As we headed North-East from Exmouth, we entered the region that we’ve been looking forward to the most on this trip… The Pilbara. I have to admit, I felt some trepidation as we made our way towards Tom Price and the Karijini National Park. After all, years of watching countless 4WD and camping TV shows showcasing the red dust covered landscapes and the jewel that is Karijini set the bar extremely high. What if it didn’t live up to the hype?
We stopped overnight at a Station Stay called Cheela Plains. Quite a simple little stop, but a fabulous camp kitchen and a ripping fire pit made of some kind steel cone from a piece of mining machinery.
We went for a walk up the hill that overlooks the homestead before coming back to toast marshmallows on the fire!
The next morning, we hit the road again and made our way towards Paraburdoo. Coming into Tom Price from Paraburdoo was an unexpected surprise with one of the most gorgeous vistas we’ve seen on the trip. We have joked with a number of people already about the fuzzy hills that roll through that area as a result of the tightly packed spinifex grass that cover the hilly range. It literally creates an illusion of the hills being out of focus, and I was happy to know that I wasn’t the only one who had rubbed their eyes and tried to refocus as we drove through the area. Unfortunately, I was too captivated by the fuzzy hills to even think of taking a picture of them!
After we set up our van just before lunch, we decided to make the most of the day and head out to the Hammersley Gorge. Again, the stunning hills which nearly look as though they change colour as you drive past them due to the light and shadow that is thrown upon them were a stand out along the way. When we arrived, we made our way down into to the Gorge and headed to the pools where Corey and Miss B had a swim in the near arctic waters.
We met another great family there who were travelling around with their four children. It’s really awesome (and validating at times) to see so many families taking the time to get out and see Australia many of whom, like us, are searching for a simpler life where they can enjoy their children and spend time together as a family. The Hamersley Gorge was a fabulous taste of what was to come in Karijini!
Driving back, I was just in awe of the colour coming out of the hills – something that was impossible to capture on an iPhone!
The contrast between the red and the blue is just stunning!
By the time we’d gotten back to our van, in the only caravan park at Tom Price, it was like we were at a reunion. A number of families that we’d already met along the way had also arrived and happy hour amongst the birdlife had begun.
We had planned to go on an Iron Ore Mine tour the next day and along with 50 or so other participants were ready in our hard hats and safety glasses, but unfortunately the tour was cancelled due to an injured bus driver.
Check out the pose on Miss A after I told them to look like tough miners!
With our morning free, we let all the kids have a play at the park and wandered through the small town and it’s bronzed animal statues before heading back to the van for lunch.
We chilled out for the rest of the day, catching up on laundry and baking while the kids played and went for a swim. Believe it or not, I actually had plans for the evening in the tiny little town of Tom Price having noticed on FB that a consultant friend of mine also happened to be for work! Random but fabulous coincidence! I hadn’t seen Tracey in around 18 months so it was good to catch up. Especially after receiving a text to tell me that the kids and their caravanning friends had settled in for an outdoor movie night at our van.
And like most of our couple-day-stopovers, our time in Tom Price was done and it was time to head into Karijini.
What’s your impression of the Pilbara? Have you ever caught up with a friend in a random and unexpected place?