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Published: July 25th 2013
Our northward venture continued from Kalbarri eastward out to the Brand highway (Also known as the North West Coastal Highway) through the Kalbarri National Park. The countryside here is gentle rolling country and easy driving, with the usual for Australia, watch for Kangaroos and emus. The countryside here is again coastal heath as seen in many parts of Australia, only the plants are taller. More rain/nutrition, but not suited for agriculture.
Marg was at the wheel and we were passed by a truckie who was unaware that his ice-cream truck back door was swinging open wildly. Marg flashed headlights, tooted the horn and I tried several times on UHF Ch 40 to make contact and alert the driver, but to no avail.
About 20 Ks later we caught up with him as he had stopped at the junction of the Brand Highway. We pulled up behind to find the driver climbing on top of his refrigeration unit trying to work out why the truck was not cold. We asked if he was aware his back door was open. With typical expletives he wondered how that could have happened. I suggested that he speak with the driver!
Free country and western concert at the CP.
Anyway, the delivery for the day was not ice-cream, so there were no ruined free samples to be handed around.
We headed north to the Murchison River crossing on the Brand highway to take a break and look at one of WA's most popular free motor camps. (24 hour limit) This really is a beaut beside the river with plenty of birdlife around the waterway.
It was not far enough north for us to stop for the night, so we continued through to another popular rest stop called Nerren Nerren. Again, good outback toilet facilities, and plenty of space for travellers to rest over night.
AT this rest stop David saw close to our motorhome a bright blue fairy wren. He managed one quick photo before the little bird disappeared into the bush. I saw one also later very briefly, and could hear them in the trees, but no photos! Did get one of a little Robin though.
Next morning it was on the road again north to Denham. We stopped briefly to check out the Hamelin Station CP for use on our exit from Denham at the weekend.
Murchison River rest area, good place to stop over night.
side trip out to the coast at Denham from the Brand Highway is about 128ks each way, but well worth the time taken. Initially the road runs through heath land (stunted in places) and then the waters of Shark Bay appear. The first part is the Hamelin Bay nature reserve which has soft clear aquamarine tones. A little later and the scene changes again with greens and blues of the Henri Freycinet Harbour.
Denham itself has a very picturesque foreshore with only ripples for waves. The shore line is bright white from millions of shell pieces and sand. More shell bits to my way of thinking.
We were treated in the late afternoon to a free country and western concert by Terry Bennetts, a well known artist on the west coast. Good singer and also played a number of guitar instrumentals as well including Danny Boy which was really great. 2 hours of entertainment for free. He makes a living by selling his CDs.
Today Marg and I decided to visit Monkey Mia. This dolphin centre has been acclaimed world wide for many years, and had a reputation for having so many dolphins come
Camped with David and Mary
in for feeding, that crowds of 700 people would come for the spectacle.
Things have changed for good reason since then. Today, only 4 dolphins came in and only one stayed for a hand feeding, and her story illustrates how important those changes have been. Nicky (yes the dolphins are identified and named) was there with her 6th calf. Only one survived past weening (4 years) and her latest calf is about one years old. The other calves died because they didn't know how to catch fish themselves. So a great tourist attraction was negatively impacting on the dolphins. The changed rules and the amount of fish that can be fed to those that still regularly come, is quite restricted. There are 15 dolphins that rock up somewhat regularly, and another 30 that come from time to time, but none are dependant on the fish feeding for survival. The waters here are brilliantly clear, so the dolphins are readily seen. Come to Monkey Mia and see the interaction and rejoice that the negative impacts have largely been reversed out.
There were a couple of other natives that dropped by to steal the show. A green backed turtle appeared
and swam around for a few minutes and then disappeared from sight. Then there were two pelicans that thought they should compete with the dolphins. One was easily distracted with a feed of fish up the beach, but the other was not going to budge, snapping angrily at the wild life officer moving him on.
The morning was initially cloudy, but before long the sky cleared bringing a bright warm day. Good for a little exploration. We decided that to go to the old farm homestead in the Francois Peron National park, a short drive out from Denham. The road into the park was reasonable for 2WD vehicles. Past the home stead it is definitely 4WD access. One of the attractions of the park is the hot spring bath tub. Probably 40 C, a little too hot for us! As we drove into and out of the park we had a few encounters with emus, but more will come.
We had heard that it is not uncommon to find emus walking up the main street of Denham. We didn't see that, but as we returned late afternoon from the François Peron National Park we drove
Waiting for dolphins
A reasonable crowd on the beach at Monkey Mia, around 8.00 am
up the hillside just behind the town and saw probably 50 emus grazing along the hillside.
Tomorrow we start our run north to Carnarvon which will take us a couple of easy driving days.
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