Published: April 13th 2011April 13th 2011
Due to the opening of the new Indian Ocean Drive (Sept '10) it is now only a couple of hours drive from Perth to the mid west of WA. Although only 250klms from here it is a different world. Before the road opened these small towns existed due to the Rock Lobster and fishing industry. After the first 100klms there is nothing but open roads and bush.
Our destination, Cervantes - population 503, named after an American Whaling Ship which went down in 1844. The wreck was later discovered (1969) by a local diver, called Laurif WALSH - I kid you not (my maiden name). Cervantes sits alongside 505 hectares of the Nambung Reserve and has some of the most beautiful coastline I have ever seen.
We stayed in the Cervantes Holiday Units. They are what they say on the tin, brick built, self catering homes. It cost $110 a night. Our host Don, met us and gave us the low down on what to do and where to go. He also gave us a ticket for a lobster dinner at a bargain price! Whilst having a chat I looked up and saw a rather large snake in the
rafters (later identified as a carpet python). We decided to let Don sort it out!!
Cervantes is a small town, a couple of shops, a golf course, a football club and the most wonderful beaches and torquoise sea (due to the lime). On a walk along the shore we watched some lobster fisherman unload a catch.
That evening we walked over to the social club where we were to recieve our discount dinner. It was happy hour so after a couple of beers we entered the dining area. It looked like a canteen and I was a bit sceptical about the food. We had the best dinner we have had since leaving South Africa. Our plate contained a whole rock lobster, 10 huge prawns, mussels in a tomato sauce and two fillets of local fish. A feast! We sat alongside a couple who had driven over from Sydney. The Aussies do like to travel. We walked home to the music of roosting parrots.... a memorable evening.
The next day we headed off early to Jurien Bay - population now 1,100, 6 months ago 500. It's another fishing town growing fast due to the new road. On the
way we saw wild Emu.
The golf club made us very welcome and encouraged us to have a go on the sand greens. We had great fun for $10 and didn't see another golfer. Having a chat with the lady at the club she told us that the growth of the town was something the locals were sceptical about. Whilst they enjoyed the extra income and visitors, they had recently had a theft of property and she now felt the need to lock her doors for the first time for 15 years. That impression was echoed by all those we met.
We then went off to the Nambung National Park to see the Pinnacles, formed of limestone around 300,000 years ago. It cost $11 per car, and they had an honesty box for those who wanted to visit early morning to see the sunrise. The photos don't really show the magnitude and stark beauty of the landscape. We both came away with a sense that we had seen something truely amazing. On the way out of the park we saw a couple of Kangaroos.
Just to add to our day we stopped off at Lake Thetis. The
lake contains Stromatolites, one of earths oldest life forms. It was a wonderfully peaceful place which we had to ourselves having got there down a dirt track.
There are more photos below