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Published: July 11th 2013
Feeding the pelicans - every morning at 8.45 just outside the caravan park on the grass.
This trip had no particular timeline to it, we just wanted to get away for a week or two to relax. Kalbarri was chosen as the temperatures there had been a couple more than Perth, and it was somewhere we had never been to together.
After an overnight stop at Dongara we reached Kalbarri about lunchtime and settled into the Murchison Caravan Park. The park itself was quite busy, many older couples and most of them with dogs. Most parks won't allow pets, the popularity of this park compared to others attesting to this need.
Every day we were here we ensured we did something to keep up our exercise, either walking or riding our bikes. The bikes were used nearly every day to explore the town and nearby scenic spots, there being cycle paths alongside the coastal road up to Red Bluff. On other days we took the car and then walked along the marked tracks. Some of these were quite some distance but we managed to see a lot of the coastline and viewed Mushroom Rock, Rainbow Valley, Pot Alley,Eagle Gorge,Shellhouse Grandstand, Island Rock, and the Natural Bridge.
We spent a few enjoyable hours at Rainbow
The coast near the mouth of the Murchison River
Jungle, a unique walk through aviary with parrots of all types flying around. Some of the more exotic ones were in separate cages making it an interesting place where we could take photos as if they were in the wild.
A drive along the Murchison River banks in the Jeep took us on a meandering trip, the river twisting and turning before it reaches the ocean. We almost reached Murchison House, an historical homestead. The track however, petered out and after taking some photos in the peaceful surroundings, we back-tracked looking for the direct route through. This did not eventuate, we ending back on the bitumen not far from the town outskirts.
We did make a point of visiting Murchison House Station later in the trip, wandering around the old machinery left there by the original owner, Prince Jah, a prince from Hyderbad in India. He had a thing about large machinery reflected in the huge bulldozer, trucks and army tanks there. Coffee and a muffin was included in the entrance fee, this served in the house garden.
The road to Hawks Head and the Loop was closed as it was being rebuilt, so we spent some
time walking through the Ross Graham Gorge and admiring the view from Hawks Head.
For many years we have intended to visit the Hutt River Province always saying 'next time'. We finally made the effort, quite interesting as we knew the history behind it but now rather run-down. Prince Lenard was not there and his son gave us a cursory tour and left us to our own devices. Only a week after we returned home from this trip we read that Princess Shirley had passed away. From here we took a side road to Port Gregory where we had our lunch by the beach.
On the final day we paid for a boat crossing to the other side of the river where we walked for some distance up the coast.We spent some time watching a few boats entering the river from the ocean, this quite tricky due to the reef across the front. After watching one boat come in we continued taking photos of some reef birds later looking for the second boat which was following. When we saw it we realised it was in trouble and through our camera telephotos saw it capsized and the men struggling
underneath it. As we were over a kilometre away we couldn't do anything but as we watched, another boat came out to assist. We later found that one of the men died from a heart attack on the reef.
An early departure saw us in Geraldton by morning tea and for the first time we went to the local Hungry Jacks just by the shopping complex. We intended to just have a coffee but we were tempted by the small burgers on sale. Rags mentioned "seniors" coffee to the staff and to our surprise these were free with our burgers. Age does have its benefits sometimes!
Just Jeans and another shop in the complex were having their winter sales, so instead of just walking out with a few groceries we also had several pairs of jeans and several warm jackets amongst our purchases. Its always hard to get Rags into these shops so with 2 new pairs of jeans he won't have to repeat this for some time.
About 50kms past Dongara on the Indian Ocean Drive we came across a road to North Cliff Head. Here we found that the local shire had removed most of
the old beach huts and now allowed free camping. We found a lovely flat spot with some trees around it just metres from the beach, and here we parked for a couple of nights. Beautiful still days with blue skies, the temperature just perfect for sitting around or going for walks. The only down side was that the beach was covered in seaweed about a metre deep, otherwise a perfect site. We will definitely return here in the future, be it for a few days break from Perth or as a stop on our way further north.
The rain started as we neared the metropolitan area, making us pleased that we had stayed away as long as we did. We dropped in on Rags' daughter,Julie, where he was able to get his morning coffee 'fix'. Julie was very busy setting up her office/store for the scrapbooking business she has taken over so we didn't stay too long.
It was nice to be home, but the caravanning bug has bitten both of us again and we are looking into more trips this year if we can fit them into our busy schedule.
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