Hamelin Bay WA

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 at 00:00

Mick O

Wednesday 17th May
Hamelin Bay W.A.
Still overcast and intermittent rain!

Again it was a leisurely start to the day. A smattering of rain fell during the night so the canvas was just a fraction damp in places as we packed it away this morning. It was 9.30 before we were on the road again heading out to the gorges along the Murchison River.The Ranger station is only 15 km out of town and we were advised to drop the trailer in a parking facility just nedar the pay station due to the road being “Extremely Rough” in the words of the attendant ranger. I had the good grace not to scoff at the suggestion but figured I would anyway just to save the dust.

Rough you say, more like a superhighway I say, especially in comparison to what we’ve been over in the past months. Ha Ha Ha (laughing cynically). The road was indeed sandy and heavily corrugated but nothing to worry about. Our first stop was the lookouts and walks known as “The Loop”, Natures window and the “Z” bend. The view was sensational with the Murchison River having worn it’s way through the layers of sandstgone and lime to leave spectacular gorges often bordered by sheer cliffs 200 metres high. The ancient history of the rock could be read in the many sedimentary layers clearly visible and reading like a rich tapestry of a time when the area was the floor of a shallow sea.

At the z bend, the river has cut a deep sides gorge that would be largely unclimbable. There is a path to the bottom of the gorge which I took winding my way through narrow chasms, clambering over roicks and down newly installed ladders till you reach the rock strewn floor of the gorge and the river. Much fun. Even found a pair of sunglasses for Amanda. Kept on running in to John and Julie, a couple we had met when they pulled up behind us at Lancelin on the previous Saturday. We had a good old chat in the “Z” bend car park and vowed to catch up tomorrow at Denham for dinner and a vino.

We took in two more lookouts on our way back up to the North West Coastal Highway and then began the 180 km trek towards Denham and Monkey Mia. Decided to spend the night at Hamelin Bay as it was getting late and the weather was threatening again. A few people here and the rudimentary park is set up at the sit of an original telegraph station. There is a generator for power so the diesel will be thumping away all night. It may drown out the sound of the rain though. The major outcrop of stromatolites is located here so we’ll go see them in the morning before heading onto Denham and Shark Bay.
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903
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