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From the Bush to the City - Day 12 n 13

Recooping In Newman

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Today was another travel day as we made our way to the metropolis of Newman. On the way we passed massive haul trains with 4 -5 trailers attached making passing them an exercise in caution. The countryside is dotted with mining activity and plenty of Toyotas, with their ubiquitous flags flying, driving back and forth ensuring that one doesn't nod off.
Newman, which we haven't visited for years, was a different place. It was bustling with tourists, people in their high vis gear and the odd local with school holiday- tired children. It certainly has more oomph that 10 odd years ago and I believe that the mining companies have bought the remaining caravan parks to house their staff, as they are returning to the days of leaving staff in the town instead of fly-in fly-out. As a result we campers have a smaller choice of accommodation. Newman.jpg
Our campsite for the two nights was at the back of a motel complex that catered for the mining fraternity. Caravans were catered for at the back in a section that is currently treeless and bare ground without any redeeming features. This meant that the caravans heading further north only stayed the night so there was massive movement every morning as they all got out before the rush. We stayed the two nights in an area of natural bush some distance from the complex. Still we had free showers, washing machines, telephone contact etc and were able to have a grand 3 course meal of soup, roast chicken, pork, beef or what not and dessert of a variety of ice creams, assorted sweets and finally fruit and many cheeses. This was like Christmas, and for $25 we waddled out swearing off food for a day.
We did experience some downside when one of our lot had the old sleeping bad which was storing his dried clothes stolen and he eventually found his clothes hidden in a used towel trolley. Apparently one of the regular mining blokes had some of his work clothes stolen as well.
Time in Newman involved checking out the supermarkets for replenishment and hardware stores for hoses, lights etc. We had a win at the op shop where everything was for a dollar so we availed ourselves of several books. We visited the Information Centre where we sampled the delights of a Devonshire tea - cold scones with dairywhip cream - along with the group which had just finished the tour through the open pit mine.
After exhausting the delights of the shops, we took a ride out to visit Ophthalmia Dam which, although owned by BHP, is accessible to the public for swimming etc. Given the amount of warnings - Ophthalmia Dam water is prone to contamination by a range of viruses, bacteria, toxic algae and other harmful microorganisms and mosquitoes are common near the dam and may be carrying Ross River Virus or Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus, which are harmful to human, we decided on a cuppa and a wander. There were many birds there and the area was set out with covered barbies etc so it was a lovely place to stop off for a break.20180709_144115.jpg49508c50-a202-11e8-b53e-9b79f3c69c24.jpg20180710_111819.jpg
A couple of the others took off to visit a couple of gorges that are in the surrounding area but got lost and ended up at an amazing Aboriginal "Museum" of hundreds of petroglyphs or "rock art" - Wanna Munna. As many of the sign posts have been removed their trip wasn't as easy as others but they did get time to wander around the hill checking out the artwork. On our bucket list next trip.
In the evening we did drive up Radio Hill which provided us with a bird's eye view of the town which appeared neat and orderly compared to previous visits. We also had a Chinese /Thai meal which was freshly cooked and as we were the only guests, we had great service. Enough of this city life, tomorrow back out to the bush.

Posted by Toot'speak 20:49 Archived in Australia Tagged dam dam. newman opthalmia

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