The Wandering Tops

The Wandering Tops

29 October, 2013

Pinnacles, Nambung NP

I'm quite a bit behind with my posts so will bring events up to date.  We left Jurien Bay and headed through Perth to Boddington to stay with Tony for a couple of nights before flying to Adelaide for the wedding of Luke and Rhiannon.

On the way south stopped in to check out the Pinnacles in Nambung National Park.  The limestone structures, some standing as high as 5 metres, were formed about 25,000 years ago, after the sea receded and left deposits of sea shells. Over time, coastal winds (and there is plenty of wind in WA!) removed the surrounding sand, leaving the pillars exposed to the elements. After living in the Territory the structures looked much like termite mounds ........ I'll let you decide!!!

"Geoff that looks like a .........."

Hels was in her element finding all sorts of shapes but this one she had to hug "Pluto"

After spending a few hours viewing the Pinnacles we decided to stay at Moore River Bridge (approx. 33km North of Yanchep National Park turn off) free camp, and head off early the next morning through Perth to Tony's at Boddington.

On our way through Perth we made a surprise visit to say g'day to Alex and Jarrod.  As it was still morning we caught Alex still in her PJs but we did manage to get a coffee before heading off again. It was great to spend time with them - a quick call in turned out to be a few hours!

"Jenny" the Navman directed us through Perth with out any hassles, travelling south to Boddington where we spent 3 nights at Leanne and Tony's.  Thoroughly enjoyed the country hospitality then it was back to Perth and jump onto a jet plane for Adelaide.  Stayed @ Discovery Holiday Park which was close to where we had to take the van for new brakes to be fitted and a service.  We were also able to store van there for our Adelaide visit.

25 October, 2013

Geraldton to Jurien Bay

We stayed in Geraldton for 2 nights enabling a quick stock up with food  (only had Sat as Sunday was certainly a day of rest with nothing much open!)  Just happened to have a Bunnings in town which I just had to visit as can't remember my last 'Bunnings fix', probable Darwin.  Drove south to Greenough a historical village which has a Saturday morning market - very small market with only 6 stalls and as it started to rain, yes rain well drizzle, we decided to jump back into the car, keep warm and head back to Geraldton.  The wind blows that much here you should see some of the trees growing parallel to the ground! 

The Leaning Trees - River Gum (Eucalyptus Camaldulensis) native to WA
The constant strong southerly winds burn of growth on the windward side.
Back in Geraldton we went to the Farmers Market at the Old Railway station, lots of good local produce.  Had a look at the Point More Lighthouse known to be the largest in Australia (34m high) and the only one of steel construction in WA.   Kite boarding is a common sight (certainly have the wind factor!!) so we sat in the comfort of the car, out the wind watching some tricks performed on the water.
Separation Point Memorial, the steel dome has 645 doves representing the life's lost on the HMAS Sydney
The HMAS Sydney memorial at Separation Point Lookout is well worth a visit;

HMAS Sydney was built in 1933 and was engaged in several battles until 19th November 1941 when she was returning from the Sunda Straits after escorting the Hired Transport Zealandia to a handover with HMS Durban.  That evening HMAS Sydney encountered the German Raider HSK Kormoran and became involved in an engagement that would eventually lead to the loss of both ships.  No trace was found of the 645 crew until she was found out from Steep Point on 16th March 2008.  This memorial closes the circle and is a fitting tribute, I hope you can read my photo of the plaque. Also included in this Memorial is a statue of a 'Waiting Women' which you may have heard about.
Closing the Circle

Double click to see larger photo

The waiting woman
With the wind still blowing we moved inland to Ellendale Pool a camp spot about 50km to the south east of Geraldton passing through Walkaway and the Alinta Wind farm which consists of 54 turbines generating 89MW.  When we arrived at Ellendale Pool which is down in the valley the wind had eased but the fly's were still very friendly - they say WA is a friendly state...... 36 billion flies can't be wrong!!!! 
Wind Farm

Ellendale Pool

Ellendale Pool camp area
Counting Flies

Walkaway Railway Stn Museum

Ellendale Pool is a nice camp spot, the pool is long enough and would be great for canoeing, we stayed for 2 nights.  On the way to Jurien Bay checked out Sandy Cape which was referred to us as a good camp in a nice bay, which it was ..... but again with the sand blowing over the tops of the dunes the wind was toooo much and decided not to camp in the sand dunes and continued into Jurien Bay.
Sandy Cape

Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay is a small fishing town with nice beaches and being only 265km north of Perth it's a great spot for local holidaymakers, plenty of weekenders from the old fishing shack to the $1m+ mansions.  The caravan park is a stone throw from the beach and the jetty so we decided to stay here for a couple of nights rest & recuperation before we go to the "big smoke" Perth.

Took a day drive to Lesueur National Park which was another great day and saw plenty of wild flowers.  The park has a one way loop road travelling 18km through the park so is ideal for stopping and taking the odd piccie, so I have included a "few" flower photos.  Unfortunately the Banksia's were not in bloom -  would have been spectacular as there were many bushes along the side of the road.  However in saying that there were plenty of other flowers in bloom for us to see.

Now these look like .......
I will call these kangaroo paws

Pine Banksia, only saw this shrub with colour flowers

A nice yellow bunch!!
Our stay at Jurien Bay has been good, it's a nice town, not to busy this time of the year and would be nice to spend some more time, however we're off to the big smoke and then a flight to Adelaide for a wedding so bracing ourselves for the hustle and bustle :o( traffic lights and big shopping centres, will I survive???

18 October, 2013

Warroora Stn to Kalbarri

After spending a couple of weeks at Yardie Homestead and visits to Cape Range NP we decided to move in anticipation of getting out of the wind ... this is nearly impossible unless we headed inland.  We also had the school holidays to contend with so finding a quite camp with no wind was going to be difficult or impossible.

One of the bays north of 14 Mile on Warroora Station
 We decided to go to Warroora Station and camp at 14 Mile which is about 40 km south of Coral Bay.  On the way down we took a quick detour into Coral Bay - don't think it had changed much from when we visited 15 or so years ago.  We found that it was packed (school holidays) and had a large number of what seemed to be 12 to 15 year olds wandering the street, some heading to the bakery with a $50 note in hand to buy goodies for the family.  The bakery was 5 deep so took a while to get that vanilla slice that rated very high in the Hels bakery appreciation list.
14 Mile camp area from top of the sand dunes

One very angry crab, I think I woke him up.

Rugged coast at Warroora with Sandy Point in the distance

Caravans camped on the beach at 14 Mile camp.

Stone monuments on Warroora Stn
 At the turn off into Warroora I asked a couple of lads who were stopped pumping up their tyres what the road was like as we had heard it was fairly corrugated.  They said it wasn't tooooo bad so with this information we headed in without deflating the tyres ..... wrong!!!  The road was very corrugated and at times I was down to 20km/h - Hels was concerned and I could hear ringing in my ears that sounded like "what are you doing to our home" but unnerved I pressed on for the 12km to the 14 Mile camping area.  Here we decided to camp behind the sand dunes rather than on the beach as the afternoon south westerly winds came straight off the beach.  The outlook over the bay would have been great but you would have looked like the driver in the Nissan TV advertisement if you sat out in the wind.
Our camp at 14 Mile behind the dunes

Behind the dunes was sheltered most of the time but did pick up when the wind came from the south however it was good enough to stayed for a week.  To get phone reception you either went to the top of the dune, but then the wind would just about blow the phone out of your hand or go to "Telstra" hill about 3 km away and sit in the warmth of the car (hence the delay is publishing this blog).   Tried to get the line wet  fishing without much success and in the afternoons the wind would make it difficult to cast out. Went for walks along the beach and took a drive to Sandy Point and  the northern beach exploring what the station had to offer.
Carnarvon Jetty, we paid $4 each to walk on the jetty, all 2 km and then couldn't get to the end! Well and truly ripped off.
After a week of what seemed to be constant wind it was time to move ....... if only we could get out of the wind!!  We went to Carnarvon to do some shopping with the intention of staying one night and then going to Point Quobba.  Although windy in Carnarvon we seemed to have some relief in the park getting some shelter from the other vans. The van was also positioned such that it formed a wind break of sorts.  With some relief from the wind we decided to stay in Carnarvon and take a day trip to Quobba to check out the blow holes. 

Quobba Point Blow Holes, Hels at a safe distance
 This turned out to be the best day weatherwise we had had for a while.  The tide seemed reasonable high and the waves exploded on the rocks and through the blow holes.  It was another reminder of how powerful the sea can been ... and a stark reminder when you see the memorials of people who have lost their life on the cliffs.

Quobba Point rugged coast line, the waves just kept coming in!!

Shacks at Quobba Point and some weird thing on my camera lens.

Banksias at the lighthouse, Quobba Point

Most spectacular - waves exploding on the rocks

Close enough for me.

From Carnarvon we headed to Hamelin Station Stay, calling into Wooramel Roadhouse where we treated ourselves to home-made sausage rolls!  On route we also drove up to White Bluff lookout where we came across a pile of gnomes people had stacked up - unbelievable what you come across in this land of ours!

Can you spot the Meerkat?
Although Hamelin Station does not offer power the amenities were near new and exceptionally clean and we were greeted by Julie and Arnie (caretakers from SA) who made you most welcome.  The sites have a covering of the local shell grit that was so white you had to keep the sunnies on when outside.

Campground at Hamelin Station stay

Communal kitchen and outdoor area - Hamelin Station

Well presented buildings - Hamelin Station

Stromatolites at Hamelin Pool - (google to find out more about them)

From here we did a day trip into Denham to get phone coverage and check emails.  Although we had been to Denham previously we thought it might be nice to visit again with a quick visit to some of the bays.  Also called into Hamelin Pools checking out the stromatalites which also hadn't changed since our last visit many years ago!
Our camp at Narren

Kalbarri was our next destination, with an overnight stay at Narren free camp (approx 150kms north of Kalbarri).  Next morning had morning tea at Murchison Bridge which would also have been a great place to stop overnight.  Arrived in Kalbarri and booked into the Murchison Caravan park where we were very fortunate to get one of the sites which looked out over the Murchison River and the Pelican Feeding area, so each morning we could watch the Pelicans without getting out the van!!  I was constantly entertained watching the passing caravan traffic, so much so that I nearly got whip lash from trying to look in both directions at once.

Our view overlooking the Murchison River @ Kalbarri

Kalbarri would be best described as a small resort town which is surrounded by the Kalbarri National Park and situated at the mouth of the Murchison River.  Although we didn't get to do everything the town had to offer there was plenty to keep us entertained and would have liked to stayed longer.

Pelican feeding every day at 8.30am

Kalbarri and coast line

Natures Window

Murchison River George from Natures Window

Hot couple at Natures Window


To the north of town in the National Park, we visited Nature's Window and Z Bend and to the south explored the Coastal Cliffs, viewing "Natural Bridge", Island Rock" but still trying to recognise "Shellhouse" - the person who named this section of coast must have had a better imagination than Hels cause she couldn't even see a shellhouse! (Hels imagination runs wild when looking at clouds, rocks, hills!!)
Pink lake from the road into Port Gregory
Southern Coastal Cliffs ..... can you spot Hels

Hels at the lookout if you couldn't find her in the piccie above.  The National Parks have made this area very accessible with pathways and well constructed lookouts.

Island Rock

Natures Bridge

More coastal cliffs, sorry no picture of Shellhouse.

On the day we visited the southern Coastal Cliffs we also wanted to visit Wagoe Beach, this turned out to be private property and only accessible to Quad bike tours and chalet guests.  Not to be deterred we then decided to go further south and check out Lucky Bay, well I think it's called Lucky Bay cause it's lucky if you find it!! - we finished up at Port Gregory and the Pink Lake about another 40km south however this did save us from stopping when we leave with the van in tow.  On our way back found a dirt track which lead to the beach so thinking this might come out at Lucky bay we headed off and found a fishing village made up of what you would consider to be the traditional shacks, no power, windows with corrugated shutters and a maze of streets weaving in and around the shacks and sand dunes.  Took a look at the beach but was far too rough and windy on the day to stop and enjoy.  Checking the map, hoping this was Lucky Bay only to find out it was Sandlewood Bay so we returned to the black top and back to Kalbarri without sighting Lucky Bay!!!
Sunset across the Murchison River with the river mouth on the left.

 After a week in Kalbarri, which has gone toooo quick we need to move on so we continue to head south towards the big smoke, Geraldton ...........