Australia
BHP Billiton Marrapikurinya Park

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    • Day 177

      Port Headland and beyond.

      October 11, 2021 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

      It’s really great that the coast line in the Pilbara is stunning because National Highway 1 in these parts is quite frankly, very dull - except - for the road trains. 53meters long, up to 200 tonnes or 181,500 kg, some configurations have 25 axles, with up to 4 wagons attached, they are usually going 90kph and do not slow down for anyone unless you are holding a stop/go lollipop. If I see one coming in the rear view, I park up the van and wait. With just one exception of the incident Regina had while crossing the causeway over the Nicholson River at Doomadgee, the R.T. drivers haven’t yet lived up to their Spawn of Satan reputation.
      After Cape Keraudren we detoured into Port Headland. An amazing industrialised place. Everything is BIG. Everything is also red and dusty. Very iron ore dusted. We saw it for ourselves but it was verified by some public toilet graffiti - “F#+k The Dust!” It must get you down when you step out in your best white jeans. By necessity, most folk have opted for High Vis.
      Watching the 2k long ore trains coming in loaded and leaving empty was awe inspiring. The train movements and ship loading is a 24x7 operation. There is a nice pic of one of Rio Tinto ore train on their home page: https://www.riotinto.com/en/operations/australi…. Plus some other oversized toys.
      There was 26 bulk carriers out at sea awaiting access to the loading facilities in the harbour. All the big players have their own loading facility and there are 4 more ports south along the coast that I know about. (Port Samson where we are headed shortly for one). Quiz: If a single train can cary 29,000 tons, how long will it take to send the Pilbara to Asia?
      Who knew that Rio Tinto also mines Salt? Right on the outskirts of the town centre they are producing > 3 million tons annually of high grade salt for export. https://www.westernaustralia.com/en/Tour/Salt_E…
      The salt purification ponds are bigger than the International Airport at Port Hedland
      https://goo.gl/maps/QvmbtZQ5o6JDse7M9

      Out of Port Headland we head to another amazing free camp on a farmers property. Yule River Camp is on the river plain and has sites tucked in amongst the Melaleuca and River Gums. Beautiful, as are numerous Forrest Kingfisher and flocks of Blue Winged Kookaburra. These guys are just a bit prettier than the Laughing Kookaburra that we know so well on the NSW Central Coast, but, their call is a little more staccato, less rollicking, less musical and not as quintessentially Aussie (in my opinion).
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