We left Karijini for Tom Price to refuel and restock.
Trains are the lifeblood of the Pilbara.
A tight schedule left little time to explore Tom Price – at 750m above sea level it is Western Australia’s highest town.
The name for the town came into being when mining company Rio Tinto Southern Pty Ltd proposed that the town be named after their late employee Mr Tom Price who was involved in negotiations to develop iron ore projects in the region in the early 1960s.
We rendezvoused at the only servo in town and made our way to Mount Nameless.
Fortunately the small turnaround at the summit was big enough for our convoy. Great views of the surrounding country, including the Rio Tinto’s Mount Tom Price Mine, operating since 1966.
Eugene was out of tyres, however, we were confident that, with some stuffing around, we could use tyres from the trailer to ensure he got to a tyre outlet.
On a previous trip in 2014 this road was closed so it was to be our first time accessing Mount Augustus from this direction.
We stopped for lunch at a playa a few kilometres from the Ashburton River.
It was to be a race to get to Mount Augustus before daylight left us. The Ashburton Meekatharra Road and the Pingandy Mount Augustus Road both had reputations for being harsh on tyres. In our case, totally untrue.
The track was interesting and demanded all of one’s attention even without the added difficulty of driving into a setting sun. Dips, gutters, twists, turns, bends and a slippery surface all made for a great drive that would have been so much better in daylight.
Scott was at the rear of the convoy and took the opportunity to stop at the abandoned Pingandy homestead/outstation.
On arrival at the caravan park we were allocated sites in the scrub on the edge of caravan park. May as well have set up camp in the bush an hour earlier.
But the showers were appreciated.