Day 20 - Paraburdoo to Tom Price 81km


We set off this morning from the iron ore mining town of Paraburdoo to overcast skies with the surrounding hills shrouded in fog. Ahead of us today was a climb to Tom Price, Western Australia’s highest town of 747mts above sea level.

The scenery was picturesque with iron ore escarpments and gullies lined with white gums. The main traffic we encountered today were mining vehicles covered in sticky, red mud due to overnight rain.

We passed the Paraburdoo Airport which is a busy hub meeting the needs of the fly in/fly out mine workers.

Morning tea was strategically placed beside the railway line and we were lucky enough to see the Pilbara Express on it’s way to Karatha. This is an iron ore train consisting of 3 engines at the front, 240 trucks carrying iron ore and 3 more engines pushing at the back, 2.5km’s long and 35,000 tons of ore in total. It took 3 ½ minutes for the train to finally pass. This was great excitement for the train buffs in our group. The Pilbara Express is the longest independently owned railway in the world.

The rain set in for the remainder of the ride leaving bikes and cyclists splattered in red mud, as we climbed the last steep hill before a big roll down into the town of Tom Price, which is nestled at the bottom of Mount Nameless.

Today’s ride was a relatively “short” ride of 80km’s, in comparison to some of our epic riding distances, meaning we arrived by lunchtime, a little bedraggled and unexpectedly cold, but all pleased to have ticked off another day.

The campers were greeted at the entrance to the caravan park with a display of Sturt Desert Pea in all its glory

This left a free afternoon to find a half decent coffee shop, do laundry, catch up with news back home, and rest, before we head into the much anticipated Karijini National Park tomorrow.

Richard Cooke