Travelling Australia - Journal 2006
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31 July 2006 - Broome to Fitzroy Crossing

Location map Another bright and sunny day for our departure from Broome after a three week stay; this was the longest we have stayed at one place in our travels and Broome remains one of our favourite places to visit. We were quickly on the Broome Highway leading out of town to join the Great Northern Highway at the Roebuck roadhouse. Traffic on the Northern Highway was surprisingly heavy; at any time there was usually at least one vehicle in sight going towards Broome and we passed a number of caravans, campervans, motorhomes or camping trailers heading towards Broome. Five or six passed us every fifteen minutes.

The road was not quite up to the normal standard for WA country highways; it was generally fair but had some bouncy patches. The highway passed through vegetation of tall shrubs (three to four metres) with trees up to five or six metres. Trees and scrubs were generally quite thick and we could rarely see very far off the road. Speargrass grew thickly along both sides of the road. The vegetation north of Broome was taller and thicker than that south of Broome. Termite nests were widespread; sometimes in thick patches. Nests were in two forms; broad, tapering, rounded ones about two metres high and nearly as broad at the base and narrower ones with sharp edges. After we crossed the Logue River between Broome and Derby we were in boab country and often saw these distinctive trees in clusters.

There were plenty of signs of scrub fires along the highway; fire is a recognised land management tool and pastoralists and national parks people have adopted the traditional aboriginal practice of setting fires to get rid of old growth and encourage new growth. A favourite way of starting fires is to drop fire-starters (a combination of hydrocarbon and phosphorus) from helicopters.

Arriving at Fitzroy Crossing we turned in to the caravan park (which doesn't accept bookings); we checked in for three nights and were told to find our own powered site. The place was informally laid out and it was hard to tell which sites were vacant but we finally found a reasonable one and set up with the awning and one end of the annex to shade the afternoon sun. Bugs were quite bad after sunset but our Mortein bug stuff killed them in the van in an hour or so. Shortly after setting up I drove into Fitzroy Crossing to the Coles Express petrol station and filled up (65 litres) with unleaded at 155.9 c/l (after the 4 cents discount). Surprisingly the resort/caravan park had petrol for sale at a competitive price (158.9 cents per litre) which was one cent lower than the Coles Express pump price.

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