Published: August 16th 2012August 9th 2012
Day 41 – Thursday 9th
August – Cape Range National Park, Ningaloo Marine Park
The usual routine of get up, make a cup of tea, have bread and nutella (kids) and cereal (adults) for brekkie then pack up and to be on the road again by about 8.30am, towards what we were expecting to be our favourite destination of the trip – the Ningaloo Reef.
By 10.30am we had arrived in the cute little town of Exmouth, the gateway to the Cape Range National Park. We stopped off at the visitors’ centre to get some up to date information and to fill our water tank as that is the only place you can do it. There was considerable action in the car park as we arrived due to a caravan fire which had just been extinguished by the firies. Not what you want to experience on your holiday.
A few days earlier on our way out of Port Hedland we had made a call to the Cape Range National Park Rangers office to enquire about availability for camping and were advised that the only way to secure a camping spot is to make an internet booking.
So we stopped at the side of the road and booked ourselves four nights camping in a total of three campsites in Cape Range.
Before heading off to find the first campsite we bought some groceries and did a couple of loads of washing in the local launderette., enjoying a coffee and bun from the bakers while we were waiting in the warm sunshine. Finally some clean clothes again! We don’t think we have been smelling but we have certainly looked less than clean on many occasions lately. We also took the opportunity of checking up on the Olympics news and doing some blog posting whilst we had mobile internet connection.
Our first campsite Kurrajong was about half way down the coast of the National Park. It took us about half an hour to get there from Exmouth. At the park entrance all vehicles have to stop and register, confirming if they have booked camping. Presumably this is to make sure that there is no illegal free camping going on so the Cape isn’t ruined by too many tourists. We also stopped at the National Park visitors centre on the way to get more detailed snorkelling information and
to book a boat tour along Yardie Creek. The visitors centre is a mine of information about the marine life you can see along the Cape. We loved looking at the preserved creatures, models and posters of the fish, whales, dolphins, turtles etc.
The road along the Cape is sealed and as you drive along it you get glimpses of the stunning white sand and turquoise sea on your right through gaps in the dunes, and the limestone cliffs and bluffs on the left, home to euros (no, not European money but smallish kangaroos) and the rare black-footed rock wallabies. The place had certainly made a good first impression.
Kurrajong campground has about 15 sites and one pit toilet. Each of the campsites along the Cape has camp hosts to make sure that the campsite is clean and tidy, that the toilets are kept clean and to police the camping. August is the busiest month for camping along the Cape and most of the campgrounds are full for the whole month, so you can imagine the chaos there would be if the booking system wasn’t policed properly. The camp hosts are mainly grey nomads volunteers working for the
DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation), staying at the campground for a minimum of one month. Something for us to consider doing when we are older!!
After pitching the tent we made the short walk through the gap in the dunes to check out the beach. Patches of it were rocky and the rest was beautiful fine white sand. Fishing is allowed off the beach so we chucked in our rods and tried once more to catch something. We hadn’t picked the best spot because the hooks kept getting snagged in the coral. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow. Other campers had told us that 5.30pm was the time for the daily sundowner on the dunes so we grabbed ourselves a cold beer and some lemon lime bitters for the kids and joined the gaggle of campers at the sunset viewing spot. Ahhhh, beautiful. This is the life!
There are more photos below