop-overs for travellers. Near the road there’s a flat sealed area with a public toilet and most caravaners and backpacker vans pull up there.

We drove out the back of the main rest stop and kept winding out a couple of hundred metres up the river where a few tracks led down to awesome camping spots overlooking the river. We noted the crocodile warning sign – somewhat pleased that it would deter may people from following us down to the riverside area. The river was a big wide and mostly dry sandy bed. Only two other small caravans further up the river made the effort to get down to the riverside camping spot. We checked for crocs but there wasn’t much activity we could see – apparently bull sharks get up here in the wetter times and have been seen in the larger pools so between them and the potential crocs we weren’t swimming.

De Grey camp croc warning sign

The birds were incredible – the best sighting being the two black-necked storks out in the middle of the river – although the dozens of grey-crowned babblers in a busy and loud flurry of nest building were difficult to ignore as well. We got a fire going with the last day of the strict WA burning restrictions upon us and cooked up dinner sitting around the fire. The local cows were close judging by their loud moaning and fresh cow pats but they stayed away from our camp. A beautiful sunset and lovely evening by the De Grey River.

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