When I arrived in Carnarvon I was to learn that there were limited vacancies at the accommodation in town, and that it was very expensive. In the end I booked into budget accommodation at the Carnarvon Hotel. Budget??? Bottom end of market? At least it didn’t cost a fortune and was ok for one night.
I had been to the Visitors Centre and they told me that the Coffee Pot train on the one mile long jetty was not operating. However, in my drive around the coastal scenery I was surprised to find that it was going – and took no time in negotiating a ticket. (I often bargain to see if I can get a discount and it does work occasionally.)
It is at the mouth of the huge Gascoyne River – well, a river with little or no water that I could see, but a huge red dusty bed, which in heavy rain periods would fill up and flow out over the low lying areas here. As there had been little rain of recent times, I could see no water.
Ron was the train driver – he’s a volunteer (used to live in Queensland), and was great fun and full of information. Initially I was the only passenger, but we waited a while and two other families joined the tour.
The old jetty has loads of history – it was built in 1897, and has had several disasters befall it of recent times and is undergoing restoration. The trip on the train was enjoyable – rickety but safe as we made our way almost to the end of the jetty. Sadly idiots had set fire to the end of the jetty, and part of it is closed off for repairs. Clearly it is a popular fishing spot and we saw groups of blokes sitting on the jetty with rod and reel pulling in a nice supply of fish.
I went for a walk along the main beach in town late in the afternoon.
The town itself was pretty quiet, though the hotel was popular for meals – loads of folk in the bar and restaurant.
I was up early the next morning and went to take photos of the memorial to the HMAS Sydney – there are many memorials along the coast from right down south to the northern areas, as the sinking of this war ship off the WA coast with the loss of nearly 700 seamen had a big impact on the area. The Memorial Road has plaques for each lost sailor and a collection of palm trees supposedly at each plague, but one can see the effect of the strong winds in this low lying area.
I left down via the 16 kilometres of fruit and vegetable growing farms on the high banks of the dry Gascoyne River.