21.06.2012 - 21.06.2012
We were picked up from Beaches at Broome which was much more pleasant than our Darwin experience. While waiting for the bus we met Jackie (UK), Regi (Germany) and Nikki (Germany). When the bus arrived it already had some others on board - Ken (Sydney), Jeanette and Haydon (NZ) and Claire (France) who was picked up last. Our guide is Jessica aka Jess (Charters Towers but more recently from Perth).
With so many km to cover between Broome and Perth, and 3 days of this tour going to be spent in Karijini NP, there will be a couple of days that are basically transport days. This is one of them.
Just after 8am we'd turned south onto the Great Northern Highway and were near the Roebuck roadhouse but the objective for this morning was to get to the Sandfire Roadhouse which was another 200km south.
That was our lunch destination. It was fairly unremarkable - dusty with a patch of watered green like most other places out here but it did have some peacocks wandering around. It was an opportunity for our group to learn Jess' preferences. Adam's practice of tossing all the lunch dishes in a bag and doing them prior to the evening meal was deemed "a crap idea", even if it was appropriate for the dry top end, so I decided I'd settle into the washing up and carrying things roles early on.
Another 80km south and 20 west and we were at 80 Mile Beach. I was surprised by the number of people that could be seen up and down the beach but, as there is a small caravan park nearby, it makes sense. The beach, caravan park, and surrounding area still bear the scars of a big cyclone that came through some years ago. The caravan park has pictures of the aftermath. Such a mess. It was quite a hot day so Karen and I bought an ice block, found a cool spot and settled down until the bus was ready to go.
At day's end we reached Pardoo station. Like El Questro, but less posh, it's another green oasis with a swimming pool, shop, dongas for accommodation and ensuites to clean up in.
We had chicken stir-fry for dinner and learnt a little more about our companions. Jackie's a doctor and tennis fan, Nikki's an accountant, Reggie's visiting Australia for the second time. Haydon, who has a shock of white hair and a matching beard that's much bigger and wilder than mine, had a stroke 6 months ago. His language skills are still poor but his motor skills seem unaffected. He has a nice nature and Jeanette seems to be coping well with the challenges this must bring.