Cape Range National Park

What an awesome place. Cape Range National Park occupies the western side of the North West Cape peninsula over an area of 47,655 hectares (117,760 acres). The nearest town is Exmouth. Directly off the coast is the Ningaloo Reef. You can literally walk out to the reef from the beach. Snorkelling is fantastic and the abundance of wildlife includes whales, dolphins and turtles. The water is crystal clear and warm – even Bob was spotted submerged ! Yardie Creek, a spectacular gorge where the water is trapped by a sandbar, is located within the park – we did the walk in the gorge and managed to sight some rock wallabies – very rare. Bush camps are dotted along the coast within the park. Ours is called Ned’s Camp, a small and very friendly camp with only 9 sites and right on the beach. Lots of pictures here.

Exmouth

Exmouth is a town on the tip of the North West Cape in Western Australia. The town was established in 1967 to support the nearby United States Naval Communication Station Harold E. Holt. Beginning in the late 1970s, the town began hosting U.S. Air Force personnel assigned to Learmonth Solar Observatory, a defence science facility jointly operated with Australia’s Ionospheric Prediction Service. Nowadays the town relies more on tourism than the station for its existence. On 22 March 1999, Tropical Cyclone Vance reached category 5 status as it made landfall near Exmouth. This resulted in the highest ever wind gust reported on the Australian mainland of 267 km/h at Learmonth, only 35 km to the south.

We spend the night in town before we head off to the nearby Cape Range National Park – see later blog. The local wildlife was interesting with a friendly emu in the caravan park. See if you can spot the large stingray in the picture.

40 Mile Beach

40 Mile Beach is found at the unfortunately named Gnoorea Point about 65 Kms west of Karratha. Fresh water is available on the entry road at the gas plant for a gold coin donation to the RFDS. Bush camped for 4 nights at the edge of the beach. Fishing not so good but did manage to snag a Spotty Mackerel.

Point Samson

Our last trip from our Cleaverville base is to Point Samson, a small coastal settlement and a popular holiday location for the nearby mining towns, including Wickham, Karratha and Dampier. Fishing is the main industry. From 1938 to 1966 blue asbestos or crocidolite was carried here by rail from Wittenoom for shiploading by Australian Blue Asbestos Pty Ltd. The population of Point Samson was 274 in 2006. Great fish and chips at the tavern for lunch !

Cossack

Cossack is a well peserved historic ghost town located 15 km from Roebourne in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The nearest town to Cossack is Wickham. Cossack is located on Butchers Inlet at the mouth of the Harding River. It is reached by a single, sealed road that follows the original causeway across a series of tidal salt flats. The site of the former town is defined by Nanny Goat Hill, Tien Tsin Lookout, the hilly ground to the north-east and north-west, and Butchers Inlet to the east and south-east. Past the townsite, the road winds up to the Reader Head Lookout, from which sweeping views of the surrounding coastline can be seen. Many of the buildings are listed by the National Trust.

Millstream Chichester National Park And The Fortescue River

The Millstream Chichester National Park has fantastic views across the Hammersley Ranges, with rolling hills, spectacular escarpments and tree lined water courses, including Python Pool and the large Fortescue River. The park is made up of the old Millstream station which is on the Millstream Creek, just before it joins Fortescue River one of the few permanent watercourses in the area and the Chichester Range. The area is homeland of the Yinjibarndi people, who work as Rangers and contractors in the Park.

Fishing At Cleaverville And Golf At Karratha

A spot of fishing at an inlet at Cleaverville produced the wierdest fish Bob has ever caught – a wolf herring. Another odd thing happened at the Karratha Golf Course – their 10th hole is called the Moose Hole and if a player has a score of 10 or over they have to run around the green whilst yelling like a moose !! Fortunately, neither Bob nor Siobhan performed the famous yelling run.

And here is a closer look at that wolf herring.

Wolf-herring-500 (Large)

North West Shelf Gas Project

Located at the tip of the Burrup Peninsula, close to Karratha and Dampier, is the North West Shelf Venture (NWSV) – Australia’s first Liquid Natural Gas project. In 2014, the project celebrates 30 years of domestic gas production and 25 years of LNG cargoes to Japanese customers. The project is based on vast undersea natural gas and crude oil resources. It is currently Australia’s largest operating oil and gas development.

Collectively, six venture participants have invested in onshore and offshore oil and gas facilities totalling more than $29.5 billion. If it was built today, it would cost more than $50 billion. The project is Western Australia’s largest producer of domestic gas – providing about 65 percent of the State’s total production. It also accounts for more than 40 percent of Australia’s oil and gas production and is a major producer of liquefied natural gas, natural gas, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), condensate and crude oil. The North West Shelf is currently the 6th largest LNG producer in the world.

Dampier

Dampier is a major industrial port in the northwest of Western Australia. The port services petrochemical, salt, iron ore and natural gas export industries. Rio Tinto exports large volumes of iron ore through the port. North of Dampier lies the Burrup Peninsula, or Murujuga, which means “Hip Bone Sticking Out” in the Yaburrara language, which is home to what is believed to be the largest collection of petroglyphs (ancient rock art) in the world. The port of Dampier was opened in 1966, when the first iron ore from the Mount Tom Price mine was transported via the Hamersley & Robe River railway. The port has an annual loading capacity of 140 million tonnes of iron ore. It takes from 24 to 36 hours to load a ship at port.