Wednesday 30th July 2008, Carnarvon.
We have been in Carnarvon for nearly a week already and today was the first time we have ventured out to do any touristy things. Even though this area is known for the small amount of rain they receive it has been overcast and threatening rain nearly every day since we have been here. I decided this morning that although it is forecast for rain we must do something close to town so if it does rain we can at least go home. We went to the Heritage precinct where there are several tourist attractions all in the one area. The ‘One Mile Jetty’ area also houses the lighthouse Keepers cottage museum, Railway museum, Shearers museum and views of the river mouth, so it filled in several hours taking it all in. One thing I did see that was a novel change was a water pump, that consisted of a motor and driving mechanism with an endless chain suspended from it. The pump was carried by wagons and the chain was dropped into wells on station runs. When the pump started, the chain, which was immersed in the water, was turned and when passed through the water some would return to the surface on the chain and when it passed though the driving mechanism it would again separate and be collected in tanks. This pump was one of only two known in existence.
Sunday 27th July 2008, Carnarvon.
I thought I would add a little explanation to my short notes on 25th. As we all know the biggest problem we have with travelling WA is the great distances between places, and it is the long distance travelling that we, Linda especially, don’t like. We have had a look at details of places further north of here and they don’t really seem to offer much more for the tourist than is on offer here, so to save the long distance travel just to say “We have done it, we have been there
Friday 25th July 2008, Carnarvon.
We have now moved the 450K to Carnarvon and will probably be as far as we go up the coast. We have decided that the distances between places is too great especially when we really don’t have any extreme interest in any place further north. We had originally thought of going to Port Hedland but have now heard a few stories to make us change our minds. It seems that it is not only Broome that is booked out with southerners seeking warm weather, but Karratha and Port Hedland are also included in that category, so we are most likely to be just as happy to stop here until the weather warms up enough to return south.
Tuesday 22nd July 2008, Kalbarri.
We had our return visit to the cliffs along the shoreline south of Kalbarri to take the photos I skipped the other day because the weather was too bad. It was one of those situations where I took heaps of photos because of all the different rock formations, and I have posted some of the shots on Flickr. We have now seen most of what we intended here so it is time to move on again, even though this is quite a nice place. We intend moving on to Carnarvon and have found out that bookings there are imperative as they are so busy. This means we will be moving on Thursday and will be travelling the total of the 460K’s distance in one day. Some might think that 460K is not much, especially if you are from the mainland, but remember that we are from Tassie and it is hard getting used to travelling long distances, and if one attempted to travel that distance in Tassie one would fall over the edge.
Monday 21st July 2008, Kalbarri.
A trip to the Gorges in the national Park was the order of the day, and they were somewhat of a surprise. The Murchison River, that formed the gorges, is an extremely long river running far from inland. The soil around this area is mainly sandstone so the gorges stretch for a very long section of the river with some of the better views at the mouth end, Kalbarri, hence the National Park. Once again taking photos does not capture the true beauty of the scenery of the gorges, but I have included some on Flickr. Linda and her height phobia prevented us from doing a walk around one section of the gorge. The walk stretched along a cliff face for a fair length before winding around a section of the gorge called ‘The Loop’ which is a section that almost forms a circle of 8 Kilometres, hence we were looking forward to doing the walk. The track traversed along the edge of the very high and sheer cliff face which was just too much for Linda’s fear of heights, so we gave the walk a miss, the scenery we did see was certainly enough so as not to disappoint us at all.
Sunday 20th July 2008, Kalbarri.
The car racing on telly finished earlier today than it usually does so I decided to go for a walk to the river mouth lookout and soak in the ocean scenery. It turns out that for most of the day several whales were frolicking in the water no more than 100 meters from the shore on the other side of the river mouth, so I thought I had better ring Linda and see if she wanted to come and see. We have now been travelling for eight years and Linda has been waiting all that time to see a whale in its natural surrounds, they did wait until she came to have a look, so she is rather happy now that one more of her must see things has been achieved.
Friday 18th July 2008, Kalbarri.
It was forecast for severe stormy weather from south of Kalbarri all the way round the coast to Esperance today, so I figured we were going to cop some as well. We figured even though it was very windy we could have a venture back down the road about 60K to visit the Hut River Province. We can now say we have been there, and as small as it is that is probably all I could say about it.
We have heard stories about WA being one of the windiest places on earth, and now believe every word. On the way back we had a look at a section of the Kalbarri National Park coastline while the weather looked fine enough. Although we had decided to wait for a finer weather to return to take photos we decided to look at the furthest section from Kalbarri to save making the trip back there again. I figured that the bad weather would still give me some reasonable shots anyway, until we got there and found out how strong the wind was. The area in this National Park is known for its cliff face formations along the shoreline for about 30K south of Kalbarri, and the wind was coming from the west straight up the cliff faces. If one had fallen over the edge I reckon the wind was strong enough to just blow him straight back up onto land, and I am not kidding. We had much difficulty in walking against the wind towards the lookouts on the edge of the cliffs, but when we got there it was that strong coming straight up the cliffs it was near impossible to hold a camera still enough to take any pictures. We did keep clicking though and I did get a few decent shots. When I get some more decent shots in fine weather I will post some on the web site and Flickr.
Wednesday 16th July 2008, Kalbarri.
It seems that Kalbarri will live up to most of the stories we have heard. It is a very scenic place with tremendous coastal views, and river gorges in the National Park. With the weather being a little iffy today we had a recognisance trip along the south coast today with the idea of just leaving the camera behind and wait for a fine day to come back and take shots. The road to the gorges has been closed, as is normally the case in wet weather, so goodness knows if, or when, we will be able to get to see them. Then Linda went to checkout the local shops, and returned with an ultimatum: She said she would not do any grocery shopping here as a protest to the increased prices, a much larger increase than she had seen anywhere in remote areas. It now looks like we will only be here for a week or so depending on the weather, then going to Carnarvon where prices should be a bit more reasonable. It would then be our intention to return here for another week on our return down south to give us a chance to see what we will miss this visit, and she will then be stocked enough so it will not be necessary to shop here at all. I also noticed that fuel prices had a large jump as well, seeming to be much higher than anywhere else in the district. All this is once again detracting from our ideas of WA, again I’ll say we have been to some very nice places but we have had a lot of ill experiences with WA collectively and are getting to the stage where we can’t wait to get back to Victoria, or at least SA.
Tuesday 5th July 2008, Kalbarri.
We are now at Kalbarri, about 150K north of Geraldton (See map), and were a little disappointed with today’s travels. We had heard a lot about the new road to Kalbarri from Northampton along part of the coast south of Kalbarri being very scenic, but the weather has turned nasty again and it detracted from what was to offer. As we normally do we will be returning along the road to do the touristy thing on a finer day so we might get to appreciate it more then. I did have the caravan on the back today and I admit I do not see much when I am towing anyway. Although we have only been here for a few hours we are getting the feeling of liking the place, so that is a good start.
Day three of no smoking and I concede it is a lot harder than I thought it would be, I have often wanted to take it up again but there isn’t much of a chance when there are no places to buy any.
Finally it seems we are back in an area with decent water. Ever since we have been in WA we have hated the water, no matter how much we filter it we just can’t get rid of the taste, so the next couple of days will be interesting when we do start drinking filtered water from here.
Saturday 12th July 2008, Geraldton.
The moment of truth has finally arrived: I have mentioned before that I had made the statement when leaving Melbourne that when I run out of tobacco and can’t purchase any more I will give up smoking, rather than get someone to post me some, well that moment has arrived. I have just enjoyed the last smoke I had and no longer have any tobacco, so the next few days will be interesting. Linda is the one who is dreading this time as she seems to think that I am now going to be intolerable to live with, but I think that it won’t be much of a drama as I have been telling myself for so long now that this moment was going to eventuate, and it now has.
We have enjoyed our relaxing time at Geraldton and in a couple of days it is once again time to pull up stakes and move on. It could be an interesting time to travel this area of WA as it is now that the wild flowers start to bloom, and we are in the area to witness it. We are looking forward to our next stop at Kalbarri as we have heard so much about it, and there seems as though there will be a fair bit to do around the National Parks which have plenty of gorges and bush walks.