13 October 2002
Today's postcard comes to you from each and every kilometre of blacktop traversed today, all 1050 of them, and includes a visit WA's largest national park, Karijini. It's brought to you by the letters P, T & W and by the number 136.
The day started badly at check out from the hotel in Exmouth. What a joy to be the guinea pig for their new internet phone line and receive a bill for $850 worth of calls! For five local calls to be precise... seems their phone system decided the calls were long distance and kept the meter running, probably for about fourteen hours in total across my entire stay.
Leaving Exmouth, I headed south, then north, then south again. Dizzy yet? Wondering why? Because I forgot to hand in the key to the hotel room. Doh!
Finally underway without further hitches, after the trip south along North West Cape, I headed back to the highway via the recently completed Burket Road, which cuts 200km from the Exmouth to North West Coastal Highway trip for travellers heading north. Getting fuel at Nanutarra, I left Highway One as Karijini beckoned via the Tom Price/Paraburdoo Road.
Dales Gorge was lovely. Standing atop the precipice looking down into Circular Pool, serenaded by the song of waterfalls, I could easily have spent a full day there with all manner of bushwalks on offer into the gorge. And that was just at Dales; I didn't even get to the other gorges.
It was 5:30 before I left, which meant an anxious 330 kilometre drive to my hotel in Port Hedland. Why anxious? Because the hire car conditions stipulated that insurance will not cover travel outside daylight hours beyond town limits. It must be some sort of record for me to set the cruise control BELOW the speed limit, but the roo's were out in force tonight... I saw at least a half dozen hopping about by the side of the road, along with two prone dead cows, both with legs in the air!
As a closing note, my preoccupation with the trees of Karijini is betrayed by the number of images of them you see here... I couldn't help myself, they were so lovely and gnarled and such a pure white. Beautiful.