Sunday, May 30, 2010

Exmouth to Karijini National Park

From Exmouth we headed inland to explore the Karijini National Park near Tom Price. Over the last few weeks we had heard mixed feedback about the how good Karijini was, which made us anxious about the 600km drive inland. Although we do find ways to amuse ourselves during those long drives…

The boys toys

Measuring ourselves on a floodway height indicator between Exmouth and Tom Price

It turns out that those who had knocked Karijini mustn’t have got out of their cars and explored the park because we did a bit of serious trekking and saw some amazing, naturally beautiful scenery.

Our first day in Karijini N.P we checked out Dales Gorge which has two crystal clear pools (Fern Pool and Circular Pool) at either end of it which although a little cold were good fun swimming in.


Fern Pool 

Dales Gorge 

 Circular Pool showers

Circular Pool

From here we headed to a nearby gorge where we only checked out the lookout then headed to the next gorge, Knox Gorge, which is apparently beautiful to see when the sun is setting. We arrived at the Knox Gorge carpark, walked to the back of the cars and saw something that would make our day very shit… Skeat’s back canopy door had opened during the drive and quite a bit of stuff had fallen out. This stuff included our big first-aid kit, a tackle box, a chair and Skeat’s longboard. We headed back to the other gorge hoping to find the stuff along the way but it turns out we were too late and some prick had taken the lot. This is on top of two pairs of thongs we have lost and 2 pairs of boardies and 3 T-shirts that were nicked off the clothes line at Margaret River.

After another night of dodgy free camping (in National Park) we got up at 6am (so we wouldn’t get caught) and decided since we were up we would do some early morning trekking. The first gorge we tackled was Hancock Gorge which blew us away with how awesome it was.

Extreme trekking 

 It was a good idea here 

There were some nervous moments during this walk though, which were caused mainly through our keenness for adventure (or stupidity). After about a k’s walk along this gorge we came to a part where the stream drops straight down 2m into a pool and if you wanted to continue you needed abseiling stuff. For some reason we brought rope (Telecom or cable rope) and decided we could keep going down the gorge with the thinking that we could use the rope to climb back out. So Skeat, Matti and Bennett jumped off into this pool (Fussy was on stand-by to call the ambo’s) and soon found out we couldn’t climb up the rope and were potentially stuck. Not to worry though mum’s, after some rock climbing up a cliff, which judging by the rings in it is usually abseiled down, we got out safely in the end… Bear Grylls would have been proud!

Poss trying to get up the rope

 Safely out

After a short break to reflect on our Hancock Gorge experience we moved on to nearby Weano Gorge but this time left the rope behind to reduce the temptation for more adventures. Weano Gorge was just as amazing as Hancock Gorge.

Weano Gorge

Weano Gorge

Weano Gorge
Our final trek for the day was through Knox Gorge and again, even though it sounds repetitive, it was amazing. I think we just hope the photos do the place justice and make you all jealous back home.

Knox Gorge

Knox Gorge... amazing colours!

Poss about to jump into one of the many pools

The end of Knox Gorge... pretty scary walk along that trunk!

The next day again saw us rise early to again avoid being caught doing a dodgy free camp in the National Park. This time our early morning trek was through the Hamersley Gorge. Not as spectacular as the other gorges but still awesome.

Hamersley Gorge

Hamersley Gorge

Hamersley Gorge


We have now left Karijini and the countdown has begun till the Broome bender.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Carnarvon to Exmouth

G’day everyone.  Well after 6 nights in Carnarvon and many hours of boredom, Skeat’s car finally got fixed and we could finally continue the journey north. 
 Poss... a creature of the night?
Fishing on the Gascoyne River in Carnarvon
From Carnarvon we headed about 100km north to Red Bluff and Gnaraloo which are some pretty gnarly surf breaks and fishing spots.  Unfortunately for us the whole time we were there the weather was crap (one day it rained all day which apparently was their first rain for 12 months… good for them but shit for us) and there wasn’t much swell.  We did still get to see some pretty amazing stuff though.
Fussy doing a bit of light reading
Views near Red Bluff
Gnaraloo Station
Gnaraloo Bay
After the rain and cold of Red Bluff and Gnaraloo we headed to the sunny warmth of Coral Bay which is a small resort town (permanent population of around 150 people) on the Ningaloo Reef.  It would be fair to say we weren’t expecting much from Coral Bay, especially after driving about 3 hours through GAFA (Great Australian Fuck All) to get there, but we were all very surprised when we drove down the main street (the town’s only street) and saw people everywhere.
In total we spent 3 nights in Coral Bay and were we treated to some indifferent weather (amazing for two days, a bit of rain for the other two days and too much wind) but enjoyed some great but chaotic times. 
Our first full day in Coral Bay (after another night of dodgy free camping) started with a morning snorkel in the crystal clear waters of the Ningaloo Reef… the best way to start the day!  From here we checked into the caravan park for a night, hit up the beach in the arvo then got stuck into the beers and headed out to the pub.  The pub was amazing; full of people on holidays having a good time.  The Moonta lads were in fine form too… very loose! 
Some of the awesome 4WD tracks around Coral Bay
Another night of free camping with views all to ourselves
Coral Bay
 Ningaloo Reef
Poss stole those chips from that kid... what a prick!
Loose times in Coral Bay with a chick we met for The Netherlands
Friday was a very interesting day.  It started with us all completely in love Coral Bay and the good times that it had provided so it was decided that we would stay another night at the caravan park.  It was a great plan and we were all stoked for another night of Coral Bay partying but it just wasn’t meant to be… turns out we weren’t very popular with our fellow caravan park guests (due to our noise when we got home the night before) and we weren’t welcome to stay an another night at the caravan park.  We also apparently broke some rule of the Caravan Parks Act by having both our cars on the one site which meant we were also required to pay for an additional site (not good for the budget).  That caravan park owner was doing his best to make Coral Bay less awesome.
Anyways we weren’t going to let that stop us from having a good day so headed to the beach and decided that the night would be spent sleeping wherever we could for free. 
At first we struggled through the day but eventually again got on the beers and again hit up the pub but this time for happy hour with a local dude we met during the day (he was the biggest tripper – great value) and his mates.  Happy hour was a massive success too as we got to hang with some pretty awesome West Aussies and for the first time in a while we managed to leave the pub with a bit of money left in the wallets.
Gilbert being a creep
On the final sleeping arrangements for the night, they all varied in the end from a mattress in the sand dunes to a nice warm bed in the backpackers.  Another night of free camping successfully negotiated!
We then left Coral Bay and headed north along the coast to the Cape Range National Park near Exmouth which is still located adjacent to the Ningaloo Reef. 

Cape Range National Park

Our first creek crossing - Yardie Creek

Cape Range National Park - another dodgy free camp

Turquoise Bay

We have spent 3 nights in the area checking out the sites, snorkeling and swimming with the largest fish in the world, the whale shark.  It is an unbelievable experience which everyone should do once in their life… the best!
Us on the Whale Shark boat
Whale Shark
Westie our Whale Shark tour host... an alright dude for a kiwi
 Ningaloo Reef
Whale Shark Tour
Whale Shark Tour

Celebrating a great day with the whale sharks

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Our first stop north of Perth was Geraldton (so windy the trees grow sideways) where we did a load of washing and noticed that Skeat had recently established a new restaurant… We then set up camp at Coronation Beach just further north.

Fine dining at its best...

Explored the coastline up towards Kalbarri – some interesting cliffs and a pink lake. Got into Kalbarri very late in the arvo hoping to find a free camp somewhere. The only place we could find was along the Murchison River marked with a “NO CAMPING - $200 FINE” sign. So we thought we’d wait until well after dark to sneak in and leave early in the morning. We got a bit of a scare as we were rolling up our swags when a fisherman came down the track just after sunrise.

We toured around the Kalbarri National Park and came across an 8km walk called “The Loop.” Decided to tackle it and was getting very warm by the time we made it back, nice views though – a lot like the flinders.

Natures Window


Buggered after the big walk in the heat. Hope everyone is enjoying the weather back in SA and Canberra - the heat up here is almost unbearable!

We set up camp in one of the caravan parks where we’d spend a couple of nights (but only pay for one: we’re getting good at this). Headed up to the pub for some Friday night drinks but it was pretty dead. Saturday morning we checked out Jakes Point which was going off!! Check out our surfing in the pictures below. Carved it up needless to say… Saturday night was a bit more lively at the pub, got friendly with a few old ducks who were there for a 50th, they were a handful on the dancefloor!

Skeat sporting his new blonde locks.

Fussy catching a pretty small wave.

Caravan Park at Kalbarri

Headed off after lunch on Sunday and checked out the Kalbarri Gorges on the way out which had a bit more water than where we walked the previous day.

Kalbarri Gorge

Got into the Shark Bay area just after dark. There is a massive electric fence up to keep the feral animals out that has speakers on the sides of the road that bark like a dog when you either drive past or walk up to it. A classic video has been produced…

Stayed the night at a windy bastard of a place called Fowlers Camp (just like the name). The next morning some French girls asked us for a lift as they’d been fined $1000 for having 4 in a 3 seater van. So they tagged along with us for a while until we reached Carnarvon. We found a lagoon which seemed a great place for a skim so we had a bit of a sesh and taught the Frenchies how to turf.

Possum: Turfing Instructor

Oh what a feeling. Us with our new French friends at Little Lagoon in Shark Bay
Drove into the Francois Peron National Park where there we had a dip in the artesian hot tub – not the best thing to do on a hot day but was very relaxing – we need to relax every now and then as travelling can be very strenuous…. We drove all the way to Cape Peron in the National Park and had a bit of a fish while the sun set. Then when we left Skeat’s clutch decided it had had enough of this trip so we towed the car all the way back out through some pretty boggy stuff – only took 3 hours to get 80km. We put a movie on the laptop which helped pass the time.

Hot tub on a 30 degree day - weren't in much longer than it took to take a photo.
Cape Peron - Where the desert meets the sea.

Let the towing begin

Fussy interacting with the wildlife

We decided to tow the Nav to Carnarvon to get fixed and stopped in at a few sights along the way. Shell Beach was amazing, it is exactly what the name suggests.

Shell Beach

Skeat swimming in the crystal blue waters of Shell Beach!

Quick stop at the Overlander Roadhouse to fill up with Unleaded ($1.44) and LPG ($1.05), but no diesel required… Got into Carnarvon and the tow truck took over:

Don't let Skeat's look fool you - he's actually extatic that his car has broken down!

Carnarvon is a pretty average place. Have been staying in the caravan park for a few nights and there isn’t much to do. The beach is shit, there’s no surf, no fruit picking (banana’s wont be ripe for 2 weeks), and the weather is amazing. Just have to put up with chilling out by the pool for a few days while the Nav is fixed up. Gilbert is happy as he’s made a nice cave to hang out in.

The beach at Carnarvorn

Safety jump.

Keep commenting guys. We've added a counter as of today so we can see if anyone is actually looking at this!

PS: Matty's new nickname is Possum, Pos or Revpos... It WILL stick when he gets back!!!