Barn Hill and Eighty Mile Beach

After our backtrack to the Derby Rodeo, we headed west once more to a couple of spots along the coast south-west of Broome.  Our first stop was at the Barn Hill Station camping area, which is situated on cliffs overlooking the ocean (although rather than cramming into one of the view spots we chose a quiet private spot a bit back from the cliffs and enjoyed the views during our walks).

barn hill station sign

The beaches with their rugged cliff backdrops and the calm clear blue ocean were magnificent and made for delightful strolls interspersed with refreshing dips.   As always the photographs below don’t fully do justice to the scenery.

Aside from the beach scenery the campsite itself also offered a few interesting distractions.   It appears this is a good spot to view the legendary drop bear – one of Australia’s most feared predators.   Also being an arid coast line, the camp sites all had a barren gravel bed so we were surprised to see one caravan with some neatly growing lawn out the front.   As with many northern coastal towns, many retired people from southern parts of the country drive up and camp in the winter for a several months to avoid the cold.  So this particular bunch obviously decided to plant and nurture their own patch of lawn once they had set up for the season – and why not?

barnhill fisher people
Fishing was a popular pastime at high tide.   Amazingly we actually saw someone catch something worth keeping.
thats mine
Collecting shells is a favourite pastime for Maddy, however it was not always easy to convince the local residents to part with them.

After 2 nights at Barn Hill we proceeded another 200km west along the coast to the 80 mile beach caravan park.   The name 80-mile beach is unusually understated because the beach is actually over 120 miles long.    So while you would expect that there is plenty of room for everyone, there is only one access point where about 500 people are crowded into a single caravan park.     However the beach is pretty spectacular and well worth a visit to experience its extent, its vast tidal variations and the astonishing number of shells on the beach.  Despite its size, the caravan park is actually quite a nice one, so we spent 2 nights there to fully experience the beach at its various tides and moods.

80 mile beach at low tide2
On 80 mile beach at low tide the water recedes about 500m from the shoreline dunes leaving this vast flat expanse.  When you reach the water you then need to wade out another 200m to get just knee deep making it quite an expedition to go for a swim
frantic fishing at 80 mile beach
Low tide also makes fishing impractical and the fishing addicts get quite crazed.  So at high tide they get to let out their pent up frustrations and flock to the beach in astonishing numbers to fish creating another remarkable spectacle – cars spread out on the beach as far as the eye can see…
80 mile beach at high tide
… in both directions.
80 mile beach from dunes
So we waited for the tide to drop a bit and for the fishermen to return to camp to discuss the ones that they didn’t catch.  We then drove about 8km along the beach to have this expanse to ourselves.  I went looking for shorebirds whilst Maddy collected shells.  Who needs a drone when you have a dune?
80 mile beach at low tide
80 mile beach at mid tide when the fishing isn’t great.  Beautiful and abandoned.
collecting shells
Looking back across the sand flats – Maddy browsing for shells
80 mile sand dollars
An acre or so of sand dollars!
lesser sand plover
Lesser sand plover
great knot on the shell flats
Great Knot feasting among the fields of shells exposed at low tide
red capped plover and shells
and a Red-capped plover

for some reason these red-capped plovers were not getting on so well.






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