Left Cape Kerauden at sunrise Sunday morning. During Sunday the breeze had died away and consequently sand fly activity increased. During the night the sand flies became really vicious and we got well and truly bitten.
There are three coastal camp sites between Cape Kerauden and Broome. Talking to other campers we formed the opinion that we would not go to the first as it was primarily a fishing camp, the second Port Smith was a sand fly area so that was definitely out, the third, Barn Hill Station seemed what we wanted so we headed north again.
It was a 332 run up the highway to the Barn Hill Station road then 10 kilometres of station track into the camping area. Barn Hill is a working cattle station which just happens to have 45 kilometres of coastal frontage. The camping area is right on the red rock cliffs above the beach. Only $20 for unpowered and $25 for limited power. A fairly informal park but very popular, at this time of the year only about 50 vans are here but in June they have around 400. This is one of those camps that see people stay for months on end every year. We took an unpowered site and set up camp right on the cliff edge over looking the beach. Sunday night was roast night and as there were not many people here we could still book in. Had a great evening $15 for a three course meal served on the grass around the camp office. The station owners provide the food, campers bring table, chairs, plates, eating equipment and drinks. There was also an indigenous band who came from a community 50 kilometres south. The band was very good and added to a great atmosphere for the evening.
Monday morning we decided to take a 270 kilometre round trip to Broome. Our sand fly bites had got pretty bad and we had run out of anti itch ointment, we also needed supplies if we were to stay here for a week or so. We had started taking anti histamine tablets (from our first aid kit) for the bites and this seemed to help. It was great to see Broome again and we had no problems finding our way around. The chemist had supplies of Itch Ease, a cream we brought in Weipa last year and is the best remedy for sand fly and mosquito bites that we have found.
By lunch time we had our supplies and headed back to Barn Hill for an afternoon swim. Whilst on this shopping trip we noticed a large number of vans heading south with almost none going north. Apparently there are plenty of spaces at the Broome caravan parks and they have dropped their rates so this is good news for us. Barn Hill is only open for another six weeks as it closes from November to April inclusive. As soon as the build up to the wet starts the grey nomads leave the tropics in droves.
Whilst this is crocodile country the beach at Barn Hill is considered “safe” but no one ventures far from shore anyway. The cool water (when compared to 35C air temperature) felt great on our sand fly bites. The wind is building, it is supposed to be 35 kilometres an hour by Thursday. On Wednesday we decided that because of the wind and our fridge problems we would move to a powered site. These sites have much more shade and offer some protection from the wind. As there is hardly anyone here we had our pick of the spots and now have a nicely shaded site.
Thursday morning and it is blowing strongly, dirt is swirling through the camping area. For the first time this trip we had to cook and eat breakfast inside the van. I’m glad we are not still on our cliff top camp. We have an owl in the tree right next to us. Only about three metres from the ground, he has been there since yesterday. We also had a frill neck lizard in camp yesterday and of course the crested pigeons are in camp all the time.
Vicki has just gone over to the office to pay as we will stay here until Monday morning. She will also buy a loaf of freshly made bread ($6) as the station bake and sell bread and vanilla slices and sometimes pizza.
Tonight is pizza night so we have ordered one.