Arriving in the big smoke of Perth after almost two weeks on the road it was time to indulge a bit staying at the Mercure Hotel in the city. Here for only a few days we hit the ground running to check out some of the local sights, although we would be returning to Perth on our way back. First up we headed up to Kings Park to take in the vistas over the city and the Swan River. Perth really is a beautiful city.
Heading further afield we ventured south of the city towards Freemantle finding the Leighton Battery Gun Emplacements in Buckland Hill Park, a reminder of Perth’s WWII history. Tours of the tunnels here can also be undertaken on a guided tour.
Taking a round trip back to Perth we took what turned out to be a wonderful diversion to Serpentine National Park with its centrepiece being Serpentine Falls. Although little more than a trickle it still impressed and would be an amazing sight after rainfall.
All too soon it was time to leave the creature comforts and head north up the coast and into the unknown, for us at least. The stunning and vibrant colours of the coast, the deep azure of the Indian Ocean contrasting with the striking reds of the land are nothing short of spectacular and a common feature here. Heading for the well known Pinnacles we passed reserves of grass trees and Western Australia’s iconic wildflowers, yes there were some out already even though it was still June.
Just a couple of hours north of Perth near the small town of Cervantes and within Nambung National Park lies the famous Pinnacles. Do these awe inspiring natural desert sculptures live up to their hype, you bet they do. You can drive and walk through this special place and it will stay with you for a long time to come, trust us.
After tearing ourselves away we ventured further north up the coast stumbling across Lake Thetis also within Nambung National Park with its living communities of Stromatolites. Incidentally not our only encounter of these living microbial forms that have taken thousands of years to form for this trip.
After an awe inspiring and uplifting day it was time to find our camp for the night pulling up at Sandy Cape Recreation Park, a top albeit busy locale tucked behind sand dunes right on the beautiful coast. Fees are payable at the self registration station at the entrance to the park.
After a restful evening we motored further north hugging the coast and finding the absolutely stunning Dynamite Bay for morning tea.
Moving on up the beautiful western coast with more spectacular coastal vistas at every turn the Western Australian coast certainly lives up to its expectations.
Our next port of call along the coast was the tiny hamlets of Port Denison and Dongara, visiting the Fisherman’s Memorial Lookout and Obelisk overlooking the wild Indian Ocean at Port Denison and the historic Russ Cottage giving an insight into the early settlers of this remote region at Denison.
Not far further up the stunning coast is Flat Rocks on the edge of the Indian Ocean once again, a top spot to stop.
After so much of the beautiful coast it was time to head a little inland for the night, a contrast in scenery into the Chapman Valley and Fig Tree Camping Area, a great spot for an overnight camp.
Next morning it was back to the coast and the bustling town of Geraldton with its iconic Point Moore Lighthouse and “mini me” adjacent, or has Sandra grown considerably!
Yet further north up the western coast en-route to Kalbarri for the night we needed another hit of that Indian Ocean magic which we found at a lookout over Horrocks Beach.
The day still however had another surprise in store for us with a visit to the very special Willigulli Art Site, a fascinating place and we had it all to ourselves.
Next it was into Kalbarri for the night visiting part of the famed Kalbarri National Park with landscapes including Red Bluff, Mushroom Rock, Island Rock and Natural Bridge to name but a few and of course those WA wildflowers.
Following a restful night in Kalbarri and of course the mandatory fish and chips by the seashore for dinner and with a large chunk of Kalbarri National Park closed for works it was time to clock up some miles heading back out to the highway via a small section of the national park that remained open, taking in the views from Hawks Head over the Murchison River.
out onto the North West Coastal Highway we motored north pulling up at Nerren Nerren Rest Area after a long day in the saddle.
Next day en-route to Carnarvon we took a short diversion up the Shark Bay Road to Hamelin Pool with its living organisms called Stromatolites, our second experience this trip with these fascinating life forms .
Back out along the highway and after a quick stop at a roadside lookout that puts the vastness of this region into perspective
it was into the thriving metropolis of Carnarvon for the night and a visit to the historic One Mile Jetty a must (however it has since been closed to pedestrians due to safety issues).
On from Carnarvon it was up to the hamlet of Exmouth on the Eastern shore of Exmouth Gulf. A visit to Vlaming Head Lookout (the wreck of the SS Mildura can still be seen off the coast here at low tide) on the way to the striking Red Cliffs of Cape Range National Park along Yardie Creek was in order before returning to town for the night.
Jump onboard with us next time as we head further and deeper into the beautiful Pilbara. With mother nature having other plans for us during our next leg it will sure keep things interesting.