Updated: Nov 18, 2018
After Karijini we decided to detour up to Dampier and Karratha for two reasons...
We went into the info centre in Tom Price to grab a permit to drive on the Rio Tinto shortcut road. You simply have to watch a 20 minute safety video and make a donation to the ‘Royal Flying Doctor Service’.
All topped up with fuel we headed off. The permit road is right beside a train line, which has 1km long iron ore* trains running every 20 minutes both directions. The road itself was in pretty good condition considering its dirt. After the rio tinto road finished we were driving on the millstream road for 40km and it was a shocker! Definitely not recommend towing a van on that road. We’re surprised we had no major issues considering how much everything was shaking.
We headed straight to the local van park in Dampier. It was a small park but was right across from the beach and good bang for our buck⛺. We put the aircon on and settled in for an early night. The next day we headed back to the entrance of dampier, so Rusty could get a photo with Red Dog! She was a little unsure of the statue at first, but warmed up to the bronze canine. That was one of our reasons to visit Dampier.
Our next reason, was in Karratha. We headed straight to KFC!🍗🍟Yep, thats right, this was our second reason for the detour. Kurt is a huge KFC fan and hadn’t had any since Darwin. It’d been a long 72 day drought😂. We must confess, that we both had KFC twice while in town for 3 days🤫. We had a good look around town and caught up on a little retail therapy.
Getting ready for our next leg, down to Exmouth!
Exmouth & Ningaloo Station
We finally made it into Exmouth! With not to much research, we decided to stay at a van park in Exmouth for 2 nights. That quickly turned into 4 nights when we realised how much there was to see around the area.
For our first night, we caught up with our good mates Blaine & Shenaid from CamperAustralis for dinner at the local BBQ Fathers restaurant. The next day, we dusted off our bikes and visited the local sunday markets in the park, and had a look around town. In the afternoon, we decided to ride up to the Marina for a spot of fishing. Unfortunately no fish were caught, so rode home and got ready for our brewery tour.
Our first spot, was to the Whalebone Brewery. We order a tasting pallet and sat outside in the beer garden. A local musician was playing his guitar and it made for a really nice relaxing atmosphere. We then moved onto our next stop, Froth Craft Brewery. Another great little brewery and a nice chilled vibe. After sampling the local beers and choosing our favourites, we had a quick game of foosball (where we kicked Blaine & Shenaid butts!) before sensibly walking home to make ourselves dinner.
For our third and forth day, we day tripped into Cape Range National Park. Visiting Charlie’s knife canyon, Turquoise Bay, Oysters Stacks. We also explored the northern part of exmouth around the lighthouse, spotted the Mildura shipwreck and did some relaxing around Bundegi beach. We also stocked up on supplies, ready for our next leg.
We had teamed up with CamperAustralis to hire a tinnie from exmouth for a week! Yewww Kurt was so excited. On our fifth day in Exmouth, we picked up the tinnie (which Blaine & Shenaid towed) and headed down to Ningaloo Station. We had booked a site at Winderabandi Point, as we had heard it was protected and a nice easy beach to launch the tinnie from. The road into the station, was quite corrugated but with the right tyre pressure and driving speeds, it was fine.
It cost us $75 per couple for a week! Bloody bargain and it was dog friendly. We spent 6 nights there, out on the tinnie every day trying to land those ‘big fish’. Although we did catch some fish, it was a little disappointing that we didn’t land any monsters or get continual bites. The boys ended up catching and cooking up a cod & a trevally. Shenaid got the biggest catches straight off the beach, landing two queenies at 75cm each.
Our good mates the Roving Russo’s were also camped right next to us. Which meant lots of campfires, chitchats & card games throughout the week. We made the decision to extend the tinnie hire by a day and go try some different spots. We packed up and headed to Exmouth Gulf station for a night. We arrived at midday, and launched the tinnie straight off the beach. In the first hour on the water, Blaine landed 2 squid! We also watched a massive manta ray hover around the boat. Its wing span would of been 2 metres at least! Unfortunately no fish, just squid for dinner!
That night, both boys did some more research for our final day with the tinnie. It was decided we would launch it near Learmonth Jetty and try our luck at some local shoals. Out for a good few hours, we had many bites but no luck landing a fish. Although a little disheartened with our fishing expedition, we all learned alot! Plus we saw an abundous of sea life and whales over our 8 days on the water.
We all helped clean the tinnie and dropped it back, before heading to a van park in Exmouth for a nice hot shower and clean out.
For those interested, to hire the tinnie it cost $500 for the week. Split that between two couples and we each paid $250 for the week. Great value if you’re in the exmouth area!
Next stop Coral Bay!