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Entries about seashells

Broome to Karijini National Park

...via Eighty Mile Beach, Cape Keraudren and Port Hedland

sunny 28 °C
View Sam Smart in World War II & Return to complete the Lap on SteveJD's travel map.

Broome had more to offer but we had had to make advance bookings at other sites, so had to move on. We set off on a 379km drive to Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park. We stopped at Sandfire Roadhouse for an obligatory beer on the way. I believe the roadhouse burnt down a few years back - maybe it had more character then as it did not live up to other Outback roadhouses but is OK for a rest stop.

The bar area

The bar area

large_e5cc3660-da2d-11e9-91c1-054d888b2569.jpgTwo views of the front of the roadhouse

Two views of the front of the roadhouse

At Eighty Mile Beach we had a very nice cabin with the only drawback being that, as it was made of metal, wifi and phone reception was zilch! We had known nothing about this place but it was yet another place where a longer stay would have been most enjoyable. The beach is great for beach-combing and the birdlife is pretty good. It is also a very sociable place, to judge from our brief experience.

Our cabin and vehicle

Our cabin and vehicle

View of part of the park from dunes

View of part of the park from dunes

White-breasted Woodswallow

White-breasted Woodswallow

Tree beginning to fill with White-breasted Woodswallows

Tree beginning to fill with White-breasted Woodswallows

It's a long beach!

It's a long beach!

And it is smothered with seashells

And it is smothered with seashells

A beautiful White-bellied Sea-eagle cruised by

A beautiful White-bellied Sea-eagle cruised by

Some walkers on the beach at sunset

Some walkers on the beach at sunset

Australian Pied Oystercatchers joined the party on the beach as the sun went down

Australian Pied Oystercatchers joined the party on the beach as the sun went down

The sun setting over the beach

The sun setting over the beach

The beach became so peaceful after the sun had gone down

The beach became so peaceful after the sun had gone down

Eighty Mile Beach lies along the north-west coast of Western Australia about half-way between the towns of Broome and Port Hedland. The beach is some 220km in length (so a good deal more than its name would suggest!), forming the coastline where the Great Sandy Desert approaches the Indian Ocean. It is one of the most important sites for migratory shorebirds, or waders, in Australia, and is recognised as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. (Wikipedia)

We delayed leaving the park in order to find some more birds and then drove on down the coast (289km to Port Hedland, so no rush).

White-winged Fairy-wren (a pretty little bird but I would love to have seen on in breeding plumage!)

White-winged Fairy-wren (a pretty little bird but I would love to have seen on in breeding plumage!)

One of many Zebra Finches

One of many Zebra Finches

The drive south was through low coastal bush or sandbush, so not enthralling and we were glad to find a turn off to Cape Keraudren where we had our lunch by the sea. A couple camped nearby had a superb collection of shells which they had gathered from the beach, so we had a wander and picked up a few very nice pieces.

Not all of the beach is sandy!

Not all of the beach is sandy!

A Hermit Crab in its shell

A Hermit Crab in its shell

Hermit Crab almost out of its shell - it was quickly returned to terra firma

Hermit Crab almost out of its shell - it was quickly returned to terra firma

Ruddy Turnstones and Grey-tailed Tattlers on the rocks by the beach

Ruddy Turnstones and Grey-tailed Tattlers on the rocks by the beach

Eastern Reef Egret

Eastern Reef Egret

We then drove to Cootenbrand Creek, a short way along the beach, where there was good fishing, good birdlife and, walking along to the sea, more birds and shells - a pretty good, unplanned, stop. I have been unable to find the origin of the creek's name.

0b9bec60-da69-11e9-a654-b3120c77ab39.jpgTwo views of the creek

Two views of the creek

A couple of Brolgas made a brief appearance near the creek

A couple of Brolgas made a brief appearance near the creek

Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

The fishing is good!

The fishing is good!

A scattering of Sea Urchin cases cast up on the beach

A scattering of Sea Urchin cases cast up on the beach

Three Beach Stone-curlews

Three Beach Stone-curlews

Two Beach Stone-curlews in flight

Two Beach Stone-curlews in flight

One of the Sea Urchin cases, showing lovely markings

One of the Sea Urchin cases, showing lovely markings

Cape Keraudren is located at the southern end of Eighty Mile Beach and was charted in 1801 by a French expedition on which Pierre Francois Keraudren served as the ship's physician. Both the cape and an island further north were named after him.

In Port Hedland we stayed in a cabin at the Discovery Parks site, another comfortable stay. The town is named after Swedish-born Captain Peter Hedland who, in April 1863, anchored his cutter Mystery in a natural harbour which he named Mangrove Harbour. At the time Hedland was searching for a suitable place to land stock that his vessel was carrying. The area is known as Marapikurrinya ('place of good water' or the hand-like shape of the tidal creeks) by the local Aboriginal people. (Aussie Towns). The port is the highest tonnage port in Australia and is the main fuel and container receiver in the area and a hub for the export of iron ore from the Pilbara.

There were a few birds to be seen around our cabin which was perched on a cliff overlooking the beach. After doing a supplies shop, and a bit of window shopping, in South Hedland, we headed back to Koombana Park in Port Hedland for some late afternoon photography. The park is named after the SS Koombana which vanished, with all 150 people aboard, during a tropical cyclone just off Port Hedland in 1912 - a bad year for shipping as the SS Titanic was also lost that year! Three years earlier, the SS Koombana had been the first ship to moor at the newly-opened jetty at Port Hedland. The ship derived its name from a Nyoongar name for a bay at Bunbury. The ship had had a short and chequered career before disappearing.

The park itself is not large but has a pleasant palm tree-lined walk along the clifftop, with access to the beach below, and a nice shady grassed area behind the path.

A Peaceful Dove near our cabin

A Peaceful Dove near our cabin

Rainbow Bee-eater near our cabin

Rainbow Bee-eater near our cabin

Palm trees line the path by Koombana Park

Palm trees line the path by Koombana Park

20190609_IMG_5478.jpgA paraglider flew back and forth enjoying the sunset

A paraglider flew back and forth enjoying the sunset

A bulk carrier waiting to berth

A bulk carrier waiting to berth

Black-shouldered Kite hovering

Black-shouldered Kite hovering

The last golden glow

The last golden glow

As we set out for Karijini, we passed an enormously long ore train (a common sight in the area) and also had a brief glimpse, on the outskirts of the town, of huge white pyramids of salt at the Dampier salt works. Other visitors are advised to make time for a visit to the latter as, apart from being photogenic, it is very interesting and nice to know where products that we use actually come from.

Part of one of the ore trains

Part of one of the ore trains

One of the pyramids of salt

One of the pyramids of salt

View of the salt works

View of the salt works

On our way down to Karijini, we stopped at Two Camel Creek Rest Area. This is quite a large area where 24 hour stopping is allowed, free of charge, but full facilities are not provided. For us, this was a coffee stop and a chance to stretch our legs and look at the bush, which looked pretty bare but on closer inspection had many flowers.

Flower of Corchorus laniflorus

Flower of Corchorus laniflorus

Flowers of Single Leaf Indigo (Indigofera monophylla)

Flowers of Single Leaf Indigo (Indigofera monophylla)

Flowers of Dwarf Myall (Acacia ancistrophylla)

Flowers of Dwarf Myall (Acacia ancistrophylla)

Small succulent-like plant with small white flowers

Small succulent-like plant with small white flowers

Closer view of the flowers on the small shrub

Closer view of the flowers on the small shrub

Interesting yellow wildflower, a small very open and sparse shrub

Interesting yellow wildflower, a small very open and sparse shrub

I bit further on we stopped at a viewpoint where we started to get a flavour of what was next to come in the Pilbara.

Getting into some more interesting country

Getting into some more interesting country

On our way to the viewpoint

On our way to the viewpoint

A lovely Ghost Gum near the shelter at the viewpoint

A lovely Ghost Gum near the shelter at the viewpoint

Ghost Gum below the cliff at the viewpoint

Ghost Gum below the cliff at the viewpoint

Wider view from the viewpoint

Wider view from the viewpoint

We then reached Karijini Eco Retreat where we settled into our comfortable tent. In the evening we had an excellent meal at the restaurant, luckily close to a heater as it was getting chilly. We chose our coldest night there to try out some star photography. I had no success but Judith managed to save the day with what I think is a rather nice one for our first real attempt (we had made a half-hearted attempt at Mt Ive in South Australia a couple of years ago but we did not have remote releases and under-exposed some shots, getting virtually nothing or got streaks from longer exposures. We shall try again sometime - when we find another dark sky!

The road into Karijini National Park

The road into Karijini National Park

We were spoiled for photogenic trees

We were spoiled for photogenic trees

Our Eco-tent

Our Eco-tent

Nice sleeping/living area - flap by the table leads to 'al fresco' bathroom area - very cold in the evening and morning!

Nice sleeping/living area - flap by the table leads to 'al fresco' bathroom area - very cold in the evening and morning!

Neighbouring tents were mainly empty

Neighbouring tents were mainly empty

The dining area - open all around and, in spite of heaters, we needed fleeces for comfort

The dining area - open all around and, in spite of heaters, we needed fleeces for comfort

Part of the Milky Way from outside our tent

Part of the Milky Way from outside our tent

Posted by SteveJD 15:41 Archived in Australia Tagged birds coast seashells beachcombing western_australia port_hedland eighty_mile_beach cape_keraudren Comments (1)

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