The Road to Broome
Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
79Trip End Nov 15, 2012
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We spent our first two nights at Pardoo Station. A working cattle station; Pardoo has a well maintained caravan/camping area with nice grassy sites. Like other station stays we were expecting a very rustic layout and to be without power and water. To our delight we had full power (some stations allow limited power between certain hours, however you can't use anything with a heating element in it etc… due to their generators).
There was a lovely swimming pool, general store and restaurant, funny no one had mentioned this station and yet it was so good
We spent a day exploring the station. We hadn’t looked at the tide times prior to setting off and when we got to the beach we found it was low tide. We walked out to the water’s edge which was over a kilometre across wet sand; the remnants of the preceding high tide. The water was the most beautiful turquoise colour when we eventually reached it. The tide was quickly starting to move in again and whilst paddling in the ankle deep water we spotted what we later found out to be a tiger shark whizzing round in the shallows.
Around at Pardoo Creek we sat and ate lunch watching the tide come in. Keen fishermen lined the shore shoulder to shoulder eager to catch their dinner as the tide swept the fish in along the creek to feed off the mangroves. We enjoyed watching numerous turtles cruising past occasionally, bobbing their little heads up for air. As we drove back through the cattle to our camp, a large flock of Brolga’s came in to land on the saltpan, they looked so graceful with their long spindly legs.
Being Sunday night we indulged in the station meal which was Roast Turkey and a desert of Baked Cheesecake, enjoying the novel experience. (We did however find it ironic that we were out on this huge cattle station and the roast was turkey!)
We drove out of Pardoo Station not really knowing where we would stay next, we had had mixed feedback about Cape Keraudren and wanted to have a look for ourselves. We drove in and instantly loved it, we settled into a fabulous site right on the mouth of a tidal bay. From here we had ocean views as well as front row seats to watch as water filled the bay and ran off down into the creeks to the mangroves before emptying back out again and leaving mud flats.
We went for a walk up over a hill and around the point and came upon another camping area which was sensational, we stopped and talked to a lovely couple who had been sitting watching the whales and turtles pass by. There was one site at the very end and we debated relocating… however back at our camp we decided to stay where we were as it too was a stunning outlook. We were rewarded with a magnificent sunset.
The following day we were enjoying a morning walk and just as we rounded the corner and hit the crest of the hill we saw a van moving out of one of the coastal sites, our eyes lit up and we decided it was worth moving
Here we were like pigs in mud… perched atop a cliff with 180 degree views out over the Indian Ocean. It was million dollar views for $13 a night! We could actually sit out the front of our van and see the sun set and the sun rise over the water, along with whales and turtles, it was simply amazing.
We joined our neighbours at their fire after dinner and chatted about our travels and swapped tips. We thought this was just the most amazing site ever! We extended for another two nights and sat back and watched the whales frolic on the horizon!
We were yet again sorry to be leaving. Cape Keraudren will go down as one of our top stays on a trip which is filled to the brim of spectacular experiences. We gingerly guided the Jayco over the rocky track, back down onto the red gravel road and headed out.
Our next stop was 80 Mile Beach, a little over 100kms up the road. Again it was a gravel road from the highway to the coast, rough with corrugation in places but well worth the drive, for at the end was a little oasis
We settled in and walked to the top of the sand dunes eager to see water again. As we reached the top we were rewarded with the most amazing view… The stunning turquoise water stretched uninterrupted across the horizon for as far as the eye could see in either direction as did the wide sandy beach, no headland or point were visible, it was all sand and ocean.
We enjoyed a drive along the beach, long walks on the firm sand admiring the millions of shells which are washed ashore every day. We had missed the peak season where the shore is lined shoulder to shoulder with fishermen. There were merely a few keen souls scattered along trying their luck, we did see some huge fish having met their end and waiting to be filleted.
Having recharged our batteries it was time to head further north and into Barn Hill Station. A working cattle station, they have opened their gates, (so to speak… I think I counted three I had to open!) to travelers. Once again it was a corrugated gravel road over to the coast, but well worth it
We took a site along a cliff top which once again afforded us the most splendid views out over the Indian Ocean. We could sit at our van and watch whales coming close to shore with their calves, tail slapping and breaching to our delight. There were pods of dolphins enjoying a feed and the most spectacular sunsets yet again.
Our walks along the beach were most enjoyable with the red sculptured rocks providing exquisite displays of colour, contrasted against the cream sand and turquoise water. Stunning pink and orange coloured rocks and shells littered the beach; it was simply an amazing beach and an awesome coastline.
We were lucky enough to be at Barn Hill for their Sunday Roast. Quite an event, everyone sets up their table and chairs on the lawn along the top of the cliff, taking along all your own plates and utensils to dine on a delicious three course meal. An entrée of soup, followed by roast beef with four veg, finished off with fruit salad and ice cream, all for $15 per head. There would have been 200 people dining on the night we were there and it made for a fantastic atmosphere. An indigenous band comes along from nearby Bidyadanga and rocks the cliff tops until late into the night.
We were joined for dinner by a couple we had met earlier in the day. A chance meeting on the stairs down to the beach, as our conversation developed we found that they were friends of Rod’s parents. It is such a small world. They were such a delightful couple and our conversations never found a lull!
Our drive to Broome could have been rudimentary, however we were so incredibly lucky to have the luxury of spreading it out over a week for just off that mundane highway are the best kept secrets, stunning coastal scenery, pristine beaches and uniquely Australian stopovers, all different, yet all fantastic within their own right.
We arrived in Broome having traveled 18,687 kilometres and spending 154 nights on the road thus far. We are still waking up bright eyed and bushy tailed every morning eager for our next adventure…
Road to Broome Highlights:
- Pardoo Station, massive tides
- Cape Keruadren
o awesome views
o procession of whales and turtles…
o watching the sun rise and set over the water in front of us
- 80 Mile Beach
- Barn Hill
o stunning beach
o Sunday night roast
o whales passing by close to shore, dolphins frolicking
o meeting the Hennessy’s
- Sunsets along the coast