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Thursday 2 Oct 2003
Coral Coast, Australia

Come a long way baby...

29 Sept 2003

Well wouldnt you know it.. in one of my (now infamous) changes of heart I decided to stay in Broome ONE LAST night just to see these damned dino footprints!

I tried to see them in the evening... stupid idea: after struggling to get to the footprints by foot it was too dark to see them and so I had to head back but got lost in the dark on the beach. I ended up walking 4 hours to find my car! Needless to say I wasnt impressed and my feet werent either!

30 Sept 2003

Got up early from my usual camping spot (Kimberly Klub backpackers hostel parking lot) and made it down to the footprints at 6.30 am! I even drove down the corrugated road (slowly) since there was NO WAY I was walking there again after last night!

WOW! What can I say? These things were AMAZING! So clear despite being so old (120 million years) and placing my tiny hands (in comparison) into the grooves of one of these reptiles really has an awe-inspiring impact on your senses! Worth the trouble to get here?? Absolutely!

I left Broome straight after and drove on down to Port Hedland... not much between, except for several lizards crosing the road "under wheel"... Whoops!

On the way to Port Hedland I stopped at a garage and reversed into a pole (driving slowly though so not too much damage!). Luckily only my bumper got dented and pushed up slightly so I was unable to open my rear hatchback door. Doh!

Port Hedland was just a minig town. Nothing of interest here except for the fact that literally EVERYTHING here seemed to be covered in red dust - weird, I thought, since there wasnt any red dust on the hills or roadside. Maybe there was a sandstorm here recently blown in from the nearby desert?

Found a nice spot to camp overlooking the coast and opposite the large BP containers.

1 Oct 2003

Woke up in my pleasant scenic spot overlooking the ocean... got the rear bumper on my van straightened out (a mechanic-type guy gave me a hand for free) so that my back door could open again! Yay once again I could access my food!!

As I was leaving Port Hedland I met a tour-driver who told me of a place "not to be missed" on my way down to Coral Bay: Karijini National Park. I was originally going to stick to the coastal road, but since there wasnt really anything of interest to see along the way down there (just a town called Karratha.. not much else) I thought I might as well take this inland road and see what all the fuss is "aboot".

A few hours later and 400 km away I arrived at Karijini Nat Park. To my dismay there was an entry charge of 9 dollars at the entrance!! I didnt want to pay this since I was only going to check out the gorges for about 2 hours... Thankfully the charge was on a "honesty" system so there was noone there to collect the money, rather a box where you dump your envelope of money. I took the chance and decided not to pay.. hell whats the worst that could happen? Id have to pay the 9 dollars anyway if I was caught!

Upon entering the park I was again thankfull I hadnt paid since ALL the roads a CORRUGATED!! *shudder* I thought! Rather than leave straight away, though, I decided that I wasnt going to come all this way for nothing so I forced myself to tackle one of the short roads (10km). This road led to the Daly Gorge and waterholes. I took the road at a paltry 10-15km/hour, the only dust I got on the car was from other cars speeding by at 100km/h! It took me one hour to go 10km! Still I made it all the way and the car was none the worse for it...

Indeed the gorges were beautiful.. not quite THAT different to Kings Canyon (and not, in my opinion, as impressive .. though admittedly I only visited the one gorge. There are several in the national park). The mini-waterfalls and swimming holes too were quite pretty.. again not quite as impressive as, say, Lichtfield National Park, but well worth the trip! Alas I didnt have time to take a dip (also it was quite crowded!) since it was late and I had to allow for 1 hour to tackle the 10km road again!

Later I arrived in Paraburdoo.. a friendly quiet mountain mining town. I camped out under the Tourist Information Billboard beside some (as I was to discover) pretty annoying German tourists who were belting out dance music in their van till 11pm (I tried to start getting to sleep at 7pm so you can imagine how long I was left awake for!). First time thats happened. Ah well live and learn.

Today...

Came across from Paraburdoo through some lovely dramatic mountain ranges in an area called the Pilbara. Saw some wild EMUS alongside the road as well as several mansized Red Kangaroos. On my way up to Exmouth my left tyre literally exploded and ripped to shreds on the road (I took a few photos Ill put up here later...).

Thankfully I had learned how to change a tyre on the van after getting the mechanic in Derby to show me how! Phew eh?

Im in Exmouth now and have bought a new tyre (108 dollars) but havent really had a look around yet...

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Welcome to my travel blog mates! I spent 2 months in South-east asia (during SARS outbreak!), then circumnavigated Australia in a van (10 months), then visited NZ for 3 months before coming back home via the US. Time. Of. My. Life. Period!

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