We spent the last two weeks traveling across The Kimberley in the north west corner of the country, along the famous Gibb River Road (GRR). We’ve seen a LOT of “stuff” over the two weeks so we’re having trouble figuring out how to cram it all into a single page, but we’ll do our best to summarize without boring you to death with a million words…
First stop after leaving Broome was a free stop at the Willare Bridge on the banks of the Fitzroy River which also marked our official entry into croc country as there were “freshies” littered along the bank. We’d driven a long way to see crocs in the wild so it was quite an exciting time for us both, however for Tara especially given her life long fascination with them.
A quick stock up on supplies in Broome and we hit the road heading north up towards Cape Leveque on the Dampier Peninsula. June and Alastair (the lovely couple that we met down at Barn Hill) had given us a tip to go to a camp site at an Aboriginal Community called Gnylmarung (pronounced Nil-Marung) so this was the intended camp for the night. After endless corrugations and red dusty road we eventually pulled into what looks like a farm with a beach front and a few tin buildings scattered around. We were quickly met by Alphonse and then Grant, two of the Aboriginal guys that live here. After being shown the firewood pile and other camp facilities Grant jumped on the side steps of the car and led us to a great little camp site overlooking the beach with a half 44gallon drum for a fireplace. We made the instant decision that one night wasn’t going to be enough, so asked them to lock us in for two nights. Continue reading
First port of call after Karijini was Port Headland which houses the port operations for BHP Billiton so naturally there is lots of big infrastructure around the place. All the ore gets transported here by rail and then is loaded onto the freight liners and sets sail for China. We were expecting a hive of activity but it was the public holiday Monday and the place was deserted. All but the poor suckers on the roster for BHP that day were out elsewhere. Headland wasn’t all that flash, so we took in the sights of the working port and then hit the road. Continue reading
Unbeknownst to us we had managed to time our visit to Karijini National Park with the WA Foundation Day long weekend and the park was going to be full (oops!). Arriving on the Firday night we were able to get a site at Karijini Eco Retreat and Savannah Camp Ground, but at $30 per night for unpowered patch of dirt it’s quite pricey! Still it was located near some of the main gorges so we took it. That afternoon we walked to Joffre Gorge and descended into the base of it. It was our first taste of the gorges and we were hooked! Waterfalls at one end, pool in the middle and a narrow waterfall which drops into what they call Olympic Pool, which is a very long stretch of deep water that you could do laps in if you wanted. We met a nice German couple who would be our buddies for the next few days. Continue reading
When we left Ningaloo and joined the mainland the scenery quickly changed and we were looking at deep orange undulating sand dunes with small shrubs and purple wildflowers! It was very pretty and we stopped to take photos and soak it in. We made camp at a 24hr roadside stop (which are free) and met a really nice old guy who was traveling on his own in an old Land Cruiser which he had made by hand to look like a Kenwood Truck. He even showed us his new Jayco caravan, which was pretty neat. The roadside stop was pretty full already and we definitely didn’t want to camp by the loos, so we took a drive over the other side of the highway and found it to be much quieter. After a short protest from me, Dave drove across the dry river bed and we found a perfect spot for a private camp. The best part was that we could have a fire as it wasn’t a national park! Continue reading
Coral Bay was brilliant we and left thinking that it was one of our favorite places on the trip. A small coastal village atmosphere and the most turquoise blue waters with amazing snorkeling straight off the beach. Coral Bay is definitely going to be hard to beat…
We headed up the peninsula following the reef, through Ningaloo Station and then the Defence Land. Driving just behind the dunes, there were many spots we were temped to pull over and set up camp. But being Defence Land, with no camping permitted and the fact that it was an Air Weapons Test Range we decided we’d push on into the Cape Range National Park.
Whale shark day!!! Yeehaaaa. Up early (and excited) for a quick breaky and head up to the dive shop for a 7:45 start. Quick sorting out of wetsuits and fins and we were on the bus heading for the jetty. Off the jetty and onto the 57ft boat, 19 people in total on board, captain Andy the really nice, easy going sth african, deckhand Jimmy, the highly strung but super efficient Canadian, and the two swimmers, Kai the blonde haired kiwi girl and Timmy the Aussie rock star wannabe that plays guitar at weddings. There was also Ed, the English lad that would be the underwater videographer today, and a bloke I’ve taken note to make friends with in return for additional footage of us on the $50 DVD we’ll be buying from him at the end of the day. Continue reading
Feeling refreshed after 3 nights in Kalbarri, we were ready to hit the road again. We said had a quick chat to our friends from the campsite north of Jurien Bay (young couple with the little boy and dog) who’d driven into the same caravan park the night before! Traded stories on where we’d been in between. As they have the dog they can’t go into any National Park, and I can’t help but to think that they are missing out on so much. Our best places have been deep in National Parks…
We left Perth chasing warmer weather and sunny skies and we certainly found it. Not an hour after leaving Perth the skies cleared and the sun came out! Our first stop north of Perth was at Nambung National Park which is home to the Pinnacles. These limestone columns stand amongst the sand dunes, slowly exposed and eroded over time and now watch over landscape like sentries frozen in time.
The Pinnacles, Nambung NP, WA
Coming off the Nullabor we were glad to see some beaches again. One of the first beaches we got to was Lucky Bay in Cape le Grand Natonal Park which was absolutely stunning! Apparently one of the whitest sand beaches in Australia and I believe it. Unfortunately by the time we pulled In the campsite was quite full and extremely windy so we headed into Esperance and setup at the more protected but far less scenic caravan park in town.
Lucky Bay, Cape le Grand