Day 11 - Nanga Bay to Wooramel River Retreat 162km

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Another early start today (the moon was still glowing and breakfast was served at 6am) ready for our longest day on tour so far, 162km. Prior to leaving the Nanga Beach Resort, our lovely hostess Jennifer ensured that those who were last to leave didn’t do so before taking a last minute happy snap for her to post on her Facebook page. Cheese :)

Today was a day of two halves. As the saying goes (or as it does in reverse) what goes down must go up. We had a gradual steady uphill out of Nanga Bay with a stop for morning tea at the 1000km mark for those travelling the entire trip from Perth to Broome. We pulled off the road into a parking bay just past the turnoff to the Useless Loop Rd – don’t ask because I don’t actually know where the useless loop takes you… How’s that for useless information?

We hit the road and continued into a head wind for the next 40km until we arrived at the main highway for our lunch stop at the Overlander Roadhouse – which was our morning tea stop a couple of days ago. After lunch we hit the highway and rode north for the second half of today’s challenge. Fortunately the winds were from the south east which made for easier cycling for all. As per most days, the long stretches between breaks were broken down into smaller increments in order to take five, get off the bike, stretch, eat and for some a visit to the toilet - find the nearest bush. This proved a little more difficult this afternoon as the landscape changed dramatically after lunch and the bushes and trees became few and far between, as the sparseness of the land became apparent.

Afternoon tea was a picturesque stop (for those who road to the top) at Gladstone Scenic Lookout. From here you could see right out to Shark Bay – hard to believe we were so close to the water considering we were on barren land – I guess this is what they mean when they say the desert meets the ocean.

Fortunately enough for us the winds continued from the south east and the last 30km stretch was over before we knew it… Ok we were damn glad to be getting off our bikes at the Wooramel Station Retreat. Here some indulged in the Artesian spas, some had massages and others just took the time to watch the sunset as it reflected off the giant river gums. We were then treated to one of the best meals so far; a bush camp curry extravaganza along with camp fire damper.

Tomorrow is a short day (compared today) as we head north to Canarvon, a mere 121km. Time to rest the weary legs in preparation for another day on the bike.

PS: Patsy and Mandy had the opportunity to travel in the troop carrier today and had the pleasure of Richard and Lou’s company (and camera) as you can see they had a frolicking time!

Richard Cooke