Exmouth town only came into being in 1967 as a service centre for the communications facility built and operated jointly by the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. This facility is the largest VLF (very low frequency) antenna system in the world and is used to communicate with submerged submarines in the Indian and Western Pacific Oceans. Some statistics to give you an idea of its size: It cost $33M to build in 1965, circumference around the system is 2.5 kilometres, towers are 385 metres tall and 400 kilometres of copper wire was used in its construction. It is run by three generators developing over 3 mega watt at 4 thousand volt. Anyway it is a pretty impressive site and dominates the landscape at the end of the peninsula. Because of this installation Australian Federal Police are a common sight around town.
Exmouth now is a tourist town. It seems the grey nomads flock here in their droves for the warmth. Not sure what they do here apart from cleaning their already immaculate cars and caravans every morning. From what we have heard if you need a powered caravan site and do not have a reservation then you might be lucky and get a night or two in one of the parks but that is all. The Cape Range National Park has been full ever since we have been here. As there is a sealed road right to the end of it it is very popular with caravans who would normally only stay in caravan parks but can exist for a couple of days without 240 volt power. Because this town exists off the caravan parks there are “no camping” signs everywhere. You are only allowed to camp (and this includes sleeping in your car) in designated spots in the National Park (all full at the moment) or stay in a caravan park. There is no bush camping anywhere on the peninsula. With the peak season rates in caravan parks this makes it an expensive place to stay, yet still they come. Whilst there are a few Wicked Campervans and the like here these are not plentiful so I think the word has got out to backpacker about how expensive this place is.
There is a small shopping plaza that has two IGA supermarkets, bakery, chemist, camping store, bottle shop and newsagent amongst others so provisions are not a worry and you only need to park once to get all your provisions.
We have been swimming at a beautiful beach just out of town, right beside the VLF antenna system. In fact you drive almost to the security control point but then turn right for the beach. Crystal clear warm water, beautiful! This is the northern most crocodile free swimming area or to put it another way the first safe swimming after leaving crocodile country. From here up swimmers beware.
Coming into Exmouth I felt the caravan pull to the left when I applied the brakes so when in the caravan park jacked up each wheel in turn to find that the right wheel operated correctly but the left caravan brake was not operating at all, nor could I hear the brake solenoid working so suspected it had gone faulty. Found an auto electrician in town who said my diagnosis was probably correct and that if we wanted to bring the van around he would have a look at it that afternoon. More importantly he carried spares for the more common types of brake solenoids. Anyway it was the solenoid that was faulty and he did have a spare, so the brakes are now working correctly.