After a relaxing week in Broome I drove further south. There are just two roadhouses on the 614 km stretch from Broome to Port Hedland. The first is the Sandfire Roadhouse. Altogether it is 323 km to get there.
However, there was soon a crackling sound in the area of my Pinion gearbox. I could switch easily, but the sound was strange. So I decided to cycle to the Barn Hill Station. The station is 140 km from Broome.
The last 9 km from the highway to the station are not paved and quite sandy. Once there, I immediately contacted the bike shop Leuthold at home. They told me to go back to Broome and check the bike in the workshop.
I hitchhiked back to Broome with a couple of people who also stayed at the station. At Andy from the Kimberley Cycles shop, we started looking for the cause of the problem.
Soon I realized that it’s not easy to identify a cracking sound on a bicycle. I regularly consulted with Tom from the Veloladen Leuthold. Because of the big time difference (6 hours to Switzerland) the communication was not always easy.
After 5 days of screwing, lubricating, phoning and puzzling we finally found the cause of the problem: The screws connecting the gearbox to the frame caused the noise. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to explore Broome a little closer.
In the years 1688 and 1699, the explorer William Dampier made the first explorations of the region with the HMS Roebuck. After this ship was also named the Roebuck Bay, where Broome is today. On November 21, 1883 Broome was founded. The namesake was the then governor of the colony of Western Australia, Frederick Broome.
When it became known that pearls were to be found on the seabed, Broome boomed through the rush of pearls and became the pearl capital of the southern hemisphere. The pearl industry of the place covered 80 percent of the world's mother-of-pearl demand. More than 5000 new settlers, mostly Chinese, Japanese, Aborigines and South Sea Islanders, were attracted.
In the Japanese Cemetery there are 600 tombs from the Pearl Bead era. Relieved, I cycled the 140 km stretch back to the Barn Hill Station. The bulk of my things I was allowed to store during my absence there in a container unit.
At this point I would like to thank some people very much for their help:
- Andy, from Kimberley Cycles in Broome for his fantastic work https://www.facebook.com/KimberleyCycles2016/.
- Tom, from the bike shop Leuthold for the many advices and hints https://veloladen-leuthold.ch/.
- The Tarangau Caravan Park, for the spontaneous organization of a campground http://www.tarangaucaravanpark.com/.
- The Barn Hill Station, for the safe storage of my luggage http://www.barnhill.com.au/.
- Lyn, Vicki, Barbara and Gary for my transport to Broome.
Without your help, I probably would not have made my onward journey. One rest day I spent at the Barn Hill Station and especially enjoyed the beautiful beach. Compared to the Cable Beach in Broome I found this beach a lot more natural and quiet.
The vegetation here on the coast became increasingly barren. Even in the middle of the outback, there are more plants. Although you are so close to the water. One main reason for this are the cyclones. In meteorology, cyclones are called the tropical storms in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific. In Australia and Indonesia, the cyclones are also traditionally called „Willy-Willy".
Mostly these arise between November and April. Continuous high wind speeds, up to 250 km/h, in gusts even over 350 km/h, are possible. As the temperatures reach around 35°C (95°F) around lunchtime, I get up at 3:30 am in the morning.
This allows me to handle most of the kilometers before the onset of the great heat. In addition, the mood just before dawn is fantastic and there is virtually no traffic around this time. It's not until 10:00 am, when all the caravan drivers wake up slowly, that it gets hectic on the streets. At the Sandfire Roadhouse I took a rest day and met another cyclist there.
Yoshiaki is from Japan and cycled from Melbourne through the Nullabour and then along the west coast http://karaage.biz/. He now wants to continue north and then cycle to Cairns.
We spent a day together at the Roadhouse and exchanged some information. He also starts his day as early as possible. So we started together the next day at 5:00 o'clock and drove in different directions.
Already 2 days later I reached South Hedland. The first town after over a week with a real supermarket. Since I can not transport fresh food because of the heat, I always enjoy the luxury of being able to eat fruits, vegetables and, above all, chocolate in such places.
On the campground another cyclist arrived on the first day. Chris comes from Adelaide, flew his bike to Geraldton and now wants to cycle home via the Kimberleys to Katherine and then down the Stuart Highway.
Unfortunately he had a lot of bad luck with the wind at his start. The headwind was so strong that he had to hitchhike nearly 600 km to South Hedland. Also here almost every day a strong wind blew from the north.
For me, this was ideal, because I'm traveling in the opposite direction. On the first part out of South Hedland I was particularly bothered by the many road trains. These supply the surrounding mines (Tom Price and Newman) to the harbor in Port Hedland.
Port Hedland is the most important trading center for iron ore in the region, which is shipped via the port there. The volume of iron ore exported has increased steadily since its inception in 1966. The volume of transhipment per year is on average 450 million tons. Since 2017, Port Hedland is the largest export port for bulk cargo worldwide.
But soon I turned off onto the North West Coastal Highway. The highway is the second longest in Western Australia (1,340 km) and runs partly in very lonely areas. Here in the north it leads through the Pilbara region.
The flowering season slowly begins in this region. Sometimes you can already see some flowers blooming. As a result, the landscape is no longer as barren as usual. However, finding camp sites is not always easy.
Most of the time I have to look for a dried up river bed. This is often the only place where shrubs and trees grow and you can hide. In addition, there are fences everywhere, which run parallel to the street in a few meters distance. I keep saying: "Australia is a very fency country“.
Thanks to the optimal tailwind, I arrived in Karratha after just two days. This is the last real town for me until I’m in Carnarvon. Thus, I recover briefly for a few days before it goes on.