Posts Tagged With: Cape Range

Ningaloo Station

Ningaloo Station is a homestead to the south of Cape Range. Historically, four-wheel drive enthusiasts have used the crossing at Yardie Creek to make the trip from Coral Bay to Cape Range considerably shorter than having to go via Exmouth. Unfortunately for us the recent cyclones meant Yardie Creek was several metres deep and there had been a recent incident where someone had tried to cross the sandbar and ended up with his car written off. It was stuck for two days before it was retrieved. We took the main road, taking a brief diversion into the eastern side of Cape Range to visit the Charles Knife gorges, the main one, ShotHole Canyon was still closed from the recent cyclone. As well as commanding fabulous views across the peninsula, there are a number of well sites throughout the North West Cape where oil exploration had taken place in the mid 1950s. After drilling almost 4700m and not finding commercial hydrocarbons the wells were plugged.

 

On recommendations from WA locals, Brett and Doreen, and Gary and Pam, we had set our minds on visiting South LeFroy campsite on Ningaloo. The road in to the homestead was very corrugated and after an hour we arrived at a very dilapidated looking house surrounded by a huge flock of sheep and a handful of goats. Most of the coastal stations are for pastoral grazing and their 99 year leases will expire in June. The government is trying to reclaim the 2km coastal strip seeing potential to protect and/or develop the resource and regulars are concerned that their paradise will be lost forever, or will become too expensive. Currently dog-friendly, but lacking toilet and rubbish facilities, chemical toilets are required and rubbish needs to be taken with you when you leave.

A National Park style development would be ideal, however, the prospect of developing expensive eco-resorts would surely not bode well for the pristine coral reefs that lie metres from the beach in the crystal clear waters. We’ll watch this closely to see what happens.

A week at Ningaloo was not enough. We spent hours beachcombing or swimming over the reef. Reef sharks, turtles, abundant corals, and fish life proliferate. A short drive from the campsite took us over the sandhills, past the water bores to Norwegian Bay, the derelict site of an old whaling station. The rusting hulks of boilers and machinery littered the land behind the beach and made for some interesting exploration. The remnants of the old jetty and more machinery sit peacefully on the beach, now a marine reserve, and a solitary dolphin was hunting in the shallows 50m further along the beach.

A short diversion off the same road takes you to a popular fishing spot called Shark Alley. We visited several times, and couldn’t resist a snorkel. This was probably the clearest water but a strong current meant the kids had to be careful not to stray too far from the shore. Surprisingly though no sharks were spotted but more turtles and plenty of fish. Oscar’s new favourite fish was the giant unicornfish that really does have a unicorn protruding from the top of its head. We fished there and caught some of the most beautiful coloured wrasse and trigger fish. Nothing for dinner that day though.

On our last day Oscar and I were taken out fishing in the lagoon. One monster nearly pulled Oscar off the boat as he tried to reel it in, with me holding onto him, before it shook the hook. On the last cast of the day, with the sun having just set, I managed to land a legal sized spangled emperor, so no sausages for dinner!

 

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Natural World, Offroad, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

A surprise visit

Amanda’s parents had hatched a plan for a surprise visit in Exmouth and had booked the accommodation. We had managed to keep it secret from the kids, despite a couple of times when the cat was almost let out of the bag.

Unfortunately, flying in on the day that cyclone Quang was sweeping through the region meant they were stopped in their tracks in Perth, with the following day’s flight fully booked. When they finally arrived we were cutting a deliberately belated birthday cake for Hannah, and as they walked in the kids were a little confused at first. When the penny dropped big grins filled their faces and a round of Happy Birthday got things going again.

The PotShot Hotel over the road was our dinner venue and Grandpa Geoff went for a stone-grilled steak, where they provide the raw steak and an extremely hot volcanic rock on which to cook it to your specification. Those having fish and chips were impressed too, despite the apologetic barmaid who said it was a red-mouth emperor, rather than spangled emperor. It was so delicious we returned a couple of days later to try a variation on the stone-grill menu.

Geoff and Leonie joined us on the whale shark trip they were amazing and despite the rough conditions it was all smiles on the boat at the end of the day.

We took a trip down to Yardie Creek where they took two of the kids on a boat cruise, and whilst visiting Cape Range we swam at Turquoise Bay, Oyster Stacks again and visited the Turtle sanctuary. Despite the turtle egg-laying season having finished it was great to find a turtle had dug two holes the previous night and we could clearly see the laboriously made flipper prints emerging from, and then returning to the ocean.

The week that was shrunk to 5 days passed all too quickly and we farewelled Grandma and Grandpa as they left for the airport, and we repacked the trailer and set off for Ningaloo Station. Amanda had been so pleased to see her parents and a few tears were shed when they left.

We will look forward to perhaps meeting them on Heron island towards the end of the year (hint hint)

Categories: Beach, Big Lap, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Natural World, West Australia | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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