As we exited Karijini National Park we spotted a dingo patrolling along the side of the road. As we stopped to open the window and get a picture he looked at us, sniffed the air and then leisurely turned and carried on his way.
We carried on into the Visitor Centre in Tom Price and sat through the twenty minute Rio Tinto induction video so that we could get the permit to drive on the mine road. Basically the road is full of hazards – animals, water, gravel, speed, road trains and large plant equipment – and all of these will kill you.
We got the permit and set off. Although an unsealed road we found it to be in pretty good condition.
The road runs alongside the rail line which runs between the mine in Tom Price and the port in Karratha. This is the largest privately owned rail in the world. We passed several trains along the way. Each was around two and half kilometres long, with each carriage either fully loaded with raw earth or returning empty. The scale of the operation is quite an eye opener.
We arrived at Millstream-Chichester National Park about lunch time. We had a look at the visitor centre which is set in the old farm house where we discovered that there was only one campground open in the park. The campground by Python Pool near the walks we wanted to do had been closed permanently. Disappointed we had a quick lunch and decided we may as well push on to Karratha.