Aussie Adventures 2018 Pt 2

Thursday, Apr 26, 2018 at 21:02

Member - Muncey 72

With the big day finally here, we are up early and on the road by 4:30am. The first 3hrs were very quiet in the car with the kids asleep and Maz and myself deep in thought about what the next four months will bring. We took the Brand Highway North first stop was at Regans Ford, the bacon and egg rolls we had made the night before hit the spot. We then stopped at Eneabba which has a really good playground, grassed area and toilets. Drummond Cove just passed Geraldton was our lunch time fuel up stop, fuel here was only $1.41 a litre for diesel cheaper than home. Whilst having lunch the guy I travel to work with walked in with his family, he is on the way to Kalbarri for 2 weeks. Small world. Doesn’t seem to be much traffic on the road heading north at the moment mainly all heading south. Plenty of wild goats roaming the road side. We finally arrive are at our home for the night which is the free camp rest area at Nerren Nerren. We are all set up and playing Star Wars trumps by 4pm, long day in the car but with the longest day driving behind us it is worth it. The rest area gets quite busy by nightfall and we are in bed by 7pm exhausted.
Awoken by a beautiful sunrise and the sound of wild budgies on the roof of the camper. After pancakes for breakfast we celebrated Harrison turning 14. Presents and cards opened we packed up and hit the road. Only a short drive to Hamelin Station Stay which is 30kms from the main North West Coastal Highway. We booked in for 3 nights and got fully set up with the annex. As it was only 10:30am we drove out to Goulet Bluff for a swim. Beautiful beach and lookout only one other family in sight. We spotted heaps of small shovel nose rays after we had a swim. We also stopped at Shell Beach for a swim which is aptly named as the whole beach/cove is made up entirely of small shells. It is very shallow and approx. 3 times saltier than the general ocean which made floating very easy.
On the road by 7:30 today was the day we tackled the track to steep point. The first 10 or so kms is bitumen and then a really good compacted limestone road for 80kms past Carrarang Station then it starts to get corrugated. We let the tires down to 25psi and managed 80kms an hour which made a big difference. Once at the pay station we had a quick cuppa and then drove on, from this point the road was a combination of bad to rubbish. Heaps of corrugations. We let the tires down to 20psi and engaged the 4wd as advised on the signage just before the landscape changed from hard limestone corragations to large sand hills. Just as we started to ascend one of the first large Sandhill’s up in front was 2 vehicles blocking the track. One of these vehicles was an old 1960 Model A ford which was travelling East from Bryon Bay up to steep Point whilst fund raising for Cancer Research. After digging, pushing and towing them out of the sand hole we carried on. They left the old Ford on the side of the track and continued the trip in the support vehicle. After bouncing our way up the large chopped out sandhills. We stopped at a couple of beautiful bays on the way to the point catching fish and doing some snorkeling. The water is alive up here, turtles, fish and of course small reef sharks. We passed the camping area which was full, even saw a Jayco expander van how they got that up here I will never know. We got to the Steep Point which was a really good feeling, having seen people do this track and read plenty on it, it was finally great to be here. With the selfies and lunch out the way we headed to the spot where all the fisherman go, wow some serious fishers here. Heading back down the track was equally as tough, the corrugations just go through the car and your body. Once we hit the bitumen I think I heard the car breath a sign of relief. We caught up with the guys in the Old a Model A Ford and the support vehilcle was driving alongside it filming! Back at camp on sunset it was a big day but well worth it. During tea we got talking to the old guys and it turns out one of the guys is a very famous and well sought after motivational speaker. He started with nothing and now owns 9 bakeries in Victoria and does a lot of fund raising for charities, travelling with his best friend who he has know since he was sixteen. The camera guys were also keen to catch up in the morning and do some filming with us. Had a great night chatting away with these guys.
Morning came and Alex was the first showered and ready for the film crew (that’s a first). After filming the sunrise, they came and interviewed us on why we choose to stay at Hamelin Station Stay and what we thought, it was really funny trying to keep a straight face. The kids said I was very professional and sounded like an expert. Next stop MKR or Home and Away. Later in the morning they wanted to film me checking in again and talking to the host, Jackie. This was lights, camera action stuff, after the mock check in I went to walk back out the door and nearly fell over grabbing at the door and almost going through the fly screen, hmm need to work on that. After giving Tom o’toole and Keith some money for the cancer research he signed a book of his and gave it to the kids. Alex spent the rest of the morning helping out the film crew she loved it. Who would have thought the last 2 days would be like they were and we met the people we did, this is in part why we love travelling you really do not know what each day will bring.
Big day driving today 540kms from Hamelin Station up to a road side stop on the way to Karijini National park. Dearest fuel price so far at Nanutarra Roadhouse $1:76 surprise surprise. When we left Hamelin Station I noticed the Batteries in the camper were low and the freezer that they are connected too was only minus 6 degrees, I assumed with the big drive the car would charge it up! When we arrived at the stop for the night the batteries were only showing about 10Volts and the freezer had gone down again, with only a little bit of daylight left connected the solar panel and got a little bit of charge in the batteries. Short drive to Tom Price this morning to get the batteries checked out. Dropped into the only 4x4 place in town and he help diagnose the problem turned out to be a faulty Anderson plug that goes from the camper to the car. With the batteries only showing 8.4volts my next concern was would they charge back up and hold charge, if not there’s $600 plus for two new batteries. We decided to go to the only Caravan park in town and asked if we could have a powered site for a few hours the lady at the front desk was very helpful, use what you need and we’ll sort something out later. So, for the next 3hrs we powered everything up, filled up with water and we all had a swim at the pool. Kids were very happy. The lady said no charge for what we used but we gave her $30 for helping us out. After what seem like a huge day we finally arrived at our campsite within the Karijini National Park, large site with great views.
We had been to Karijini before but only seen Dales Gorge, so this time the first day was spent exploring Hancock Gorge, Weano Gorge and Joffre Gorge. It is very hard to actually describe these gorges as they are just stunning and all very unique (hopefully the photos do them justice). As we were up and walking the first Gorge by 7:30 know one was around which was great. Kermits Pool was at the end of Hancock Gorge lovely pool with plenty of water in it in an Amphitheater type shape. Had to walk through a narrow water filled crevasse to get to the end, vey exciting, unfortunately did not take the camera through this spot as it was pretty deep. From the same area we hiked around the top of Weano which is an easy walk with great views back down the Gorge. After then walking down into the Gorge you negotiate a deep pool further into the Gorge system. We had walking boots so removed these and left them at the water’s edge, I would definitely recommend bringing reef shoes or booties as the pebbles/small rocks are pretty tough especially on my delicate feet. Through a couple more pools and you arrive at a narrow passage which leads via a steel handrail down a very steep rock face into Handrail pool. Absolutely beautiful spot. You can just imagine this Gorge in full flood and the water rushing through here, the rock faces are so smooth from the force of the water. After heading back to camp for lunch we then walked from our camp to close by Gorge called Joffre. This was a very steep climb down which is well marked and but pretty hairy in a couple of spots. After arriving at the bottom you a greeted by a large shallow pool. To the right through a small gap in the rock is the Joffre Falls which was only just flowing this opens up into a large circular chamber. To the left of the shallow pool is a slippery small slope which leads to a massive deep pool, this part of the Gorge is approx. 200metres long. We swarm the whole length and was blow away by how beautiful, clean and serene the gorge was. All the Gorges we done today were rated as a class 5 but could be experienced by most people of all ages and fitness levels.
After todays walks we treated ourselves to tea at the Karijini restaurant, after pre-warning the kids that it was reasonably posh and they would not be serving nuggets or pies we had a lovely meal…well a couple of us did. Harrison chose the safe option of Pumpkin soup only to gag and complain that it was too flavorsome and Morgan had the BBQ Chicken with his first taste his eye browsed raised and he said errr its different. Alexandra’s Trio of snags (Emu, Kangaroo and Crocodile) were lovely but would reappear many times tomorrow in the form of methane.
After setting the alarm for 5:30 Alex and I got up and drove a couple of Kms to a deck area to watch the sunrise. It was well worth it, truly awesome colour’s with some light cloud for effect. Today was a short 35kms drive on a very dusty gravel road out to Dales Gorge. We decided to walk along the top of the gorge and then down into the gorge at the circular pool end. Great walk and circular pool was very nice actually it was really nice, not as cold as a few years ago really quite easy to swim in this time. The walk along the Gorge floor up to Fortescue Falls is really nice, saw a Bungarra Lizard sunning himself on a rock on the way and played word games with the kids. The falls were flowing and water was very clear and refreshing, we just chilled here on the large rocks for a while people watching. Walked the last 100 meters up to Fern pool which is a lovely spot for another swim. Again very clear and refreshing this though heaps of small fish that like to nip your feet.
With our time at Karijini coming to an end we all voted on our favorite hike/pool, Joffre got the nod with 4 votes. Hitting the road again tomorrow big driving day heading north to Eighty Mile Beach Caravan Park and then onto Broome.
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