Tuesday 12th May 2015, cloudless
Tom Price to Karijini National Park, Dale’s Campground
The nights are quite cold here as we are at 719 metres, according to the GPS and do we trust her? Anyway, it is high for us coastal folk and we are sleeping well.
Shirley, Double or Nuthin’ and I set off on the Rio Tinto mine tour for the morning leaving Woody (who’s over mines) to do the shopping. The tour takes us into the open cut mine pit and we soon learn why Tom Price is no longer called Mt Tom Price, they’ve turned the mountain into a hole! There is iron ore all around us, above and below. One could say that we are standing in the beating financial heart of Australia and it is eight kilometres wide and thirteen long! This mine alone, there are others in the area, is extracting 28 million tonnes of ore per annum. The ore is then carried to the coast on trains. Each train has 238 wagons carrying 30,000 tonnes of ore per train. I do hope the Chinese know what to do with it all. Anyway, that’s enough of the large numbered facts and figures because it is all too damned mind boggling and more red rock than one can imagine.
We hit the road to Karijini National Park and meet up with a large piece of equipment being transported to one of the outlying mines. The voice on the CB says “5 metres at the blade, 4 on the wheels” and we heed their warning. After we’ve gone past the escort vehicle has trouble raising the Ollies on the CB and next thing we hear is “can you tell your mate to buy a bloody radio!” The truckie then comes back on the radio and says “See that mountain over there, it’s called Mt Bruce. Do ya know why it is called Mt Bruce?… After the explorer’s missus, she used to say ‘Mount me Bruce’!”
The roadsides are lined with pink everlastings.
We arrive at Karijini and the camp host Helen comes bounding out to meet us. Woody tells her that this is her lucky day because he has his hearing aids in, she counters by calling him a recycled teenager. She then goes on to warn us of the local snake population, death adders and the like and the happily non venomous 30 metre Python that eats rock wallabies whole. Poor little buggers.
Heeding Helen’s warnings of bush walking skill levels and stamping our feet to frighten snakes away we set off on the Dale’s Gorge rim walk and walk the cliff tops for two hours. It is stunningly beautiful and the gorge floor looks like an ancient sunken garden.
Travelling Kms: 109Kms