Day 92 – Wednesday, 24 August 2022

We left Karratha at 8:45am. It was very windy, but not as bad as yesterday. However, the wind and the dust are giving me hayfever. It was registering as a pleasant 23 degrees, but the wind made it feel slightly cooler.

We headed west among green spinifex, wildflowers and saplings on fairly flat plains. There were some hills in the distance.

Maree Pool is a 24-hour free camping Rest Area (RA) on the banks of the Maitland River, which actually had lots of water in it. As we passed, we spotted many campers already set up for their overnight stops on both sides of the river.

We drove through a sea of mauve and cream Mulla Mullas, saw beautiful ghost gums at Devil’s Creek. Russ commented, when we passed a gas plant, that the bumpy hills of rock looked like the spine of a dragon, and the gas plant is the dragon releasing wind. (He was slightly blunter than that.)

Around mid-morning, and having been overtaken by traffic all the way, we passed through a carpet of Sturt Desert Peas. We pulled over at one of the parking areas to stretch our legs, and I found five different wildflowers in the one spot. The wind is not helping the photography.

About 80 kilometres north of Nanutarra Roadhouse we stopped to put some diesel in the car, and I spotted a gorgeous caterpillar that we would have run over when we left if Russ hadn’t taken the time to relocate it. I took some photos of it on the road, and again when it was resting on Russell’s gloved hand, and it turned itself into a half circle. It had what looked like a set of eyes in the pattern of its skin, and it was wonderful.

For most of the journey we had been climbing steadily. There were no big inclines, just a little progress higher with each kilometre. It turns out that we were at 18 metres above sea level at Karratha, climbed to 131

metres at Nanutarra Roadhouse, and we came down to 55.2 metres when we reached the Lyndon River 24-hour Rest Area.

Russ was very devious as I kept mentioning all the wildflowers we were passing. And he asked me to read him the latest episode of the journal. I don’t think I have ever talked so long without an interruption. I do know I drank a litre of water, and I didn’t get a chance to spot more wildflowers, so there were no hold-ups.

The West Coastal Highway passes through the middle of the Cane River Conservation Park for about forty kilometres or so. The vegetation didn’t change all that much, and there was water, or waterholes, in most of the rivers and creeks we crossed this far south.

I don’t believe I mentioned earlier that many of these coastal caravan parks have big steel cables buried around each site. The part that shows above ground is an eyelet. It is pretty scary to know that in the event of a cyclone these eyelets are used to strap down the caravans. Thankfully we haven’t experienced that need so far, and long may it stay that way.

When we arrived at Nanutarra Roadhouse where our schedule had us staying for the night, the place was packed, and lines of cars with vans were waiting their turn at the fuel pump.

Russ got out to see where the diesel pumps were and was able to drive straight into a bay and fill up. When I went to pay for the fuel and asked about site availability, I was told they had no powered sites left.

To make the shambles worse, two busloads of tourists had arrived just as we did (lunch time, and the staff were hammering the food out as quickly as it was cooked or heated), and there was a long line of ladies waiting to use the facilities. Russ says we could have made a bit of extra cash if we had wanted to do so.

Anyway, after discussion, we decided to move along which is always a bit of a hit or miss proposition. Needless to say, we found a nice spot in one of the 24-hour rest areas by the Lyndon River. There are about six other rigs who are also set up for the night.

Just before we reached the Lyndon River RA, we passed over the Tropic of Capricorn at 15:25pm, and the temperature had reached 30 degrees.

We were able to use a generator at this rest area if required, but the temperature was sure to come down once the sun set.

We also set up our big invertor to work the fan, and the fridge and hot water were on gas.

We ended up travelling a total of 452 kilometres for the day so tomorrow will be a very short leg to Carnarvon.