12 Day WA Coach Tour With Outback Spirit
Commenced 18th Aug 2012
Others may have different opinions
but this is the way I saw things. I genuinely liked everyone on the trip and had
many long and interesting discussions with most people. Anything I say about anyone
is purely in fun. Some information I got from others on the trip. I may have
enhanced some of the information I gathered. Anything that is blatantly
incorrect please let me know. All photos referenced have been converted to a
smaller size for faster downloading.
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Ann & Rick
Ian & Jenny (Father & daughter)
Mary & Les
Alistair & Di
Jenny & Garth
June & Bev (Friends)
Sue & Brian
Edwy & Jessie
Patsy & Ian
Jocelyn & Alan
Trish & Alison (Friends)
Graeme & Barbara
26 Australians, 14 Women and 12 Men.
John and Jen were the driver and
tour guide respectively.
See this photo of John and
this photo of
Jen. They did a fantastic job. Thank you.
Broome to Perth via the Pilbara, Karijini and Ningaloo.
4,800km on the bus.
There were a few:
Zanders restaurant in Broome had
In the newly built resort at
Exmouth. Excellent food and service.
The buffet dinner in the restaurant
in the motel at Carnarvan was very good.
The best selection of buffet food was in the
Atrium restaurant in the Burswood Casino although the quality of food was not
The Price of Accommodation
Very expensive in most mining towns. There is not enough accommodation for
the tradesmen required to build the infrastructure in these towns. In Port Headland houses were
$2,500/week. There were caravans in many properties housing people. Some
roadhouses had rows of dongas at the rear as a way of making extra money.
One night we stayed at Pardoo Station near Pt Headland in dongas. They were
adequate. It was too expensive for us to stay in Port Headland. Pardoo has 80
dongas used by tourists and mine workers.
Karijini National Park. Stayed in ECO tents. See
this photo. Myself and Don swam in the pool
below the Fortescue waterfall. There were lots of people there because it is
easy to get too. The water was warm. Spent some time driving to
various lookouts. From one lookout, we could see people at the bottom of the Joffre gorge near a lovely waterfall. At reception, we asked how to get down
there and myself, Don and Jenny walked and clambered into the gorge and swam in
the waterhole beneath the waterfall and sat under the waterfall. See
this photo. It
is not easy to get into the gorge so there was only a few there. The setting was
but the water was very cold.
On the second evening, some went star gazing. We did not go but others said it
What Surprised Me
The number of people that traverse this route. At Exmouth, all the caravan
parks were full and we passed heaps of caravans on the road. The reality is that
there is not that much to see and what there is too see is not that interesting.
At a rail crossing between Millstream and Karratha we had to wait for an ore
train to pass pulling 236 ore trucks.
Jen, our guide. At Carnarvan, we had the adjoining motel room and I heard her
playing the guitar and singing. Listen
to this (45 secs). Note that
depending on the security settings in your browser, the music file may be
blocked from playing.
Was very bad inland. In particular, Karijini had unmade roads and the red
dust was bad. I washed the dust off the solar hot water units at the rear of our
ECO tent. The phone box near the restaurant was powered by solar panels but the
panels were covered in dust. See
Nevertheless, Ann was able to make a call. See
Overlooking Eagle Bluff near Denham. I have never seen one this good. See
The Collected Wisdom
Our children hassle us about the ages of our fellow passengers and how
boring it would be. On the contrary, I tell them, these people have all lived a
long and interesting life and have many things to talk about. Much better
than empty headed young people.
A few minor issues.
Two of the consoles that hold the
lights and air conditioning outlets fell down. We pushed them
into the cavity above and later John did a makeshift repair. The next day water droplets
started forming and dropping down so umbrellas were used. See
John had new batteries fitted to the
bus in Tom
One of the window blinds was
The toilet light was not initially
connected and some of us had to pee in the dark.
Jen (our guide) on the Mount Whaleback tour. See
this photo. She had a good
excuse though, the previous evening she had visited her son who lives in Newman.
There are Frogs in the Toilet
At the Karijini ECO Resort they were hiding under the toilet seat and
climbed down into the bowl when the seat was lifted. See
this photo. I was
worried they would be flushed away but they hung on.
Most Expensive Fuel
At Nanutarra roadhouse between Dampier and Exmouth.194.9c for unleaded,
205.9c for premium unleaded and 145.9 for LPG.
Monkey Mia. Not a town but a resort. Smaller and not as exotic as I
expected. Feeding the dolphins was interesting. See
this photo of Di
feeding them which was very well controlled and
orchestrated. Would have liked to see only children invited to feed the
dolphins. Beach average. We went out on a catamaran to see some dugongs but only
saw a few shadows in the water. See
Nevertheless, it was a pleasant afternoon on the boat.
The Things You Find
We took this
photo of a bed cover in one of the places we stayed in. Exactly the same as
one we have at home..
We took this photo in the sand on Cable Beach
(Broome) near Zanders restaurant.
Coral Bay. Pleasant little town. Lovely beach. We went out to the Ningaloo reef in a
glass bottomed boat and some of us snorkelled. First time snorkelling for Ann
and myself. Saw lots of interesting marine life from the glass bottomed boat.
Water was warm and the swimming was very pleasant. Much better than I expected.
Best and Worst
Very impressed with Tom Price.
Clean, modern and green.
Newman was a little rundown. In
particular, the shopping complex was very untidy. We were treated to some
fireworks in the evening near the motel we were staying in.
Coral Bay was much better than I
Geraldtown surprised me. Relatively
clean and a lovely waterfront area.
A couple of days we had lovely salad rolls. See
of Ann and others at Hamelin Pool and
this photo of
lunch at The Pinnacles.
Tony was given a room in Karratha
but there was already someone in it.
Barbara & June slept in at Pardoo
Mary & Les must have ticked the
wrong box somewhere because they had single beds until we got to Carnarvan.
Ann lost the end of a cotton bud in
her ear. At Tom Price, during the morning break, we walked to the local hospital
and a nurse removed it. The nurse reminded her that you should never put
anything larger than your elbow in your ear.
The most luxurious was in the newly built resort in Exmouth (see
this photo of Ann). Most places
were very good. In Karijini National Park, we stayed in "ECO tents"
(see this photo), very
similar to ones we have previously stayed in at Emma Gorge (WA) and in Namibia
Biggest Phone User
Jenny. She got tied up with some work issue and was seen using her mobile on
numerous occasions. See
By the lady at Pearl Luggers in Broome. Last time we were in Broome we also
went to Pearl Luggers and the guy giving the talk did an excellent job. See
Thinnest Toilet Paper
Pardoo Station. See also
Ann took this
photo at Exmouth.
They Tricked the Pelican
At Monkey Mia, a pelican flew in at dolphin feeding time expecting to get a
feed of fish The staff were ready for him and lured him up the beach and away
from the dolphins with a fake bucket of fish. See
They sit with You
Outback Spirit staff sit with you at meal times and join in the discussions.
We have taken a few overseas bus trips and it is the policy that the
driver/guide deliberately do not sit with you.
this photo of me on the pier at sunrise at Monkey Mia. I took
this photo of Ann at
Gantheame Point, near Broome.
Things are Big and Long
See these photos.
The Price of Laundry
At Karijini ECO resort the laundry is sent to Perth (1,900km one way). All
of the local laundries are already at full capacity with laundry from the mine
workers. Also, local laundries did not clean too the standard required at the
At the motel in Karratha, we washed our red dust caked clothes and put up a
clothes line in the trees outside our room. The wind was blowing and they dried
Se this photo taken at Monkey Mia.
I get annoyed at restaurants that cannot remember who ordered what. They
come out with meals asking who ordered this particular dish. When they take the
order, it should be recorded who ordered what and where they are sitting. The
good restaurants brought out meals and gave them directly to the person who
Restaurant in the Karratha motel.
The meal was average but there was a very long wait between courses. Breakfast
was good but you had to ask for hot water for your tea or coffee (bit strange).
In Geraldtown, the restaurant did
not serve dinner, so we want across the road to "Skeeters". The vegetables were
not cooked and there was too much batter on the fish. Not very impressed.
The fishing at Pardoo Station is "so good that you have to hide behind a tree
whilst baiting the hook".
So You Want to See The
Wildflowers In WA
On our trip we stopped a few times to look at the wildflowers but there were
not that many. I suggest you go to Kings Park in Perth. See
We did take
photo of the Sturt Desert Pea at Millstream.
Interesting Signs, Sculptures and
Best Poem Writer
Jen, our guide. She wrote a lovely poem about all of us. Click
here to see
what she wrote.
Except John the driver. That was good.
Most Solar Panels
In Carnarvan, I saw
completely covered in panels.
Best Morning Tea
Actually, they were all good.
Least Appetising Lunch
At Denham, we had pastries. Others said they liked them but the pie I had
was full of gristle. See
this photo of everyone crowding around the table
getting their pastries.
Other Significant Things We Did
A guided tour of Port Headland by a
A talk and DVD at the visitor centre
Looked at the Red Dog memorial
between Karratha and Dampier.
A tour of the Mount Whaleback mine
facilities in Newman.
A walk around the visitor centre at
A walk around the Millstream visitor
centre, gardens and pools.
Walked around the lighthouse in
Visited the Tourist Information
Centre in Denham;
Looked at the stromatolites from the
boardwalk near Hamelin Pool.
Had a talk about the old telegraph
station at Hamelin Pool.
Visited the HMAS Sydney memorial in
Visited the Pinnacles near
this wide angle
photo of The Pinnacles.
What is New with Outback Spirit
Nothing. This is our 5th trip with them and we noticed no changes since our
6/10 Stars. It is not the fault of Outback Spirit but this was the least
interesting of the five trips we have done with them. There is just not that
many interesting things to see and there are long distances between whatever there is to
see. Nevertheless, this trip is one that every Australian has to do. My rating
does not factor in the excellent company we had on the trip.
What could be done differently
Not much. At Karijini ECO resort there was externally offered a "stargazing"
evening activity. This could be incorporated into the Outback Spirit itinerary.
To everyone on the trip. We had many interesting discussions. You all contributed to making it an enjoyable event.