Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Great Northern Highway - Days 10 &11

The Great Northern Highway links Perth to the outback mining towns and northwest ports.  It is lesser used by tourists than the coastal route, but traffic was nonetheless just as busy.  We passed oncoming road trains up to 50 metres in length and with 3, 4, and even sometimes 5 trailers in tow with all sorts of construction camp and mine supplies.  When passing a road train, the rule of thumb is to use at least 1 km of clear roads ahead... and try doing that at night!  Top right pic is Mt. Whaleback near Newman, it's one of the richest iron ore deposits in the world.  And on the right is me standing in front of Newman Senior High School, where my current principal, Mrs. Caudle taught for 15 years and my exchange partner also taught there for a few years before coming to Harvey.  If you would like to see the Australian perspective of Western Canada, check out Mr. Spragg's blog at...

Above left is a dry river bed that was right beside our roadhouse accommodation.  It ran directly across the highway as well.  As with most roads in the north, a road sign would warn drivers that a dip is ahead and possible flood way.  It's too expensive to build up the roads and put in culverts or bridges everywhere where water could be only a few times during the year.  Above right, is another post-mine camp ATCO trailer serving as a motel behind Kumarina Roadhouse.
Where else would a guy pee when the next town is 200 km away and no bush in sight?
We stopped at a pretty picnic spot outside of Meekatharra.  Again, we had to use our 4x4, but well worth the short drive.  The giant granite boulders in Peace Gorge provided plenty of climbing opportunities for the boys and entertainment.  Good thing - no snakes!
Next stop was Cue, a former gold rush town at the turn of the last century.  At one time there was 4000 people with all the modern conveniences, like electricity and a booming economy.  Now it's a sleepy little village of 300 with some neat old architecture.  Soon, we got back in the Suzuki for another drive.

The last stop of the day before our sheep station stay was at an aboriginal site near Mt. Magnet.  If we knew what to look for, we would of found hand stencils, rock art, and pictoglyphs.  But, all we saw was roo poo and more rocks to climb.  Next time we'll hire a guide.

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