The inland road is called the Great Northern Highway, it’s sealed all the way until it joins the North-West Coastal Highway approximately 60kms South of Port Hedland, for the most part it’s in reasonable condition. All year round this is a major heavy haulage transport route that although not as busy as the Coastal highway will on occasions carry some massive low loaders with over width mining equipment, fortunately the highway is fairly straight with plenty of room to pull over and allow wide vehicles to keep their tyres on the sealed section. Tourists generally avoid this road with the exception of August-September when Caravan and RV traffic increases significantly due to some spectacular Wildflower blooms. I would not recommend travelling before mid April due to the heat and also the small chance of flash flooding that may cut road access for up to a week. From mid April onwards the days are generally dry and warm with nights getting cooler as each week ticks towards July, when clear nights can be close to freezing.
Is there much to see? Not a lot but there are a few unique sights, the small towns of Mount Magnet, Cue and Meekatharra still carry the wide roads and beautiful Stone buildings from the late 1890s. Newman started life in the late 1960s so isn’t the prettiest of towns but the tour of the Mount Whaleback Iron Ore Mine is well worth the time.
Charging: We drove through this area up to Tom Price and back across to Marble Bar in April 2018, there’s a number of locations with 5 pin 3 phase outlets capable of charging a Model 3 or Y at 11kW (3x16amps) the problem is most of the ones we used weren’t suitable for regular use due to access issues. Despite a number of years of thumb twiddling the shire councils in the area are finally realising that being omitted from the state governments EV charging network requires them to change from procrastinating to progressive, hopefully a few of the shire owned and convenient 3 phase outlets will be accessible sooner rather than later, until then the trusty 15amp caravan socket is the plan B and not as bad as you would think when a trip is planned wisely.
Dalwallinu– 245kms from Perth, the Old Convent has a 32amp three phase, it’s best to ring ahead for good will. It’s very likely you’ll charge for approximately 3 hours as the next useful charging stop is over 300kms north. If 3 hours in Dalwallinu is a bit too much to bear a stop in New Norcia or Moora while charging from 3 phase will add some different scenery without adding more than a few minutes to the journey.
Paynes Find– the old roadhouse has a small dusty campground out the back with 15amp caravan sockets, these are untested but if they run an RVs aircon they’ll charge an EV.
Mount Magnet tourist park- 317kms from Dalwallinu. This is a good overnight stop with some grass sites, a secure location and not too much traffic noise after 8.00pm. If you arrive before 6.00pm and plug straight into 15amps it’s possible to add a genuine 280kms of range by 8.00am the next morning. This location does have a 32amp three phase wired in and ready to go, it’s just waiting for the shire to approve its use.
Cue – 80kms from Mount Magnet and well worth a walk around the townsite. Stop in at the Queen of the Murchison for a coffee and more.
Meekatharra – 115kms from Cue. The shire are currently on the look out for a easy to access 3 phase in the meantime the caravan park is secure with a few 15amp options.
Karalundi – 60kms from Meekatharra. This location offers a shady campground with powered sites. Amongst the dry scrub Karalundi is an oasis due to a useful underground water supply, the caravan park is a side gig for the boarding school, my choice would be to stay overnight here rather than Meekatharra so as to shorten the drive to Newman.
Kumarina Roadhouse – this is a small roadhouse and campground 232kms north of Meekatharra that’s a welcome stop for a takeaway meal. The Camp ground has a number of usable 10/15amp sockets.
Newman – 367km from Karalundi, 190kms from Kumarina RH. This town has 3 phase but once again access is difficult, hopefully now that nearby Tom Price and Paraburdoo both have DC chargers the East Pilbara shire may show more interest in EV charging. In the short term 15amp overnight will do the job.
Tom Price – 277kms from Newman. This is a tidy little town that’s worth the detour, it’s also a good base for visiting Karijini. Tom Price has a near new 25kw DC charger that’s a real bonus for visitors.
Paraburdoo – 81kms south of Tom Price, this little town has a 50kw DC charger which is handy for anyone deciding to head back to Perth via the Nanutarra roadhouse and Carnarvon.
A few tips:
- Carry a full size spare tyre.
- Try and avoid driving after dusk
- Drive with caution during the day as most roads north of Mount Magnet are unfenced with plenty of stray Cattle.
- Don’t plug in without asking and always offer to pay for charging.