A Travellerspoint blog

June 2012

Day 56 - Saturday - 30 June 2012

Denham

We were up at 6:15 am this morning and on the road at 6:45 am heading for Monkey Mia which is 25 kms away to see the dolphin feeding. We arrived at 7:15 am just after sunrise and were told to hurry up and wait on the boardwalk for a ranger who would conduct the dolphin feeding. We were invited onto the beach and again had to wait for the dolphins who obviously hadn't made a firm appointment. Eventually a handful of dolphins arrived, but obviously they were doing their own fishing just up the beach and were not desperate for free fish. A handful of the people lining the beach were invited into the water to feed garfish to the dolphins - they are on a limited diet of free fish (300 to 600 grams each) so that they do not get dependent on a handout.

Monkey Mia Visitors Centre

Monkey Mia Visitors Centre

Monkey Mia Resort

Monkey Mia Resort

A couple of playfull dolphins

A couple of playfull dolphins

Where's my fish

Where's my fish

Hand feeding the dolphins

Hand feeding the dolphins

A Pelican looking for fish

A Pelican looking for fish

A camel train setting off up the beach

A camel train setting off up the beach

After the dolphin feeding had finished we adjourned to the Resort Restaurant for a buffet breakfast - $26.50 each for as much as you could eat. After breakfast we checked out the souvenir shop and moved on to the theatre to watch a video on dolphins while we waited for our 3 hour dolphin and dugong cruise that was timed for 10:30 am. Our cruise boat - Aristocat 2 - is a 60 ft aluminium catamaran weighing about 16 tonnes and capable of 14 knots under power or sail. Our cruise took us out over the seagrass beds looking for dugong, dolphins and turtles. We did not find any dugongs, and only one turtle, but lots of dolphins who were ready to play.

Aristocat 2 - Dugong and Dolphin Cruise

Aristocat 2 - Dugong and Dolphin Cruise

Hoisting the mainsail - where's the Jones boy

Hoisting the mainsail - where's the Jones boy

6 dolphins riding the bow wave

6 dolphins riding the bow wave

Dolphins having fun

Dolphins having fun

At the end of the cruise we did a detour to the Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm for a demonstration of the different types of pearls and the methods of pearl seeding.

Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm at Red Cliffs Beach

Blue Lagoon Pearl Farm at Red Cliffs Beach

Pearl farm workboat

Pearl farm workboat

Blue Lagoon Pearls

Blue Lagoon Pearls

Posted by TwoAces 03:15 Comments (0)

Day 55 - Friday 29 June 2012

Denham

We awoke this morning to a fine clear blue sky. Di did a few loads of washing while David set up the satellite dish. The only digital channels were the ABC - and only 7, 9, and SBS on analogue. No channel 10 so we decided to set up the satellite dish to give us the full complement. With a clear blue sky and no trees we soon had a good picture from the satellite. Mid morning we set off for a walk along the waterfront to get the Australian and have a coffee. As we left the caravan park we noticed that they had no vacancies for caravans.

10:30 am and no vacancies for caravans

10:30 am and no vacancies for caravans

Denham Foreshore

Denham Foreshore

No Australian today so had to make do with the West Australian, which has more paper and less content than the Hobart Mercury - it really is a rubbish newspaper! We called into the visitor centre and bought some passes for Monkey Mia tomorrow and also booked a cruise on the Aristocat, a 60 ft catamaran that does a 3 hour Dugong and Dolphin cruise.

Back at the caravan park we had an early lunch - corned beef sandwiches - then went for a drive to explore the local area. We went to the Town Lookout, which is too far from town for a useful view, Ocean Park - but baulked at paying $19 each to watch a few sharks being fed in an aquarium. We continued along the coast and checked out some of the 24 hour camping spots from Camps 6.

View from Eagle Bluff

View from Eagle Bluff

Eagle Island

Eagle Island

Whalebone Beach

Whalebone Beach

We are now in the north west of WA

We are now in the north west of WA

After dinner we settled back to watch the Carlton Hawthorn game in real time on 7 Central - another poor performance from Carlton!

Posted by TwoAces 05:02 Comments (0)

Day 54 - Thursday 28 June 2012

Kalbarri to Denham

The temperature this morning was 13 degrees with a mainly clear blue sky and little to no wind. We got away from Kalbarri at about 9:30 am after emptying our holding tanks at the foreshore dump point. We headed 64 kms in a south easterly direction from Kalbarri to return to the North West Coast Highway. From here it was 309 kms to Denham.

309 Kms to Denham

309 Kms to Denham

We stopped at the Billabong Roadhouse for fuel aand had a lunch break in the car park opposite the Roadhouse. The food must be good at the Roadhouse as the road trains were also stopping here for lunch.

Lunch at the Billabong Roadhouse

Lunch at the Billabong Roadhouse

Road Trains at the Billabong Roadhouse

Road Trains at the Billabong Roadhouse

We continued on to the Overlander Roadhouse where we turned on to Denham Hamelin Tourist Drive through the Shark Bay World Heritage Area.

Shark Bay World Heritage Area

Shark Bay World Heritage Area

World Heritage Drive

World Heritage Drive

We arrived at the Denham Top Tourist Park at about 2:30 pm and were allocated a large site on the upper level at the back of the park. Just as well that we had a reservation as within an hour of us checking in vans were being turned away. After setting up we went to the Visitor Centre to get some info on the local tourist attractions that include the Francois Peron National Park, Denham and Monkey Mia.

Posted by TwoAces 17:41 Comments (0)

Day 53 - Wednesday 27 June 2012

Kalbarri

We had more rain overnight, however we awoke to a temperature of 16 degrees and the promise of a fine day. We packed a picnic lunch and headed for the inland gorges on the Murchison River in the Kalbarri National Park. The Murchison river starts inland near Meekathara and flows for 700 kms to the sea at Kalbarri. We started with Natures Window which is accessed by 25 kms of gravel road.

Murchison River Gorge from Nature's Window Lookout

Murchison River Gorge from Nature's Window Lookout

David at Nature's Window Lookout

David at Nature's Window Lookout

Di framed in Nature's Window

Di framed in Nature's Window

Murchison River from the bottom of the Gorge

Murchison River from the bottom of the Gorge

From Natures window we moved on to the Z Bend. It is just as well that the road had been recently graded.

Just as well they graded the road last week

Just as well they graded the road last week

At the Z Bend car park we stopped for lunch and chatted to a young family who have a small farm between Albany and Denmark. They sell their produce at the farmers market in Albany. This is the only time of year that they can take a holiday - mind you they have never been to Margaret River. They had 6 kids aged from 5 to 15 and were travelling in a "troopy" and after Kalbarri they will return home.

Tracks of a Euripterid from 400 million years ago

Tracks of a Euripterid from 400 million years ago

Z Bend Gorge

Z Bend Gorge

Z Bend Gorge from the Lookout

Z Bend Gorge from the Lookout

A dozen caterpillars on the march

A dozen caterpillars on the march

After the Z Bend Gorge we drove back to the main road then another 36 kms to Hawks Head and Ross Graham.

Murchison River Gorge from Hawkes Head Lookout

Murchison River Gorge from Hawkes Head Lookout

Red flowers on a tree trunk - don't know what it is.

Red flowers on a tree trunk - don't know what it is.

View from the Ross Graham Lookout

View from the Ross Graham Lookout

Ross Graham Pool

Ross Graham Pool

Back at the Caravan Park we settled down in the sun to read the papers - the temperature was a balmy 24 degrees. Just before sunset David went down to the river to get a few photos of the sun setting.

River front at Kalbarri

River front at Kalbarri

Hire fleet packed up for the night

Hire fleet packed up for the night

Sunset at Kalbarri

Sunset at Kalbarri

Another shot of the sunset at Kalbarri

Another shot of the sunset at Kalbarri

Posted by TwoAces 05:16 Comments (0)

Day 52 - Tuesday 26 June 2012

Geraldton to Kalbarri

More rain overnight in Geraldton, 16 mm in 24 hours. Yesterday the minimum was 14 degrees and the maximum was 15 degrees, but this morning the temperature was 17 degrees. We packed up early and left Geraldton about 9:00 am under threatening skies. We headed north to Northhampton on Highway 1, where we encountered a few roadworks and a number of road-trains going in both directions. We emptied our holding tanks in Northhampton, before turning off onto George Grey Drive heading for Kalbarri via Port Gregory. Port groegory is located between the Pink Lake (otherwise known as Hutt Lagoon) and the sea. Prince Leonard's Hutt River Province is nearby.

Port Gregory

Port Gregory

The Pink Lake - Hutt Lagoon

The Pink Lake - Hutt Lagoon

We arrived at the Top Tourist Murchison Holiday Park in Kalbarri at about 11:30 am where we were allocated a large drive through site - we are here for 2 nights. After doing a full set-up and having lunch, we headed back down the road for a look at the Kalbarri Coastal Cliffs. We drove into the Natural Bridge, Island Rock, the Grandstand, Shellhouse, Eagle Gorge, Red Bluff and Wittecarra Creek.

Welcome to Kalbarri

Welcome to Kalbarri

Kalbarri Cliffs

Kalbarri Cliffs

Di at Island Rock, Kalbarri Cliffs

Di at Island Rock, Kalbarri Cliffs

The Natural Bridge, Kalbarri

The Natural Bridge, Kalbarri

The Grandstand, Kalbarri

The Grandstand, Kalbarri

Di hanging on in a stiff breeze

Di hanging on in a stiff breeze

The Shellhouse, Kalbarri

The Shellhouse, Kalbarri

The sun must be out there somewhere

The sun must be out there somewhere

Eagle Gorge Beach from the Lookout

Eagle Gorge Beach from the Lookout

Wild surf on Eagle Gorge Beach

Wild surf on Eagle Gorge Beach

Looking south from Red Bluff

Looking south from Red Bluff

Kalbarri from Red Bluff

Kalbarri from Red Bluff

While Red Bluff first appeared on Dutch navigators charts in the 1620s, and the West Coast of Australia had been well charted by the Dutch, the Batavia went ashore on the Albrolhos Islands, just south of Kalbarri in 1629. While 220 survived the wreck and waited on a small island to be rescued, Commander Francisco Pelsaert and 44 others set off for Java in a long boat. When Pelsaert returned three months later a group of mutineers had taken over and murdered a great many of the survivors. Most of the mutineers were hung after having their hands cut off, however 2 of the youngest mutineers, Wooter Loos and Jan Pelgrom, were put ashore near Wittecarra Creek. Nothing more is known of these mutineers, however they may well have been the first white settlers in Australia. Of the 332 people originally aboard the Batavia, 210 died from murder, drowning, illness or hanging.

Wittecarra Creek, Kalbarri

Wittecarra Creek, Kalbarri

Posted by TwoAces 17:22 Comments (0)

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