Published: September 10th 2007August 5th 2007
After arriving rather later than planed the night before, we had a good catch up with Charlie and Natalie, who we had met while we were working at the olive farm. We had left Soulhaven a few days before them and somehow managed arrive in Kalbarri later, but hey we had been having a great time. We had decided that, as we were all going to be heading in the same direction, it would be nice to travel together for a little while. So Kalbarri was our meeting place.
There was a lot to do and see in Kalbarri, the only problem being the weather. Our first day together was set to be a rainy one. So rather than waste the day we popped along to the tourist information centre to find a rainy day activity. There was only really one place to go, the Rainbow Parrot Breeding Centre. It was amazing. As we walked in there were two parrots one either side of the door. One was a white Corella called Sam. The other was a green Eclectus called George, who was blind. They were both pretty playful, but neither spoke until we walked away and George piped “
Mum come here! Come here Mum! Mum….” we thought it was very funny. The rest of the centre was stunning, with water features and tropical plants as a centre piece to the Avery. Even a walk in avery where a few of the smaller native parrots, such as the king parrot and red capped parrot were happily flying around our heads. They didn’t seem at all bothered by us been there. That evening it was great to have company as we all chilled out in Gertie, Charlie and Natalie’s campervan.
The following day as the weather had cleared a bit. We hit Kalbarri looking for other things to do. Just outside the town we found a wildflower centre. As the wildflower season had began we decided to check out the blooms and improve our flower knowledge. At the entrance to the centre there was a walk way around a flower garden which contained a selection of native wildflowers, most of which were just starting to bloom at this time of year and were really quite beautiful. When we reached the visitor centre we a met by the owner, a insanely happy guy. He informs us there is a further
walk around the scrubland out the back, but unfortunately due a three year drought most the wildflowers had been affected but we were quite welcome to have a walk around anyway. As we were walking around we noticed a few of the plants were coming back to life, although most still looked very dry and stick like. There were however a few very pretty orchids popping up. So maybe there is still life there. It was clear Lesueur National park although just a few hundred kilometres south had coped better with the drought. In the afternoon it was time to try out our new fishing rods and our skills as fisherman. Between the four of us we had about zero fishing experience so we called in at the local fishing shop for some advice. The nice guy behind the counter was only too willing to help us. He gave us some good advice on bait, what we were likely to catch, what we could eat and more importantly what we couldn’t. He also told us the best spot to fish would be down on the jetty. So armed with our reel, rods and new found knowledge that was where we
Pretty Yellow Flower
No idea what it is.
headed to catch our tea. Filled with optimism we set up our rods, baited our lines and cast them into the water, then sat back and waited. Before long Zoe caught the first whooper, a Silver Bream, it was all of 6 inches (about six inches too short). Not quite big enough for tea. After carefully removing the hook that sliver bream lived to see another day. Shortly after Charlie reeled in his first fish. Once again not quite making the eating size. Charlie and Zoe were on a roll, catching a few more tiddlers before Nataie caught her first fish. Leaving me feeling a little disheartened. But not before long I was soon reeling in my first fish too. Although we didn’t manage to catch tea, we felt very pleased with ourselves for at least catching something. We would have to try and catch tea another day. That evening we sat in Gertie and discussed the finer points of fishing.
Wednesday dawned a clear sunny day so we were off to Kalbarri national park. The gorges and natures window were a must. After a 40km drive in on a dirt road we arrived at one of Austailias well
A black red tail cockatoo
known beauty spots. A natural hole carved in the sandstone by erosion. Looking through the window we could see why it‘s so popular. Natures window frames a picturesque view down into the gorge. Having seen the gorge from the top we were egar to see it from a different perspective so we embarked on a 8km walk that would take us in a loop around and down into the gorge. It was rather hot and there lots of flies but it well worth the effort, the scenery was stunning, its amazing what mother nature can create with a little bit of water and a few million years. We also checked out another lookout over the gorge that equally as breathtaking. Once again we can’t resist taking a walk down into the gorge for more dramatic scenery and to admire the colours in the rock. Temptation and the heat got the better of me so I just had to go for a paddle. That evening it was a joy to look over photos from earlier in the day.
After much deliberation over the price of a whale watching tour we all decided we really wanted to go and it wasn’t
The water feature
in the parrot sanctuary
that much really in the grand scheme of things ($55 each). So on Thursday morning we were up early waiting down by the jetty. After being told when we booked the tour it might not go ahead due lack of people and needing eight to go, we were surprised when a bus of school kids turn up. We had been hoping for a more private tour. Oh well not to worry, as they let us on the boat, we scrambled for the more exclusive top deck with the captain, so as to avoid the kids down stairs. Unfortunately for Natalie and Zoe the top deck had a bit more movement than their stomachs would have liked, but there was no way we were going down stairs. After a rather choppy exit from the harbour we headed south down the coast, in search of Moby himself. 20 minutes later we spotted a small pod of dolphins. So we stopped for a bit to watch them playing in the surf and checking out the boat, before changed direction and heading west out in to the ocean. With everyone keeping their eyes peeled there was a sudden cry from the back of the
boat. “arr. There she blows cap’in” (well not quite like that) a whale had been spotted about a kilometre away. With that our captain headed in it’s direction. As we got closer it was amazing to see the humpback whale coming up for air and then disappearing back under the water. After watching for a while our captain, Bob, explained that this particular whale didn’t seem to want to play, as the boat was not allowed to chase or go within 200 metres of the whale. It was up to the whale to come to the boat. So he suggested we move on and try and find another whale. Shortly after Zoe spotted another whale dead ahead. This whale seemed to be in a more playful mood and we were delighted as it came closer and closer to the boat. Even Captain Bob was getting excited as the whale started swimming around and under the boat. We were amazed to see how gracefully the whale swam. Especially when he was just poking his nose out of the water and turning slowly. He gave us a great show. It seemed Zoe totally forgot about her sea sickness. The whale hung around
for about half an hour investigating the boat before finally swimming off into the distance. On the way back in we were thrilled to see a feeding frenzy going on. With the dolphins herding the bait fish into a “bait ball” the seabirds taking them from the air and sharks in the water as well the little fish didn’t stand much of a chance. Back on dry land, captain Bob has informed us that this was one of the best tours he has done in the five years he has been running whale watching tours. We “won’t see better than today”. We leave the boat feeling truly honoured and in very high spirits, we had had our own David Attenbourgh documentary right in front of us. Getting the laptops out straight away, we had to check our photos (about 700 between Zoe and I) and relive the spectular moments of a couple of hours before.
After a lunch at the really tasty chippy we had found in Kalbarri we were supposed to drive straight south to find the country within Australia known as Hutt River Province. Fortunately we were some what distracted looking at the fantastic costal gorges along
the road else we would have missed a spectacular display of yet another whale breaching just off the shore line. It was wonderful to see. As we were a little delayed watching the whale play we arrived a bit late at Hutt River Charlie and Natalie had already met the prince and set up camp. We would have to wait till morning to meet his royal highness Prince Leonard, the founder of the Hutt River Principality. That evening, as we were allowed to have a camp fire and so we took full advantage at being able to cook over an open fire washed down with a glass or two of red wine. After a pretty long day Zoe left me with Charlie and Natalie finishing off the wine while she went to bed. Needless to say some one was going to have a bad head in the morning. When morning came sure enough I wasn’t too keen on getting out of bed but after some paracetamol washed down with a bacon sandwich and a cup of coffee I was feeling much happier. So we were off to meet the prince in the church. He welcomed us to his kingdom and
Black yellow tail cockatoo
showed us around. Prince Leonard is a highly intelligent man, but talks incredibly fast and at times was difficult to understand, but we got the idea. The Hutt River Province was set up in 1970 over an argument with the Australian government over wheat prices. The Hutt River Province even declared war on Australia in 1997 for just two days to earn the right to be known as a prince (by being undefeated in war). Hutt River even has their own army, medals currency, passports, stamps (much to the Australian post service annoyance) and driving licence. Pretty cool, all set up by the prince. He also kindly stamped our passports as we were technically in another country.
After our tour from Prince Leonard it was time to be on the road once more and heading for Shark Bay, but that was a long way and we still wanted to pop in to see a few lookouts along the way. We settled for camping at Galena Bridge for the evening.
There are more photos below