Point Samson

With views across the Indian Ocean, purple-hued Honeymoon Bay and access to tourist sites, Point Samson is a great holiday spot or base in the Northwest of Western Australia.

It’s a popular holiday spot for locals and workers at the various mining centres in the Pilbara and, while fishing is the main enterprise of the area, many vantage points show the huge ships lining up to dock at Dampier and collect iron ore.

If you wanted some sustenance or to wet your whistle, then you can’t do better than the Point Samson Tavern, with its views over the ocean, the jetty and the lighthouse. I counted 14 tankers while we were sitting here and the docks can accommodate 8 at a time, I think.

Not only is this a good spot at which to break up a long stretch or wile away the hours, you can base yourself here and visit Millstream/Chichester National Park, Karratha or Dampier, and the sunrises and sunsets are spectacular.

Sunrise
Sunset

The original 600m jetty was built in 1903 and replaced a tidal port at nearby Cossack. The new jetty serviced Roebourne and exported wool and cattle from surrounding pastoral stations, as well as copper from Whim Creek. Until 1971 many houses in Point Samson relied on ships bringing fresh water that was carried by rail carts and later pumped ashore. I’m astonished that people lived in this remote spot with little access to mains water until the 70s.

In 1925 a tropical cyclone damaged huge portions of the jetty, but a new one wasn’t constructed until 1936 due to the Great Depression. As air travel increased, passenger services were the first to go and in 1976 it was closed to shipping. Yet another cyclone, Orson this time, partially destroyed the jetty for the second time in 1989 and due to safety concerns it was demolished in 1991.

The current 70m structure, with its 40 sqm viewing platform and shelter was constructed in 2018 as a joint project of Point Samson Community Association, Rio Tinto and the City of Karratha. The design reflects its history and it provides a suitable vantage point for whale watching in the season. Just two weeks before we got there, visitors reported seeing several whales playing in the bay as they headed south.

We stayed at The Cove Holiday Village, right on the coast, and the sites were large, the amenities clean and very comfortable and there is a pool, family/recreation rooms and camp kitchens and BBQs spaced well. The owners were very helpful with advice and assistance. Honeymoon Cove, within 100m, is small and lovely, with unusual metasedimentary rocks.

Delight your senses at Point Samson.

Mulla mulla

Botanical name Ptilotus, this mulla mulla carpet of wildflowers we found in the Coral Bay area of Western Australia, unexpected on the red dirt.

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zoomed in on the purple seed heads

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the fluffy balls are evident

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just an unexpected white carpet on the red dirt

Mulla mulla is a regular inhabitant of the Pilbara region in Western Australia and found across the mainland.

See more flowers in Cee’s flower of the day.

Dampier, Karratha and surrounds.

Why would you visit a mining area? Why not?

On the coast of the Pilbara region, Western Australia, lies the port of Dampier. It provides a small swimming spot for nearby residents and a large port for tankers moving salt, petrochemical, iron ore and natural gas. Rio Tinto is a big customer and Red Dog made the town famous.

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Despite being small, it plays a big part in the export game and for workers who have come to the mines it is another spot to cool off in the hot climate.  The beach is a pleasant stretch of sand and water with adequate shade. The movie Red Dog brought the local tale of a cattle dog who befriends miners to the cinemas, and the statue has perhaps received more visitors, since.

 

Heading for Karratha, you should take the turn off to look at the Woodside northwest shelf development project. Some great maths is available in the cross section of piping on display and you can look over at the extremely long train loading up with ore; it must be at least a kilometer long.

Across the road from the mining display is a track that leads to an Aboriginal rock art site in Deep Gorge. At the time we travelled, in October 2014, there were no signs or recognition or requests not to photograph. I have heard that the site is now a tourist spot and that the gorge has the largest collection of petroglyphs (rock art) in the world – some 300 000 of them!  I have also learned that the Burrup Peninsula, which holds Deep Gorge, has it in  Murujuga National Park. The path is slippery and rocky, but not too steep or difficult. The Yaburarra Aboriginal people ask that you do not tread on the art, but around it. I must say that the style and forms are only a very little like the art I have seen in Kakadu, and really look as if it is a record of travel and trade. Otherwise, it is almost Kiwi-like.

You don’t get progress without a cost, and there are many monuments in the area, to miners who lost their lives.

Big profits, big hauls and big machinery. Ben Hur to the power of ten. The story of the transportation of the transport is incredible.

We loved Karratha, as a central spot to explore the region. It has beautiful flora and nearby bays, such as Hearsons Cove or Honeymoon Cove Beach near Point Samson, via Wickham. There are rocks and views a-plenty, although a great deal of the rocks are red with iron. Karratha is a large town with big shopping centres, schools and all that you need. We stayed at the Karratha Caravan Park and with relatives, but there is no shortage of accommodation.

Nearby Roeburn has a sad but interesting history and a visit to the old gaol is a must. There is a large Aboriginal population in the town but the history reveals shocking mistreatment at the hands of white people. The information in the gaol and the artifacts are enthralling and a plant shop adjoins, with specimens that can withstand the climate.

A very interesting region.

Safe travels. Take water and a hat.