North....West... South...East Our trip - halfway round Australia

Australia, South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Nullabor, Kimberley, Pilbara

Week 8

Monday 31 August 2009  DAY 50

We are having a day in and around the caravan park in Carnarvon today as we have some cleaning to do and then will have a look at some of the places that weren't open yesterday.  Ron cleaned the van as best he could with the least amount of water but the Landcruiser now looks worse than ever so we decided to go and have a look at Bibbawarra Bore just about 12 km out of town where the water flows at 65 degrees C and think this will be a good place to wash the car.  When we were in town earlier we enquired about the car wash at the Caltex but the person there said it wasn't open and he didn't know when it would open "as it wasn't his department".  This is a very small "service" station and we think he was the only one there !!  Anyway, the Bibbawarra Bore was an excellent car wash with hot water in abundance so we backed up and had it done in no time and it cost nothing.  At the servo we were told that if our car was dirty we would have to brush the dirt off first as they don't like mud going down the drain - sometimes you just can't understand things?   The other tourist attraction here is Chinaman's Pool which is one part of the Gascoyne River that actually has water at this time of the year.  The Gascoyne is a huge river and at Carnarvon it runs into the sea.  It is known as "the upside down river" as the water is underground in an aquifer and only flows occasionally.  We are surprised at the price of housing here, very expensive we think with 3 bedroom houses in town mostly above $400,000.  

 

Tuesday 1 September 2009   DAY 51

On the road again and heading for Monkey Mia. We stopped at Wooramel roadhouse for LPG $1.03 cpl. Have seen a few more animals on this road with goats, a few emus and some cows.  We think it will be difficult to get into a caravan park at Monkey Mia as they only have one, so we will stop at Denham and enquire and will probably stay the night at Denham which is only 25 km from Monkey Mia.  We phoned and the park at Monkey Mia is booked out for a few nights so we got into a park at Denham and drove out to Monkey Mia only to find that the dolphins haven't been sighted for a few days now and there is no way of knowing when and if they will arrive in the next few days.  We had a stroll on the beach at Monkey Mia hoping to maybe see a dolphin but no luck so we'll get up early tomorrow and drive in again as the mornings are the feeding times if they do come at all.  Ron reckons we'd have more chance of seeing them at the Port River - but its a long drive!  The weather here is good with a slight breeze and mostly sunny. Denham is a nice little town on the coast with 3 caravan parks.  We are staying in one that is out of the main touristy area but it is quite good with all the necessary facilities, there is one right on the foreshore but that is full and probably would have to book weeks in advance.  We noticed that some of the vans there were right on the cliff top and would probably get blown around if the wind came up, so we are quite happy not being up there as the wind is fairly strong here.

 

Wednesday 2 September 2009  DAY 52

We got up at 6.30 am, an early start for us these days, and drove out to Monkey Mia in search of the dolphins.  We waited with a lot of others, some braving the cool start to the day standing in the water, but we decided to view them from the jetty.  After about an hour with nothing happening we were about to head back to the car, and then one dolphin came slowly in from under the jetty, and then she was followed by her baby.  Soon there were a few more and eventually there were 7 so we were very lucky.  They get fed by the rangers but only after the dolphins are allowed to swim around the shallows and they (the dolphins) decide whether they want to stay or not.  Apparently some times they just take off after swimming even if the rangers have the fish ready to feed them, so the decision is the dolphins', and it is obvious they really like to interact with people.  We reluctantly left the dolphins and headed back to Denham to pack up and head off again. The road from the Overlander Corner to Murchison was very pretty with lots of wattles and wildflowers.  We stopped the night at a roadside stop at Galena Bridge on the Murchison River.  This was a lovely camping area and by nightfall there were about 25 vans camped along the riverbank.

 

Thursday 3 September 2009   DAY 53

We got up late as we are planning to only travel to Kalbarri about 100 km away.  The road  to Kalbarri is edged with more and more wildflowers now and I am looking forward to seeing them as we go further.  We stopped in the Kalbarri National Park at Graham Ross Lookout and Hawkes Head Lookout which had great views over the Murchison River.  We got to Kalbarri which is a really pretty little seaside town.  Went for a walk along  the beach and saw someone on a jet ski towing a surfer. The waves are really big here and it was lovely just watching and hearing the waves crash.

Friday 4 September 2009  DAY 54

Drove  out to Kalbarri National Park to another lookout over the Murchison River and then on to a walk  to Natures Window.  This was a fairly easy walk for about 300 mtrs to a really great rock formation that forms a window to the Murchison River.  There are wildflowers on the roadside and all through the park, we also found a patch of Kangaroo Paws which we haven't seen any of before.  The weather is still really good, not as hot as it was further north, but according to the weather forecast we think it will deteriorate as we go south as Perth is having a lot of rain and windy too, so we are making the most of it now as we leave here tomorrow and will head to Geraldton and then inland to the wildflowers in Mullewa.

Saturday 5 September 2009  DAY 55

We reluctantly left Kalbarri as we have enjoyed our stay here.  The weather has been perfect and I love the walks along the beach.  We drove to Geraldton and stocked up again but decided not to stay overnight but had a look around.  We had a guided tour of the HMAS Sydney memorial which was excellent.  The town of Geraldton has put a lot of time and money into this beautiful memorial and it was well worth going to see it.  We drove on to our next stop which was the Pioneer Well just out of Mullewa.  We had to drive on a dirt track to get to it but the camping here was great, the wildflowers were everywhere and only two other caravans and a young woman travelling on her own in her 4 WD with a roof camper.  We have come across a few single  female travellers  and I can't imagine doing a trip on my own, but they all seem very confident and obviously enjoy it but they always come and say hello as we usually do too, just so we have some idea of who is there camping.  So far we haven't had any cause for concern as everyone has always been very friendly and willing to share stories of their trip.

Sunday 6 September 2009  DAY 56

Happy Father's Day.  Unfortunately we were not in an area to receive any messages from the kids which was disappointing and we thought we would have lunch at a pub somewhere but as luck would have it, the first one in Three Springs was closed and so onto the next one, and by this time we were a bit hungry and would you believe, they had a Footy show on and the pub was not open to the public.  By this time we decided it was too late to get to the next town so back to the van for sandwiches!!  I promised Ron we would make tomorrow his Father's Day lunch.  The wildflowers in this area are really lovely with special ones not seen anywhere else.  People were jumping out of cars to look at the Wreath flowers which are a bit rare, so we were told, and this year there aren't too many around, but they are certainly lovely & just like a wreath.  I couldn't believe the numbers of people around here, they all seem to be racing around the roads trying to get photos of the elusive wildflowers.  We stopped the night at another great spot, a few km's off the main road at a place called Bunjil Rocks.  These rocks are flat and are over a fairly large area but quite unusual and not what we were expecting.  We set ourselves up ready for a quick exit if it rained as it was forecast but no rain overnight thank goodness.  We were able to have another campfire here as there was plenty of wood around.