Week 8 - May 07, 2018 - May 13, 2018

We started this week with a quick fix on Cinderoo's air conditioning and getting in a last visit with my cousins.  As we were camping in their driveway, I am sure the neighbors will refer to us as 'those Americans' with a sympathetic look to my cousins.  With a wonderful English breakfast and an enthusiastic sendoff, we soon had Perth in our rearview mirror.

     Ellie, Jane, James, Louise and Gerson enjoying a fantastic English Breakfast          Jane and Stu recording the moment.  Bye James!

Our first stop was Pinnacles Desert and although Cindoo was considered a bit to curvy (wide) to drive through the park, we were able to wander freely amongst the limestone pillars formed over thousands of years.  The pillars are made from compacted seashells that once covered the land and have subsequently eroded to create this otherworld plain. 

     Gerson enjoying Pinnacles Desert and its sentries                        There are thousands of these pillars over a several kilometer area

As we worked our way northward along the West Coast, we stopped at a fascinating place called Lake Thetis.  This lake is home to colonies of cyanobacteria that build stromatolites and are similar to the first organisms that produced oxygen on the planet.  Western Australia is internationally significant for a variety of stromatolite sites and Lake Thetis' stromatolites have been growing for about 3,500 years!

     Stromatolites in Lake Thetis that is 1.5x saltier than the ocean            A nod to Cervantes and Don Quixote (near the shire of Cervantes)
     Overlook near Cervantes and typical terrain along the ocean.  The white streaks in the ocean are not from boats, but rather the waves
                breaking along the reefs/rocks.

What is a journey without a little bit if history and thus, we took the opportunity to stop in and visit an historic home called the Sanford House.  The home was built in the mid 1800's and has been restored.  It was a very hot day and inside this mud block home, it was relatively cool - good construction!

     Sanford's house in 1898 and 2018 - Sanford was one of the first settlers to that area of Western Australia

Close by to the Sanford House, near the villages of Horrocks and Port Gregory, is the Hutt Lagoon or rather a phenomenon called the 'Pink Lake' as it is truly pink.  The pink color is due to the presence of the algae Dunaliella salina, a source of beta-carotene, which is harvested and used in food coloring and make-up.  So, when you create your rosy cheeks, you can think of this lake when you blush pink.

     No doubt as to why Hutt Lagoon is called "Pink Lake"

This week was all about getting to Kalbarri, a city that sits within sandstone cliffs and alongside the Murchison River, both of which terminate at the Indian Oeean.  The sandstone cliffs are a photographer's dream and the clear ocean water allows visibility to see turtles, rays, sharks and any number of fish swimming along the shoreline from atop the 300' (100m) high platforms.  Numerous lookouts are provided and we were reminded of similar scenes along the California Big Sur coast.  The only thing we could have done without, were the pesky flies that want to suck the water out of of your eyes, nose and mouth.  They did not bite; however, we had to break out our head nets and be annoyed with the flies walking across our netted-faces.

     Natural Bridge along the Kalbarri coast              Island Rock

     A familiar looking coastline                                We are not above wearing the latest headgear fashion

And here we are, just having a spectacularly great day and we hear that gut wrenching sound of 'thump, thump, thump' coming from under Cinderoo.  Knowing that sound all too well, we pulled onto the verge and confirmed our first flat tire.  We were able to get the spare tire off easy enough; however, we found out that the lug nuts holding the flat tire were mechanically tightened and thus, they were not going to loosen for any bribe we offered.  As we are quite a fan of being well-insured, we called RAC (Royal Automobile Club - much like our AAA) and asked for assistance. 

RAC made it very easy and we had to wait about 30 minutes for our tyre-knight to arrive. While we waited, we were entertained by a passing Park Ranger, Ranger Ric, and we spent the time talking about places to go and the best Pub in Kalbarri.  Soon, Glenn from the RAC auto repair place arrived and with a rather large breaker bar, busted the stranglehold of the lug nuts and our spare was slipped on Cindoo's foot.  As this was a Thursday and our being aware that very few businesses trade on Saturday, we were very thankful that Glenn took the deflated tire to his shop to be repaired the next day.   Apparently, we ran over a road-kill echidna (like a porcupine) and its spines were very much 'alive' and able to puncture our tire.

     Cinderoo's first flat tire and Gerson figuring out the spare            Ranger Ric telling Gerson about the best Pub in town

     What caused our flat tyre - Echidna spines                                              This sunset made the flat tyre worth it - pink lemonade from lemons

Kalbarri is a magical place that is embraced by distinctly different landscapes.  East of the town are rust-red river gorges with 400 million year old rock formations, to the west are towering sandstone cliffs that plummet into the ocean and around the river gorges are what I call the 'broccoli' plains as the thick cover of bushes looks like broccoli when viewed from above. 

Our first day was all about the Murchison River and we opted to take a short moderate hike down to the river and have lunch along its bank.  The river has done an excellent job of carving its path and exposing the differing layers of sediment.  We made use of the cool river and had a peaceful lunch under the colorful cliff.  To top off the day, we ventured over the Ross Graham Lookout and viewed the nearby Hawks Head rock formation.    What a fabulous day!

     Gerson enjoying the refreshing Murchison River                           The cliffs were mesmerizing

     At Ross Graham Lookout and the Hawks Head (right side)           Kalbarri landscape - looks like colorful broccoli in this view

Our second day was all about the Indian Ocean and a little bit of the Murchison River.  We started our day snorkeling at a place called Blue Holes, and although a bit disappointing (as it rough with wave surges and too many people), it was good to get in and under the water.  We left the touristy beach and found a quiet, somewhat secluded stretch of shore/beach where the Murchison empties into the ocean and found ourselves napping at the water line. 

     Blue Holes - without surging water, it would be a nice place                    Which motorhome had more fun?

     Napping on the beach was quite the restorative                                         Locals surfing

Our third day was all about what Kalbarri is best known for and that is its gorgeous gorges.  Our time hiking to the Nature's Window and to the Z-Bend lookout did not disappoint and although relatively short hikes, we found ourselves spending hours just taking in the remarkable geology and landscape.

     Hiking to Nature's Window - view over the Murchison River           The Murchison River - a bend near Nature's Window

     Having fun with the photogenic landscape                                        Nature's Window - what a view!

      If you are not living on the edge...                                                               Z-Bend view of the Murchison River

As if our last day in Kalbarri was not good enough, it was topped off by a visit of several kangaroos to the local 'oval'.  The 'oval' is the town's pitch or playing field that, of course, is oval-shaped.  At sunset, the 'roos' like to graze on the watered grass and are quite nonplussed about the humans watching them in awe.  They are definitely a weird, albeit cute, animal.

     That's close enough Gerson as the male is about as tall as you are             They are cute (and llama/alpaca-like in their looks)



Home Page     Diary Page 2      Diary Page 4    Diary Index