Broome - Perth via Great Northern Highway (Hwy
Total Distance 2,313km
All distances measured from the Roebuck Roadhouse
The first part of this long trip is covered in the Broome - Geraldton via the North West Coastal Highway (Hwy 1) so we will start this coverage from Port Hedland (565km).
Just 26km from the Port Hedland turnoff, the Great Northern Highway (Hwy 95) branches off to the left and we take it and head towards the dry inland areas of the Pilbara.
At the road junction at Auski (821km) you can turn right and travel the 40km to Wittenoom - a place made notorious by the asbestos-related health problems encountered by many former miners but nowadays a thriving tourist centre for people wanting to see the fabulous gorges of the Pilbara including the nearby spectacular Wittenoon Gorge.
We are travelling through rugged country with the peaks of the Hammersly Range off to our right as we carry on to the turnoff (856km) to the mining towns of Tom Price and Paraburdoo. Huge deposits of iron ore were discovered at Tom Price in 1962 and a rail link takes the ore to Dampier on the coast.
The next town of any size on this lonely route is Newman (1,013km) built to service mining operations in the East Pilbara after the discovery of huge iron deposits at Mount Whaleback - now Australiaís largest mine with huge 18,000tonne ore trains taking the raw material from the mine to the bulk handling facilities at Port Hedland more than 400km away.
On our left are the inhospitable ridges and dunes of the Little Sandy Desert stretching as far as the eye can see.
If we need fuel or food, there is a roadhouse at Kuminara (1,171km) as we continue on to reach the regional centre of Meekatharra (1,428km). Serving a vast pastoral and mining area, the town is a base for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air which uses radio to give education to children isolated on properties in remote areas.
Several unsealed roads lead from the town including ones to Carnarvon on the coast and Wiluna and Leinster to the west. The historic Canning Stock Route has its beginnings at Wiluna just 183km west of here.
At Cue (1,544km) we can see the remains of the former glory of the town that used to be called ëQueen of the Murcheson Goldfieldsí back in its heyday late in the nineteenth century. Still standing are some of the large buildings of that era.
After crossing Lake Austin we continue through this dry, inhospitable land to Mt Magnet (1,624km) that has gold-mining as its main reason for existance with a number of huge mines in the area. It is also a centre for the pastoral interests of the district.
If you have tired of the inland route you can reach the coast at Geraldton by taking a right turn at Mt Magnet on to road 123.
Continuing southwards we come to the roadhouse at Paynes Find (1,765km) - once a gold-mining settlement it now just has the Paynes Find Tavern to mark its presence.
We are getting into more settled country now as we approach the junction with a road to Mullawa at Wubin (1,913km) and another junction on the left at Dalwallinu 1,934km) and should be starting to see wildflowers if we are here in the Spring.
After another 100km or so a splendid sight meets your eyes as you come down a hill and see the magnificent buildings of New Norcia (2,038km). Built by Spanish Benedictine monks in 1846 as an aboriginal mission, the monastry and church are still is use while a large boarding college occupies other parts of the site. This is definately a photo opportunity and itís worth spending a little time here to look around the museum and art gallery.
We join the Brand Highway (Hwy 1) at Muchead (2,115km) for the rest of the way into Perth (2,313km) via Midland and the eastern suburbs. Before descending the hill down to the suburbs, there is a National Park on the right with magnificent views over the city and its surrounds.