Broome to Point Samson – Darwin to Perth Roadtrip Day 7

Today was a day of driving. We needed to get down to Point Samson and make up a little bit of time after spending an extra day in Broome. It’s about 834km’s, so if you are doing that distance, you can expect it to take up most of the day, particularly once you add in some rest stops.

It’s a long drive from Broome to Point Samson

We watched the sunrise over Roebuck Bay and then got underway bright and early.

Sunrise over Roebuck Bay, Broome.
Sunrise over Roebuck Bay, Broome.

Sandfire Roadhouse

It’s 322km’s down to the Sandfire Roadhouse, and there is not much between it and Broome, so we had a breakfast stop on the side of the road along the way before a proper rest break at the roadhouse.

Sandfire Roadhouse

There are some rest stops along the way, but Sandfire is the first roadhouse. It’s quite unique as far as roadhouses go.

Some of the signs at Sandfire Roadhouse
All kinds of signs at Sandfire Roadhouse
More of the signs at Sandfire Roadhouse
Even more signs at Sandfire Roadhouse

The exterior is decorated with signs of all sorts from all over the country, including a particularly unique “Leprechauns Crossing” sign.

Leprechauns Crossing

Then, of course, the toilet signs are upside down.

Upside down toilet signs at Sandfire Roadhouse

Out the back is also a caravan park and motel with accommodation available for the weary travellers. Inside you can expect to find some corner store style staples as well as a small restaurant offering decent road food.

In 2007, Sandfire Roadhouse was burnt pretty badly, so there is now a bit of an outdoor museum with memorabilia and newspaper clippings.

Entering the Sandfire outdoor museum
Another exploded gas cylinder at Sandfire
The Sandfire outdoor museum
Fire damage at Sandfire
Old fuel pump at Sandfire
Exploded gas cylinder at Sandfire

It’s quite amazing to see the exploded gas cylinders and read about the devastation the fire caused.

Sandfire history wall
Sandfire history wall
Sandfire history wall
Sandfire history wall

Which brings me to the name Sandfire. I figured it must have been because of a fire in the desert. It turns out though that it actually got its name because it is on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert and Ludwig Leichhardt recorded in his diary that the sand appeared to be on fire. Don’t let that put you off! It may be hot with red sand everywhere, but there are some lovely gardens around the roadhouse, and if you are lucky you may even see peacocks.

One of Sandfire’s resident peacocks

Pardoo Roadhouse

From Sandfire we continued another 139km’s to Pardoo Roadhouse where we stopped for lunch.

Pardoo Roadhouse

They have amazing sausage rolls, and the air conditioning is certainly appreciated.

Sausage rolls at Pardoo Roadhouse

The menu is pretty decent, and while there is a bit of a remote premium surcharge, the prices aren’t too high.

Pardoo Roadhouse all day menu

Pardoo Roadhouse evening menu

We didn’t spend long here as there really isn’t anything to see at the roadhouse, but you can expect a little bit of Aussie outback humour.


On the road again with some lunch, next stop, Port Hedland!

Yum yum, sausage rolls for lunch!

Port Hedland

From Pardoo Roadhouse, Port Hedland is a further 154kms. There is not much along the way at all, but as you enter Port Hedland, the mining infrastructure becomes very prominent. The enormous road trains become more frequent, and soon, long trains start to appear near the road.

Welcome to Port Hedland

On the way into the town is a large monument called “Transformation”.

Me, in the “Transformation” monument at Port Hedland

Funded by BHP Billiton, it reflects life on the Pilbara and is made from materials that represent the transformation of natural resources to refined materials.

About the “Transformation” monument

You can’t really see it in the photo, but it is moulded with imagery that represents the indigenous and non-indigenous people, the environment and ecology. It is interesting to look at up close.

Port Hedland as a town is split into three suburbs, Port Hedland, South Hedland and Wedgefield. From the Great Northern Highway, Port Hedland is on the coast side, South Hedland and Wedgefield are on the land side. Port Hedland is the old town and is where the Port is actually located. Wedgefield is a residential suburb and South Hedland is the new area that has been developed by the mining companies.

Heading into Port Hedland on Wilson St, just past the Shell service station, is a small park with old mining locomotives and trucks.

Some of the limited information and the grassy section of the park

It is called the Don Rhodes Mining Museum.

Don Rhodes Mining Museum

The term, ‘museum’, is a little deceptive since there is not a lot of information and it is open air.

Don Rhodes Mining Museum

It’s more of a park with a memorial to the iron and manganese mining history of the area.

Monument to the miners

There are three diesel locomotives, some old mining trucks and some other machinery.

Old mining truck

On the Wilson St side, it is nearly all dirt, but once you get further back from the road, there is grass and some nice shaded spots to sit and have a break.

Old semi-trailer

It could use some maintenance and some more information, particularly about its namesake, Don Rhodes.

A Mt Newman Mining Diesel Locomotive at the Don Rhodes Mining Museum

Nevertheless, it is free still an interesting and free place to stop, particularly for those that like trains and are interested in rail history.

Up close with one of the diesel locomotives

On the day we were there, a coffee van was set up next to the park and seemed like it was there often, so you can top up if you need to!

Mt Newman Mining Diesel Locomotive
A Mt Newman Mining Diesel Locomotive at the Don Rhodes Mining Museum
Old Diesel Locomotives

Heading further into town are some historic buildings and the visitor information centre.

The visitor information centre in Port Hedland

The information centre has a lot of info on the history of the port, surrounding area and mining.

One of the displays at the Port Hedland visitor information centre

The information centre actually has an old head frame right behind it.

An old steel mining headframe behind the visitor information centre

Heading out to the water it is quite a beautiful, but a rough stretch of coast. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to stop for long, so I didn’t actually get to take any pictures of the historic buildings and coastline. It is a quick and easy drive to circuit around the coast before heading back out of town, so it doesn’t take long to have a sticky beak before getting on the road again.

Heading out of Port Hedland

Whim Creek

We didn’t expect to see anything else between Port Hedland and Roebourne, but to our surprise, just past halfway between the two is Whim Creek. We wouldn’t have even noticed it except for the really cool sign by the road advertising the Whim Creek Pub.

“A Must”, you can’t go past a sign like that!

We decided to go in and check it out.

Looks just like the sign!

There isn’t really anything there except for the pub and a war memorial commemorating the lost lives of a family of Aboriginal men that were killed in the war.

Whim Creek War Memorial

We had a quick leg stretch while we were there but didn’t go into the pub. We weren’t quite sure how we felt about hanging around for the ‘murder mystery’ at a pub in the middle of nowhere that is pretty well hidden from the road.

Murder Mystery sign at Whim Creek Pub

Roebourne and Point Samson

Coming into Roebourne, we passed the visitor centre. It was 5:00 pm already but we thought we would drop in and see if it was open still. Unfortunately, it wasn’t, so we kept on going to Point Samson to try and get there before dark. The turn off to Point Samson is about halfway through Roebourne. It’s only another 19km’s to Point Samson, past Wickham and Cossack. We arrived right on sunset so went out to the water to get some sunset photos.

Sunset at Point Samson, WA
Sunset at Point Samson, WA
Sunset at Point Samson, WA
Sunset at Point Samson, WA
Sunset at Point Samson, WA
Sunset at Point Samson, WA
Sunset at Point Samson, WA

The Cove Holiday Village

There are two caravan parks in Point Samson, and we decided to stay at The Cove. It’s a little further from the water (though not much), and in our opinion, looked nicer.

It was pretty quiet when we were there, so even though we had a few caravans nearby, we had the amenities almost entirely to ourselves, and they were quite pleasant.

The sites themselves were almost flat and nicely grassed with concrete slabs. They actually looked like they were quite new. At $40 per night for a powered site, we were very pleased with our stay.


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