We left Perth late as there were a few last minute errands that had to be run, but the Pinnacles were still targeted for a visit. We arrived in Nambung National Park late in the afternoon and it was horribly overcast so the light was not optimal for photography, but the park is stunning. The rock pinnacles appear to be growing from the desert floor, and are the product of an unusual geological process that started with submersion of forests in sand, conversion into limestone over the millennia, and subsequent erosion of surrounding sand over more millennia has left the petrified sentinels littered across the landscape as it is today. The park has walking trail and drive, but you are free to explore on foot so long as you don’t climb the rocks. We walked and drove around twice and reluctantly left as darkness arrived. The flies were revolting, even immune to our special cedar and rosemary cream (that worked fine until now), taking delight in sticking to our faces, shirts, shorts, basically everywhere.
We still had 50km drive to the campsite at Sandy Cape, just north of Jurien Bay. Camp went up and the flies descended on us. Apparently they had only arrived the day before. We put our light on and then super-sized flying “bulldog” ants descended, so we beat a hasty retreat to the trailer for the night.
Next morning, more rain and flies, so the full awning was put up. We revisited the Pinnacles once more, headed into Cervantes, then Jurien Bay for fish and chips.
Stockyard Gully Caves are one of the few free entry caves in the area accessed by 4WD track and the next morning we left early armed with torches and raincoats. From the carpark a pleasant 300m walk down the dry (despite the rain) river bed brought us to the first cave. A powerful torch is required as it is pitch black and approximately 100m long. It emerges at a rockpile which we climbed down and walked on to the next two caves. The last one has no exit and is home to a colony of bats so access is discouraged. All of the entrances to the caves are adorned with large beehives, and the hum of bees as you approach is very discernible, making the kids a bit uneasy. We pressed on uneventfully and had a very enjoyable morning’s exploration there. No flies in the caves either!
On our way home some Geocaching took us to some marvellous beaches and lookouts in and around Green Head. The water was perfectly calm and our camp host informed us on our return that there was a storm coming with potential windspeeds of 100km/h. Whilst a lot of rain and wind followed the worst of it blew south of us and we prepared to venture further north.