Friday, August 26, 2011


 Our campsite Weipa
We had three relaxing days at Weipa and did very little. We just enjoyed our waterfront tent site. It was time to catch up on our books (Peter is now hooked on the e-book that I read and is really enjoying it. Peter was keen to have a haircut and in a town that has a small shopping centre with the majority of the space being Woolworths (which we were very pleased to see)we thought this might be a challenge. However there was one hair salon and they had a sign out asking for male models for haircutting. Peter went along and after a couple of hours (we had plenty of time so this was no problem) he came out looking like a new guy and very happy with his haircut which was free!

We did our share of contributing to the economy of Weipa. It was so good to have a choice of "reasonably" fresh food products. All the goods are barged into Weipa and arrive on a Monday. We had arrived on a Thursday so there were still stocks. It seemed strange buying frozen bread - it is frozen prior to leaving Cairns to ensure that it is reasonably fresh for the consumers. It was great to be able to buy a deli cooked chicken - the closest we have had to a takeaway in weeks!

Weipa is a mining town and is quite small. Most of the homes are quite small and possibly belong to the mine. Accommodation is at a premium and the camping ground had quite a few workers living there. Peter was asked a few times which part of the mine he worked in etc! I wondered whether I should send him off to the recruitment office as life in Weipa looked pretty good and laid back - 32 every day in winter doesn't seem bad to me but not sure about during the rainy season. There wasn't a lot to look at in Weipa. There are the normal community facilities - library, hospital (Andy a place for you I am sure), schools etc. We noted that the high school had a neon light advising that on Thursday 18th August they had 73% attendance. We had no idea if this Aboriginal families and we saw a lot of community notices advertising services for them including assistance into jobs both in the mine and elsewhere. Apparently the population of Weipa is around 3000.
Time to get rid of some of the dust Weipa

Peter decided he had had enough of the red dust on the car (although we were still not at he end of the dusty roads) so took the car to the car wash. There was very little pressure and it certainly wasn't as good as some car washes we have been too, but it was a start to remove the dust. At least for the next few days we did not get covered in dust everytime we climbed into the car.

Weipa is known for the beautiful sunsets and each evening the grass area in front of our tent on the waters edge would be lined with visitors and their cameras. The wildlife was also interesting and we saw a white lipped frog, a blue winged Kookaburra and surprisingly a tawny owl. The trees in the camping ground were African Mahogany(besides the many Coconut trees) and these trees were a favourite of the bats who came in their droves as soon as it was dark to nest in the trees and each the nuts. Boy did they make a noise!

We ended up staying in Weipa three nights and really enjoyed the break from the dusty, corrugated roads but we knew we had to hit them again. It was interesting to see the improvement in the road as we approached Weipa. About 40 kms out of the town there is a sign saying that you are now entering land owned by Rio Tinto. The road immediately improved, although was still not tarsealed. Close to the town we saw traffic lights (do we still know what those are?). This was to control the traffic passing over the mine only road which was used by the mine trucks. That road looked like the best road we had seen in weeks! The Rio Tinto mine in Weipa mines bauxite (an aluminium ore)and the ships were tied up in the harbour to ship being loaded. Apparently Weipa has the largest bauxite mine in the world.
Green Liped Frog
  Blue winged Kookaburra Weipa
Blue winged Kookaburra Weipa
 From our campsite at Weipa
Kookaburra at night at Weipa
Kookaburra at night Weipa
Bats at night Weipa - well we did say that it was at night!
Talking to Cam on Skype from Weipa - at night!
Tawny owl at Weipa - at night again!
 Waterfront at Weipa
Loading the ship at Weipa
Bauxite mine Weipa
  Main road crossing the mine road Weipa
 Quality road for mining trucks only

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