Week 24 | Carnarvon to Denham

Day 162 – 166: Carnarvon

It’s always great to stay in one place for longer than a couple of days.  Carnarvon is not a large township with a population of 5,542 as of the 2017 census.  The main industries here are horticulture, prawn, crab, scallop and fishing and the township is located on the Gascoyne River.

It is said to be an upside-down river, as it flows for about 120 days of the year and below the dry river bed for the remainder of the year. It is in effect a huge water storage system with the river’s aquifers lying below the desert sands.  It’s currently dry with one very small pool of water on the surface.

I’m doing some work this morning and then I’ll bake some muffins and another fruit cake.  I’ve noticed a sign in the park advising of a hairdresser on site, so I’ve booked myself in this afternoon for a hair cut.  It’s really great that the parks allow hairdressers to do a few cuts while on the road.  A bargain for me at $20.

Andrew and I are heading down to the fascine, it’s a picturesque reserve at the end of town, fringed by a palm lined pathway.  There is a safe beach for swimming with a pontoon and I think it will be a great spot to watch the sun set.  At the end of the beach is the old tramway bridge, I walk it alone as there is no way Cinta is walking on the old railway sleepers.

There is plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables available in Carnarvon and these can be found on the Fruit Loop Trail.  Around 70% of Perth’s winter vegetables are grown in this area.  We stop in at Bumbaks small farm shop to try their famous ice creams.  I chose a caramelised fig and Andrew had a tropical ice cream, it reminded me of the ice cream mum used to make with carnation milk – yum!

We’re meeting our friends at the fascine for lunch and then we’ll head down to the boat harbour tonight to catch another sunset.  The clouds have rolled in and I’m expecting it to be a fantastic sunset.  It certainly didn’t disappoint me.

Sunset at the Boat Harbour

While photographing the amazing sunset, a couple of boats and 2 car loads of blokes pull up at the filleting table.  Andrew has been chatting to them about the catch for the day and the upcoming weather conditions.  I’m busy snapping away all along the boat ramp and when I finished I wandered by and had a chat with them too.  One of the guys asked if we would like some fillets, I couldn’t believe their generosity and was not going to knock back a feed of fresh fish.  It’s Mulloway – we have never eaten that before so it’s a first for us both.  I’m sure it will be pretty good as you can’t beat fresh reef fish.  To our surprise the Mulloway was really nice, soft white flesh and apparently it can also be known as Butterfish.

Today is a quiet day as we are expecting high winds and light showers.  We’ve bought the awning in after the wind blew our portable clothes line down!  Lucky the towels where almost dry, so it’s off to the laundry I go to throw them in the dryer.

It’s a great opportunity today to do some re-organising in the van and move things that aren’t being used daily to another location.  Space is premium with two adults and a dog on board and when forced indoors for the day there needs to be room to move around freely.

We had a visit from a neighbouring child yesterday who appeared out of nowhere and immediately had Cinta in a bear hug.  She was only two and the thought of what could have happened was quite scary.  Lucky we were both outside at the time and I quickly grabbed Cinta to keep her away from the child’s face.  Next thing she was inside our van picking up Cinta’s bowl and bringing her biscuits out.  Dad turned up and apologised, but it’s a stark reality of what could happen to that small girl if she approached another dog in that fashion.  The outcome may not be the same next time.

Today we are heading out to the Blow Holes.  The journey is about 75km from Carnarvon and we’ve been told they are definitely worth the drive.  It’s a drizzly cold day again today and arriving at the Blow Holes it’s blowing a gale.  I have bought my drone thinking if I had reception I’d do a flight, but that certainly was not going to be happening today.

The ocean is crashing against the rocks, I can feel the salt spray on my face and the rain drops on my hair.  It’s so cold Andrew and Cinta are staying in the car.  The Blow Holes are spectacular spraying jets of water up to 20 metres in height.  It’s quite dangerous with many deaths being recorded here with people being swept into the ocean after being knocked over by the incoming tide and the waves crashing over the cliff face.

Further along is a camp site right on the beach, you need to be fully self contained here as there is no water.  There are toilets and 3 dump points.  It would be amazing to stay when the weather is good, but I couldn’t imagine staying here in the wild weather of the west.

There is also a safe beach for swimming and we all get out to walk the beach while there is a break in the weather.  Cinta is not keen to go swimming it’s just too cold for her.  We were amazed to see a whole dead fish laying at the base of some rocks, obviously ejected from the ocean with the force of the waves.

Panorama of the safe beach

With so much cloud cover around today we head out to Babbage Island, home of the One Mile Jetty to see if I can snap some great sunset photos.  The jetty is 1,493 metres in length and was established in 1899.  It’s currently closed because it is unsafe and in disrepair.  The township is trying to raise $5 million to conduct the repairs and re-open it.  I can’t see it happening any time soon, however, I hope that it does happen as Carnarvon could certainly do with another tourist attraction.

There is a cafe and interpretive centre on the site and a short walk leads you to a bronze sculpture on the hill.  “Don’t look at the Islands” is a sculpture dedicated to the Lock Island Tragedy.  Aboriginal children were left behind after their parents were incarcerated in the early 1900’s.  It’s a very evocative sculpture and I can’t imagine how the children coped after being left behind.

Our stay at Carnarvon is almost over and tomorrow we will head off to another destination.  Today is spent tapping away at the keyboard for a few hours, washing, lunch with our friends and then grocery shopping to stock up before we head off in the morning.  Tonight the wind has picked up and it’s going to be 7 degrees.  I’m currently tucked up in bed writing this week’s blog while Andrew is watching the footy and I’ve got a short sleeved spencer on, a long sleeved spencer, a flannelette long sleeved shirt, my leggings and socks and I’m still cold…

Wildlife: sandflies, seagulls, dead rabbit, sheep, fish, pelicans, dead kangaroos, crows.

Day 167: Carnarvon to Denham

We both struggled to get out of bed this morning with the temperature plummeting to 8 degrees. Cinta has had her morning walk however she is sitting by the door still wanting to go outside. I drag her bed into a sunny position and put her doona down and she is outside in no time looking for sunshine. Within five minutes she is back waiting at the door to come inside. Her ears are freezing and her back legs are shivering in the cold. It’s going to take some time for her to get used to cold weather too.

Leaving Carnarvon at 8.30am and it has warmed up to 10 degrees. The road today is long, straight and quite boring with nothing but red dirt and salt bushes. There has been rain through the area and you can see how quickly the plains can flood as the water just doesn’t drain away through the clay surface.

We stop in at the Wooramel Roadhouse for morning tea & it’s blowing an absolute gale. We all have a quick comfort stop and have our coffee inside the van before heading off again.  Our journey today is 326km and as we are getting closer to Shark Bay the scenery is becoming more spectacular with glimpses of the aqua blue ocean and high sand dunes.

We are almost there and as we come over the hill into Shark Bay there is only one word to describe the view “Wow”.  It is absolutely stunning.  The ocean is three different shades, from crystal clear waters to aqua and then deep azure blue.  The ocean is dotted with boats everywhere and the water is right beside the roadway.  It’s a very quaint little seaside township.  We love it!

Our home for 4 nights is the Shark Bay Caravan Park, perched up on the hill.  It’s a Kui Park and we have become members so we will enjoy a 10% discount on accommodation bringing it down to $36 a night which is very reasonable considering the spectacular location.  We are extremely lucky to get 4 nights as it’s only a week away from school holidays and from Wednesday they are fully booked out.  The park has an overflow area and we have taken a site there with power and water.  The owners are a young couple who bought the park 2 years ago and are already expanding into the block next door which is currently the overflow.  Power will be connected in two weeks time, so our power cord is running to the back of the office.

This morning we are heading out to Eagle Bluff and Elephant Rock Lookouts.  To say the scenery is spectacular is an understatement.  It is gob smacking spectacular!  The short 400 metre boardwalk is perched high above the shallow waters of Henri Freycinet Harbour. There are excellent views of two small limestone islands and marine life that frequent the inshore waters. Rays, sharks, schools of fish and even turtles and dugongs can often be seen especially during summer.  We didn’t see any today, but there was plenty of bird life on the island.

Henry Freycincet Harbour

There is bit of cloud rolling in this afternoon so I suggest a drive up to another lookout to watch the sun set.  It’s not as spectacular as some we have seen in WA but every sunset is special in it’s own right.  Sometimes it pays to look to the east to see what is happening as well.

Tomorrow we are heading out to Monkey Mia to see the dolphins so make sure you don’t miss next week’s blog.

Wildlife:  sandflies, dead kangaroos, crows, sheep, goats, eagles, pelicans, seagulls.

Week 24 total expenses: $1023.30 over budget, however, Andrew is going to enjoy a fishing charter next week!

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That’s a wrap for Week 24 of the Lap of the Map.

PS: Don’t forget to leave me a comment!

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