HMAS Sydney war memorial
Geraldton known as "sun city" for it's warm climate is the administration centre for the region.Home to HMAS Sydney 11 memorial the ship was lost with all 645 hands in November 1941 just off Shark bay whilst engaging the German raider Kormoran which was also lost.This impressive memorial was completed in 2001.HMAS was commissioned in England before being bought by the Australian Navy and was considered to be the pride of the fleet.The memorial has not been updated since the finding of the lost ships in 2008 nevertheless a significant piece of work.
Geraldton has aboriginal origins probably dating back 40,000 years. Europeans took interest in the area around 17th century, in 1629 two Dutchmen were marooned on the coast for their part in a notorious mutiny aboard the Batavia. French sailors also passed this way but made no significant impact on the region. Not until 1822 when English sailors were shipwrecked on the coast was any interest taken in the region.The coast is known as the Batavia coast so named after the Batavia which was wrecked off the coast in 1629
Today Geraldton is a thriving city with a major port and fishing centre with Crayfish being a
The dome at the memorial
major export industry.With many attractions the city has plenty to offer visitors.From a very good regional art gallery through to well a organised military museum as well as a unique Cathedral designed by a local priest.The beaches are magnificent and the waters around Geraldaton are world renown for their excellent windsurfing conditions.
Pausing only a couple of days in Geraldton we headed off to Kalbarri and the national park, something we had been looking forward to. Arriving in Kalbarri we settled into our site only a hundred metres from the beach and the Hutchinson river which flows into the ocean here after winding itself down from the remote and ancient lands of Meekatharra some 820 kilometres making it the second largest river in WA. Only a short walk to town which has all the necessities including a watering hole .Again a small town reliant on tourism for it's economy, it is the gateway to the Kalbarri National Park .With activities on offer such as whale watching "in season" surfing,fishing and boating it is hard not to be able to find something to do for everyone.The coastal drive around the area reveals some magnificent gorges and stunning cliffs towering above
The story told about the sinking
the crashing ocean below and forms one part of the National park with the river gorges forming the second part of the park.With names like Natural bridge,Island rock,eagle gorge,Red bluff and Pot ally the coastal drive takes you on a tour of how nature has sculptured the coastline over many years using only the elements as her tools,Magnificent.
The river gorges drive is breathtaking,again with fascinating names such as Natures window,Z bend,the loop,Hawks head and Ross Graham lookout.With the Hutchinson river snaking its way through the gorges and playing no small part in the formation of this landscape, the scenery is mind blowing with so many variations and colours in the rocks.Within easy walking distance from tarmac parking areas these iconic rock features are well visited and admired.Natures window is reputed to be the most photographed piece of rock in WA.
Across the road from the caravan park lies the beach and the Hutchinson river a playground for the tourists and residents alike,with safe swimming and fishing,boats also for hire to try your luck at estuary fishing.We seem to be being followed by the wind which is blowing well here, so no boat hire or fishing, but the
The wall of remembrance
view is beautiful.Our last night here was partly spent watching the sun set over the river and ocean whilst sipping on some good red wine Bliss!
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