“There is no caravan park?” says Casey. So begins our stay in Marble Bar and the long overdue follow up to Cake Crew meets Camel Man. We have driven through the entire outback Western Australia mining town of Marble Bar. Took a few seconds. Met about 2 other people. Saw no caravan park. Will we be bush camping tonight under the Marble Bar sky as seen on the right?
“There must be one, there is one, I know there is” I say. “Let’s ask at the tele office we jus passed”. A nice woman at the combined tourist info / tele / internet office informs us that the gone walkabout caravan park is simply down the next street on the right. “Thanks” we smile wondering how we missed that!
The office is a jack of all trades. Three young kids play incredibly violent games on the computers. Info Woman no. 2 sits smiling in the back. Photos on the wall tells the story of the mining town of Marble Bar, one of the hottest places in Australia! They set a world record with 167 days straight with 40+ degrees. A fact they are awfully proud of here. Understandable. You must pick your angle to lure the tourists. Here it’s the heat! A photo shows a large outdoor display at the town playground showing a temperature of 50 degrees. Not a living soul anywhere in the shot. I use the toilet. Casey uses the internet.
“Do you know a good place to shoot the sunset” we ask info woman. “Ooooooh you mean photography” she excitedly asks us and proceeds “you should ask Steve! He’s an amateur photographer! He is REALLY good! He’s just down at the garage’”. “Eh thanks" we excuse ourselves finding it hard not to smile. Now Steve, you may well be the Ansel Adams of the Pilbara region, it just came out so funny! Regrettably we head straight for the caravan park, laughing, and do not stop by Steve.
Caravan Park is remarkably easy to find. When you know where to look. The sign at the intersection has fallen down, the reason we missed it completely. No one is home until the manager opens the shop for us. First visitors today, 3.15pm. Not peak season. 20 bucks for an unpowered site later and we have the whole park to choose from as there are about 2 other visitors here. So we might as well park almost in the kitchen area (in the process borrowing a bit of power for the fridge)!
Having picked our spot we are off to shoot some Marble Bar sunset images! Here’s where we should have asked Steve. We cruise to Chinaman’s Pool. Sun is behind it. Would work in the morning. Casey wants to stay so Rodney and I steer the troopie down a dirt road looking for wide open spaces. A lot of hills and a few mines later and no gorgeous wide open Pilbara outback landscapes and turning back suddenly sounds like a great idea! Back to Marble Bar and “let’s drive up to the town water tower”. Yeah. Well. Steve isn’t here. A telltale sign this is not the best spot. Just to shoot something, I shoot this ordinary view of the Pilbara outback late afternoon:
But wait! The watertower also offers a magnificent view of the whole town including the caravan park. So here it is, just what tourism in Marble Bar needs – a bloody big wide panorama of the whole town!
A stunner I am sure you agree! Try and find the caravan park!
Having done the water tower we pick up Casey and head for camp and dinner. We are here for one night so do not bother with the tents. It is the hottest place in Australia anyway. Well, not at night in June it is not. Gets a bit chilly as seen here in Rodney’s shot of Casey and I parading around the kitchen area on a very cold morning in a very busy caravan park!
This is just after Rodney and I attempted to shoot a sunrise that never really happened. The cloud image in the beginning of this blot post is the result. I did however secure a 20 cm long scar on my thigh as I almost but not quite successfully jumped a barbed wire fence holding camera and tripod!
On the way out we stop at Chinaman’s Pool and I shoot…nothing. Rodney captures a gorgeous panorama of the Chinaman’s Pool, a shot I did not see at all. I was busy anyway with being 5 years old having fun jumping around jasper rocks like a mountain goat.
And so it ends, our short but eventful stay in Marble Bar. Now I may attempt sarcastic humour but I actually love these quirky small outback towns. Plenty of experience and characters you will not find anywhere else. Beautiful country and extremely nice outback folks and I always love places where you can be as weird and crazy as you like!