The Big Lap 2015 – Kalbarri

It had been showering through the night but when we finished breakfast and started to roll up hoses in preparation for departure the rain had eased and we were able to hook up and leave the caravan park before it started to rain again. We headed north from Busselton along the Bussel Highway heading towards Bunbury, Mandurah and Perth.

The entry to Mandurah from the freeway

The entry to Mandurah from the freeway

Perth just 58 kilometres away

Perth just 58 kilometres away

As we progressed we joined the Forrest Highway and the Kwinana Freeway which took us into Perth itself and then joined the Mitchell Highway taking us to the northern suburb of Joondalup.

Perth City in the distance as we travel along the freeway

Perth City in the distance as we travel along the freeway

Perth City in the distance as we travel along the freeway

Perth City in the distance as we travel along the freeway

A commuter train in the middle of the freeway in Perth

A commuter train in the middle of the freeway in Perth

Perth City in the distance as we travel along the freeway

Perth City in the distance as we travel along the freeway

Waterside Perth

Waterside Perth

Highrise in Perth through the rail power lines

Highrise in Perth through the rail power lines

The Kwinana Freeway through Perth

The Kwinana Freeway through Perth

Highrise in Perth City

Highrise in Perth City

Perth inner city residential

Perth inner city residential

Perth inner city residential

Perth inner city residential

Keep in the correct lanes on the freeway

Keep in the correct lanes on the freeway

Motor vehicles on both sides and rail lines down the middle

Motor vehicles on both sides and rail lines down the middle

An interesting station on the urban rail network

An interesting station on the urban rail network

An interesting station on the urban rail network

An interesting station on the urban rail network

An interesting station on the urban rail network - note the buses on the upper level

An interesting station on the urban rail network – note the buses on the upper level

An interesting station on the urban rail network

An interesting station on the urban rail network

The freeway ended abruptly at Burns Beach Road with a choice to turn right or left; we turned left and joined Wanneroo Road which led us on to the Indian Ocean Drive taking us all the way to Jurien Bay. Along the way we drove past the towns of Lancelin and Cervantes.

The view from the road

The view from the road

The view from the road

The view from the road

The road ahead is quite interesting

The road ahead is quite interesting

Plenty of sheep in this part of the world

Plenty of sheep in this part of the world

The view along the way

The view along the way

Just before we reached Cervantes we found a small lookout – Nilgen Lookout and Wildflower Walk. The access to the lookout was suitable for caravan access so we turned off the highway and pulled up in the parking lot so we could take a look at the view.

Signage at Nilgen Lookout

Signage at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia bloom at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia bloom at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia bloom at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia bloom at Nilgen Lookout

Wildflowers at Nilgen Lookout

Wildflowers at Nilgen Lookout

The view from the Lookout at Nilgen

The view from the Lookout at Nilgen

The view from the Lookout at Nilgen

The view from the Lookout at Nilgen

The caravan at Nilgen Lookout

The caravan at Nilgen Lookout

The view from the Lookout at Nilgen

The view from the Lookout at Nilgen

Signage at Nilgen Lookout

Signage at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia blooms at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia blooms at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia blooms at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia blooms at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia bloom at Nilgen Lookout

Banksia bloom at Nilgen Lookout

Old Banksia Flower at Nilgen Lookout

Old Banksia Flower at Nilgen Lookout

Landward view when leaving Nilgen Lookout

Landward view when leaving Nilgen Lookout

A little further on from the lookout just before Cervantes we passed the Pinnacles (http://www.westernaustralia.com/au/Pages/Attraction.aspx?n=Pinnacles&pid=9009443&cid=dgm:sem:au1415:intra:The%20Pinnacles&gclid=CKX68I7un8YCFUoGvAod0VkAMg) which is a most interesting natural location which we explored (in the car and on foot) and really liked when we visited in 2010.

Wind Farm north of the Nilgen Lookout

Wind Farm north of the Nilgen Lookout

Wind Farm north of the Nilgen Lookout

Wind Farm north of the Nilgen Lookout

Sand drift before the Pinnacles

Sand drift before the Pinnacles

Picture opportunity to the left - Indian Ocean straight ahead

Picture opportunity to the left – Indian Ocean straight ahead

We passed the Pinnacles on the way to Jurien Bay

We passed the Pinnacles on the way to Jurien Bay

Unusual Welcome Sign at Cervantes

Unusual Welcome Sign at Cervantes

Cervantes - down here; Jurien Bay - keep going

Cervantes – down here; Jurien Bay – keep going

The view along the way

The view along the way

On reaching Jurien Bay (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurien_Bay,_Western_Australia) the weather was overcast but fine and we were able to set up without problems; however sitting outside later in the day we were blessed with fine showers which caused a hasty retreat inside. These showers developed into frequent showers sometimes heavy and it rained through the night and much of the next day. In the afternoon of Friday it fined up somewhat and we were able to explore a little of Jurien Bay.

Jurien Bay Tourist Park

Jurien Bay Tourist Park

Jetty Cafe Jurien Bay

Jetty Cafe Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay Jetty Sign

Jurien Bay Jetty Sign

The Beach at Jurien Bay looking south

The Beach at Jurien Bay looking south

The Beach at Jurien Bay looking north

The Beach at Jurien Bay looking north showing the remaining elements of the old jetty

The foreshore at Jurien Bay

The foreshore at Jurien Bay

The foreshore at Jurien Bay

The foreshore at Jurien Bay

Jurien Bay Marine Park sign

Jurien Bay Marine Park sign

Jurien Bay Marine Park sign

Jurien Bay Marine Park sign

Looking toward the jetty at Jurien Bay

Looking toward the jetty at Jurien Bay

Next morning we were lucky enough to be able to pack up without getting wet and drove north towards Geraldton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geraldton) passing small towns including Green Head (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Head,_Western_Australia), Leeman (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeman,_Western_Australia) and Dongara (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongara,_Western_Australia) along the way. We stopped for morning tea at roadside rest area near Greenough (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenough,_Western_Australia) the site of a well photographed leaning tree and shortly after this we encountered reasonably heavy rain that pursued us all the way to the north of Geraldton.

Welcome to Green Head

Welcome to Green Head

We turned toward Dongara

We turned toward Dongara

Along the way

Along the way

Along the way

Along the way

Along the way

Along the way

Batavia Coast region

Batavia Coast region

Wonder which way the wind blows?

Wonder which way the wind blows?

The view from the truck

The view from the truck

The view from the truck

The view from the truck

The view from the truck

The view from the truck

Once we arrived at Northampton (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northampton,_Western_Australia) we turned off the Brand Highway on to the road to Kalbarri. Lunch was at the site of the Port Gregory Convict Hiring Depot (http://www.ashadocs.org/aha/25/25_04_Gibbs.pdf) where some intact ruins still stand.

Lynton Heritage Site

Lynton Heritage Site

Magistrates Quarters at Convict Depot

Magistrates Quarters at Convict Depot

Mens Barracks at Convict Hiring Depot

Mens Barracks at Convict Hiring Depot

Part of the ruins at the Convict Hiring Depot

Part of the ruins at the Convict Hiring Depot

Onward to Kalbarri under ever threatening skies we passed the turnoff to the Hutt River Province (http://www.hutt-river-province.com/) but decided to drive on rather than turn off to visit HRH Prince Leonard.

Arriving in Kalbarri (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalbarri,_Western_Australia) we headed for the Murchison River Caravan Park (http://www.murcp.com/) where we had decided to stay for a few days. We set up on site and went for a walk to the local Visitor Centre (http://www.kalbarri.org.au/) to see what was available and then proceeded to the local commercial centre where we browsed the local newsagent/souvenir shop and the local café where we had a mid-afternoon snack of fish and chips.

Welcome to Kalbarri

Welcome to Kalbarri

Kalbarri on the banks of the Murchison River

Kalbarri on the banks of the Murchison River

Pelican taking the high view at Kalbarri

Pelican taking the high view at Kalbarri

Shellfish are obviously part of the fishing industry at Kalbarri

Shellfish are obviously part of the fishing industry at Kalbarri

Looking out to the mouth of the Murchison River at Kalbarri

Looking out to the mouth of the Murchison River at Kalbarri

While we were enjoying our fish and chips the showers started again and when we finished our feed we were forced to beat a hasty retreat to the caravan. I had set the awning up with the “Aussie Traveller” anti-flappers and curved rafters in an effort to ensure the awning remained intact and all seemed well when we went to bed. It rained on and off most the night and at about 4:00am we experienced very squally conditions and heavy rain. So much for the awning remaining intact and at 4:30am I was outside in my pyjamas dismantling the system and rolling up the awning to save it from damage. The people on the next site had a pop-top caravan and their awning flapped and blew very loudly (and I would think dangerously) until at 6:30am the guy rolled it up – they left the park a couple of hours later.

This morning we arose late and after breakfast the skies were reasonably clear so I put the awning out to dry it. After some adjustments to the holes in the roller where the ant-flap bars and curved awnings fit the system is once again in place (much more securely now) and as an added precaution a rope has been lashed across the top of the awning to hold it in place. Hopefully we will have a calmer night tonight and better weather tomorrow.

Sunday afternoon we drove out to take another look at the high cliffs south of Kalbarri (part of the Kalbarri National Park – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalbarri_National_Park) to enjoy the spectacular views offered at these vantage points. There was a strong onshore wind which made things a little uncomfortable and frequent showers which made photography occasionally difficult. In addition to the great views we were lucky enough to also see a rainbow and capture some images of a water spout just off the coast. The rain became a little too frequent so we called it a day and returned to the caravan to explore another day.

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - near Natural Bridge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – near Natural Bridge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Natural Bridge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Natural Bridge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Natural Bridge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Natural Bridge

Sign at the Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Sign at the Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri -Island Rock

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri -Island Rock

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - there are paths and walkways on the edge of the cliffs

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – there are paths and walkways on the edge of the cliffs

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Island Rock

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Island Rock

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pathways

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pathways

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Island Rock

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Island Rock

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Shellhouse

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Shellhouse

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Eagle Gorge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Eagle Gorge

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley - note the speck in the middle of the picture is an adult -  180cm tall

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley – note the speck in the middle of the picture is an adult – 180cm tall

A water spout just of the coast

A water spout just of the coast

Water spout just off the coast at Rainbow Valley Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Water spout just off the coast at Rainbow Valley Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Lovely Murchison Rose growing beside the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Lovely Murchison Rose growing beside the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers are plentiful along Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers are plentiful along Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers near the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers near the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers long the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers long the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers along the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers along the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers along the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers along the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers along the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Wildflowers along the path at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri - Pot Alley

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri – Pot Alley

A rainbow at Rainbow Valley at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

A rainbow at Rainbow Valley at Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Coastal Cliffs at Kalbarri

Monday was an overcast day but the forecast suggested it would clear so with a need to wash clothes we were up early and off to the laundry; we weren’t the first however and only able to use one machine. Between loads the clothe lines started to fill with people who had obviously washed in their caravans hanging out clothes. Managed to grab three quarters of a line then nervously watched as the clouds grew heavier and more threatening with even a light scud as we were hanging out the laundry. However, by lunch time most of the washing was dry and what wasn’t fitted on a line under the caravan awning.

We went to finish our view of the coastal cliffs in the Kalbarri National Park and walked along the path to Red Bluff where we met a little girl who told us she had seen whales, dolphins and a pink mermaid in the bay below (her mother clarified that they had just seen dolphins); pity I would have liked to see the pink mermaid. The views from the bluff are quite spectacular and we took quite a few photos; next we drove to Red Bluff Beach and surveyed Red Bluff from its base. Back toward town a memorial has been erected to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the sinking of the Dutch Ship Zuytdorp (https://en.wikipedia.org/?title=Zuytdorp) and from this vantage point it is possible to observe the wave action at the mouth of the Murchison River – quite spectacular on occasions.

Looking back toward Kalbarri from Red Bluff

Looking back toward Kalbarri from Red Bluff

Coastline  below Red Bluff at Kalbarri

Coastline below Red Bluff at Kalbarri

Waves at Kalbarri below Red Bluff

Waves at Kalbarri below Red Bluff

Looking toward the beach from Red Bluff

Looking toward the beach from Red Bluff

Taking a picture of you taking a picture

Taking a picture of you taking a picture

Red Bluff from the beach

Red Bluff from the beach

Great wave action at Kalbarri

Great wave action at Kalbarri

Waves breaking at the mouth of the Murchison River

Waves breaking at the mouth of the Murchison River

Waves at the mouth of the Murchison River

Waves at the mouth of the Murchison River

Looking down the Murchison River at Kalbarri from the monument

Looking down the Murchison River at Kalbarri from the monument

The anchorage on the Murchison River at Kalbarri

The anchorage on the Murchison River at Kalbarri

Kalbarri on the Murchison River

Kalbarri on the Murchison River

Kalbarri on the banks of the Murchison River

Kalbarri on the banks of the Murchison River

Waves below Red Bluff at Kalbarri

Waves below Red Bluff at Kalbarri

Waves below Red Bluff at Kalbarri

Waves below Red Bluff at Kalbarri

Coastline at Kalbarri below Red Bluff

Coastline at Kalbarri below Red Bluff

Waves at the mouth of the Murchison River at Kalbarri

Waves at the mouth of the Murchison River at Kalbarri

This little fellow was keeping on eye on us at Kalbarri

This little fellow was keeping on eye on us at Kalbarri

Kalbarri on the banks of the Murchison River

Kalbarri on the banks of the Murchison River

Wave action on the coast at Kalbarri

Wave action on the coast at Kalbarri

The anchorage on the Murchison River at Kalbarri

The anchorage on the Murchison River at Kalbarri

It was a glorious day on Tuesday and we had decided to try to see the river gorges of the Kalbarri National Park. Before we left on our trip we walked down to the foreshore to watch the daily feeding of the pelicans which is undertaken daily by a group of volunteers. Today there were only three of these magnificent birds present for the feeding but it was a very interesting experience to watch.

The Boss Cocky (Pelican) on the day

The Boss Cocky (Pelican) on the day

I told you - I get fed first

I told you – I get fed first

Young Pelican waiting to be fed

Young Pelican waiting to be fed

Volunteer lecturing the Pelicans on behaviour

Volunteer lecturing the Pelicans on behaviour

Number one Pelican at the feeding on the banks of the Murchison at Kalbarri

Number one Pelican at the feeding on the banks of the Murchison at Kalbarri

The crowd at the Pelican feeding

The crowd at the Pelican feeding

We headed out of town with our packed lunch in the car hoping to see Nature’s Window (http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/site/loop-natures-window), one of the spectacular sights in the Kalbarri National Park (http://www.kalbarri.org.au/things-to-do/kalbarri-national-park). Because of the rain over recent times the road to the Loop and Z Bend has been closed. It hadn’t rained heavily for a couple of days and we had our fingers crossed, however we were disappointed when we passed National Park Headquarters just a couple of kilometres out of town to see the sign which declared that the road was still closed. Maybe the road will be open tomorrow the girl at the National Parks office told us; but it has been maybe tomorrow for a few days now so we had to content ourselves with a visit to Hawks Head and the Ross Graham Lookout, both quite spectacular in their own right. At the latter you can actually walk down to the river – so we did and found more great sites lower down.

The view from Hawks Head Lookout on the Murchison River

The view from Hawks Head Lookout on the Murchison River

The view from Hawks Head Lookout on the Murchison River

The view from Hawks Head Lookout on the Murchison River

View of the Murchison River from Hawks Head Lookout

View of the Murchison River from Hawks Head Lookout

View of the Murchison River from Hawks Head Lookout

View of the Murchison River from Hawks Head Lookout

Access to Hawks Head Lookout is via this wheelchair friendly path

Access to Hawks Head Lookout is via this wheelchair friendly path

Murchison River from Ross Graham Lookout

Murchison River from Ross Graham Lookout

The Murchison River below Ross Graham Lookout

The Murchison River below Ross Graham Lookout

A tree growing in the rocks above the Murchison River - note the roots going down to seek moisture

A tree growing in the rocks above the Murchison River – note the roots going down to seek moisture

The Murchison River below Ross Graham Lookout

The Murchison River below Ross Graham Lookout

The Murchison River below Ross Graham Lookout

The Murchison River below Ross Graham Lookout

A fall of rock near the Murchison River below the Ross Graham Lookout

A fall of rock near the Murchison River below the Ross Graham Lookout

Banks of the Murchison below Ross Graham Lookout

Banks of the Murchison below Ross Graham Lookout

Busy spider at Ross Graham Lookout

Busy spider at Ross Graham Lookout

Busy spider at Ross Graham Lookout

Busy spider at Ross Graham Lookout

Banksia flower along the road to Kalbarri

Banksia flower along the road to Kalbarri

Banksia flower along the road to Kalbarri

Banksia flower along the road to Kalbarri

Back to town we drove up Meanarra Hill (http://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/site/meanarra-hill-lookout) to see a different view of Kalbarri and the lower reaches of the Murchison then back to the van to eat our sandwiches then back to Red Bluff to see if the elusive pink mermaid had returned or perhaps some dolphins or whales; all in vain.

Plaque at the lookout on Meanarra Hill

Plaque at the lookout on Meanarra Hill

The lower Murchison from Meanarra Hill

The lower Murchison from Meanarra Hill

Kalbarri from Meanarra Hill

Kalbarri from Meanarra Hill

View of Red Bluff from Meanarra Hill

View of Red Bluff from Meanarra Hill

Lizard sunning himself at Meanarra Hill Lookout

Lizard sunning himself at Meanarra Hill Lookout

A view of the lower Murchison from Meanarra Hill

A view of the lower Murchison from Meanarra Hill

Blue wren on Red Bluff

Blue wren on Red Bluff

Blue wren on Red Bluff

Blue wren on Red Bluff

Back in town we filled the truck with fuel and prepared the van for our departure tomorrow heading for Carnarvon.

More Later!

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