Thursday, 8 August 2013

Returning to Robe and Exit (Stage Right) to Exmouth

Friday 26th July

Today we fled Dampier and the Burrup Peninsula and headed back to (497) Robe River. After all our breakages Ron’s mood was not the sunniest and we did take the entrance to the camping area a little quicker than he would have normally and kicked up a bit of dust.

As I went walking, I stopped to chat to a couple, Barry and Jeanette from Perth. I apologised if any of our dust hit their washing but either it didn’t or they didn’t care because they invited us for Sundowners.

They come from Perth and do volunteering as Camp Hosts in National Parks. We had a great old chin wag and they recommended a few fabbo spots between here and Perth. It was a lovely evening.


We have the same spot as we did when we were here before but I think it is even windier this time.

Saturday 27th July

I have spent today unwinding; I finished my novel, put up a new post on my Blog and got my diary up to date.

Sunday 28th July

Ditto! (Except I started reading a new novel!)


Michael and Marlene are our new neighbours. They are surfers and fisher folk from Coolangatta. They were very friendly and we chatted for ages about different spots to see. Later, Michael gave us a taste of some fish that he had pickled. Very tasty; would be lovely in a salad!

 We had collected quite a bit of wood when we were last here but had not used it.

It is much warmer today and the wind has dropped right away so we are going to have a fire tonight.

Ron and I gathered extra wood and twigs to get it started.

We built our fire and Ronnie cooked our meat for dinner and put potatoes and pumpkin in the coals. Yummo!!


Monday 29th July

We said farewell to Michael and Marlene and headed off down the road. We will be so glad to get away from this red dust but it won’t be happening for a while yet.

We crossed the Nanutarra Bridge over the Ashburton River. (This is where we came out from Karijini National Park 9 days and just over 500 km ago).

They have built the new bridge parallel to the old and have installed little shelter sheds on the old one so little old ladies like me can take in the view (which is absolutely gorgeous) in comfort.


We arrived at (489) Barradale Rest Area next to the Yannarie River. It is about 70km down the road from Nanturra but the river is a decidedly different story.

I am standing in the centre of the river bed looking back towards the bridge.


Most of the rivers and creeks have been very dry or like this and are non-existent. But there are signs everywhere saying ‘Warning. This area subject to flooding’ so I guess that when it rains, it really rains!!!

 I left Ronnie back at Indie while I went exploring around the camp area. It is huge.

And some recent visitors have made an installation for Art lovers visiting the area!

It is just so unexpected to see found objects combined and stuck between two trees in the middle of nowhere. Toilet seats, broken head lights and Barbie dolls are just so Post Modern (he he he) I knew that time I spent on Planet Art had not been wasted!!


There were a few interesting flowers about. I have no idea what they are but they are very pretty.


When I got back to Indie, Ron was visiting with our neighbours, Aidan and Mary from Melbourne. They were really nice and friendly. They are on a five month trip this time and have been just about everywhere over the years.

Mary had a wildflower book and my flowers were in it but I still can’t remember what they are!!!


Tuesday 30th July

This morning we set off towards Exmouth.

 There are a lot more flowers. We are still waiting for the endless fields although the grevillea are starting to bloom.

The landscape is quite varied as well


We arrived at Exmouth and headed off to the Tourist Centre and spoke to the lovey Kirsty who told us that it was nigh on impossible to get into the Cape Range National Park but that Yardie Homestead Caravan Park (a retired Sheep Station) is only 8 km from the Park Entrance so we booked in for the night.

We sallied forth to the IGA in the salubrious Mall and on the way, who should we meet but Aidan and Mary and they were booked into the same place. After that we ventured into the Laundromat and while I stood guard over the undies, Ron scurried off to the local Chinese Restaurant and bought take aways which we ate while ‘the wheels were in spin’ (or at least the washing was in spin anyway!) Then it was off to the caravan park.

On the way in we encountered more wildlife than we have seen in the whole State of WA.

There were emus to the left of us, emus to the right and on this occasion a whole family right in front!!!!


We also had a few near misses with over excited wallabies who wanted to play chicken with Indie.

On arrival, we decided to stay a week ($180.00 for a powered site) and that way we can do day trips into the Park easily. The power is limited (no air conditioners or things with heating elements) and there are only a couple of drinking water taps everything else is salt or bore water.

We caught up with Aidan and Mary for sundowners at our place.

Wednesday 31st July

Today is a stay at home and wash the sheets day. Here’s a hint: if you are in a spot inhabited predominantly by fisher folk and it is a lovely windy day, don’t do the washing because they don’t fish when it’s windy, they all stay home and do the laundry!!!! What a bun fight!!!

In the afternoon, there was a concert in the grassed area by the pool with a fellow called Terry Bennetts.  We took our drinks and chips and sat there for a good two hours. He was a great guitarist and sang very well too.


He did one of the songs that we had at Mum’s funeral (I haven’t heard it since then) and I did get a bit teary.


Thursday 1st August
Today we went to Turquoise Bay. It is exquisite. The colours are amazing all along the coast here. No wonder the National Park is booked out.

We walked along the beach, saw some beautiful shells.

Suddenly a gust of wind took Ronnie’s hat for an impromptu swim!!!

Bravely, he dived in after it (stopping only to remove his T shirt) The water was absolutely freezing, but there’s no show without Punch so I went in as well. I’m so glad I did; it was glorious.


Of course it was just about that time that hordes of back packers and other assorted tourists started arriving over the sand dunes so we thought it time to leave.

Ronnie raced back to Indie and grabbed our towels. However, getting dressed in a howling gale presented its own set of challenges.


We left there and drove down to Yardie Creek which is the only permanent creek in the Park. There were two walks to do. The first one was a Grade 2 and nice and flat and took you gently along the side of the creek with nice views forward and back out to sea.

The second walk was a Grade 4 and took you up and down a goat track and into the gorge itself.  It was a lot more strenuous but the views were pretty awesome!



There were more wildflowers.



 There was even wild life, like this gorgeous little rock wallaby that Ron managed to snap.


Sadly my best effort was a photo of the bush hanging precariously on the cliff face that he disappeared into.


On the way home, we stopped in at a few of the beaches and bays.



There were a few more flowers and the water views were a delight.


Close to home, an echidna charged across in front of Indie. As I lunged for the camera, got tangled in the strap, fumbled with the on/off button, attempted to focus and finally pressed the shutter button, I succeeded in capturing this fabulous image of a disappearing echidna’s bottom!!!


I might stick to landscapes, they don’t move!!!!

 Just as we pulled into camp, a little voice from our new neighbours called ‘Hello, remember me?’ Well it took us a little while and a couple of guesses to work out that it was Maureen and Kevin whom we had met at Daly Waters Pub way back on 11th June (they recognised Indie). They have caught up with their friends Alan and Denise (also from Sussex Inlet) and they are travelling together. We had sun downers together and a good old catch up. We all got on very well and had a lovely time.


Friday 2nd August
We wandered into Exmouth this morning. Ron needed to send some emails and we did a little bit of shopping.

We parked behind a caravan with this picture and a sign across the back window saying ‘Caution Caravan Stopping Frequently Mad Photographer on Board’. May be we should get something similar for Indie?

We got a message and photos from Ben to say Xander is crawling.

We are not real sure how enamoured Dollar is with the whole situation though!!!!


Apparently Xander also has teeth but when Ben tries to get a photo, he sticks his tongue out!!!!

I bought a couple more silver charms for my bracelet; a monkey because Mum loved monkeys and a whale shark because Ningaloo Reef is renowned for them.

As we headed back to camp, we stopped at the wreck of the S.S. Mildura which sank on March 8th 1907. It was travelling from Wyndham to Fremantle, carrying cattle, when it struck the reef. The Mildura was not badly damaged but could not be salvaged. It did persuade the Government to prioritise the building of a lighthouse there though. The ship’s captain, despite (or perhaps because of) having safely passed the Cape on 68 previous occasions, had his Master’s Certificate suspended for 3 months. Later, in WWII, the S.S. Mildura was used for bombing practice.


Ronnie insisted I include the close up just in case you could not tell which of us was the wreck. (Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!)


There were more pretty flowers to be seen around the light house after we made our way up the rather steep slope.

The view from the top made it all worthwhile and if you look closely on the right of the photo you can see the towers that used to belong to O.T.C. (The Overseas Telecommunications Commission)

The old radar tower is fenced off and appropriate signage is displayed prominently


After a good look round, we headed off to the Jurabi Turtle Centre, which is a static display showing the story of turtles that nest in the area. They come in around October. Looking at the nearby beach, it’s not the place I would choose especially since only 1 in 1,000 make it to adulthood and reproduce!!!!!


Back home, we had another lovely evening with Kevin, Maureen, Alan and Denise.

Saturday 3rd August

They all left this morning and we will be having a quiet day today.

Mary popped round this morning to invite us for drinks this afternoon. They were on their way out to another gorge walk.

I decided to ring and book us into the Bayview Caravan Park in Coral Bay for next Thursday. I got a number from the lady in the shop and since there is no mobile phone coverage here, wrestled with the Public Phone and after five calls and $2.50 I’m pretty sure we are in. Guess we will find out on Thursday!

Sunday 4th August
Off we went again to beautiful Turquoise Bay, this time with noodles! (not the eating kind, the floating kind) and we bobbed about for quite a while. The water was still cold but  soooooo refreshing. It was fabulous……until we got out and saw three…... count them, three….reef sharks!!!!!!!

The lady at the visitor centre had previously assured us that the reef sharks are usually harmless and leave happy swimmers alone. And they did ignore the happy swimmers who were still in the water with them!!!!

From there we drove to Mandu Mandu Gorge.

It looked innocuous enough as we entered even though we knew it to be another Grade 4 walk. But it had pretty white pebbles and flowers.


I even added a rock to a cairn that some happy tourist had built!


Oh how easily we are lulled into a false sense of security.
The scenery was fantastic and we even saw Rock Wallabies and this time I managed a photo!!!!


But it was all downhill from there! (Or should I say uphill and downhill several times). The gradient increased exponentially and the track all but disappeared


I can’t remember the last time I felt so scared. I did most of the climbing on all fours.
I was running on pure adrenalin and really thought I was going to fall off the edge of a cliff. The only thing that kept us going was that we were too scared to go back!!!!
The views were pretty spectacular but we didn’t enjoy them because most of the time we were looking for footholds in cliff faces
I really think the deep breathing exercises that I learned in Yoga were all that prevented my hyperventilating. At one stage I felt really nauseous and my legs were like jelly (probably on the edge of death!!!!)
Finally a little ray of hope.
                                                         We could see the bus!
Who would have thought that we were only half way through the walk and it would take us another hour and 5 or 6 up hills and down dales to get there?

But we made it.
This is the best sign we have seen in the whole of Cape Range National Park!!!!!!
After that harrowing experience we decided to head back to Turquoise Bay and take our chances with the sharks. We figured it would be less stressful. I was a little concerned that they would be attracted to the blood from my battered hands and scraped legs but we didn’t care.
It was fantastic!!!!!!
Going back to camp we saw heaps of kangaroos and wallabies (we stopped counting past seventy!). We even saw two Wedge Tailed Eagles.
One thing about Cape Range National Park is it is overflowing with wild life!
When we got home, we passed Aidan and Mary on their way to the Restaurant here in the Caravan Park. Sunday night is Roast Pork Night so we figured we would go too. Sadly we had not booked, and there was no room.
Monday 5th August
Today is our last day here. Surprisingly, we both woke up feeling not too bad. A little stiff but nowhere near as sore as we expected.
We are getting everything ready for the road tomorrow as we continue our journey south.



1 comment:

  1. Hey Penny,

    No mention of your bike ride. That must be coming up in the next post, I guess. I am having my first relaxing Sunday afternoon for about 6 weeks. It feels good. I certainly envy your relaxed lifestyle, that's for sure!

    XXXXXX Christina