Outback escape proves a real eye-opener for this intrepid journalist and his family
Shacked up with the family in a wind-up old Jayco in a car park at the Newman Visitor Centre was not quite the type of serenity I had in mind for a month-long escape from the city back out into the WA bush.
But with the Pilbara town’s caravan parks turned into strict FIFO hubs because of the coronavirus outbreak and the local footy oval filling up with vans with each passing minute, suddenly here we were.
The visitor centre staff seemed a little miffed that their precious tourist resources had been locked up by the mining companies. But not as much as me at 4.30am the next morning when the still air just outside my camper was filled with roaring V8 shift arrivals and that unmistakeable beeping of reversing work vehicles.
Then, after some helpful service from the Newman Home Hardware store attendant, I got myself the last power converter on the shelf, plugged the van into the visitor centre and rebooted the trip.
By design, we had started the first fortnight of the journey more than a week earlier, travelling first through the Wheatbelt and Goldfields to miss the mayhem of school holidayers down the WA coast. That decision provided some decent quiet and space to move, but it also coincided with some serious cold — like the one-degree morning in Menzies.
We were pleasantly-surprised, on our first of 13 stops, when we got the the nicely-manicured Merredin Tourist Park. They have clearly done the right thing to try and bounce out of the COVID catastrophe and the nearby Merredin Military Museum, while quaintly under-sung, was also an unexpected bonus.
It is a world away from Melbourne’s famous Lygon Street and the ocker bloke behind the desk inside was was definitely no tout trying to lure you in. But it does have an extensive, albeit modestly-arranged, collection of war artefacts well worth seeing.
Then it was off to Kalgoorlie — still home of the skimpies and, or course, the aptly-named “Super Pit”. There needs to be little said about the former, but one passing comment about the latter would be that if you’re going to bother to inform local accommodation outlets that the daily mine blast is going to be at 2pm, please don’t detonate it 10 to 15 minutes earlier.
Read the full story here.
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