It’s really sad when my blog turns into a chore.
A week ago I wrote the words and then left it to do the photos later, but then somehow lost all my words and have only now become re-enthused to do it again! So this time, I will sit here until it’s finished! Must be the Broome vibe doing good things, giving me back some pizzazz!
So, we are in Broome right now. Broome is awesome by the way, I will get there….
But I last wrote about Red Bluff which is 3 weeks and a lifetime ago.
We restocked in Carnarvon, the last Woolworths for miles, and ventured ever north, past towering termite mounds that looked a little bit wrong next to the bright green grass – they had had some very recent drenching rain.
Arriving in Coral Bay was like disembarking on a tropical island.
It was a little oasis on a coral fringed white sand beach with only a couple of resorts and van parks, and heaps of grey nomads. This is where the Ningaloo Reef starts. If you ask any proper grey nomad where to go in WA, they will invariably say ‘Coral Bay’ so it was great to finally see the famous spot.
It was pretty incredible that’s for sure! The snorkelling off the beach was brilliant. While the coral wasn’t particularly spectacular, the fish life was indeed and it was as if the place was man-made, nature got it pretty perfect. There was a shallow swimming shelf, then it dropped straight off in to the deep water with massive coral bombies everywhere. Just out a little bit further you could see the waves crashing on the outer reef.
We had a booking at the notoriously-hard -to-get-into Cape Range National Park just down the road so, as our Coral Bay experience ended, we found ourselves with a couple of days to spare before our reserved dates. Lucky for us (Brian) WA’s final surf destination was located on the way, and there was the Lighthouse Caravan Park just across the road.
We were just outside of Exmouth, a strange town that started life as a US Naval Base and submarine refuelling station. It now hosts an Australian Air Force Base, a glut of Whale Shark Dive Tour Operators, and plenty of tourists from all walks of life. The whale sharks will have to wait for our next trip before they get to swim with us.
The surf wasn’t too bad, and the park was better than initial impressions. We loved tormenting the resident emu with our remote control car. (The blue one was my birthday present!)
The day finally arrived for us to take up residence in Cape Range National Park at Osprey Bay and it was pissing down rain!
Fun timing it between showers to quickly dismantle the van. We were a bit worried because all the recent rain had actually washed a few of the campgrounds clean away and destroyed the visitors centre, but it was only passing showers, nothing like the damaging 400mm that they had a few weeks prior.
Our campsite was superb.
The beautiful beach was only 20meters away and a perfect spot to watch that sunset and the wildlife from atop the dunes.
Ahhh sunset, beer o clock. WA certainly delivers at this time of day!
To the south lies Yardie Creek Gorge. It had a nice short walk and dangerous rock-hop…. well, dangerous for me who fell over and skinned both my knees. The kids were fine!
And just to the North of our campsite you find the stunning Sandy Bay.
We just spent hours and days in the water. We love when things are so absolutely kid-friendly!
We changed campgrounds up to Tulki Bay which is adjacent to the crowning jewel of the national park – Turquiose Bay.
This spot is known for the great reef just off shore and drift snorkelling along the beach. And was it turquoise enough for ya!? Just gorgeous.
Again the coral itself was just ok, but I saw fish I have never seen before, heaps of clown fish and wrasse, an octopus (!) and I even saw a massive reef shark swim under me. Luckily it just ignored me, but it was bigger than I was so I shit myself! It looked mean. Me and Brian just took turns playing, paddling and snorkelling for the day, what another great day!
We bought the annual national parks pass for WA which has certainly paid for itself before now, you only pay $10 per person to camp and don’t have to pay the car fee.
The oysters at Tulki Beach were yummy, great for a beer o clock snack, but I wasn’t sure what the rules were with the national park sanctuary and all that…
With our serious tans, it was time to head East!
Along the way and 20kms off the highway was this lovely stop at Emu Creek Station.
It was a really cool overnighter on the glassy creek which was lined with river gums who were home to thousands of colourful native budgies, corellas, and eagles.
I wanted to get my oil paints out… ‘If I was a painter, but then again, no.’ You could even have a campfire! The first in a long time! The campfire king was happy!
Karijini National Park was our aim, but we had no idea that Tom Price would be a drawcard in itself! Firstly the drive into the town along a dirt road lined with towering iron ore rich hills in all shades of red and gold was something else.
The road trains carrying 4 trailers full of red dirt passed us by and we had to brake cos all you could see was a cloud of dust! So, what we had thought was going to be a simple restock and refuel turned into a destination in itself. The caravan park was so surprisingly green and spacious and sat at the base of Mt Nameless which was all colours of ochre in the sunrise.
Tom Price was a guy who helped to establish the iron ore industry here only as late as the 60s.
Rio Tinto has operations here and Karratha, while BHP is more Newman and Port Headland.
The town oozed high vis, mine spec vehicles and money. The mine tour was fun>
We drove around in a bus, you had to wear hardhats at the lookout…. Brian and I took turns
Tom Price was a surprising place, we enjoyed racing our remote control car around the awesome skate park, and you could even get our favourite boutique beer, James Squires 150 Lashes for a bargain price. It had a Coles, not that we are mad about Coles exactly, but it is the cheapest way to buy essential groceries. After a nice rejuvenation and even a visit to the local library, we were ready to rough it at Karijini.