You may have read my previous blog covering the beginning of our roadtrip from Perth to Kalbarri, if not you may want to check it out as contains valuable tips you need to know!
Most National Park Fees-$12 per vehicle
4WD – Highly recommended
Water – Gallons
Sunnies – Are you kidding?
Kalbarri – Hamelin Pool – Denham Shark Bay World Heritage Area 377km – approx 4 hours drive
Oh its hot, after pulling over to cook up some lunch, silly me decided to get out to throw something in the bin, talk about a mistake!
The flies will chase you all the way back to the van and because they are small enough to get inside your van, will continue to buzz around your face so you have no choice but to get the van moving whilst rolling down the windows in a hasty bid to evacuate them from your vehicle (it would help if the vehicle in question went faster than 10 mph from stationary)
Let’s just say my fly net was not just used outside. That’s right, I wore it in the van too!
Please ensure you have enough water if you are planning on heading into the national parks. Drinking water is not available here so it is Vital you have enough to see you through (take 3 litres per person per day) Load up that sunscreen or you will cook!
Kalbarri National Park is enormous and although we spent all day here, I still think we only managed to see a small part of it, but boy was it worth it!
The views are every photographers dream from towering colourful sandstone cliffs rising from the ocean to spectacular river gorges, complete with the kind of heat that would coax even the shyest of lizards out to bask.
You can go hiking here but we decided not to, choosing to drive to the scenic places, wander around and admire in awe, just the sheer landscape is spellbinding! I cannot describe it to you, you have to go there!
We visited Mushroom Rock, The Loop and a few smaller viewing spots.
The park does have clear signs for lookout points, although it may seem like you are driving for a long time down one road, there is a stopping point eventually.
One thing I will say is not having a 4WD did prevent us from going to some of the points I really wanted to visit, Francois Peron National Park, Natures Loop to name a couple. This also was apparent during other times in our trip as some of the roads were definitely not made for our trusty camper.
Let’s get this show on the road.
Stopping off at Billabong Roadhouse for some fuel (if you are hungry they actually do some nice wraps and sandwiches) It makes me feel as if you could be in a movie, you know the ones where roadtrains are roaring past, there is nothing else but vast desert-like landscape and a strange-looking man puffing away on a cigar, oh and a rocking chair out front.
A quick look at Hamelin Pool, where you will find the worlds most diverse population of Stromatolites.
If you have had enough of driving, why not stay the night at Nanga Bay Resort it has a Natural hot artesian spa!
You see, when you have been on the road for a very long time endlessly peering out the window for a glimpse of the mysterious kangaroo (but see none) little things like signs become very exciting, the main reason being that a sign means you are closer to your destination!
Denham is the first point of the fantastic Ningaloo Reef. Whilst there is not much happening in Denham itself, it’s a good place to stop off before heading further up north.
We also found that in order to view some of the ‘must-see’ points, you will definitely be driving out of your way for them, but it really is worth it.
There was no sand, the beach was made up of millions of tiny shells which go down about 8metres deep. It was very bright, if the suns out put on your shades! Red Bluff had a nice viewing point, as red as you’d expect, quite similar to Kalbarri.
Spending the night in a local holiday park, we got up early enough to drive to Monkey Mia just in time for the dolphins, didn’t think we were going to make it!
To get into the reserve for the dolphins, its odd how small this place it. Yes the land is big, but Monkey Mia itself has no more than a visitors centre,somewhere to eat,a small shack which charges you to enter and a strip of beach.
The highlight was the dolphins, yes the beach is beautiful but so are All the beaches on the west coast of Australia. What made this beach different?
It was the marine biologists who study the dolphins and feed them 3 times per day (AM) they are strict with their food policy as do not want them becoming tame.
We stood in a line in the water and strained our ears trying to listen to what the lady was saying (the dolphins were very close, I was distracted and it was windy) then a few people who had buckets of fish for the dolphins came out and picked out people from the line to feed the dolphins, I was lucky enough to be picked.
Some people may think it’s too touristy but hey, it’s good they are studying the dolphins and restricting their feeding habits from humans.
Now we have to drive All the way back down to Denham as we are still heading up north
Have you ever seen a natural blowhole? Want to see one? Head to a place called Quobba, quite a way out of your way but if your interested…
Denham – Carnavon – Exmouth 682 km – approx 7hrs
I bought a snorkel set from Amazon – best idea ever! That way because there are so many places to stop off and snorkel, you never have to hunt for one to rent and why do that when you can have your own!
On the road again!
I do feel like I have never left the road.
We could have stayed in Denham but honestly, I just want to get to Turquoise Bay!
In case you were wondering what we get up to during the evening, we cook a meal as eating out is very expensive and what’s the point of having a hob in the camper if you are not going to use it?
The internet signal is not good at all, many holiday camps offer free wifi but they will only work if you are in the main office kitchen
. After the meal we get the bed ready, shower (which are surprisingly clean, so are the toilets) relax with a book in one hand and pack of biscuits in the other (Tim Tams if we are being specific, or my Absolute favourite the fake Tim Tams but much better in my opinion from Aldi)
Driving through Carnavon I begin to realise that I’m getting used to how vast Australia is. That seeing millions of acres sprawled out as far as the eye can see is becoming quite the norm!
If you find yourself in Carnavon between May – October on a Saturday, check out their morning market in which the plantation owners bring their produce to the town centre!
Now it’s time to rest Enough driving for Sean and enough passenger driving for me.
Has anyone seen a kangaroo yet? I’ve spent the past 5 hours scouring the earth for them!
Woohoo! Get the snorkels out, and camera, sunscreen, oh did you bring towels too?
We have decided to drive past Coral Bay and head up to Exmouth, after a lot of umming and ahhing about whether we should make the journey up to Exmouth. Why not?
This is mainly to visit Cape Range National Park, Turquoise Bay and to visit the lookout points around Exmouth, although it certainly is a great place to swim with whales sharks or manta rays if it’s the right season.
The views are beautiful, deep blue river gorges on the backdrop of huge canyon walls, I can’t believe my camera battery has lasted this long!
Our favourite lunch is quick cook noodles and tuna or peanut butter sandwich, quick, easy and convenient. Dinner tends to be some sort of pasta dish with a pasta sauce and canned tuna mixed in or spaghetti bolognese.
After exploring Cape Range it’s a good time to turn in for the night and anticipate what tomorrow will hold.
Turquoise Bay is said to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Western Australia and a snorkellers paradise
After getting up a lot earlier then previous mornings, part excitement, part because I heard that in order to see Turquoise Bay at its finest, the best time to get there is just before 8am before the tourists show up!
Driving there is beautiful, something about travelling along the coast line when it’s really hot that makes me want to reach up to the sky stretching my body as far from the seat till almost standing (okay not safe) and shout ‘Woohoo’ with a huge smile on my face.
However, being in a camper van did not allow me to do such things, so instead I click away with my camera (which is always very near to hand) and serenade Sean loudly using Britney Spears as my back up vocalist who I have blasting out of my iPod (unlucky Sean, don’t you wish you had downloaded your songs to the iPod?)
Pulling up it’s a quite nice to know we are the first people here, okay not ever, but the first of this beautiful day.
I can’t wait for Sean to clean his sunglasses then get the bags, I want to see it now!
Leaving him in the van I run off and can honestly say I am absolutely entranced at the sight of this vivid blue green water, so clear that I am sure I can see fish swimming around (Ningaloo Reef is known to have the closest Coral Reef in the world) the soft snowy sand, it really is something!
Sean has joined me, minus the bags because I think he was just as excited to see the beach, after all this is the snorkelling destination to come to! Bikini time!
We go for a little walk and photo opportunity for a while, then much to our disappointment, find that another couple have arrived, slowly more people trickle into the bay.
Before they scare away the fish by snorkelling, we head into the water.
We are treated to an array of colours, from the coral reef to electric blue darts, very large black fish, parrot fish, and they are incredibly close!
Okay, I did have a couple thoughts on what one would do if one encountered a shark but you know what, we cannot live in fear of something, otherwise we would never get out of the house!
I’m not sure what I’d do. To be honest I though at one point Sean had definitely been taken by something. He had swum so far out, I couldn’t see him for a good 10minutes, I even got out of the water to try to see if I could see him from the shore.
That was a very scary moment when the realisation hit that we are actually swimming in shark infested waters, not only that, but the fact shark attacks have and do happen quite often in Western Australia.
Luckily he hadn’t been taken, just got carried away with following a very colourful fish around that he hadn’t realised that the fish was trying to lure him away from the shore to turn him into prey for the Great Whites.
It started getting a little busy so we took that opportunity to explore Skeleton Beach which is about a half hour walk, take into account walking on sand, part running from the flies and carrying a lot of bags.
I couldn’t help but keep stopping to take pictures, it was so picturesque, would have been a crime not to.
I felt like this was our own secluded private island, just the two of us surrounded by nothing but sea and white sand, idyllic!
Skeleton Bay is known for being a reef shark breeding ground, if you are lucky you will see lots of baby reef sharks swimming around your feet. How cute is that?
If you are looking to swim with whale sharks or manta rays, Coral Bay and Exmouth would be the best places to do so.
There are quite a few tour operators who follow the rays and sharks, meaning they know exactly where they will be during certain times of the day, one of them is Coral Bay Eco Tours which stand out to me as they are there the only carbon neutral tour company in Ningaloo Reef
Whale sharks – 15th March -15th September
Manta Rays – Can be seen all year round, but need a tour company to find them Eco Tours manta rays
Australia, you have treated us to astounding sights and experiences, we will be back!
Have you ever been on a roadtrip? Where did you go?
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‘In the end you won’t remember the time spent in the office or mowing the lawn, want to go somewhere? Make it happen’