Friday 8th May 2015, clear, breezy 27 degrees at noon
Osprey to Barradale Rest Area
We leave the Ningaloo Reef campgrounds and head up to North West Cape. Double or Nuthin’ assures us that we can get the van up the steep road to the lighthouse and the story boards are worth reading (and he should know, he’s read every story board in the country so far), we hold our breath anyway and at least it isn’t too windy. The lighthouse on Vlamingh Head is a pretty concrete structure built in 1912. The view of the coast is splendid and there are six oil rigs clearly visible on the horizon. There are story boards telling the history of the area and one about the army having a base here during World War Two. I get a shock to read an actual soldier’s account of a near battle and suddenly realise that the soldier is one, Milton Wedgwood, the father of my old school friend.
In Exmouth we stock up on supplies and fill our water tanks with free water at the Information Centre, you’ve gotta love those places. We eat our sambo’s under the Big Prawn. Did you know that 700,000kgs of prawns are harvested here annually? Anyway the Big Prawn gets put into storage for safekeeping during the cyclone season.
No sooner than we turn onto the Burkett Road the scenery changes colour to red, welcome to the Pilbara. We rejoin the North West Coast Highway and there is nothing but shrubby grassland in every direction, left to Karratha, right to Carnarvon, behind us Exmouth. We’re a long way from anywhere now.
We camp for the night at the Barradale Rest Area which is beside the Yannarie River. It is a well appointed rest area and we are kept entertained watching the road trains approach the bridge. The highlight being when one prime mover tows another fully loaded four tray road train across the bridge, now that’s torque. He’d have no trouble getting up to the lighthouse.
Our neighbour John and his little dog Bill join us for a happy hour drink. “Bill’s been to Jenny Craig you know, lost 2 stone.” And so it went for an hour or more, John kept us in stitches telling us about how his albino cousin got sick and ‘the wife’ parked the rig in the hospital car park. Had no problems keeping the power up to it as she’d parked under a halogen light. “The solar panel was drawing energy day and night!”
We sleep to the gentle mooing of wandering cattle.
Travelling Kms: 284Kms