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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Leinster to Karijini NP (Hammersley Ranges), WA

We stayed the night at Leinster (BHP Billiton mining town) and had dinner in their mess hall. Fantastic.

Left Leinster and headed west to Sandstone which is an old gold mining town. Most of the old buildings have been restored and it is actually quite a pretty town. We then took a 200km long dirt road to Meekatharra where we stayed the night.

Next morning we headed towards Newman with the idea of spoiling ourselves and staying in a cabin. However after seeing the dumps on offer and the exorbitant prices, we continued to Karijini NP and set up camp at Dales Camp.

The Pilbara landscape is very forbidding; mountains with no vegetation, only red rock glowing in the sun. I'd hate to be lost out here, wouldn't survive for long. The amount of iron ore is staggering, wherever you look there are literally mountains of iron.

Typical restored building in Sandstone.

Sandstone "service station". rather basic...

Sandstone - Meekatharra Road. Another great sandy road.

Stopped for lunch at a bore and windmill. Don't know what the cattle actually eat.

Gibber plains South of Meekatharra.

Meekatharra campsite, pre-sunrise.

Desolate gibber country after Meekatharra. A long time ago, all those little stones used to be mountains. Incredibly old country, around 2,000 million years old.

Just after the previous photo we came upon this. Unbelievable. It's part of the head of the Gasgoyne River which flows out to Carnarvon. The catchment area is massive, something like bigger than the whole state of Victoria from memory. Trouble is, it rarely rains.

About to cross one of the small Gasgoyne River branches at the head of the river.

Welcome to Newman, home of rip-off accommodation! Demand for accommodation is incredible, with houses being rented to mining companies for up to $3,000 per week. Cannot understand why they don't build more, it's not like land is hard to come by. Someone must be making a fortune.

Mt Whaleback or what's left of it. Apparently is the largest open cut iron ore mine in the world.

Karijini NP in distance, in Hammersley Ranges.

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