Saturday 23rd May 2015, warm 26 degrees @ 8:20
Eighty Mile Beach to Barn Hill
A connection snapped off the water filter this morning so we’ll just use our own tank water until we get to Broome.
We pass through grassland and low scrub, termites and wandering cattle. We pull into the Sandfire Roadhouse for fuel and I jump out to get a photo. I reckon that this place must come alive during the night because there are more animal and bird foot prints in the red dirt than there are tyre marks.
The countryside is alternating now between flat plains of grass and trees drooping under the weight of creepers. It is a long boring stretch and even whilst driving one starts to over analyse the termite mounds. But their shape has changed. The number of southbound vans has increased so we’re catching up with those who are doing the more popular anti clockwise route.
The road into Barn Hill Station is badly corrugated and needs grading. Outback Jack is getting seriously cranky. The campground is a casual bush camp with plenty of shade. The power situation leaves a bit to be desired as orange leads are strung in the air and in some places looped around trees. The ablution blocks are rustic and built from corrugated iron and rammed earth. One has no roof, they must be quite optimistic about the dry season. A customer with no cooking facilities asks the office for the whereabouts of the camp kitchen to be told that they “fire up the BBQ each Wednesday night”! This is Saturday.
There is an odd shaped hill nearby and atop it is a cairn that was placed there in 1879 by explorer Andrew Forrest.
Perched on a cliff the Indian Ocean glimmers in the distance. The cliff overlooks what has once been an inlet. The beach is startling. The cliffs are bright red, yet the sand is creamy white. Rocky outcrops are hard to describe because many different kinds of rocks are strewn about in otherworldly fashion. Some are layer cakes of pink and white others orange with hard dark knobs of what looks like iron. Cuttlefish take on the appearance of rocks as they too are stained with red.
It is a fisherman’s paradise and they are parked on the beach and standing up to their knees in the water. Once again sunset is a grand occasion with everyone standing on the red cliffs. They don’t realise that the best show is looking back at the red cliffs as they begin to glow in the sunset.
Travelling Kms: 256Kms
Note: Before we set off from Melbourne we were told that the best and most economical way of ‘doing the West Coast’ is anti-clockwise. That’s up the middle (the Stuart Highway) to Katherine then down the West Coast and returning home across the Nullarbor. Apparently, the wind is more favourable. However, we had a wedding to go to in Margaret River, so clockwise it was for us. As we travelled north we found that caravan parks, free camps and attractions weren’t crowded and the roads were reasonably quiet. We weren’t punching into headwinds and locals that we spoke to all agreed that clockwise is the better option.