Link to a few pictures here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/TXZgZ05CE2ldK1pi2
Kalbarri to Shark Bay World Heritage area
It’s true, Australia simply doesn’t know when to stop serving up the most jaw droppingly beautiful landscapes, I ran out of superlatives ages ago and resorted to using “amazing” and “incredible” for just about everything and everywhere. I have been lucky enough to see a fair swag of Australia but we keep discovering new places with simply stunning scenery, I am continually gob-smacked by the rugged and beautiful West Australia coastline.
But I digress, we are currently in Carnarvon, about 900kms north of Perth, we have been exploring and experiencing more magical landscapes and coastal scenery along the way. This time it was from Kalbarri into the Shark Bay World Heritage region and then north again to Carnarvon and the Gascoyne region. And we have only scratched the surface on our travels, we keep saying we need more time, our vague schedule is in tatters but that is one of the joys of not having a fixed end date to our journey, we can make it up as we go.
Driving north out of Kalbarri we were looking forward to spending some more time in Shark Bay, an area world famous for its Dolphins and incredible scenery and cultural history. We had visited briefly in 2016 on our trip but hoped to see a bit more of the region this time through.
Kalbarri to Denham is a 400km hop up the West Australia coast, the trailer needed a little TLC on a broken weld before we hit the road so it was almost noon before we headed out of town and north towards Denham in Shark Bay. The road north was pretty unremarkable until we were headed up the peninsula road towards Denham and then the landscape started to change and give glimpses of the beauty of the region; cresting a small hill would offer up views of the azure blue waters of the bay, contrasting with the low scrubby heathland and red sandy soil.
Our base in the Francois Peron National Park was the Big Lagoon campground, we were lucky to find a great spot, close to the water and set up camp as the light was fading, providing an awesome sunset over the blue waters of the lagoon, we almost missed it as we were busy with all the chores of getting our camp set up.
We have been fortunate to see some amazing parts of Australia and here again, in the Francois Peron NP, we were treated to an another simply incredible place. The contrast between the colours of the deep red sands and crystal clear blue waters surrounding the Peron peninsula are jaw-dropping, the beaches are almost empty, view points where you can watch sharks, Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Dugongs, Turtles and an abundance of fish swimming by left us just a wee bit speechless. We have some pictures of course but put this place on your bucket list to see for yourself.
Link to Francois Peron Pictures : https://photos.app.goo.gl/bW8LWkMSKeanEyEF7
While we were here there was naturally a little fishing to be done although this time it was Zoe and Sophie in the Denham kids fishing competition, and happily [and somewhat unexpectedly) Zoe took out first place in the girls open category, finishing off with a 30cm flathead to win the comp. Sophie did well in her age group, catching a number of fish but not quite big enough to win ☹.
I fished the next day on a fishing charter out into Shark Bay, catching heaps of snapper but unfortunately the biggest was only 48cm, just short of the minimum 50cm size ☹ but fortunately I was with a friend who snagged 4 fish over 60cm which we shared and the skipper gave Zoe a fish on our return to the jetty for good measure. We ate snapper for the next four nights with a side serve of Black Trevally and Flounder (caught from the beach).
While I was off fishing in the bay, Helen too the girls off to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins, now an institution up here but was one of the first places wild dolphins came regularly to swim with people and get a free feed of fish 😊. It is a bit theatrical now but magical at the same time, a few people are chosen to feed the dolphins with a fish, Zoe and her friend Katie were chosen, Sophie helped Katie so the three girls had a fantastic Monkey Mia experience.
See the link for more details https://www.sharkbay.org/place/monkey-mia/
Our last day in the National Park was spent up at Cape Peron, walking, fishing and spotting Dugongs, Sharks, Rays etc. from a view point at Skipjack Point. The red sands came down to the waters edge, the colours contrasting vividly between land and ocean and it was perfect.
I fished off the beach while Helen went for a walk along the cliff top to the view point. The children fished and played at the waters edge, more interested in the fine red sands flowing off the ridge behind us and forming sand-scapes on the beach. They really don’t yet know how lucky they are to be experiencing Australia like this.
We almost had to tear ourselves out of the National Park for a quick trip further round into the Shark Bay region and onto Tamala Station, another set of glorious beaches, rugged but arid country [they had no rain for 8 months] and a base for a day trip into Edel Land National Park and a goal of reaching Steep Point again, mainland Australia’s most westerly point.
We set up a camp on Shelley Beach, another gorgeous bay with sunrise and sunsets to die for. We fished a little, explored around the rocks and found a small cave, creatively decorated by travelers who had stayed here previously. I caught a flounder off the rocks [he came home for dinner ] but not much else.
Next day we were off early for the drive into Edel Land NP, only 140 kms to Steep Point but the road, in places, was corrugated to crap and we were down to walking pace at times. Throw in some soft sand, amazing scenery and photo opportunities and it took a while. There was of course a little time for fishing off the beach and then from the rocks at Steep Point, and although I was not set up to fish from 20 metres up on the cliffs, I did manage to catch one small Chinaman, a fish not a tourist 😊
We followed the cliff line round to another vantage point along the western coastline, Zoe spotted whales blowing in the ocean and we were treated to whales breaching and splashing around for about 30 minutes. We also stumbled upon some amazing little blowholes right at the cliff face and again watched in awe at the power of the ocean and majestic, sheer cliffs that dominate this part of the coast.
And all too soon we had to turn towards our camp again, the corrugations were just as bad and just as bone shaking as before, we were glad to get over them and back onto the relatively good gravel road back to Tamala Station. Edel Land National Park needs a new road grader, but then more people would come and may ruin the remoteness and feel of another incredible part of WA’s coastline.
Rain and storms were forecast for the next day, so we packed up and started the drive towards Carnarvon. The winds came and we had 50km/h headwinds all the way up to Carnarvon (200kms north). The wind whipped up the dust and at times it felt like we may be driving on Mars through the red dust and arriving in town we chickened out and booked a cabin rather than try and put the tent up in such gnarly conditions. The rains came and we had 20mm rain overnight in Carnarvon, Tamala Station, Denham and Steep Point also copped a fair old storm, receiving about 30 mm of rain in one night and breaking their recent run of dry weather much to the delight of the farmers and dismay of any travelers.
So here we are in Carnarvon, ready for a few more adventures out to the Kennedy Ranges and Quobba Station – stay tuned, next installment coming soon 😊
Regards Roy, Helen, Sophie & Zoe