Updated: May 13, 2018
North of Perth to Kalbarri via Sandy Cape, Oakabella Station and Murchison House Station
We have escaped the temptations and expense of Fremantle & Perth and started northwards on the next part of our journey around Australia. We have started to encounter some more of the majestic, rugged scenery which characterizes large parts of West Australia and make it a photographer’s dream. However, our camera, or more correctly the landscape lens, has decided to fail after a paltry 9 years of faithful service ☹ so we have sent for a replacement and maybe it is also time for an upgrade generally on the DSLR. If anyone wants to recommend their favourite camera and lens options for a mixture of landscapes and trying to get close ups of wildlife send me an email 😊.
We headed north via the coastal highway, past the Pinnacles and the Lobster Shack, choosing not to stop this time round but focus on places we didn’t see last time round.
I had heard there was good fishing at Jurien Bay although once there we discovered I had been listening to an overly optimistic account of how good the fishing was some time ago 😊.
We camped a little further north at Sandy Cape, a nice little spot just back from the beach and tried to find a spot to hide from the prevailing winds. We fished the beach, the girls played on the dunes and played in the shallow waters trying to avoid the weed that had blown in after some strong swells and onshore winds. We went back into Jurien Bay and fished the marina and the rock walls and managed a few little fish but nothing of real note. The girls had a ball playing around the rocks of the marina while Helen and I fished in vain, earning them an ice-cream of their choice, a rare treat these days 😊.
We bumped into our friends again at the Sandy Cape campsite on our last day there, the girls playing like long lost pals and adults sharing stories and information of our travels and plans. I expect them to roll into our current campsite any day now, just as we roll out.
After Sandy Cape we meandered just to the north of Geraldton and stayed on at Oakabella Station, a quiet little spot with space for the kids to run around, meet the friendly [and most patient] pet goat and some of the families children. We continue to mix our travels with schooling so spent most of a day in the Geraldton Regional Library, the girls doing a mixture of online classes, school work and reading from their selection of books. I paid a little homage to my past in the IT industry by working through a major windows update form Win10, all done on the back of a slow-ish free library WiFi service [powered by Meraki 😊]. Needless to say it took a few hours and the girls were delighted to be given extra time to explore the library contents.
And then north again to Kalbarri, a small town on the coral coast, away from the main road and surviving on some fishing and tourism. We chose to stay a little out of town at Murchison House Station, a working station on the banks of the Murchison River with some camping and 4wd tracks to explore on the property.
This feels like outback Australia, I think it is the combination of gums with their white and silver trunks set against a clear blue sky, the colours in the soil ad rocks around here or the amazing stars at night, set brilliant in the velvet blackness of being away from population zones and light pollution. It feels right.
For a diversion on Friday, I went fishing 😊, but this time with a local guide who said to catch good fish you have to be up early, so I set my alarm of 02:45 and met the guide and two other crazy fishermen at 03:30 to go and try for some elusive Mulloway.
The guide was incredibly knowledgeable, taking us across the river and up the beach in the pitch black and to a favourite spot on his 4WD Polaris ATV. It was a bit weird casting into the surf in the pitch black, a little scary too as there was a decent swell and a steep sand bank to master, and then the waiting started. And that describes a fair bit of fishing, waiting around in fantastic locations for the fish to decide to bite on your bait or take your lure. We waited, but we were rewarded with a number of great fish in the session, landing six Mulloway, the biggest of which was 1.08 meters long and weighed in at 11.2kg. I snagged 3 fish and beamed like a school kid. And all of this set against a rugged, unspoilt coastline where we were the only people for miles in any direction. An awesome fishing day, and tomorrow we will get the fish, filleted and packed for us to take over the next few days.
The Outback, it may also be the hordes of bush flies we encountered today on our walk around a part of the gorge in Kalbarri National Park, the first 500 meters of the walk is a breeze, a well-made path to Natures Window [see picture below] then another 8 kms walking a loop around part of the sandstone gorge. Amazing gorge, absolutely stunning and reminds us of Karajini and Kings Canyon from our past adventures. And as always, if you are in the area, this is a must-see place on the west coast of WA.
Fortunately for you guys there are not too many pictures because the aforementioned camera is on the blink, I have posted a few but they don’t show the full grandeur of this magnificent National Park.
Link to a few pictures https://photos.app.goo.gl/klekuUrB60BmRT7Z2
And from the Z Bend walk in Kalbarri NP https://photos.app.goo.gl/szaVadoKVtxLo5rE7
And that’s about it for now, we are some days out of Perth on our way towards Broome with a bunch of adventures and schoolwork in-between. Stay tuned for our next installment which should include a trip to Francois Peron National Park and Monkey Mia in Shark Bay World Heritage Area, I heard there is a decent spot to go fishing, as long as you can get your 4WD and camper trailer through the deep soft sand 😊
Regards Roy, Helen, Sophie & Zoe
PS – we are sitting by the banks of the Murchison river, underneath the gentle shade of the gum trees with fish flopping around in late afternoon sun. Life is good.
PPS – for any of you that have read this far, the title was influenced by a good friend in a blog entry 3 years ago, from his family trip around these parts of this great southern land.