Day 155: Bullara Station to Exmouth
It’s Andrew’s birthday today and I’ve asked him to wake me up early so we can watch the sunrise together. Half an hour before sunrise is the optimum time to get the best photographs. It’s really cold, I have leggings on & tracky daks, heat socks, a spencer, long sleeved shirt & my spray jacket with the hoodie up. I don’t know how I’ll survive winter in Perth let alone Tasmania! There are people taking sunrise photos in shorts & T-shirts.
Sunrise is another amazing display of colour in the sky. It’s a great opportunity to use the old cars as a focal point in my photos. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s very picturesque.
Time to get breakfast and get ourselves packed up and ready for morning tea before we leave. The barista coffee, scones with jam and cream are nothing short of delicious. Good old fashioned country baking. We enjoy them on the verandah of the homestead.
We are heading for Exmouth which is a short trip of 91km. The countryside varies from wide flat plains with termite mounds to grassy fields and mountains in the distance. Purple Wild flowers are becoming predominant along the highway.
We’ve decided to go a further 30km around the top of the Cape to the Yardie Homestead Caravan Park. It’s a large park not far from the Cape Range National Park. They generate their own power so there are restrictions on what electrical equipment you can use on your site. We decide to take an unpowered site at $32 p/night as we are fully self contained.
The park has a cafe and restaurant which I was planning to take Andrew out to dinner but unfortunately they are not open until Wednesday. I’ve made another one of his favourites beef enchiladas in the Ziggy after a few celebratory drinks with our friends. Winner!
Wildlife: corellas, galahs, sheep, cattle, seagulls, Australian bustard, rainbow bee eaters.
Day 156 – 158: Exmouth
Andrew and Tim have headed out to 5 mile beach to try their luck fishing again. I have work to be done so another morning is spent tapping away at the keyboard.
The fisherman return with empty bags, what a disappointment. They tried several spots including the marina but no luck again. We need to top up on supplies and head into Exmouth to the shops. The shopping complex is poorly designed and the parking is horrendous. There is two IGA’s right across from each other. One apparently has basic staples and the other has specialty items. I find everything we need in the specialty store. On the way back to the park we drive up to the lighthouse and the view is amazing. Azure blue ocean as far as your eyes can see.
This afternoon we’ve met some of our neighbours. They are from Perth and have been coming to this park for the past 18 years for 3 months to escape the winter. I can’t imagine returning to the same place each year after being on the road and seeing what this vast country has to offer. There are so many spectacular places to visit and there is so much that we have yet to see.
We’ve decided to stay an extra day as I have more work to do and we haven’t had the opportunity to see the beaches. This morning we are taking a drive along the beaches of the Cape. The views are breathtaking. The ocean is crashing far out on the reef, it’s mesmerising watching the waves roll into the shoreline. I could watch the ocean all day long and never tire of the sight.
Exmouth has an art gallery which I am keen to visit. Andrew drops me off while he does the swap-n-go gas bottle. You know you are in a remote location when it’s $43 and you are used to paying $29 at home. The gallery is housed in the old Visitor Information Centre and is run by volunteers. I introduce myself to the administrator and we have a lengthy conversation about their Centre and the challenges they face with finding volunteers to keep the doors open.
Exmouth is a township of younger people, most of whom are working to support their families and Tourism is their main industry. There are some lovely artworks on display. Across the road is the Ningaloo Discovery Centre which houses the Council Chambers, Library, Visitor Information Centre, Aquarium and coffee shop. It’s an impressive new building. Morning tea is in order and Andrew has spotted his all time favourite vanilla slice. On the rating scale it’s a 9.9 from him. I can’t resist a mouthful and I’d score it an 11!
There are a couple of “big things” in Exmouth; a prawn and a whale shark. The obligatory photo is taken and sent to my son Conrad. He will appreciate both as he works on the trawlers out of Karumba and he saw a whale shark on a recent trip.
More work has come in for me so we are extending another day. This morning we are taking a drive through the Cape Range National Park. The entry fee is by vehicle; $13 which is much more reasonable than Uluru at $25 per person.
The drive through passes many beaches where camping is by permit. Most without facilities so being self contained is a must. The Milyering Information Centre is not far from the park entry point and you can book your camping or tours from the Centre. They also hire out a beach accessible wheelchair, the first I have seen, what a great idea.
We travel all the way to the end of the sealed road at Yardie Creek. The beach access is a short walk over the sand dunes and the view once again is breathtaking. I can imagine sitting here with a canvas and painting the turquoise water.
We stop at many of the beaches, each spectacular in their own right. Back at the park we pick up Cinta and take her down to Janz beach where dogs are allowed. Over the sand dunes and the tide is coming in fast. The water is crystal clear and there are at least a dozen people fishing off the beach. We head in the opposite direction so Cinta can enjoy the water, it’s cold and the current is fast. She bounds straight back to the beach. There are plenty of shells at Janz beach and lots of sea urchins in a variety of colours. Time to head home and start tapping on the keyboard.
Wildlife: 2 emus, 2 turtle, corellas, doves, galahs, seagulls.
Day 159: Exmouth to Lyndon River
It’s time to move on again today and we are packed up by 9.00am and heading off to look at Coral Bay. There is no free camping there and only one park that takes dogs. We’ve been told the park has extremely small sights and the reviews on Wikicamps are mixed. Driving in is bedlam, narrow streets, dead ends, vehicles parked everywhere and loads of people walking the very small township. There is no place to park the van. Every inch of real estate is taken. We have just managed to turn around and have headed back out. To say I am disappointed is an understatement and at $70 for a site it seems this small town is capitalising on its assets.
Further on we have passed over the Tropic of Capricorn, just a small sign with bullet holes in it. What a shame there is no monument to mark the place. We are free camping tonight at Lyndon River. There’s no water here. It is saddens us to see so many large river beds in this state with not a drop of water to be found. The free camp is a large dirt space with one toilet which is surprisingly clean for an outback drop loo. The flies drive us inside.
Telstra reception is weak. The afternoon is spent looking through the travel magazines we picked up and reading about the next few locations we plan to visit. I’ve been chatting to a lovely kiwi guy who is heading to Exmouth to do some surfing. He wanted to meet Cinta as he recently lost his labrador border collie cross and was missing having a dog around.
Happy hour is early tonight followed by watching the sun set. There is little cloud cover so it’s not particularly exciting. Tonight’s dinner is an easy chicken stir fry and then we’ll have an early night.
The stars are amazing. Jupiter is spotted first, followed by the Southern Cross and the Milky Way is right above our van. How I wish I could take a great solar shot, it’s not an easy feat.
Wildlife: horses, corellas, galahs, doves, sheep, cattle, dead kangaroos, flies.
Day 160 – 161: Lyndon River to Carnarvon
We have all slept in this morning and missed sunrise. There is quite a lot of cloud cover so it would have been a beauty. A cup of tea in bed is followed by bacon and eggs today and then we are packed up and on the road by 9.00am.
We’re only travelling 160km today which gets us into Carnarvon by 11.00am. Driving in along the highway makes us feel like we are back home. Banana Plantations adorn the highway, they don’t look as healthy as the ones back home and they are planted very close together. I can’t wait to try a banana from the local food stalls along the roadside as I haven’t had a decent banana since we left Mission Beach.
Carnarvon is a caravanning hotspot with 7 parks here, 6 of which accept pets. We’ve checked them all out on Wikicamps and have decided to stay at the Capricorn Caravan Park which is the furthest out of town, but they have very good reviews. They also have a stay 7 pay for 6 deal which brings down the weekly rate to $31.72 per night for a powered site. Perfect.
The park offers a full week of events from happy hour, bingo, pizza nights, camp oven dinners and bowling. After booking in and getting all the info on the area, we are met by Colin who takes us around to our site and guides Andrew in with ease. We are set up in no time. A visit to Woolies and BWS is needed to stock up on supplies and grog. It’s an expensive shopping trip.
The wind has picked up this afternoon and after discussions with our neighbours we decide to take the awning back in as rain is also expected. We have seen very little rain, nothing more than light drizzle since we left Mission Beach.
During the night the rain is pouring down and we are both up closing the vents and windows. Carnarvon received 35ml of rain overnight. Apparently the most they have received at once in over 5 years. There are quite a few puddles around the park. The ground is hard clay and there is nowhere for it to run off.
With rain and wind predicted for the day we are stuck inside the caravan, which is something most unusual for us to experience. A trip to have a look around the township is needed to break up the day. Carnarvon has quite a bit of street art and it’s the perfect time to photograph it on a Sunday when there is little traffic parked in the streets.
Tonight is State of Origin only two words required: Go Queensland!
Wildlife: flies, dead kangaroos, crows, hawks, seagulls, corellas, galahs.
Week 23 total expenses: $946.17, we have had a couple of big fuel and grocery expenses this week. Let’s hope staying in the one place for the week will help to get that figure down a bit next week.
That’s a wrap for Week 23 of the Lap of the Map.
PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!