Point Quobba & Carnarvon

Heading south from Coral Bay, we were about 24km’s out of Carnarvon when we came across signs to Blow Holes and a few names/locations we weren’t familiar with, one of them Point Quobba. We were just within mobile/internet range, so after a quick look on the net we decided to head in the 48km’s to see what it was all about. Turned out to be a good decision…. (hint: check out the snorkeling video further down!)

The blow holes were first, and rather easy/obvious to find (water shooting into the air!)! There was a main blow hole, with some smaller ones next to it, and they were pretty cool.

Point Quobba Blow holes

Point Quobba Blow holes

The swell here was huge at times, so the waves slamming against the rocky coastline made for some impressive viewing.

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Ningaloo Reef / Cape Range National Park

Ah, this traveling business is tough. I mean, look what we had to deal with – 4 days of this….

Beautiful beaches, clear water, swimming and snorkelling over coral reefs teeming with colourful fish, sun baking, fishing and camping!!!

Yep we are back at the coast, the Cape Range National Park to be precise. Here the world heritage listed Ningaloo Reef almost meets land, and it is just a brief swim through a few metres of crystal clear blue water to immerse yourself in a completely different underwater world. Continue reading

Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park, nestled in the Hammersley Ranges in the heart of the Pilbara. That means it is made out of this stuff…like the rest of the surrounding hillsides!

It is yet again another beautiful place, where the harsh Australian landscape surprises with hidden beauty. The beautiful gorges and pools found in Karijini NP are more hidden than you might think. Unlike many of the other gorges we’ve visited, such as the MacDonnell Ranges and the Bungle Bungles which tower above the surrounding landscape, these gorges seem hidden within the surrounding landscape – you may not even realise they are there till you stumble close to the edge…

 General view, looking out over what appear to be a little depression in the ground...

General view, looking out over what appear to be a little depression in the ground…

but is actually this.....

but is actually this…..

We arrived around the middle of the day, Thursday 18th, and set up camp at Dales Campground in what is referred to as the Dales Recreation Area. Continue reading

Port Hedland

Port Hedland, well, its a mining town/port! Perhaps not worth its own post, but I didn’t want to include it in the next post on Karijini National Park… We did spend a good part of a day here though, seeing some interesting things. Here are some of the ships that facilitate Australians being able to maintain the high standard of living we enjoy!

Iron ore being loaded

Iron ore being loaded

Boys playing around whilst waiting for a ship to leave....

Big boys playing little boy games, whilst waiting for a ship to leave….

This one was off to Korea (according to the info centre)

Loaded with iron ore and off to Korea (according to the info centre)

Then of course there are the trains that bring the ore to the port. Not just one train line either, but multiple lines coming into different areas of the port from different places! Continue reading

80 Mile Beach

Broome to Port Headland, about 600km’s of nothingness. Well, there is 80 Mile Beach and a couple of other little places… So we roll into 80 Mile Beach early Monday arvo, roughly about half way between those two towns – ie. in the middle of nowhere. We walk over the final beach dune, and a lovely deserted beach greets us, which we have to ourselves to enjoy… Oh sorry, hang-on, got that bit wrong. What greets us, in the middle of nowhere, is this wall of fishermen….

the hordes

looking left

further down to the left

Yes, it turns out that the caravan park at 80 Mile Beach is quite large, and seems to exist purely for people who love to throw a line in the water! Or collect shells! The park itself is quite nice so we decided to stay the night (though it was pretty pricey) and have a go from the shoreline ourselves.
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Broome and Quondong Point

Broome, the touristy expensive place to stay? Well, yes, but not necessarily as you’ll see later… We arrived in Broome Monday 8th Sept, and did the typical travelling tourist thingy; staying for 3 nights in caravan parks close to Cable Beach. We spent the final two nights at Cable Beach Caravan Park, a huge park and with plenty of empty spaces (at this time anyway). Here we also found Alf and Veronica, so it was great to be able to catch up and spend some time with them.

So what’d we do in Broome? Well there is Cable beach of course! At high tide this beach is fairly similar to what you might find at the Gold Coast (water is perhaps a lighter blue though). However, due to the huge tidal range, at low tide the water recedes a looooong way out (over 200 metres!) leaving a huge expanse of fine white sand. This sand is very fine, almost clay like in consistency! Of course we swum, and I had a good time body surfing (we didn’t take the boogie boards out), though there was a strong sweep.

Looking down onto Cable beach

Looking down onto Cable beach

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Geikie Gorge

It’s a long trip from El Questro to Broome, with little to see and do on the way (if going the bitumen route). There’s The Bungle Bungles, but we’d already seen them earlier, and other gorges and attractions such as those found on the Gibb River Rd are accessed by 4wd or heavily corrugated dirt roads only. We spent the first night at a large free campsite, almost opposite the turnoff to The Bungle Bungles. Halls creek is soon after and from then on it is rather boring driving, being mostly flattish grass plains, with either a smattering of Eucalyptus trees or a bit of scrub. After my comments a couple of posts ago, Nicole has kindly been pointing out various Boab trees that she thinks look good after all… 🙂 One interesting thing I did note is a different style termite mound, presumably from a different species. I’ve nicknamed this the ‘brain termite’ for reasons I hope are obvious!

The brain termite mound.

The brain termite mound.

We took the opportunity to stop in at Geikie Gorge National Park, near Fitzroy Crossing where we spent the second night (on the side of a road). The main purpose and attraction of this NP is a section of the Fitzroy River, with its gorge and wildlife. The mighty Fitzroy River is said to have the second highest output of any river in the world (after the Amazon River), but that obviously wasn’t the case right now – it was barely a trickle!! Not sure if peak output during the wet season is the correct way to compare river systems… Nevertheless we headed out to the National Park to do a guided tour on the Fitzroy River (Sun 7/9/2014). This was run by the national parks, at a reasonable cost for the family (less than hiring a single canoe for the day at Katherine Gorge!).

The Fitzroy River

The Fitzroy River

Our tour guide was Ranger Dan, who is an interesting character with a good laid back Aussie sense of humour. The limestone gorge walls, washed/bleached white by the wet season flood waters, are a main tourist attraction of the park. Continue reading

El Questro Wilderness Park

El Questro Wilderness Park, 1 million acres and what a lovely place to stay. Beautiful accommodation and some lovely natural features to visit. Have a look at this.

The Homestead, El Questro. Pic taken from http://www.elquestro.com.au/

The Homestead, El Questro. Pic taken from http://www.elquestro.com.au/

Except with most suites over $2k per night we didn’t stay there – we were in the motorhome at the campground in a different area of the park…. We did get to these though:

Emma Gorge

Emma Gorge

One of the small pools at Zebedee Springs

Access to El Questro is via the Gibb River Road. Yes, we did the famed Gibb River rd in the motorhome! The full length of it too – the sealed section at the Kununurra end that is…. Heading west along the Gibb River Road, you see this ahead, and it is on the southern side of this plateau that Emma Gorge is located. Continue reading

The Bungle Bungles / Purnululu

We had a very nice 3 days at the Bungle Bungles, or Purnululu, as it is now formally known. It is a fair hike from Kununurra (where we left the motorhome) – about 5 hours or so driving, including over an hour for the 53km 4wd access road to get into the park. Our hire vehicle was a Mitsubishi Pajero, and it was nice to get behind the wheel of a fast comfortable car with cruise control again!

Heading down the Great Northern Hwy, we passed beside/through a number of ranges that are rough and gnarly in different ways. There were a couple of hillsides with heaps of boulders, that reminded us of Devils Marbles. Then there were others reminding us of MacDonnell Ranges near Alice Springs. A couple of turn-off’s to Nickel mines seemed to be headed to areas where the range was tall & deep red in colour.

Finally, after completing the access road, we came across the Bungle Bungle Range. The west side of the range (or Northern Section as they call it), is a rough weather-worn orangey colour that looks something like this. It is not that dissimilar to The Olgas, back down in central Aus! Similar in height too, but a lot more of it…

Just a small portion of the north western side of the range

The southern end, the Piccaninny area, is rather different, looking something like the below. I reckon you need to get up into the air to photograph this area really well though.

Piccaninny domes!

Piccaninny domes!

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