Waking up to the soaring heat in the full exposure to the sun, a body that felt like it was falling to bits and a mission to get to Broome, off we went.
We started the day at Not Daz and Shaz’s Stop, a free campground (..patch of sand where camping is permitted) just near Tom Price on the way to Karijini National Park, we were hoping to drive most of the way to Broome. In our last blog post: Gorgeous Gorges of Karijini, I mentioned that I swam at Hancock Gorge and ended up pretty bloody ill after swallowing some stagnant water. Not a lot had changed, so after about 5-6 hours of drive, we called it a day in Port Hedland.
The Port Hedland RV Campground was a bit of a disappointment, it was nothing more than a large sand car park, and things only got worse. We bought a portable toilet because the tourist info centre said we needed one if we were going to stay there, but just after getting the chairs out and starting our first game of cards for the day, we were kicked out because we didn’t have a tent for the toilet, even though we had it set up inside our caravan. I didn’t have enough energy or love for the place to argue, so we packed up and moved on.
Following the trend, we found another patch of sand to camp at called The Gravel Pit.. We made this our home for the night and continued our journey towards Broome the next day.
As we continued our drive to Broome, we began to think about the time we had saved by me getting sick and not sticking around in Karijini any longer, so we made the decision to slow down a bit and stay at the next decent campground that we found.
Luck didn’t come quickly, we called into De Grey River Campground, Stanley Rest Stop and Goldwire Campground, and although all of them were fine places to spend a night, none of them were appealing enough to spend several days at.
About 6-7 hours into the drive, we entered the Kimberley, saw a sign pointing down a dirt road to Barn Hill Beachside Station and decided to take a look.
The hairs on our arms stood tall! After nothing but orange dirt and the occasional tree for days, we arrived at the beach where an abundance of trees, rock pools and towering rock formations! “This is it” we said, & we booked in 5 nights at one of the campsites upon arrival!
Our first action after setting up the caravan was to take a shower and for us, it was a unique experience. The amenities block closest to us had no roof, it was just small tin cubicles with showers on one side and toilets on the other. Showering under the hot open sky was a memorable experience on its own, especially when the sun goes down and the stars are out.
Around 70 metres from where we set up the caravan was a track going through a towering rock formation down to the beach. Most of our stay at Barn Hill was spent amongst the waves, sitting in one of the rock pools or when it cooled down a bit, exploring the sand stone towers.
We happened to be staying here while the AFL Grand Final was being played in Melbourne. Although we’re both Hawks fans, the Geelong Cats (from our home town, Geelong) were in it, so we got out the antenna for the first time, dug out whatever wine and spirits we had in the van and made a day of it!
Barn Hill served its purpose, it was the perfect spot to relax and recover. We took one last swim at the beach and then made the short drive over to Broome.
Our intention was to spend the afternoon taking a look around Broome, find a decent free camp in the shade and then keep on moving through the Kimberley, but things didn’t go to plan.
We’ve been getting our first batch of WAY&FARER branded camping chairs made up and had 2 more samples to collect from a freight depot in Broome, although the package was lost by the courier. From Broome-on-out, the area gets even more remote with little options of where to get the samples forward, & as they could show up any minute, we thought that we’d stick around the package is found.
There aren’t too many free camps to choose in the area and all of the paid camp grounds were fully booked, so instead of exploring Broome, we spent the afternoon at the beach trying to find where to spend the night. If we had a 4wd, we could have headed to a campsite on the beach to the north, but we instead drove about 20 minutes out of town and spent the night at a rest area called Roebuck Free Roadside Campground, which was just an old road works site.
We woke up to good news. My Dad had made a few phone calls and one of his friends said that we could park the caravan out the back of their house in the centre of town.
Not a lot was expected, & it ended up being a really nice surprise. They had a large yard and let us camp right down the back, in the shade below a thick canopy of trees, right next the pool and a seperate bathroom. What a perfect place to set up base!
Our daily routine was kept simple. We’d wake up and call the freight depot to receive no news, head to Cable Beach for a swim or take a dip in the pool next to the van to cool off and get through the day, find somewhere to watch the sunset then once the heat of the day drifted away, we’d either head to bar or go for a walk.
There was the occasional change to the daily schedule with a quick visit to the night market at the Broome Town Beach and tasting some wine at Cable Beach foreshore bars.
A week passed and our freight was finally found. It was great to be able to hit the road again, although we’d happily have stayed longer as we loved Broome! We’ll certainly be coming back, probably by plane!
Being our last night, we wanted to make the most of it. We went and saw one last sunset then drank some famous Ginger Beer and Mango Beer at Matso’s before a late night dip in the pool for one last time!
Later that night, we completely packed up the caravan and hitched it on to the car. We’re going to start crossing the Kimberley the next morning, starting with a 3 hour drive at sunrise to Derby to get a bunch of work done to the car as we’re about to drive across the most remote part of our lap around Australia so far, so we’ve gotta be sure we make it past Fitzroy Crossing and beyond!
If you’ve been to Broome, let us know all of the places that we’ve missed in the comments section below because we’ll be taking note for when we fly back one day, rent a 4WD and explore more of this incredible place!