BROOME gave us our first glimpse of the west coast of Australia, and I have never been more grateful to see the ocean again. After an arduous drive from Katherine in the Northern Territory to the Kimberley we have now officially visited each of the four main coasts of Australia.
Our experience of Western Australia so far has been confronting. This is truly a region of mining, painted desert, mining and red soil. Did I mention the mining?
Still, there is a raw beauty.
Today our route takes us from commercial Broome to industrial Port Hedland. For the first time since we left Adelaide we are facing back towards home. I am a little too excited about his fact.
The entire township of Port Hedland seems to be under construction. Road works delay an influx of traffic that appears to have snaked in from nowhere. The ocean is a fierce blue, contrasted against the rusty soil.
Freight trains with hundreds of containers on board chug iron ore out to the shipping yard.
The land is naked out here, having been stripped of all vegetation. One could be forgiven for thinking they were looking at a clean-up operation after a nuclear disaster. The natural state of this place is long hidden beneath a cage of steel industry, but almost poetically, the scale of the damage is art-like. The construction appears a sculpture of twisted metal in the sand.