GOLD! They struck gold at Halls Creek, and no wonder with such an awesome name! For the uninitiated, Elly’s maiden name is Hall! This monument was erected for a miner called “Russian Jack” who pushed his gravely injured friend in his cart for 300kms to receive medical attention, and it saved his life!
Struggle town: not having phone service to be able to book accommodation ahead of time when you need to!
Called “The only caravan park on the beach” when we had a spec of service to see if they had anything available. They said they had heaps of spots to come and have a look. I asked when reception closed, and it was 6pm. I asked if there was any facility to arrive after then, as I estimated we would arrive just after 6 and the lovely gentleman said, “yeah sure, there’s a night manager here and they can sort you out”.
We arrived at 5.50pm and went to reception to find a gruff lady there complaining that we have left booking in until the last minute and that she is closing at 6. I explained that the gentleman on the phone had said they had plenty of spaces for us to choose from and that arriving after hours was no problem. She wanted us to pay for the night then without checking it out but we said we wanted to have a look. She warned us that we had better hurry. After a brisk 2 minute walk around the ground we couldn’t even find a single camping spot available in the designated area. We decided we would have to find other camping arrangements while we were walking back past reception, and we found that the lady had already closed the office and it was 5.55pm!
We then headed up to an off-road section of free camps listed in the Camps 7 book near Willie Creek Pearl Farm. We didn’t want to arrive there so late and find it full and that’s why we had gone to a caravan park first (the devil!). After 2 hours of driving around, we failed to find a suitable camping spot and drove back east to the Roebuck Plains Roadhouse. We couldn’t bare the effort of unpacking everything for the night, so we coughed up $125 to stay in one of their cells for the night. It was clean with shared amenities, but not the kind of money we were looking to spend overnight!
We went back to Broome in the morning to check out some other caravan parks and didn’t find anything suitable. It seems that campers in caravan parks are predominantly backpackers in tiny tents or in campervans and there is rarely any facility for larger tents or families.
We went for a walk along the beach which was nice, but with nowhere to stay in town we were going to have to drive a bit further south. Walking back up the sand dunes to the truck we came across several old fires with a tonne of broken glass and little zip lock baggies with colourful labels on them…nice.
Satisfied that we were not heartbroken to be finding somewhere else to stay, we headed south to give Barn Hill a go.
Barn Hill. Three words. Am-a-zing!
If we hadn’t been so unmotivated to unload the bikes and stock up with more supplies, we would have stayed here a week! We did stay for 3 nights though, and it was a great recovery from the recent driving.
The weathered sandstone and rugged coastline of this place is just spectacular! We stayed in a non-powered site up on the hill which has good access to the beach. There isn’t much shade in this area, but there is a tonne of shade in the powered or generator section. We spent our days walking up part of the 42km beach and sat in the shade of an overhanging piece of sandstone. We watched some lucky people pull in a fish or two, but plenty of people not catch anything and generally had a relaxing time.
The camping fees are very reasonable ($12pp/n) and booking in is pleasantly completed on arrival at the property. There is a shop selling basic necessities and they have many planned activities and meals throughout the week. The hot water for the showers is sourced through long coils of black pipe where the water sits in the sun to warm up! Most of the showers and toilets are roofless which gives a cool outdoors feeling. We did find we got a little sunburnt in the shower though! There is a proper amenities building with laundry facilities closer to the reception area. Many of the campers up on the hill had big rig bus set ups and we chatted to a few families. The general consensus was that each had a bad experience in Broome over the years and had decided to come to Barn Hill instead, and now they keep coming back and simply love it. After our brief encounter in Broome ourselves, we could relate. With so many fantastic places to see and stay in Australia, it doesn’t take much for a bad experience to leave a black mark on your memory!