Photographs and Adventures

Posts tagged “cliffs

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria

The Great Ocean Road runs for 243 kilometres between Torquay and Allansford on the south eastern coast of Victoria, Australia. It is heritage listed and is one of the worlds most scenic coastal drives.

Great Ocean Road

Stunning coastal scenery along the Great Ocean Road.

London Bridge on the Great Ocean Road

London Bridge. Originally there were two arches but one has since collapsed due to the erosion of the waves.

Loch Ard gorge

Loch Ard gorge close to where the clipper ship Loch Ard ran aground in 1878.

Loch Ard gorge

The sandy cove at Loch Ard gorge where the two survivors of the shipwreck managed to get ashore.

Rugged cliffs and rough seas.

Rugged cliffs and rough seas.

The Razorback, Great Ocean Road

The Razorback on the Great Ocean Road is a thin wedge of rock, steadily being eroded away by the action of the sea.

Stormy afternoon over the Southern Ocean.

Stormy afternoon over the Southern Ocean.

 


Boodjamulla National Park (AKA Lawn Hill National Park)

Lawn Hill National Park is in the remote Gulf region of northwestern Queensland. It is over 1800 kilometres north west of Brisbane, close to the border with the Northern Territory.

The emerald waters and lush vegetation of Lawn Hill Gorge form a beautiful oasis in the outback, attracting abundant wildlife and offering exceptional views, walks, canoeing and cultural sites.

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There are many walks around the park, some of them quite easy and some more difficult and adventurous.

There are many walks around the park, some of them quite easy and some more difficult and adventurous.

The steep rock walls rise above you on either side as you approach the start of the lower gorge.

The steep rock walls rise above you on either side as you approach the start of the lower gorge.

Looking towards the lower gorge from the camp area.

The best way by far to see the gorge is to hire a canoe and paddle upstream.

The best way by far to see the gorge is to hire a canoe and paddle upstream.

It is quite spectacular paddling beneath the rock walls.

It is quite spectacular paddling beneath the rock walls. You can see the relative size of the canoe below the pandanus.

Waterfall at the top end of the lower gorge.

Waterfall at the top end of the lower gorge.

Just along from here you need to lift the canoe out of the water and drag it over the rocks to access the upper gorge.

Just along from here you need to lift the canoe out of the water and drag it over the rocks to access the upper gorge.

I loved the roots of this tree exposed by the rushing water. This is a permanent waterway and runs all year round.

Emerald waters of the gorge.

Emerald waters of the gorge.

Darter resting on a tree branch over the water.

Darter resting on a tree branch over the water.

Some parts of the gorge look quite tropical with palm trees and pandanus.

Some parts of the gorge look quite tropical with palm trees and pandanus hanging over the emerald water.

Water lilies in the upper gorge.

Water lilies in the upper gorge.

Evening reflections as we make our way back to camp.

Evening reflections as we make our way back to camp.


The Bungle Bungles – Purnululu National Park, W.A.

Purnululu National Park is the official name, but this area was previously known as The Bungle Bungles. Whatever you would like to call it, this area of the Kimberley is a remarkable place which you should make the effort to visit if you ever have the chance. Following are some photos from our time there…

The Bungle Bungles

The Bungle Bungles…the approach to Echidna Chasm

Palm trees and really really tall rock walls

Palm trees, a rocky river bed and really, really tall rock walls

 

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Did I mention the really, really tall rock walls and narrow passage into Echidna Chasm?

 

 

13.Purnululu-4Looking up from the depths

 

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Further over in the park, as you approach the Bungle Bungle domes, you start to see the characteristic stripes of the Purnululu ranges.

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The sandstone domes are striped grey and orange, and according to Widipedia, the orange bands consist of oxidised iron compounds in layers that dry out too quickly for cyanobacteria to multiply; the grey bands are composed of cyanobacteria growing on the surface of layers of sandstone where moisture accumulates.

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Whatever the reason, the effect is stunning and it is impossible to describe how it feels to be amongst them.

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Walking amongst the domes

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Detail of the rock wall within Cathedral Gorge

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Rock pool at the Bungle Bungles

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Not all the ‘domes’ are dome shaped…

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Ancient river bed within Purnululu

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View into Picaninny Creek

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Evening colours on the range, from the campground lookout.

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Night falls at Purnululu National Park. This place is a definite ‘must do’ if you are ever in the Kimberley region of Western Australia.


Gieke Gorge

Today, another gorgeous gorge. When we arrived in Fitzroy Crossing, we decided that we had to take the little boat cruise that goes up through Geike Gorge. We have done it before, but our friends had not, and we thought it was worth going again as this is another very special place.

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The limestone cliffs are white below the flood water line and stained red brown above by oxidation.
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There are lots of fresh water crocodiles in the water or sunning themselves on the waters edge.

11.Gieke gorge-3 11.Gieke gorge-4 11.Gieke gorge-5 11.Gieke gorge-6The cruise only takes an hour and doesn’t cost very much, but it is well worth it. The  guides are knowledgeable and friendly and the open boat gives everyone a good view.


Lennard River Gorge & Napier Range

Lennard River Gorge is yet another nice place to visit from the Gibb River Road.

Lennard River Gorge is yet another nice place to visit from the Gibb River Road.

It was quite warm the day we visited, and unfortunately you can't swim there as you don't get right down to the water. It would be spectacular in the wet with water cascading over the rock walls.

It was quite warm the day we visited, and unfortunately you can’t swim there as you don’t get right down to the water. It would be spectacular in the wet with water cascading over the rock walls.

This remarkable rock formation is at the Napier Range. I thought it looked like a dragon with folded wings, but found out later it is meant to look like Queen Victoria!

This remarkable rock formation is at the Napier Range. I thought it looked like a dragon with folded wings, but found out later it is meant to look like Queen Victoria!

Perhaps I was on the wrong angle, but that doesn’t seem very complimentary to Queen Victoria!

The Napier Range, where the Gibb River Road crosses it, is quite rocky and spectacular with lots of wonderful boab trees.

The Napier Range, where the Gibb River Road crosses it, is quite rocky and spectacular with lots of wonderful boab trees.

There is something about boab trees that I really love. They lose their leaves in the dry, and the shape of the trunk with the twisted branches look amazing. Often they will still have their hard brown furry nuts still clinging to the branches.


Bells Gorge and another free camp…

Bells Gorge is another gorgeous gorge.

Bells Gorge is another gorgeous gorge.

You need to cross the water if you want to climb down to swim below the falls.

You need to cross the water if you want to climb down to swim below the falls.

The people sitting along the rocks at the top of the waterfall show the scale of this gorge.

The people sitting along the rocks at the top of the waterfall show the scale of this gorge.

It is a steep and rocky climb down, but the pool is great for a swim.

It is a steep and rocky climb down, but the bottom pool is great for a swim.

Unfortunately by the time you climb back up the cliff and trek back to the car, you are hot again.

Unfortunately by the time you climb back up the cliff and trek back to the car, you are hot again!

From Bells Gorge we moved on to yet another free camp, March Fly Glen. Happily there were no march flies, and it was quite a lovely spot with pandanus and crystal clear creek.

From Bells Gorge we moved on to yet another free camp, March Fly Glen. Happily there were no march flies, and it was quite a lovely spot with water lilies, pandanus and a crystal clear creek.

Cooking toast on the morning camp fire.

Nev cooking his toast on the morning camp fire, waiting for the billy to boil.

Kay is a very interesting person we met on the road.

Kay departing March Fly Glen free camp. Kay is a very interesting person we met several times at various places along the Gibb River road.

As a very special birthday present to herself, for a very special birthday, she is undertaking a solo bicycle trip from Katherine, to Kununurra, then right along almost the entire Gibb River Road, then down Leopold Downs Road to the Great Northern Highway. From there she will ride to Halls Creek, and turn into Duncan Road (also a dirt road) for its full length, and from there return to Katherine. What a marathon effort. She carries everything she needs on her bike or single-wheeled trailer.

 


Galvans Gorge & Adcock Gorge

We have been to some very remote places on this trip, and often the GPS doesn’t even know where we are.

This is what the middle of nowhere looks like on the GPS.

This is what the middle of nowhere looks like on the GPS.

And this is what it looks like through the windscreen.

And this is what it looks like through the windscreen.

One particularly beautiful place we visited was Galvans Gorge which is not far from the Mt. Barnett Roadhouse.

One particularly beautiful place we visited was Galvans Gorge, which is not far from the Mt. Barnett Roadhouse.

It is lovely to swim in, and quite easy to climb up and sit below the waterfall.

It is lovely to swim in, and quite easy to climb up and sit below the waterfall.

We all enjoyed a cooling swim in the clean waters.

We all enjoyed a cooling swim in the clean waters.

The walk in to Galvans Gorge runs alongside this water lily filled creek.

The walk in to Galvans Gorge runs alongside this water lily filled creek.

This water monitor was unperturbed by people passing his rock perch.

This water monitor was unperturbed by people passing his rock perch.

Later in the afternoon, we also visited Adcock gorge, but didn't swim there as the water was in shadow and quite cold.

Later in the afternoon, we also visited Adcock gorge, but didn’t swim there as the water was in shadow and quite cold.

There are so many gorgeous gorges on the Gibb River Road, and we are doing our best to visit most of them.


Barnett River Gorge

Still loving the Free camps. We stayed another night on the banks of the Gibb River when we reached the end of the Kalumbaru Road. The boys decided to check out a problem with the rear wheel on the car, and learned the hard way why you don’t jack up a car on the sand…This was not as bad as it looks!

This was not as bad as it looks! With a bit of help, all was soon back together.

While all that was going on, I was waiting for this Bower bird to come back to his bower. He has been very busy making it all pretty for the girls.

While all that was going on, I was waiting for this Bower bird to come back to his bower. He has been very busy making it all pretty for the girls.

The next morning saw us back on the road, and our next stop was Mt. Barnett Station to stock up on food and fuel. We decided on the free camp option yet again, and travelled on to Barnett River Gorge where we found a lovely shady spot next to the creek.

Barnett River camp.

Barnett River camp. Not much water in the creek here, but it was still very clean and clear.

There is a rocky walk in to view the gorge. You need to follow the stone cairns to find your way.

There is a rocky walk in to view the gorge. You need to follow the stone cairns to find your way.

Once we climbed down the steep rocks to the river, there were lots of places to cool off in the clear water.

Once we climbed down the steep rocks to the river, there were lots of shallow places to cool off in the clear water.

We spied this euro kangaroo on our way back to camp.

We spied this euro kangaroo on our way back to camp.

Later in the afternoon we discovered this lovely pool quite close to where we were camping. Not as spectacular as the gorge, but much easier to get to!

Later in the afternoon we discovered this lovely pool quite close to where we were camping. Not as spectacular as the gorge, but much easier to get to!


Surveyors Pool

Surveyors Pool is in a remote area of the Kimberley, W.A. From Mitchell Falls, you continue on Port Warrender Road, which is really more of a track than a road, until you come to Surveyors Pool.

The track to Surveyors Pool is pretty rough and rocky in some places, but also beautiful in others.

The track to Surveyors Pool is pretty rough and rocky in some places, but also beautiful in others.

There is a bit of a walk to get to the main pool below the waterfall.

There is a bit of a walk to get to the main pool below the waterfall.

The main pool is a sacred place for the Aboriginals, so swimming is not permitted here.

The main pool is lovely, with another waterfall entering from the far side, but as it is a sacred place for the Aboriginals, swimming is not permitted in the main pool.

However there are several pools and cascades above the falls.

However there are several pools and cascades above the falls.

And these make a very nice place to cool off after your walk.

And these make a very nice place to cool off after your walk.

Further along Port Warrender Road, there is a look out which has a view right out over Admiralty Gulf in the Indian Ocean.

Lookout on Port Warrender Road.

Lookout on Port Warrender Road with promontories and islands stretching into the distance.

It is a little out of the way to visit Surveyors Pool, but well worth the effort. From this lookout, we turned back and retraced our steps to Mitchell Falls to prepare for our return journey down Kalumbaru Road to the Gibb River Road.


Mitchell Falls

In my last post, I talked about Little Mertens Falls, which is a short walk from the Mitchell Falls camping area. This is a great place for a cooling swim, but the main walk from the camp ground is the track to Mitchell Falls and it takes about an hour and a half each way. It is quite a long way, and also involves some steep rocky climbs, but it is definitely worth the effort.

Mertens Creek

Mertens Creek

Waterlilies along the way.

Waterlilies along the way.

Once you have passed Little Mertens Falls, you trek alongside Mertens Creek, which is lined with pandanus and a haven for waterlilies. You next  come to Big Mertens Falls which is much higher and more spectacular than Little Mertens, however you cannot swim here, so it is best to take your photos and move on.

Big Mertens Falls

Big Mertens Falls

Big Mertens is a very deep gorge, and quite spectacular in it’s own right.

Big Mertens gorge

Big Mertens gorge

To take good photos, you need to be a bit of a mountain goat and get right out on the rocks lining the gorge.

Holly framing the perfect waterfall shot.

Holly framing the perfect waterfall shot. You can’t actually tell from this how high she is standing on the rock wall.

 

A bit more hiking and exertion brings you to your first glimpse of Mitchell Falls itself and you don’t at first realise that there are four layers of waterfall.

Mitchell falls from the top

Mitchell falls

As you climb down and around, more is revealed. You need to take off your shoes and socks and cross to the other side of the water to get the best views.

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We ended up spending several hours at the falls, exploring and swimming.

We ended up spending several hours at the falls, exploring and swimming.

From the top of the falls you can see right down the river below the falls.

From the top of the falls you can see right down the river below the falls.

Mitchell Falls is definitely worth the effort to visit. It is a truly beautiful part of Australia.

Mitchell Falls is definitely worth the effort to visit. It is a truly beautiful part of Australia.


Travelling The Gibb River Road – The Kimberley, W.A.

The Gibb River Road existed initally as a cattle route and even today is a 4-wheel-drive-only unmade road, stretching from near Wyndham in the east to Derby in the West Kimberley. The condition of the road varies greatly, depending mainly on when the grader last went through to smooth out some of the corrugations. The full length of the Gibb River Road is around 660 km, plus any side trips you might choose to take.

We began our journey from Kununurra, taking only tents and camping equipment with us, as we planned to travel even further off the track and visit the Mitchell Plateau on our trip.

Pentecost River crossing

Pentecost River crossing

The first river crossing, which is also probably the widest, is Pentecost River. The crossing was not too deep or daunting, but I am sure it would be a different story in the wet season.

crossing the Pentecost

Crossing the Pentecost

One by one, the cars make the crossing. It is pretty straightforward at this time of the year.

watching and waiting

Watching and waiting

Although some people need to check it out and consider their options before making the crossing.

Pentecost River camp

Pentecost River camp

We pitched our tent in a small clearing above the river bank.

Sunset across the Pentecost River

Sunset across the Pentecost River

The Cockburn Range looks amazing in the evening light across the Pentecost River.

Sunset colours on the Cockburn Range

Sunset colours on the Cockburn Range.

This was a great first day to our Gibb River Road adventure.

 


Mirima National Park, Kununurra

This morning we walked through Mirima National Park (Hidden Valley) in Kununurra.

This morning we walked through Mirima National Park (Hidden Valley) in Kununurra.

Peter took along his trumpet and we enjoyed the sound of his horn echoing through and around the natural amphitheatres we discovered during our hike.

The rocks were coloured a rich deep red, and the spinifex that looks so soft and fluffy is actually sharp and spiky on bare legs.

The rocks were coloured a rich deep red, and the rocky path led enticingly up through the gorge.

Some of the grasses that appear to grow directly from the rocks are very delicate.

Some of the grasses that appear to grow directly from the rocks are very delicate.

The vertical rock walls look as though they are constructed of man made blocks.

The vertical rock walls look almost as though they are constructed from hand hewn blocks.

The spinifex that looks so soft and fluffy is actually sharp and spiky on bare legs.

The spinifex that looks so soft and fluffy is actually sharp and spiky on bare legs.

The sound of the trumpet echoing through the rocks was enjoyed by many other visitors to the park.

The sound of the trumpet echoing through the rocks was enjoyed by many other visitors to the park.

 

 


Gippsland Lakes

Our last stop on this trip before we arrived home was to spend a few days on our boat down on the Gippsland Lakes. The first night we tied up to a friend’s jetty, and the following day we ventured towards Lakes Entrance and stayed for the night at a lovely little spot called Barrier Landing which is a narrow strip of sand dunes separating the lake from the wild seas of Bass Strait.

I can never resist a beautiful sunset, and this one turned the sea and sky a beautiful apricot colour.

The evening was fine and perfectly calm. We walked across the sand dunes for a walk along the ocean beach before dinner.

There were plenty of spots to tie up for the night along the jetty or along the beach. We shared the jetty with only two other boats, so we all had plenty of space.

In the morning the wind came up so we headed back across the lake and up the sheltered waters of the Tambo River to the area where the cliffs tower over the river.

We spotted this lizard on the river bank. I am not sure what he is, but when he saw us he didn’t know whether to freeze and hope we hadn’t seen him, or run for his life.

I liked this farm house perched up on a hill, with cattle grazing in the paddock below.

The next morning the river was peaceful and calm, it was a great anchorage protected from the winds blowing across the nearby lake.

This pelican took off gracefully when we disturbed the peace by motoring through the flock of pelicans and cormorants resting on the river water. Pelicans are definitely my favourite bird, it always amazes me that they can fly so gracefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bowen, Qld

We passed through Bowen on our way north to Cape York, but decided it was worth a closer look now that we are heading south again. Of course, it was a bit grey and wet when we were here last, so it wasn’t really looking it’s best. Now that we are here again, we are finding it hard to leave! We have kayaked, cycled, snorkeled and walked and still haven’t managed to see all that Bowen has to offer. We have eaten fresh prawns on the foreshore, mango sorbet while walking on the wharf and had a magnificent meal in the pub. We’ve watched the sunset from the beach and felt the ‘Blowin’ in Bowen’ breeze every afternoon. The sun is shining, the weather is warm and Bowen is a very nice place to be.

This is the beach just in front of where we are camped. The coastline of Bowen is crowded with rounded rocks, and coral and tropical fish not far off shore. This is a the top of the Whitsundays, and there are many island visible in the distance.

I just like the way this looks with the water behind the palm trees on the beach. Very tropical!

This sedimentary rock on the beach has millions of tiny pieces of coral imbedded in the stone.

The waters are great for kayaking in the sheltered bays. You can fish or just explore amongst the huge rocks dotted along the shore line.

Looking out to sea, there are further rocky outcrops, and the northern islands of the Whitsundays in the distance.

And of course, the obligatory sunset photo. It is the most perfect time of day for a walk along the beach. Bowen is a very nice place to be!

 

 

 

 

 


Up to the Tip of Australia

One of the goals of our trip this year was to visit the northernmost point of mainland Australia. We started this part of our adventure in Cooktown where we left our caravan behind and headed off with a tent and some basic camping gear. The roads from Cooktown, travelling north up Cape York, are generally unmade roads with some short sections of bitumen along the way. The quality of the dirt roads varied from excellent (driving at up to 90km/hr) to appalling (travelling at less than 20km/hr) and included water crossings, some of which were very deep and a little concerning because the water went over the bonnet of our 4WD.

Cooktown’s main claim to fame is that Captain Cook brought the Endeavour up the river here (now named Endeavour River) to make repairs after the ship ran aground on a reef off the coast in 1770. There is a statue of Captain Cook on the foreshore to commemorate this time in Australia’s history.

We took Battle Camp Road from Cooktown to Laura. I loved this old rusting sign where we came out of the bush after our week at Billy Boil, to turn onto Battle Camp Rd.

This is one of our first river crossings, a nice easy one to get us used to the idea of driving through water. Some of the later ones we really had to think twice before proceeding, they can look very deep and murky and you have no idea what is lurking under the surface. (Think potholes, big rocks or even worse, crocs…)

 

Old Laura Station is the historic remains of one of the first cattle stations in the area. The old buildings remain, along with a rusted out relic of a truck from a bygone era.

 

 

 

Our first camp was at Hann River Roadhouse which doesn’t have all that much to recommend it, apart from a friendly emu and this heifer who was very interested in our camp and sneaked back at 2am to raid our rubbish bag.

Further up the road at Coen, we camped behind the Exchange Hotel, and this is our tent, with a huge Brahman bull checking us out. Luckily for us, a farmer we met there took charge and chased him out of the campground. That didn’t stop him coming back later in the day, and there was another confrontation, not quite so friendly that time…

Some joker has added an ‘S’ at the start of the Exchange Hotel sign, so it now reads Sexchange Hotel. Amazingly, some people didn’t even notice!

This is a great little business. There is the pub, with accommodation plus the camping area near the river at the rear. They also run a mechanical repair business (very busy because lots of people trash their cars on the rough roads up here), a general store, and fuel pumps. So pretty much anything you need in Coen, they can help.

One thing there is plenty of up in Cape York is red dust, and lots of it. There are long road trains barreling along the dusty developmental road, followed by a huge cloud of dust. This one is on a good section of the track.

This man is walking up to the top of Cape York with his donkey carrying everything they need. He let me take a photo, but refused our offer of a cool drink saying he had everything he needed.

Amazingly in the middle of all this dust and dirt, there are some stunning waterfalls, accessed via the old Telegraph Track. It is worth the ruts and water crossings when you finally arrive at these beautiful oases. The water is clear and warm and you can swim without worrying too much about crocodiles. Apparently crocs aren’t too fond of waterfalls and stay away from them, luckily for us!

This pitcher plant is a carnivorous plant that eats insects. There were many of them growing wild along the sides of the river near the waterfalls. Amazing.

We camped at Loyalty Beach once we reached the top of Cape York. Quite a nice beach, but no swimming because of the crocs. You can see all the Torres Strait islands off in the distance.

Remains of the old jetty at Seisha. Seisha wharf is the taking off point for boat trips out to Thursday Island and Horn Island. I think Captain Cook was sick of thinking of names for the islands when he was here, because there is a Tuesday Island, Wednesday Island and of course, Thursday Island.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t put in at least one sunset! We sat beneath this palm tree at Loyalty Beach and enjoyed a candlelight dinner while we watched the sun sink slowing in the west.

This Cape York kookaburra seems to have an evil eye but he was quite friendly. 

So friendly, in fact, that he invited himself over for a coffee…

One other interesting visitor at the campground was this Palm Cockatoo, who liked to crack the nuts growing on the tree that shaded our tent.

We finally made it right up to the tip of Australia. This was taken standing on the beach, looking north. The mangroves grow along the beach, but further on there is a rocky headland to scale before you are standing at the tip.

This was one for Peter to cross off his bucket list…playing his trumpet right up at the tip, the northernmost point of the Australian mainland.

We made it! Peter and I standing at the sign denoting the tip of Australia. It seems strange that there are island directly across the water. You imagine that you won’t see anything other than water from up here.

It is a tradition to add a rock to the cairn on the rocky headland.

The is the cairn where I added my stone.

Soon enough it was time for us to start heading back down Cape York. This is one of the water crossings we made as we went along the Old Telegraph Track into Eliot Fall and Twin Falls. This is the one which went right up over the bonnet of the car, and we had to do it again on the way out. But it was worth it, the falls are stunning. No pictures this time, we went swimming instead!

This one is a Cape York crow, for Anoushka…He wasn’t very interested in staying still while I took his photo.

We came across this lagoon with blue water lilies growing wild, when we stopped for lunch one day.

And so, soon enough, we returned to Battle Camp Road on our way back towards Cooktown, to pick up our caravan from the farm where we had left it while we were travelling with the tent. We had a wonderful time up on the cape and were lucky not to have had any car troubles apart from a couple of chips in the windcreen. It was a time to remember.


Kalbarri – You’ll love it!

‘Kalbarri, you’ll love it!’ the sign promised as we approached town. And yes, that was pretty accurate, we did love it. We also loved the wild flowers that line both sides of the road for miles and miles in this part of Western Australia. This photo was taken from a moving vehicle so it’s a bit blurry.

Western Australian wildflowers - taken from a moving vehicle.

The National Park is split between coastal sites and gorges within the park. The first day we visited the coastal areas, marvelling at the view from several lookouts and climbed down into Pot Alley, a place we had been to several years ago.

Pot Alley, Kalbarri. The water appears to be higher than the beach.

The surf is huge here, with great waves swamping the narrow gap between the rock walls.

Pot Alley rollers.

A little further along the coastline, there is a natural rock arch as well as a rock known as castle rock that was formed from a natural arch when the top collapsed from the wave action, leaving the rocky island separate from the cliffs.

Castle Rock

In this picture, Peter is at the lookout, which has a marvellous view over the ocean and back to the town of Kalbarri.

Peter at Kalbarri lookout.

The following day we ventured into the National Park to visit the gorges. Z Bend is named for the shape of the gorge gouged out of the rock by the Murchison River. It was quite a challenging climb to get down to the river, but worth the effort.

Z Bend gorge at Kalbarri National Park

Nature’s Window is probably the most recognisable landmark of Kalbarri National Park.

Rhonda sitting in Nature's Window at Kalbarri National Park


Ningaloo Reef – Exmouth

World-renowned Ningaloo Reef lies along the Western Australian coast, about 1200 km north of Perth. Ningaloo reef is famous for it’s snorkelling, as well as it’s amazing sea life, including Whale sharks, Manta rays, humpback whales, reef sharks and turtles. Our first night we went up to the lighthouse to watch the sunset and were thrilled to see more whales than we have ever seen in one place before, breaching and playing just off the coast for hours as the sun slowly disappeared over the horizon. Then the following day, walking on the beach, we saw lots of turtles swimming around in the shallows, and one huge one right up on the beach, letting the waves wash over it’s back. I thought this one might have been sick or even dead, but when I got nearer, it looked me straigh in the eye then turned around and swam away, looking a bit offended at being disturbed.

Lighthouse at Exmouth

It’s been a bit windy since we arrived in Exmouth, so we haven’t been able to do much snorkelling as the wind stirs up sediment in the water, making it cloudy. However the day we went into Cape Range National Park, the wind dropped a bit in the afternoon and we were able to have a swim and snorkel, which was really nice. We saw heaps of big fish and some lovely coloured coral at Oyster Stacks. We also walked up and along Yardie Creek Gorge, at the southern end of the park. Even though it can’t compare to the gorges in Karijini and the Kimberley, it is still very impressive and the creek itself is a beautiful deep blue.

Yardie Creek Gorge

On our way home we could see kites above the sand dunes, so we ventured in to have a look at the kite surfers who were enjoying the windy conditions.

Kite surfer preparing to take off from the beach

‘Bella’ belongs to one of the surfers, and took an instant liking to us. When Peter sat on the sand, she cuddled up next to him and tried to crawl onto his lap. Don’t tell Gypsy, she will be jealous. Bella actually looks a bit like Gypsy.

Peter with his new best friend, Bella

Peter has been fishing here, with some success. Most afternoons he has headed off to a different beach to try his luck. Even though it is windy, it has been warm and sunny and it is still pleasant on the beach. I often walk through the dunes and along the beach with the camera. Some of the dunes are huge expanses of white sand that look great when contrasted with the turquoise waters.

Endless sand dunes at Exmouth

All sorts of treasures wash up on the beach; there are heaps of coral and sponges and more sea urchins that I can count. Unfortunately unbroken sea urchins are a rarity, I think around 99.9% of them have holes so I have only collected three good ones.

Coral and sponges washed up on the beach


The Pilbara and Karijini National Park

Karijini National Park in the Pilbara is one of the most spectacular places we have visited. This was one of our first views of the Pilbara as we entered the area on our way to Karijini. On the winding road you can see a huge road train, which dwarfs the bus and car sharing the road. The sides of the roads were carpeted with purple and white wildflowers.

Our introduction to the Pilbara

The many precipitous gorges of Karijini take your breath away when you peer into them for the first time, with their sheer rock walls, cascading waterfalls and clear rock pools. In this picture you can see a man standing at the bottom of the gorge and if you look carefully, near the top you will see a woman on a rock ledge that is half way up the sheer wall. She is on the track you use to descend to the gorge floor.

Can you see the two people in this photo?

We camped in the National Park for a few days and explored many of the gorges. Dales Gorge was lovely, with a walk up to Fortescue Falls, where this serene pool lies at the top of the waterfall.

Rock pool above Fortescue Falls, Karijini

Further on into Dales Gorge you come across Fern Pool where we swam in the clear emerald water across to the twin waterfalls on the far side of the pool.

Fern Pool, Dales Gorge, Karijni

We enjoyed the many walks in the Park. The photo of us was taken near the waterfall that flows into Joffre Gorge. But I think our favourite gorge was Hancock Gorge where we climbed down rocks and ladders to reach the gorge floor, then made our way along narrow rock ledges and waded and swam through various pools until we could go no further, then made our way back again, the way we came. Unfortunately I couldn’t take the camera with me on this trek, so no photos to share, but we highly recommend the adventure if you get to Karijini National Park.

Peter & Rhonda at Joffre Falls, Karijini

This last photo is a view of Joffre Gorge from part way down the climb. It gives you some idea of how steep the walls are, but if you are careful you can get all the way to the bottom.

Joffre Gorge, Karijini National Park


Barn Hill Station

Barn Hill Station is at the other end of ten kilometres of red sand track that heads west off the highway about 120 km south of Broome. It is a working cattle station; we know that for a fact because we came across one of the station bulls on the track on our way in! The weather is a balmy 30*C and the sun is glinting on the endless blue sea. Lots of the people staying here have been here for 3 months… or 6 months; they just come up for the winter and stay here. I can understand why, it is very peaceful and so beautiful. We think we have the best spot in the campground, with a fantastic uninterrupted sea view and lovely shady trees.

This is the view from our camping spot at Barn Hill

The beach is just superb, with wide sandy expanses, all backed by amazing red cliff with interesting and sculptural rock formations at either end of the beach. You can walk for miles. When we rounded one of the headlands at the far end of the beach, we were amazed to find a huge cave carved out of the rocks by the wave action. Unfortunately for you, I didn’t take the camera, so you won’t see it until you come to Barn Hill!

Some of the amazing rock formations on the beautiful sandy beach

Stunning red rocks (I know I am obsessed with taking pictures of rocks...)

The amenities here are a bit different, there is no roof on the showers and toilets, so you can get an all-over suntan while you shower, and a shower of gum tree flowers and leaves on you while you sit on the loo!

Airy loo with a view

The beaches face west in Western Australia (strangely enough) so you do get lots of amazing sunsets over the ocean, such as this one…

Sunset over Barn Hill beach

While I was off photographing the sunset on the beach, Peter was entertaining the crowd with his trumpet. In the camp, there is a bush poet who sometimes recites here in the evening, and he invited Peter to join him and play a bit of music. The bush poet is very good, and knows heaps of the old classic bush poetry, as well as quite a few good ones of his own. He was very entertaining and quite funny, and everybody had a good time and didn’t want the evening to end.

Peter entertains the crowd with his trumpet

As I have been updating this, there is lots of laughing and yelling going on outside so I went out to investigate, and there is a very lively bowls match going on.

I bet these people and the spectators (hidden in the shed at the far end) don't realise they are catching mackerel down on the beach right now!


Gorgeous gorge…

At Fitzroy Crossing we stayed at the old Crossing Inn camp ground. In the evening we took the Geikie Gorge sunset boat tour which took us along the gorge through the wonderful limestone cliffs. There were heaps of freshwater crocodiles basking in the sun on the banks of the river.

Geikie Gorge

The white colour at the bottom of the cliffs shows the height of the water when the rains come. During the wet, there are no boat tours as the whole area becomes flooded with many metres of water and when the flood recedes there is around 8 tonnes of sandy soil to be moved again before the boat ramps and pathways can be found.

Geikie Gorge from the boat

The limestone cliffs are eroded into artistic and wonderful shapes. There were lots of fairy martens nesting under the rocky overhangs.

Eroded limestone at the base of Geikie Gorge