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On Saturday morning a three car convey set off from Port Hedland headed the "Back" way to Punmu. In the early '50's an oil exploration company pushed a track through from the North West Highway to and beyond the Canning Stock Route. With a three hundred Km trip along the blacktop then the Wapet Track we were looking at camping overnight on the track then getting to Punmu late on Sunday (the track is around 540km from the highway to where we meet our "normal" road.)

Leaving the blacktop

Everything was going bumpily but fine till we reached about 5km from our designated campsite. Then I felt a clunk under the car I was driving and lost power completely. At the time I was in heavy sand and about to drop into 4WD. I did that and carried on moving for a couple of hundred metres. Then the front passenger wheel dropped into the sand and bogged.

Running repairs on a wrecked axle

Investigation revealed that the rear axle was sticking out of the wheel hub. All the studs had snapped off and there was no power to the rear of the car. We towed it out of its hole, then, on front wheel drive only, headed back towards Port Hedland. The road ahead only gets worse so it was no use going on with a damaged car.

By now it was dark so we found a little clearing just off the road and camped under the stars. Dawn revealed that our little campsite had wonderful views and that went a long way to cheering us up.

Waking the following morning


Preparing to leave

The 450 Km trip back to Hedland was limited to 70km max and we arrived in Port Hedland about 4pm Sunday. Getting the repairs done took most of Monday.

Everyone was very nice about it but the fact remained.

*I* broke the car.