Day 249 | out of ghastly Port Hedland, just: after fluffing around in town for quite a few hours

56 km | Heading west total: 11,327 km

This town is one of the reasons the Australian economy is hurtling along.

Iron ore is sold to China and India for $80 a tonne: but it currently only costs $30 to get it onto the ship.

No wonder BHP is making $8b profit a year.

Boats like the Elegant Star in the photo above can handle 220,000 tonnes of ore. There were 8 similar ships out at sea awaiting a berth. (Each day they wait costs BHP about $50k.) The ore kept coming in on the railway crashing and bashing all night. The longest (over 7 km long) and heaviest train in history came through here a few years ago.

There’s a lot of hustle and bustle of white 4WDs sporting tall hi-viz flags and huge roadtrains on the only road into town. There’s very little residential land in Port Hedland: most people live in the more attractive South Hedland about 10 km away. I head that way to recharge my numerous batteries in the library, err, I’ll be honest here, Maccas.

Then I’m outta here and heading for Point Sampson near Karratha for a last splash in the sea before I head south on a long hot treadle into the interior.