Due to our tyre blow out, the next morning we hitched up the caravan and headed out of Karijini National Park, to the nearest town of any size, Tom Price, a Rio Tinto mining town. After booking in at the caravan park and eating lunch we drove to the industrial area in the early afternoon and visited all three tyre shops with no luck for matching tyres for our Hilux. Even though they had none in stock one of the true workshops could offer us two choices. Choice one was in six days time they would take they regular delivery from Perth and could sell us two tyres so we had a matching new pair and rotate the remaining old back tyre to be the spare. Choice two, pay a $150 courier fee and they would ask for an overnight delivery from Perth arriving the next afternoon. After some quick Maths we decided to do that rather than pay to stay a week in Tom Price. Yes we were happy to look around for a couple of days but a week was probably too long as we had lots more to see further south.
The following morning we joined a bus tour of the Rio Tinto iron ore mining complex. At 10:00 we joined about 30 other tourists and headed out of town to the mine. The over-riding impression we gained was that everything is BIG. First up the repair workshop-Next, the massive hole in the ground-Next the machinery-Then the different sections of the processing plant-including the piles of raw materials, as seen in this photo-Finally there are the trains, as long as a kilometre in length taking the processed iron ore to the port at Karratha and pulled by a couple of engines like this one.The tour was fascinating insight into part of Australia’s mining industry. We were just blown away by the huge scale of everything. We were also stunned to discover that Queen Elizabeth is their biggest share holder. Sadly the high share price has prohibited us from buying in.
After lunch we took our vehicle down to the tyre workshop about 14:30 just in time to see the courier unloading our tyres which were soon fitted and balanced ready to go. As we were now a bit poorer our next mini adventure was going to be a hike. More about that next post.