Pilbara coast

More long distance driving across the Pilbara, firstly via Newman (which is a dump), Nullagine (which is hardly there at all) and Marble Bar (which is the hottest place in Australia, but bearable when we drop in).

Meentheena use to be a cattle station. When manganese mining started to the east, the road needed upgrading; apparently it was cheaper for the state to buy back the pastoral lease from the owners than to pay for a fence alongside the road. The station is currently leased by a veterans association, who are a fun bunch. We camp alongside the river, drive across the station to look at waterholes and fossils, and D2 wins a silly race held in lieu of the (cancelled) Marble Bar horse races. Other guests include mining surveyors, national parks staff and the aboriginal mob from up the coast. My guess is Meenthena will be a conservation reserve or national park fairly soon, with maybe a native title settlement also. If camping is allowed it will be quite different and somewhat restricted. We enjoy the place as it is for now.

Port Hedland is currently thriving, and a good place to refuel. Who knows what it will be like when the iron ore price inevitably drops. Boom and bust ...

Onwards to Pardoo Station campground. Huge wild beaches, with mangroves, shells, birds, great fishing (so I am told, I'm not a rod dangler), and 360 degree sunset views. The coast road (the only road really) continues north east, with the Great Sandy Desert to our right.

The final stop before the Kimberly proper is Barn Hill Station. Ocean view sites are a must. We eat great pizza, listening to the Saturday night entertainment (passable Neil Young covers). T and D2 have a stall at the weekly craft market, which is wildly successful, and pays for our stay.