No pics on this one, but will add link to Facebook photos once I’ve done that… – link

We had 4 nights in Kalbarri which was fantastic, did a walk down into Z bend gorge which was absolutely beautiful and had a lovely meal out while Max stayed at home with our caravan park neighbours looking out for him.

Following on from Kalbarri we had 2 nights in Midgy hell in Neren Neren (for those of you not familiar with midgies they are sandflies, but super tiny ones) where Max got to see the biggest trucks in his life and learnt how to make an amazed noise… big road trains with mine dump truck tippers on them.  They were HUGE! Next we ended up perched high on a hill with a family of gnomes for company at Gladstone Scenic Lookout.  The sunset was amazing and quite a number of beverages were consumed which made for a great night all round, however in the morning we saw a bank of clouds on the horizon and got an update from another traveller that there were 100km winds predicted and a whole lot of rain, so we upped sticks and made for Shark Bay.  Made it to a metal dump near Hamelin and things just looked too menacing so we pulled in and got everything up as the first raindrops fell.  Stayed safe and warm in a nice sheltered spot while MIke and Carol were still on top of the hill trying to hold the roof on their caravan.

Next stop on the itinerary was Shark Bay proper, and we stayed at Francois Peron NP – great hot tub, heaps of wild-life including sharks, turtles, dolphins, rays, thorny devils, and more – quite spectacular looking down into the water from the top of SkipJack Point and seeing the massive grass beds, and a ton of cool shells. Still in Shark Bay was Fowlers camp, where we drove up a road behind the camp and saw these awesome cliffs with cairns built on top of them and all these beautiful bays with crystal clear mirror calm water. Our final Shark Bay stop was Steep Point which is the most westerly point in mainland Australia.  It’s rough and rugged and again gorgeous. We had some great neighbours at Kelly’s Camp who helped us get out of a bit of a boggy situation we found ourselves in, and we had a lovely night round the campfire with them. Also caught some great fish, saw a few Humpbacks, some more turtles and dolphins, unfortunately we were only able to book in for 2 nights – it’s a spot where you do need to book in quite far in advance apparently but we’re definitely hoping to get in there again in the future.  Had a drink for Amy to celebrate her birthday however couldn’t let her know this till the following day due no coverage.

Our next stop was Edagee, just one night, really busy there, and just a quick overnighter as we were Quobba bound, stayed one night at the station and one night at the blowholes, and it’s another one on the repeat in future cards – caught some amazing delicious fish, enough to feed 6 people one night and 10 the next (plus a Maxy) out of I think about 14 fish. not to mention Humpbacks coming up about 100m from where we were standing on the rocks, the cool shacks, neat crabs on the beach, finders keepers jandals, and of course the blowholes (there will be pics of much of this).

Then the 50kms to Canarvon was just too much, so we had an overnighter in another blue metal dump at just over half way, met some really nice people there, and headed on into soggy Canarvon the following day, where it proceeded to bucket down for our 3 nights.  Our main reason for staying there was to get some washing done after 3 weeks bush, so it was an interesting procedure.  We were in a mass puddle of water, but not as bad as our neighbours Ses and Carline, who had to relocate their trailer as there was water coming in the door. We did manage to get some of the local produce which was great, including chocolate coated frozen bananas, and lemon basil – YUM.

We had a bit of a trek on our hands on the next leg – over 600kms out to Mt Augusta, which is another monolith. Except maybe it’s not.  Would be glad to have that explained to me if anyone can make sense of it. We had a night at Lake Mcleod where there were so many budgies it felt like the sky was turning green. Followed by Pritchards Windmill, which was a corner of a paddock near Pritchards Creek with a windmill in it, we put some major k’s in and saw some great scenery, though Max was much more interested in his books.  It was like he’d just remembered that he had them and spent half the day with his serious face on ‘reading’ them to us, which was classic. We drove around Mt Augustus and did a couple of walks, but found ourselves rather underwhelmed by it, so we headed back out toward the coast stopping in at Cobra Station for the night, which was great fun, Jim the host was a bit of a laugh, yet another fellow Kiwi – he gave Max a chubba chub and Max was his biggest fan after that, there was drool pooling at his feet!

Then blasted along past Coral Bay, through Exmouth had a night at Yardie Homestead Park in order to get into Cape Range NP, Gra was up at 3am to join the queue and managed first pick out of three spots, we booked in for 2 nights but ended up staying 5, we had a great time with a fantastic bunch of people, Lynne who we’re hoping to see in Karanjini, Ian and Sally who we went for a great snorkel with at South Mandu and a fantastic unplanned lunch with all three on our last day in Exmouth which rounded it off beautifully, and Robert, Sheree, Mason, Luca and Jude who were next to us and Max was absolutely in awe of Jude, who had great trucks, and very nice shoes.  He also gave Max his cool hat with spiders on which Max has not taken off yet. It was such a great time with more whales – some of whom were having a big old party, coral in water that was only knee deep and lots of wildlife. We got to see black footed wallabies too who are very cute, and also lots of Euros which I’d seen mentioned in quite a few brochures and finally discovered that they are a type of wallaroo rather than backpackers… I also perfected pan fried bread which I had been mucking about with for a while.  Recipe will follow.

On the way out of Exmouth we stayed at Giralia station which was a bit of a let down, I wanted to go fossil hunting but Gra hurt his leg on one of our snorkels and I was feeling a bit off colour myself so we decided to have a wind down after our holiday on the beach and spent the day doing not much. Our next discovery was Robe River rest stop a fantastic spot right on the river with more crystal clear water and a lot of inquisitive fish that we snorkelled right up to. It was so good that our overnight stay turned into 3 days and we got a lot of washing done, some more heavy duty resting, lots of swimming and a repack of the car resulting in what feels like about 50% space freed up while we didn’t get rid of anything, – quite a strange phenomena. Also met some people there who had lived in Te Puke for 25 years and knew my family there, but they were driving in as we were driving out so unfortunately didn’t really get to chat. One night in a secret spot where it’s possible that we may or may not have been illegally camped, but it was too beautiful to resist with a mass of wildflowers and another river, and we were in Kalbarri. We wanted to stay longer but the mechanical issues wouldn’t wait. $1300 later and we have two new sets of wheel bearings and seals, and we’ve had a few nights in Kalbarri doing a restock and a bit of car work.  We’re moving up a whole technological step and now have our own power by way of the inverter and communication by way of CB radio – things are on the up, and this weekend I’m doing some work as a carny selling wigs and stuff out of a sideshow so that’ll be a bit of fun and a much appreciated cash injection.

On that note it’s now 9.30pm and I really should rest up in order to do my 13+ hour day tomorrow, so I’ll sign off here and check in again when we’re in Tom Price, which will be about a week away.