Thursday, April 11

Carnarvon

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.




Sunday, April 7

More Denham

There really is so much to see around Denham, and I sadly didn't see it all in the three days I spent there.  I stayed in the Denham Seaside Tourist Village in a cabin on the top level.  The park has several tiers - all on crispy white tiny seashells from one of the local beaches.  The shells have gathered for thousands of years, and are great for roadways and landscaping, though housewives would curse them as they seem to cling to the soles of shoes and feet and get walked into the house.

The town of Denham is a lovely spot, overlooking shark bay.  At night you can see the lights of Useless Loop and the Salt mines, the stars are bright and a few fishing boats bob about in the calm waters in front of the town.

One of the key places to visit is Monkey Mia - where the wild dolphins come in for a feed regularly during the day.  There is a resort and caravan park (expensive) there, and plenty to amuse all family members.  A boat also leaves from the wharf at Monkey Mia for those who want to venture out into the bay for a closer look at the sea life.

As you drive into Denham, there are sign posts indicating the various interesting spots, and one I found to be of great interest was Hamelin Pool, which is "home to the most diverse and abundant examples of living stromatolites in the world" - one really has to do some reading to learn more about these.  There are excellent information boards at the site, and along the boardwalk that enables visitors to get close to the stromatolites and see these wonders of the world.

The Boardwalk at Hamelin Pool

The stromatolites

Along the beachfront

More Hamelin Pool

Sunset at Denham
View from my cabin

At Monkey Mia

Visitors Centre

Dolphins come to check out the visitors

Jetty at Monkey Mia

Exhibit in Interpretive Centre

Pelican amusing visitors as he drinks from the sprinkler

Just outside Monkey Mia



Kalbarri to Denham

The cabin in the caravan park at Kalbarri was interesting – a little old and needing more care, and there was a problem with a power point – zapped me!!!  Late at night when it happened, I just resolved to keep myself away from the powerpoint and the aluminium door frame which also zapped me.  I reported it in the morning, but I knew there was nothing that could be done late at night. 

I spent some time writing after arriving, and was up early the next morning to go back to some of the cliffs I missed out the day before.  There really are some spectacular cliffs. 

A funny thing happened when I visited one area of the cliffs – all areas have designated car/caravan parking, and there are boards with information etc.  At one of the areas I noticed two people walking along one of the tracks on the  edge of the cliff, and moments later the guy (all alone) walked past me.  I looked up the pathway and the girl was nowhere to be seen.  Did he push her over?  My heart started to beat a little faster and I pondered what had happened.  Did he…….?  I set off on the track that they had been on, a little tentatively I must admit, and after a short walk came to an interesting shelter in the bushes – and there was the girl.  She greeted me, with a comment about the beauty of the region and her sighting of two kangaroos just nearby.  She was from NSW, but with a Canadian accent as she had lived there for a while and the boyfriend was Canadian. I told her then, about my initial concerns for her welfare and she laughed.  She and the boy had been contemplating how easy it would be to push  someone over the edge….. The guy returned and we all had a laugh about it.

There are many beautiful places to see along this coastline – and my short stay did not allow me to see all.  I keep saying – maybe one day I can get back to see those places I missed – many quite a few kilometres from the main road, and often on unmade roads and in some cases quite rough.

I went back to the caravan park, which was delightfully sited on the road wit the Murchison River beyond.  It is a pretty little town. I loaded my car and set off, this time, taking time out to see some of the other spectacular scenery.

Here’s a selection of photos from around Kalbarri.





Wednesday, April 3

Dongara to Kalbarri

It was hard to leave Dongara - I had made friends, taken time to look around (and there are still local places I have yet to visit), but I was packed and ready and headed off just before 9 am on April 1st.  The roads were busy - mostly holiday makers heading south, so not as much traffic going in the direction I was!!

I stopped briefly in Geraldton - needed to get a couple of things and was on the doorstop at Woolworths as it opened - after all it was Easter Monday - and I was quickly in the store and out again and back on the road again.  I do confess to driving just below the speed limit - in part because to drive at 100 kms is kinder to my car and fuel economy, and in part it allows me to take in the sights on each side of the road.  I will never be able to detail the amazing sights - mainly the vegetation, and the rock formations - the scenery changes frequently and if I took a photo as it changes I'd hardly progress in my travel!!!  (Sometimes I do of course stop and take a photo or two....)

There were two places I wanted to visit - one was Oakabella Homestead just south of Northhampton, and the other was the Principality of Hutt!  So glad I did both.  I also went into the town of Northhampton and had a quick look around this historic town.  So much to see and so little time....

At Oakabella Station I parked and went into the Tea Room where I met Loretta Wright, the manager of Oakabella.  You can read the story of her first visit to Oakabella and learn a little of what she has done since then.  She is really a great character and on this day was the tour guide, cook, etc, and after I had enjoyed an iced coffee she took me on a quick tour of the property.  What an amazing place and how wonderful that she has found most of the artifacts right there on the property - often under the floor boards in the dirt and debris placed there many years ago.

She has done so much here - to preserve an extra ordinary piece of Australian history. Hopefully next time I pass through I will have more time to stay and explore.


In the Museum

The Dunny

The Kitchen
Back on the road again, driving northward towards Kalbarri, via the coast road.  VEry interesting buildings and ruins along the route.

I drove into Port Gregory especially as I wanted to get a close look at the Pink Lake  - a pale pink from the Port Gregory side, but darker pink on the road to Kalbarri.



At Port Gregory I saw these wooden stairs down to the beach, completed covered by sand.  Easier not to use the stairs!!!



On the other side of the lake I followed a dirt roadway to the lake and saw some of the workings of the lake and the extraction of beta-carotene.



Then back on the road again to find the road to the Principality of Hutt.  It was a long unmade road, but fortunately not too difficult to drive.  The signs are few and far between and at times I wasn't sure if I was on the right track, but eventually found the main gate to the Principality and soon the Post Office and main office.

Meeting Prince Leonard

Sitting in the Princess chair in the Chapel.
I must say Prince Leonard is fascinating!!!  Clearly a very intelligent man, though disappointingly people do 'take the mickey' out on him and the principality, but I challenge anyone to meet him and feel sure that everyone would come away, accepting his great intelligence and knowledge.  He speaks at a fast rate - the Chinese visitors found it very hard to follow!!!

I spent nearly two hours there and headed back on the dirt road to the roadway to Kalbarri and on the way stopped to take photos of the amazing cliffs south of Kalbarri.

A fire had burnt through this area south of Kalbarri a week or so ago
Cliffs south of Kalbarri