A Travellerspoint blog

West Coast Odyssey - Part 3

Day 3-5 Monkey Mia to Exmouth via Coral Bay

sunny 30 °C

Monkey Mia: Rise at 5am for sunrise on Monday to see the sunrise over the ocean and to catch a glimpse of the dolphins that come into the shore every morning. The 9 of us from the trip sit on an otherwise deserted beach and wait patiently and we are not disappointed. It's amazing how close these creatures will come. We were spoiled really as one of the dolphins had brought her 5 day old calf with her! We watched the official feeding about an hour later from the beach as the researchers did their work. Not a tacky souvenir or show in sight! We hit the road again stopping at the ocean park aquarium to see sharks, stingrays, turtles and lots of fish! Eagles's bluff is next in search of dugons, kinda like a large sea cow! Stop in Carnarvon for fuel - this place is so vast you fill up with fuel at every opportunity! One pump we saw had $900 clocked on the display! Rare opportunity for cellphone reception here which is great. Will be a few days before we have it again and there's birthday phonecalls to make!We arrive into Coral Bay after dark and have dinner and drinks, its a pity we didn't think of fancy dress for Halloween!

Melbourne Cup day means some places are closed in Coral Bay on Tuesday so we just hire snorkelling gear for $10 and head to the beach while some go on a glass bottomed boat trip. Fiona and I head out to sea and are amazed at the amount of coral so close to the shore. Getting used to the snorkelling now, especially the breathing, after a dodgy start in New Zealand. It's a great way to spend a couple of hours and as we've been to the aquarium we can identify some of the fish! Not that I can remember all the names now! I'm amazed at the abundance of colour on the ocean floor - this coral is part of the Ningaloo Reef.

Exmouth is our next stop which is only 90 minutes away. A small town built up only in the 60s principally due to NASA's telecommunications site just outside the town. Have an Italian night in honour of Viviana who's been feeling homesick lately. Meet some more Irish here who are heading south to do their regional work. We visit Yaride Creek on Wednesday to see if we can spot any black-footed wallabies and the Milyering Visitor Centre where I encounter my first Oz bush loo! An interesting concept - think long drop! Turquoise Bay is next for some snorkelling and to just relax before our big drive to Karanjini on Thursday. Don't spend as long in the beautiful crystal clear water today as I got kinda scorched the day before (Joanne I know you warned me!). Edel and Viviana aren't so confident in the water so its great they get in on the action today as the coral is very close to the shore here. Fiona went seeking shade from the sun and ended up babysitting a 2year old German girl while her parents went snorkelling for half an hour........they didn't show up for 2 hours despite our attempts to get their attention! Now I know things can be lost in translation but she actually came back telling us about the turtles she was swimming with, not bothered that her kid had been left with a complete stranger for all that time! Not even a thank you! The race was now on to get to the lighthouse for sunset as we were delayed here. Brendo sped off down the road and we were just pulling up in time, well almost. As we tore down to the viewing point the sun set! The people there thought we were crazy but it was some laugh even though we were disappointed to miss it - worse still it was only by a couple of seconds! Don't think the Kangaroo we hit en route would have found it funny but I think he was lucky to come off with just a headache! These things can jump out at you anywhere! It's really dangerous!

Posted by elisasdiary 18:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

West Coast Odyssey - Part 2

Northhampton to Monkey Mia - Day 2

sunny 30 °C

6am and we're on the bus again this time in the direction of Monkey Mia. Our first stop is Pot Alley, a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean. From here we travel to Kalibarri, where we take a walk down into a river gorge and we are almost eaten by flies! Note to self: buy a fly net! Lunch is at the Billabong roadhouse where ice cream prices have doubled since the day before but my $4.35 cookie crunch is excellent! We are heading in the direction of Shark Bay - a world heritage listed site stopping at Hamelin Pool where we see The Stromatolites - they look like flat rocks to be honest but these guys are made of microbes which millions of years ago were the only life on earth and paved the way for other life forms to be created. Shell beach not too far from Hamelin gives us opportunity to stretch the legs - the beach is covered in cockleshells (of Molly Malone fame!) an unusual feeling under your feet but beautiful to see. Spot an Echinda on the boardwalk, reminds me of a hedgehog but much cooler! You can actually pet these fellas! There's lots of wildlife in these parts - on our way into Monkey Mia we spot some Emus out for a stroll on the roadside! Spend the evening around a campfire in the bush with an aboriginal guy called Capes where we learn about his 'country' Malgana i.e. the area we are in, aboriginal medicine and the didgeridoo all while fish cooks for us on the campfire. It's very interesting and the fish super tasty!

Posted by elisasdiary 18:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

West Coast Odyssey - Part 1

Perth to Northhampton - Day 1

sunny 28 °C

Today we started out 9 day trip from Perth to Broome with Aussie Wanderer. We've met all the group before the bus even arrives as its super early in the morning and no one else is about on the quiet streets! There's only 9 of us altogether along with our Aussie driver Brendo on board. We set off with our first stop being Lancelin about 130km from Perth for some sandboarding (think snowboarding but with lots and lots of sand!) The winds were the only downside, lifting the sand and blowing it quite fiercely it has to be said against our shins, up our noses, into our eyes and ears and any other body orifice you can imagine! It even collected in our underwear but it was serious fun! I even managed 2 runs standing up on the board! Whoohoo! The next stop was in the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park (250km from Perth) although officially not a desert as it falls a massive 8mm short of the amount of rainfall required to be an offical desert!!! These strange limestone rock formations rise mysteriously from the flat sand dunes like fingers!
Our first night is spent in Northhampton on a farmstay and as we settle around the big bonfire we have a few beers and share travel stories. The most bizarre story of the night comes from Brendo who tells us about the Principality of Hutt River where it's (now) Prince Leonard wrote to the Queen to request the area become a separate country within Australia! Google it if you don't believe it, the guy sounds crazy! They have their own passport stamp!

Posted by elisasdiary 18:46 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Perth

sunny 25 °C

Arrive late on Monday night and stay with Edel's cousins Nicola and Denise who are so good as to be putting the 4 of us up after the 3 girls had a distastrous hostel experience when I was in Melbourne! Fiona's cousin Mary takes us out for a drive along the coast on Tuesday which is really nice as she's been here for years so has really good local knowledge. We stop at Scarborough and Trigg beaches, Hillary Harbour and a crematorium/graveyard! I know that sounds strange but its a great place to spot kangaroos apparently! We weren't disappointed as we clambered out of her minivan as soon as she pulled up! One was carrying a little Joey in her pouch and it was amazing how close we were able to get to them. She also cooked us our first aussie bbq with her family which was amazing! Wednesday we visited Fremantle with Rachel from college and Fiona's friend Robbie who are both living out here. There's lots to see here from historic buildings to museums and breweries. We visit Fremantle Prison which was only decommissioned in 1991 and also Little Creatures Brewery where huge gleaming brewing vats greet us as we go in the door. Their icy cold Pipsqueak cider goes down a treat in this hot weather! Meet up with Aoife who I worked with in Higgins's in Sligo all those years ago so its great to catch up with her and see what she's been up to in the last few years. Queen Elizabeth is in town for CHOGUN so there's lots of street protests and closures in place but most of it seems to go on peacefully.

Posted by elisasdiary 18:42 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Australia

Melbourne

rain 24 °C

As hard as it was to leave New Zealand behind I was excited about the next leg of the trip as I flew from Christchurch to Sydney,the 3 hour flight made feel a lot shorter as I was sitting beside a guy from wait for it......Navan! Flew onwards to Melbourne for the weekend to catch up with friends - cheers to Paudie, Paddy and Conor for putting me up! Was great to see familiar faces after 10 weeks on the road and some home cooking! The weather was mixed with 2 days rain and one of blistering heat! Rain wasn't what I expected in this land down under! Partied with Catty and the lads on Saturday night after a day seeing the city with my own personal tour guide! The city is lovely, I can't wait to spend a longer time here in December! I'm already lining up things I want to do!

Posted by elisasdiary 18:36 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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