The Great Budget 4wd Trip Around Australia – Week 16

Australia, Cygnet Bay, Horizontal Waterfall


Seriously, the country of Australia really is a never ending catalogue of ridiculously beautiful scenery!

I can’t imagine how it will get better every day, but it just keeps happening.

Somehow it might even be possible that there are nicer places down the West coast, but to top the Kimberley region is going to be seriously difficult!

A big part of our trip was all about getting to the west coast, largely to see Broome, and last week we finally made it – and before the wet season too!

As such, this week heralded a change of direction.

After seeing Broome and the Dampier Peninsular, it’s time to start heading south along the Western Australian coast to Perth.

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Distance Travelled:

We just tipped over the 14,000km mark this week. It sounds like a long way and it is, but it goes by very quickly!

FYI: 14,000km is roughly the same distance as flying London to Darwin and a little bit further than driving London to Cape Town!

Spot of the Week:
Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

This is one of the most unique places we’ve visited so far. History, heritage, nature, bush, beach and adventure all combined!

Check out my full review of Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm here.

Camp of the Week:
Discovery Park – Port Hedland

Tip of the Week:
Sand Pegs!

If you are a camper, or use an awning at all, then we definitely recommend always carrying sand pegs.

For a long time, I wondering what the big yellow plastic things were that the boy insisted on having in our kit, but now I know what they are and why we need them – the good old ordinary tent peg is useless in sand or soft ground!

I discovered all this when we returned to Quondong Point for the second time. This time, we camped right in the sand and  without the sand pegs, there’s no way we would have been able to put out and secure our awning – a serious necessity when there is no other shade and it’s 38 + degrees!

Disaster of the Week:
Hurting my back while jumping off the car was the definite low point of the week.

As part of our pack-down routine, I normally jump up on the roof and tuck in the rooftop tent as G folds it over. We have done this over 80 times and never had an issue  … until this week.

With the job done, I climbed down as normal and then jumped off the bonnet, but BAM. I jarred my back and could barely move!

Luckily we were headed to civilisation (Port Hedland) that morning and I managed to get in for a massage and some Bowen therapy to sort it out.

Although feeling much better instantly, there was definitely no climbing on the roof for a week. Poor G, had to put the tent up and down on his own!

The Budget ($ AUD):
Fuel – $249.38
Groceries – $121.00
Camping Fees – $0.00
Coffee – $40.00
Laundry – $8.00
Hardware/car – $27.00
Total – $445.38

WOW, our best week yet! Largely Due to ZERO camping fees!


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Day 1 – Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm, Dampier Peninsula, WA


Didn’t I start telling you how amazing this place was last week?! Well, it got even better on our second day!

You know, for example, that your Pearl Farm Tour is going to be seriously special when your guide actually grew up on the farm, even going to school right on the water’s edge, with the current generation of owners.

Terry, our guide, was a 3rd generation worker on the farm, with his father and grandfather being part of the team in the farm’s infancy.

You just can’t get better than that when you’re learning how mother nature and man work together to create beautiful pearls.

The tour was super informative and a lot of fun; topped off with that level of personal history and proud passion, it was absolutely delightful.

But our day was just getting started, after lunch and another swim in the infinity pool, we were off again on another tour.

This time, on the ocean, via a very fast boat, to explore the striking coastline and a very unique natural phenomena that only happens in this part of the world.

You just can’t describe what it is like to see the world’s largest tropical tidal movement in full flow aboard a 500 horsepower rib.

With a tide that moves 13 metres over a 6 hour window, the water movement is seriously dramatic.

If you take into account that it takes a while for the tide to get into full swing and towards the end of low tide the volume of water is less, it means that somewhere in the middle of the cycle, you can actually witness a 4 metre drop of water depth in an hour.

Now just imagine that water running over and off the edge of the coral and you’ve got yourself a reef waterfall. Sat only a few metres away, it is one of nature’s greatest shows!

Our skipper also took us on a joy ride through and around the gurgling whirlpools, some of which were up to 10m across and are also formed purely by the speed of the outgoing tide.

Remember this phenomenon only happens in 3 places in the whole world, and all of them are in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.

This is what you get to see on the Waterfall Reef Safari tour from Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and believe me folks, it’s an absolute must!


Day 2 – Quondong Point, WA


We couldn’t help ourselves!

Quondong Point was just so beautiful the first time, we had to return here and set up camp again for a few more nights.

We had an extra bonus this time, a full moon!

What a treat to be able to watch the sunset over the ocean and then have a giant full moon rise as well, all while sitting on the edge of a beautiful Western Australian beach.


Day 3 – Quondong Point, WA

If you are going to have a chill out for a day, then why not enjoy it at the beach on top of a dune with the Indian Ocean laid out in all its glory right in front of you?!


Day 4 – Goldwire Free Camp, WA

Unfortunately, our time at the beach had to end as we needed to start making some tracks south.

We made a stop in Broome again to do a shop, fuel up and have one more look at Cable Beach.

The boy didn’t really want to leave, but I assured him we would be back one day!

Western Australian official roadside free camps are pretty good. They always have plenty of picnic tables and the bigger ones have toilets as well.

Goldwire had both, along with the added bonus of being well off the road, which reduces the noise of the heavy road trains going past all night.


Day 5 – De Grey Free Camp, WA


Today was a pretty long day of driving, so we stopped in at a little caravan park on the beach halfway for a swim and a break.

WOW, picture perfect white sand and turquoise blue water set against the red, red dirt and sand dunes was what greeted  us as we made our way over the top of the hill.

This was 80 Mile Beach and a great spot to enjoy lunch, have a cold shower and replenish our fresh drinking water.


Day 6 – Port Hedland, WA


Famous for being a mining town, our entrance to Port Hedland was greeted by the massive piles of mined salt stacked up along the road! It was quite a site, especially coupled with the huge iron ore trains carrying their load to the even bigger boats awaiting them in the harbour.

Luckily, our caravan park at Discovery Parks – Port Hedland was removed from all this and located right on the beach, in the town’s best spot. This meant we got to see some fantastic sunrises and sunsets from here too.

The beach also offered some great walking and shell collecting activities and we loved watching the abundant bird life frolicking in the sea breeze.

Our campsite at Discovery Parks – Port Hedland also overlooked the main part of the iron ore loading facility in town and at night, when it was lit up, it was quite the spectacle … from a distance!


Day 7 – Port Hedland, WA


Another day to chill out at our fabulous campground at the beach.

We enjoyed a swim at Pretty Pool in high tide and also made use of the park’s lovely swimming pool.

It was a good chance to catch up on laundry duties too!

From here, we’re heading south to take in the wonders of Karijini National Park, so tuned folks!


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