Our next stop was about half way between Port Hedland and Broome, a spot we’d heard about called Eighty Mile Beach. It’s just a short 10km detour off the highway, or so we thought. The road was a bit more corrugated than we expected so slowly we crawled our way in through the red dirt and ruts, not having an off road van, and made it to the oasis at the end of the track.
It’s a huge park with well over 100 caravan sites all grassed and some even bordered with manicured hedges. This is a really neat park and it even has a decently stocked small shop in the office too. Again we could pick any spot we liked with only around 3 other sites in the park being used at the moment.
We set up quickly, anxious to get out and see the magnificent beach we’d heard about. We drove onto the beach with only a couple of other people out there and set up shade from the car to settle in for a bit of fishing and beachcombing. The water wasn’t clear though it was quite turbulent with sand being tumbled around so we gave it a go but weren’t too hopeful.
We did get a visit from one of the nearby station helicopters, G’day!
The beach is covered in millions of shells of so many varieties, fascinating to rummage through. Another pretty hot day to contend with, temps around 36 but humidity every day is around the 70% + level. We probably lasted about two hours before being at melting point so we headed back into the caravan park for a bit of relief. Thank god for air conditioned caravans.
Next morning we were off early back down that red dirt road, with a wallaby or two jumping across the road in front of us. We had a close call with one of them jumping in front of the car very close only to realise what was coming at him, when he skidded, fell over, got up again and bounded back the way he came. I’m not sure who was more scared, him or us.
Back on the highway and we thought our worries were over until cows started crossing the road, so slowing down we kept our eyes glued to watch the rest of the herd grazing by the side of the road. Oh yeah they own this place!
There’s never a dull moment on the road, with locusts galore smacking into the windscreen and lizards crossing our path often but today had a first, a snake slithering across the road and rearing up at us as we got close and went by.
Around 50kms out of Broome we came across our first water over the road which we had to slow for too. Big patches of water and damage to the road in places.
We rolled into Broome and set ourselves up at the Cable Beach Caravan Park, where the lovely and helpful Margie gave us all the info we needed on where to go and what to see in town. That’s the other bonus of visiting in the off season, everyone makes time to make you feel really welcome, much appreciated.
We also passed a huge milestone with the Landcruiser clocking over 10,000kms since we left on this epic journey.
Reaching Broome is another bittersweet moment too in that way back in Monkey Mia we met a couple, Megan and Tony, and hit it off. Ex South Aussies who have been living and working in Tassie for the past 8 years, they were holidaying on the way to resettling in Broome and our paths have been crossing for the past 20 days. We enjoyed their company so much that we arranged a couple times to meet in destinations along the way and shared the odd drink or two and meals occasionally. So reaching Broome meant holiday time was almost over for them but we still met up to enjoy their company at Matsos Brewery, Divers Tavern and on our final night together Zanders restaurant on the water front at Cable Beach.
We’ve had so much fun, sharing some of the journey with them, swapping photo tips, must see destinations and travel stories we will miss them. But….there will no doubt be other meeting places in the years ahead where we will reconnect. Good luck in Broome!
As for Broome we loved, Matsos Brewery for the brews, food and staff. The town centre with the old Chinatown buildings still standing, the museum is a must to understand the history of Broome, the big artists and photographers community, the stunning coastline, interesting rocks and wild ocean at Gantheaume Point and of course the pearl jewellery shops of which there are many. My big tip is definitely to go to the pearl information centre next to the Tourist centre to try and get a grasp of what different types of pearls there are – and there is something for everyone.
Of course when in Broome……(after all it is our 30th wedding anniversary.)
One of the biggest drawcards in Broome for anyone interested in photography is to try and get ‘the money shot’ of the camels on Cable Beach at sunset. It looked like I wasn’t going to get the opportunity with mother nature not being very cooperative for a couple of afternoons but finally on our last night in town the elements came together.
That will have to do until next time Broome.