We weren't sad to wave goodbye to our stop at Stanley Rest Area - a really nice spot but such ordinary sleeping conditions! With somewhat dull heads, we kept making tracks along the highway and decided to head the 10 km off the highway for a look at Eighty Mile Beach. We'd heard that it wasn't good for swimming due to the bull sharks but we'd also heard so many mentions of the place that we felt we really shouldn't pass without seeing it.
The 10 km was dirt road and a bit corrugated in places so we found a spot off to the side a few hundred metres down where we unhitched Old Bess, hoping she would still be fully intact when we returned.
At the end of the road is a caravan park and visitor parking area on the beach. The sun was beating down as we hopped out of the car but there was a sea breeze blowing to keep things a bit more bearable. Eighty Mile Beach is basically a fishing beach and there were plenty of fishermen and women doing their thing when we visited. The beach is also littered with shells, and large spaces are covered with intact shells, so we spent an hour or so wandering along collecting shells. We were ready for the relief of the car air conditioning again by this time, and made our way back to pick up Old Bess.
Another couple of hours of driving brought us to De Grey River rest area which had been recommended by a number of people along the way. About 80 km east of Port Hedland, there are plenty of camping spots among the trees and everyone seems to take a dip or five in the river beside, despite the sign indicating a recent crocodile sighting. With the temperature gauge in the car reading 39 degrees we found ourselves a shady site and, after setting up, spent some time immersing ourselves in the cooling waters.
We were all in bed by 7, not wanting to use the lights to attract any bugs, and had a much more pleasant sleep, looking out at the stars through the trees.