We left for Weano Gorge from the campground in the park, which we had been told was a sealed road but turned in to graded dirt after the turnoff – however it was very smooth going for the most part! We just took it easy and didn’t have any issues until Trundle turned in to park in the carpark and something felt off in the turning.. We jumped out and inspected the rear tyre and saw it deflating before our eyes and in about 6 seconds it was totally flat. Bummer! Oh well, it was bound to happen at some point after almost 14,000km on the road.
We got to work as it wasn’t too hot this early in the morning and changed out the tyre for the spare (which involves emptying half the car and removing half the platform construction, but we’re getting pretty efficient at doing that now!). Done.
We took the walking track down to the gorge which was steep but beautiful when we got down there. It was amazing how such a hot and dry area can have flowing water and beautiful greenery a little further down from the surface. There was a bit of ladder-climbing and wading through water to get us to a point on the track called the Spider Walk, which literally involved walking like a spider by using your legs and arms to prop you up in a very narrow, smoothly eroded chasm with deep water at the bottom to continue to a more open section of the gorge. Super fun but hard work!
Our final destination was Kermit’s Pool, a cool and deep fresh water plunge pool to dive bomb in to off the many ledges of rock surrounding the pool. There was lots of evidence of goannas in the crevices but none in sight. We ran in to the lovely family who helped us out of the sand bog near Wyndham and told them about our most recent bout of car troubles! They sympathised and said in the first 300km of their trip their whole wheel fell off the car while they were driving.. apparently, someone (everyone pointed their fingers in different directions at the same time when asked who was responsible!) hadn’t tightened the bolts enough. And they’d already had 2 flats so far as well. So these things definitely do happen!
We’d cooled off for ages and thought it was probably time to wander back up to the heat and sun and car and get some lunch before driving out to Tom Price, a nearby mining town, to get the tyre repaired or replaced. Tom Price was no Port Hedland but it was eerie being in a town entirely owned and run by a mining corporation – BHP I think – and to know that everyone living and working in their had something to do with the mine. Got a cold drink and visited all 3 of the tyre repair shops in the town. The last one was very helpful and tried their best to find a match, and even inspected the puncture to see if it was repairable (definitely not, you could put a screwdriver through the hole that was left). Unfortunately nobody could match the unusual sizing of the Renault, so Smash made some calls and found a pair that matched in Exmouth, a town north of Tom Price right on the coastline that we had planned on getting to at some point in the next few days anyway. So we said thanks anyway to the folks at Tom Price and found a spot to camp nearby off the highway a little called RIP Lookout, which was a beautiful spot overlooking some dramatic Pilbara mountain ranges where people had collected rocks and boulders and plaques commemorating lost loved ones and leaving messages throughout the clearing. Sad but lovely. The breeze kept the heat and flies away and we had a nice and relaxed evening after a pretty busy and eventful day.