For weeks Travis and I had envisaged a camping adventure. We talked about lighting campfires, toasting marshmallows and living in the wild. The ANZAC day long weekend approached and we decided three days would be enough to live out our camping desires. Of course, it wasn’t, and we didn’t quite start a campfire, but we had a lot of fun anyway.
We left Perth early for our long drive up northern WA. Kalbarri, in the mid-west, was our destination. While we had both previously traveled south many times, drives up north have been rare. Generally because everything north of Perth is so far away. For instance, Kalbarri is about 590km away from Perth.
During our first day we took the drive slowly, stopping at a number of small towns along the way. Our first stop was Lancelin. By some lucky chance, we managed to find ourselves in the massive sand dunes of Lancelin where plenty of dirt bike riding and sand-boarding was taking place. Took plenty of photos and walked around the dunes.
On our drive we tracked geocache locations (or waypoints) and stopped to stretch our legs and search for a geocache. Many of them were a lot harder than first anticipated, but we had a few laughs looking for them.
We stopped for lunch at a place called Green Head..I’ve never heard of it either (and I’ve lived in WA for most of my life). Travis brought along the trusty picnic bag which contained all necessary utensils and kitchen items and we made sandwiches.
As evening approached, and we found ourselves slightly north of Geraldton, we decided to search for a campsite for the night. After the continual spotting of “no unauthorised camping” signs we accepted that our fate was to that night camp on a proper camping site. We found a little hippy-esque site close by the beach, where over a dozen baby boomer retirees had setup camp. Impressive were their mobile homes, extravagant five sleeper tents, portable gas stoves and TVs. Whilst we were setting up our cosy little tent, we noticed one of the other campers had spotted, and was trying to pick up (the brave man), an echidna. We went over and had a look. Cutest spikiest thing ever! The sun set about 7pm. Not much night life at the camp site so we settled down and watched a film on Travis’ laptop.
We woke early on the second day and headed straight towards Kalbarri, stopping by Northampton for fuel and food. We bought some natural yoghurt, multigrain bread, ham and cheese and ate breakfast along the way. We visited a geocache site but unfortunately, after spending half an hour looking for it, could not find the site.
We arrived to the spectacular scenery of Kalbarri (ocean on the left and national park on the right) mid-morning. The ocean was blue and the air was warm. At the visitors centre, we decided to head straight to the national park which is approximately 35 km from the town. Most of the road to the park was non-sealed, so it felt like quite a long drive. We went to the look out firstly and took some photos.
We then continued on to The Loop, a famous walking track which features the “Nature’s Window” rock formation. Due to the extremely sweltering weather we decided that it was not a bush walking time of the day. We walked to the Nature’s Window (did not do the full Loop) and continued to the Z-Bend which presented us with a 1.3 km walk before reaching any kind of oasis (or swimming area). Hesitant to walk such a distant during midday, we decided to go to the beach.
We left the park and went to a nice beachside park. Here, we had a picnic and lazed under a tree for a while.
Our next stop was Red Bluff, beach surrounded by amazing rock formations. We intended to search for a geocache here but upon arrival noticed someone was already looking for it! We walked around the area, dipping our feet into the ocean before heading to the cache site. After a bit of rock climbing and looking around, we found it (it was an easy one). We signed the log and then decided on a dip. The waves were huge and I got dumped every single time.
We decided to setup camp early after the previous days experience. We had found a nice caravan park / camping site right next to the beach. It was more than double the camping fee of the previous site ($23 as opposed to $10), but the facilities (e.g. bathroom, shower, swimming pool, kitchen, barbeques, etc) made it worth the money. Gone were the thoughts of living in the wild, we both longed for a shower and hot food.
After setting up our campsite we headed to the local supermarket to pick up food for our picnic. A barbeque chicken, a Caesar salad and some Shiraz. Watched the sunset as we relaxed and ate our food next to our tent. After the sunset we watched another movie.
This was the drive 600+km home day. I commend Travis on his driving skills – he managed to drive the whole way back without requiring my assistance. Before leaving Kalbarri we visited a few scenic ocean sites – The Natural Bridge and Castle Cove.
The drive home was pleasant and took approximately 6 hours. We even stopped for a geocache (and fortunately found it) before arriving back to Perth mid afternoon.