From Shothole to Sh*thole

Sat. 1st June 2019

Luxury apartment in ExmouthSorry for the title mum but it seemed appropriate for the metal box we sleep in tonight. We are heading inland to Karijini National Park but it would be a long drive in one day so we are staying at Nanutarra Roadhouse roughly halfway from Exmouth. Roadhouses are functional and it will not be glamorous, so we are sad to say goodbye to our comfy apartment. We have stopped for food and fuel at other roadhouses so know that there is little to do at them. We therefore plan to arrive as late as possible before the sun goes down and the animals come out to play on the roads. First stop is the IGA supermarket and bottle shop to stock up on provisions for the next four days.

Views on road to the ridgeOn the road out of Exmouth it is possible to drive inland and explore the dramatic rock formations on the ridge which Dave saw yesterday from his microlight. We want to see Shothole viewpoint and there are two options. Both are typical Dave and Janet, the first is 12km on a 4×4 track and a 100m walk, the second is a 12km sealed road and then 1km off-road followed by an 8km walk. We have all morning so we choose the latter option. The views as the road climbs to the top of the ridge are quite dramatic and each parking space has at least one parked car of gawping tourists.

Amazing rocksAs we reach the end of the tarmac section the cars diminish but surprisingly when we reach the end of the track we squeeze into the last of the five parking spaces. There are a few people at this viewpoint but the rest of the vehicle occupants must be walking the trail. It is almost a circular walk with the return loop 1.5km longer than the outward one. If time gets short there is the option of heading out and back on the same route to make it quicker. My book said allow 3 hours but the sign says allow 4hrs. Who to believe?

Looking down the valley to the alternate car parkOff we set across the flat spinifex covered terrain at the top of the ridge, easy walking so we set a cracking pace. We arrived at the Shothole viewpoint in less than an hour. What a palate of colours we passed through. The soil is a vivid red and there were even some flowers on the bushes which themselves were all shades of green to brown. The sign says do not attempt the walk in summer as there is no shade. I was grateful of the light breeze as the temperature hit the mid 20s and there as advertised there was no shade at all.

Good lunch spotThe actual viewpoint at Shothole was closed due to unstable rocks but we did manage to get some good views down the valley. The name Shothole was due to the remains of the unsuccessful blasting. You can see above the car park that was option 1. It would be quite a climb from there to the top where we stood. Having assessed the time we decided to return to our car via the longer route and what a good decision that was. The terrain was much more interesting going up and down the ravines. This did make the walking more difficult but it was much more interesting than the flat route out. We took 2 ¼ hours so we’re back at the car for the Hornsey designated lunch time.

Flying doctors landing spaceTime then to put some serious miles in to the Nanutarra Roadhouse. The roads were just straight for as far as you can see. Having been to the Royal Flying Doctor Service Museum in Alice Springs we understood the meaning of this sign and also appreciated that the road could double up as a runway. Luckily no planes came into land as we passed by. We also timed the drive to the roadhouse just right and checked in at 5pm as planned. As late as we dared to avoid animals on the road.

Parallel bridges over the Ashburton riverIt gave us time to walk to the river and see the sun set. The road bridge was not built until the 1960s but is necessary for the likes of us heading this way. There was also a footbridge adjacent. I am not sure why two bridges are needed but it was  good excuse for a photo. No putting it off any longer, it was time to unpack and shower. The rooms are metal boxes in shipping containers and no natural light and all coated in a layer of the ubiquitous red dust. One backpack fits under the bed but that is it for storage space! A helpful sign on the door explains that for people on a longer stay the rooms will have on full clean and one half clean per week. We can’t imagine staying longer than the one night when we have no other choice.

Our luxury room (not)We could have camped here but as we will be camping for the next three nights we thought we would have a room instead. We are still not sure if we made the right decision. This is not the worst room we have stayed in but it sure is a contender. No Internet or phone signal and with no windows our room was quite claustrophobic. The only option is to head back to the roadhouse and sit out under the anti insect lights and catch up on blog writing and photo rating. As an aside, the road trains are amazing driving up with red lights shining their whole length and they are long. We muse that if they hit a kangaroo they probably would not even notice!

Shipping container converted to four en suite roomsThere are no bbq facilities so it is into the shop/restaurant to check out the menu. Thai curry for Dave and the butter chicken special for me, eaten whilst we watched yet more Aussie Rules football, which we just cannot fathom the rules. The restaurant /shop shuts at 10pm so there is no choice but to head back to the room. We watch part of a film before turning in at 10:30pm. Breakfast starts at 6am so if we wake early we can just get up and go.

This entry was posted in Australia 2019 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *