“Is Port Hedland still in Australia?”, asked the woman at the Qantas ticket counter as I was departing for a remote northwestern corner of Down Under. Knowing little about the place myself, I had checked the weather forecast from cold, wet and grey Auckland to see a band of suns across the coming week, and a predicted 28 degrees Celsius. Hallelujah (!) for this Californian who longs for sunny blue skies in my adopted home, Aotearoa — Land of the Long White Cloud.
It took all day to fly there, reminding me yet again how isolated New Zealand is from the rest of the world and how vast is Australia. My first trip to the Wild West on the Indian Ocean.
We flew in to Port Hedland as the sun was setting. I could see the salt evaporation ponds glistening in the golden, orange and red waning light as we glided in over a darkening, flat plain.
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